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The Canary Islands are special autonomous community of Spain and are located off the northwest coast of Africa , about 100 kilometres (Lanzarote and Fuerteventura are the closest to the mainland) from Morocco and the Western Sahara The Canary Islands, although technically coming under Spain and part of the EU , are autonomous with their own government and taxation systems. The total population is roughly 2.1 million with the majority of them living on the islands of Tenerife and Gran Canaria

weather lanzaroteEach of the Canary Islands (and their satellite isles) are extremely different in feel. Some people love one island, but hate another. Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder and your island encounters may be totally different to the encounters of another. While some of them are real beach destinations, like Fuerteventura, others combine culture and Tenerife, nature and like Gran Canaria. Whereas La Palma is very beautiful with a tropical feeling.

All the islands of the Canary Islands have a volcanic history, which explains the black beaches of the islands. All the sandy beaches you will find on the islands are man made. The islands lie in the Atlantic Ocean , about 100 to 400 kilometres from Morocco and Western Sahara The Teide vulcano on Tenerife is the highest mountain of Spain, topping the Mulhacén in the Sierra Nevada by more than 200 metres. El Hierro saw the last volcanic activity on 2011, when an undersea volcano erupted just of the southern coast.

The Canaries are split into 2 different communities: Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.

The following islands are part of Santa Cruz de Tenerife:

As the island is pretty small, you can certainly travel to its extremities and go on excursions by car. Heading north, you'll pass La Cueva de los Verdes, or Greens' Cave," created 3,000 years ago by lava streaming from an eruption, and also the Jameos de Agua, a network of subterranean caves and lakes and home to a rare species of blind crabs. At the northernmost point of the island, the prow-like Mirador del Rio extends over the ocean. Here at this windy spot, you can experience a magnificent panorama of the ocean and of the neighboring islet La Graciosa, which is a very recommendable ferry destination.

The volcanic nature of the island of Tenerife meant that the land has few natural beaches. Those that exist are characterised by black sand created from the island's volcanic rocks. The demand for tourist sun-bathing space, however, has led to the creation of resorts and man-made beaches, with golden sand having been imported in some cases. Some of the best beaches of Tenerife are Los Gigantes and San Juan in the west and Fañabe, in the South with its golden excellent facilities, s and showers. Also popular are Torviscas with its marina, Playa las Americas for its grey sandy stretches and los Cristianos' beach. Candelaria in the east has a small black shingle beach. Up north Puerto de la Cruz has a beach with fine black sand, and at Santa Cruz golden sand has been imported for its Terasitas beach.

British tourists head to resorts such as Puerto del Carmen, Playa Blanca, Costa Teguise and Haria where accommodation is on offer for a range of budgets and tastes from all-inclusive five-star resorts and eco lodgings to budget apartments.

The Canary Islands' climate is perfect for a week of enjoying the sun and making trips across the islands. Summers are mostly between 25º and 30º during the day and still above

South east of Lanzarote, Gran Canaria's golden sands and bright sunshine attract holidaymakers every year, and the island's natural beauty with huge stretches of dunes and pine forests make them fall in love with the destination.

The individual islands in the Canary archipelago tend to have distinct microclimates. Islands such as El Hierro, La Palma and La Gomera lying to the west of the archipelego have a climate which is influenced by the moist gulf stream. As one travels east toward the African coast, the influence of the gulf stream diminishes, and the islands become increasingly arid. Fuerteventura and Lanzarote the islands which are closest to the African mainland are effectively desert or semi desert. In terms of its climate Tenerife is particularly interesting. The north of the island lies under the influence of the moist atlantic winds and is well vegetated, while the south of the island is arid.

Most of the islands have direct flights from Europe , you can check the islands' articles for more information. The busiest airports are those on Gran Canaria and Tenerife

Gran Canaria Airport (LPA) is the busiest of the Canary Islands and dozens of airlines serve the island.

Don't forget about the endless white sand beaches and turquoise waters, which can be enjoyed in Maspalomas , located next to an area of sand dunes, and also in Playa del Inglés, both of which make up the more popular areas for beach-going. For quieter beaches and pretty coves, try La Costa de Bañaderos or Playa de las Nieves, both of which offer incredible mountain views.

