Canary Islands

Islas Canarias, Spain

 

Canary
Islands are a Spanish archipelago located in the tropics just off
the northwest coast of mainland Africa enjoyed by millions of
Europeans each year.  While the people of Oslo, Stockholm, Helsinki
and other northern European cities suffer through a cold dark and
long winter in the Canary Islands people are walking around in short
sleeves, sunning and bathing at the beach.  It is easy to understand
why every day hundreds of planes take off leaving behind the cold
north to land in the sunny Canary Islands.

Sun
and beaches! These are the advertisements in travel agencies
throughout Europe and that is exactly what las Islas Canarias offers
year round, seven islands awaiting the invasion of the northerners
mainly Tenerife and Gran Canaria.  The volcanic origin of the
islands is obviously displayed in the black sand beaches of Tenerife
and even more so in the more eastern islands like
Lanzarote where
marvelous fields of black lava are home to an exotic National Park,
Timanfaya.  The volcanoes of Lanzarote form a spectacular landscape
which greatly complements its beaches.   The simple white houses of
Lanzarote’s farmers really stand out from the black of the earth and
the green of the palm trees and crops.

Each
island is unique, close to Lanzarote is Fuerteventura where the dunes
of the beaches ofcanary-islands-fuerteventura Corralejo are spectacular.  The interior of the
island is arid but the beaches to the south are a paradise for wind
surfers.  These islands are poor, for a long time isolated, but full
of surprises for their visitors.  No comparison to the crowded over
built beaches of the bigger islands of Tenerife and Gran Canaria. 
These two islands have very mountainous interiors, Tenerife has the
highest peak in Spain and its surroundings are part of the wonderful
National Park of Cañadas del Teide.  Meanwhile, Gran Canaria
welcomes the archipelago’s largest city, Las Palmas, a vibrant and
cosmopolitan city whose area of la Vegueta retains a colonial feel
closer in style to South America than Spain.  In fact the Canary
Islands were part of the route taken by Spanish ships when sailing
towards America and despite their proximity to the African coast the
islands are in their history and even of their way of life closer to
South America.

The
remaining islands are different from the rest, the humid winds
shower them with rainfall more frequently and thus they offer much
greener landscapes.  Their coastlines are less conducive to beaches
but the interiors offer spectacular sceneries.  The National Parks
of La Caldera de Taburiente in the green island of la Palma and
Garajonay in the small island of La Gomera display rare subtropical
forests among volcanic landscapes.  La Gomera stands out due to its
laurel forest, its distinctive horizontal rain and the peculiar
language of whistles of its inhabitants.  Surely anyone who dares
travel to the westernmost and smallest of the islands, el Hierro,
will rejoice in visiting a remote location where time seems to stand
still.

 

 

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