Exploring the Canary Islands —  a tropical paradise!

Travelwise

Located in the North Atlantic Ocean off the southeast coast of Morocco, you will find a Spanish archipelago of islands called the Canary Islands.

The archipelago is economically and politically European and is part of the European Union. Residents of the islands think of themselves as Spanish citizens, just as much as those who live in Madrid. Locals in the Canaries, as they are popularly called, speak Spanish but English is widely understood. The Euro is the official currency.

The geographic makeup consists of hundreds of volcanoes. Experiencing these volcanoes and the impact they’ve had on the land — whether from a lookout point, up close on a land crater drive or a helicopter tour — is a highlight when visiting the Canary Islands.

You will find many awe-inspiring things to do. From cycling, golfing, hiking, surfing, snorkeling, scuba diving and sailing, the Canary Islands are a paradise for sport lovers. They are the ultimate destination for sun, sea and sand!

There are seven main islands in the Canary Islands archipelago:

Tenerife is the largest and the most populous of the islands, offering the best night life. Santa Cruz de Tenerife serves as the island’s capital. There are two airports located on the island.

Fuerteventura is the second-largest island in the archipelago and is known for the best beaches. It is also a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The capital city is Puerto del Rosario.

Gran Canaria is the third-largest island and is known for the best hiking. Las Palmas de Gran Carania serves as the island’s capital city. Agriculture and tourism are the two most important components of this island’s economy. Sugarcane cultivation takes place extensively on the island.

Lanzarote is the fourth-largest island, with tourism and agriculture the biggest contributors to its GDP. It is known best for families. The island is host to an international airport that remains busy all year round due to the highest tourist attraction. Arrecife is the capital city.

La Palma is the most north-westerly island in the archipelago and is known best for snorkeling. Santa Cruz de la Palma is the capital. Agriculture and tourism form the backbone of its economy. Bananas, avocados, oranges and grapes are the top agricultural products.

La Gomera is one of the smaller islands, with San Sebastian de La Gomera serving as its capital city. The UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Garajonay National Park is located here. The island is known best for its authenticity.

El Hierro is the smallest and least touristy of the seven major islands. It is well known for its unique flora and fauna, including the endangered El Hierro giant lizard. Tourism is an important industry on the island. Well known to diving enthusiasts who come from all over the world to find excellent conditions and incredible underwater landscapes, it is also the island of sustainability. Valverde is the capital city.

The islands have a sub-tropical, pleasant dry climate throughout the year. Anytime is suitable for a visit; however, to avoid the crowds, the best times to visit are between March and May and September through November. There are daily connections that allow you to easily get from one island to any other by boat or plane.

Because of their location, the Canary Islands have historically been considered a bridge between four continents — Africa, North America, South America and Europe. These sun-drenched islands have an exotic flavor of their own — hundreds of volcanoes, rolling sand dunes, rich forests and rugged cliffs dapple the largest of these Atlantic gems.

Due to the islands’ popularity, most of the major cruise lines sail to the islands, either solely touring the island or passing through as part of a transatlantic trip. With year-round sunshine, spectacular scenery and beautiful beaches, it’s not hard to see the appeal of this tropical paradise.

Whether your visit to the Canary Islands will include a land package or a cruise tour, contact your local professional travel advisor who will guide you in making the right decision.

About Nancy B. Alligood, CTC 20 Articles
Nancy B. Alligood, CTC is general manager/owner of Warwick Travel Service, Inc.and can be reached at 757-599-3011 or at n_alligood@warwicktravel.com.

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