Getting there: Flights come in from most major European cities and from the other islands to Gran Canaria Airport, 16 km south of the town of Las Palmas. Ferries to the town of Las Palmas are available from Lanzarote, Tenerife, La Palma, and Fuerteventura.

These airports receive a lot of flights from all over Europe , Tenerife South Airport having by far the most possibilities. Lowcost airlines like Easyjet (from London and Manchester ) and Ryanair have found their way as well, the last having most flights, including to/from Brussels , Dublin , Edinburgh , London , Glasgow , Madrid , Porto and Weeze (near Düsseldorf ).

Mount Teide and its surrounding volcanic craters and peaks of Las Cañadas make up the considerable Mount Teide National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. You can take the cable car all the way up close to the summit of Mount Teide, and if you're up for some walking, load your lungs up with oxygen for the altitude. There are numerous hiking trails that showcase a view of an extraterrestrial landscape.

The Canary Islands host a number of events throughout the year which include parades, fiestas and street parties. Here are some of our top options...

King's Day: Across Spain, this is the primary event in the Christmas Calendar to celebrate the coming of the three kings. Gifts are exchanged and elaborate parades are held.

Tenerife Carnival; February; visit Santa Cruz and Puerto de la Cruz for the biggest celebrations: Held just before Lent every year, this carnival sees tourists and locals partying into the night and includes a glitzy opening parade, the burial of the sardine" and the High Heels Marathon.

Dia de Canarias; May 30; throughout the Canary Islands: Canarian culture is celebrated on this public holiday to celebrate the autonomous Canary Islands' Parliament's first session in 1983.

Day of the Cross; May: Towns across the Canary Islands hold street parties on this day and numerous crosses adorned with flowers will be displayed.

A tram linking Santa Cruz bus station and La Laguna opened in 2007 costing €2.35 return in about 40 minutes. There are also plans for a train linking Santa Cruz and Los Cristianos.

Getting there: There are no international flights to Gomera, so you have the option of taking a flight first to Tenerife-Reina Sofia and then catching a ferry, or flying into Tenerife-Los Rodeos and catching a connecting flight to Gomera. Ferries arrive at the city of San Sebastian from Tenerife.

Buses are the most typical method of public transportation around the islands. Mile per mile they are expensive while compared to mainland Spain but you are not going to travel really far away. We are, after all, islands. Most buses in touristic routes are adequate. Do not expect the drivers to know more than a couple of sentences in English or German, though they would try to be helpful.

Trasmediterránea and Fred Olsen , are the main operators between the Canary Islands of Lanzarote, Tenerife, Gran Canaria, La Palma, Fuerteventura, El Hierro and La Gomera.

An excursion by car around the island will take you to such places as Breña Baja on the east, a series of small coves with transparent waters which include the popular Playa de Cancajos. In the southernmost point, you will find the town of Fuencaliente , which is filled with pine trees, vineyards, and volcanic craters. On the western coast, towns such as Puerto de Naos and Tazacorte have picturesque ports and attractive beaches. La Palma also has one of the world's most important telescopes at the International Astrophysical Observatory, situated close to the island's highest mountain, Roque de los Muchachos.

The local fish is quite good. You will look for a wide variety of international recipes of fish and seafood, too. Two popular fish dishes from Tenerife are Caldereta, a meal with tomatoes, goat meat and potatoes and the Sancocho Canario, a salted fish, usually white, in a mojo" sauce.

The tapas concept is one of the most delicious Spanish contributions to international gastronomy. A Tapa is a light and small piece of food that Spaniards have either before lunch or dinner, usually with a glass of wine or beer. The Tapa can be presented in several ways. It can be made as a pincho (with a stick), as a mini-dish of a traditional recipe, as a canapé, etc...

A plateau and mountainous area make up the central part of the island, where rises up as the highest peak. From here, you can admire the views of the gulf, forests, volcanic craters, and of the whole island. The coast also offers a fascinating and unfamiliar sight with its cliffs jutting out from under the water, as if they were little crag islands. El Golfo is where the largest amount of cliffs can be found along with the some of the highest viewpoints of the area.

Gofio - Grain flour used especially at breakfast or to accompany potaje, a local stew.

Getting there: Flights come into the small airport in Valverde from Tenerife and Gran Canaria , no worldwide flights. Ferries arrive at La Estaca harbor from Tenerife.

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