Canary Islands: Zoom On The 7 Populated Islands Of The Archipelago
This Spanish archipelago is located in the Atlantic Ocean, just a few hours plane trip away from the European continent. It consists of 7 main islands. We present you an outline of each one of them.
1. Gran Canaria
Being one of the most-known Canary islands it attracts many tourists thanks to its multiple activities and its majestic landscapes. Like all the Canary islands it has a volcanic origin. In the middle of it there are many typical villages hidden in the mountains. In the North you can visit the biggest city of the archipelago Las Palmas and stroll along its picturesque streets. In the South discover the sandy dunes of Maspalomas that remind us of the Sahara desert. In few kilometers from dunes you find a charming sunny city of Puerto de Mogán where a traditional market is held every Friday. The harbour of Mogán is well known by divers as it offers many interesting dive sites.
It is the largest island of the archipelago, in the middle of which rises the majestic volcano El Teide, the highest point of Spain (3718 meters). The landscapes vary a lot in different parts of the island: dry and volcanic in the south, wet and covered with laurel forests in the north. Tenerife surprises its visitors with beautiful black sandy beaches. It is possible to practice any kind of water sports here. One of the most popular is scuba diving as there are so many splendid sites to discover all around the island. Other special things about Tenerife are natural pools created by lava flows, huge cliffs falling into the sea and banana plantations that are the main source of income in the Canary islands.
This is a place to benefit from the splendid beaches that occupy the whole coastal line of the island. Most of them are of white sand. Travelling around the island you feel how much wilder it is is than Gran Canaria or Tenerife. Strong winds blow continuously that has made it one of the most famous places in the world for practicing different kinds of surfing: windsurfing, kitesurfing, bodysurfing etc. (Furteventura means "strong wind" in Spanish: fuerte – strong, viento – wind) Every summer the world championship of wind- and kitesurfing is held here and you can watch the best surfers of all countries competing for the first place.
When travelling around the island the first place to visit is the Natural Park of Corralejo that was classified by UNESCO as a reserve of the biosphere. In the North of Fuerteventura you can have a walk along the largest dunes of the Canaries and in the south among the volcanic rocks. Keep to the tradition and try local cheese and fresh fish in restaurants on the beach.
You cannot miss that you are on a volcanic island when you discover Lanzarote with its rocky and desert landscapes. Lava flows and hot steaming volcanoes always remind you the origin of the island. Typical white houses are surrounded not by grass as we are used to, but with firm volcanic floors full of minerals. Visit also the uninhabited island of La Graciosa that is just next to Lanzarote. La Graciosa has no roads, so you might need a cross-country vehicle to discover this quiet and peaceful place.
5. La Gomera
This small island is all covered by laurel forest that is the oldest forest of Europe. 20000 years ago the whole continent was full of laurel woods that survived only on several islands of the Atlantic ocean, and in particular on La Gomera. This green space is part of a national park protected by the Canarian government and is on the list of the World Heritage of UNESCO. There are even more things about La Gomera that would surprise any visitor of it. The inhabitants have a curious way to communicate: a whistling language that is absolutely unique in the world. The inhabitants have preserved this language for centuries passing the knowledge of it from generation to generation and now it´s included in the school programs. Moreover, you can visit the house of Christopher Columbus, who stopped in La Gomera in some of his expeditions to America. You can observe a well from which he took water to baptize the newly discovered American lands.
6. La Palma
La Palma is called “Isla Bonita” by Canarian people, that means "pretty island". On the very first visit we understand why it received this nickname. Unlike the Eastern Canary islands, La Palma is very green and offers plenty of woods to have a walk in, discovering volcanoes and beautiful beaches. The government has arranged the whole net of marked trekking routes that cross this non-touristic island with fantastic wild nature. La Palma was classified by UNESCO as a reserve of the biosphere too.
7. El Hierro
The smallest island of the archipelago, el Hierro is a very nice place to visit: it´s peaceful, picturesque and very attractive for its underwater world. Corals, big fish and marine animals, clear water have attracted divers for years. In 2011 an underwater volcano erupted just offshore el Hierro, that was menacing to do a lot of damage to the marine life but fortunately the recovery is going very fast and divers again enjoy the pretty landscapes full of animals.
Being one of the first Canary islands to be formed, el Hierro has old forests and uses its renewable energy. It is thus a perfect place to benefit from being outside and enjoying the purified air.
As you see all Canary islands are different and have their one peculiarities. That´s why you never get bored travelling around the archipelago. The more you discover the Canaries, the more you fall in love with them. If you have never been here yet, you should definitely choose the Canary islands for your next vacation!
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