Canary Islands Info

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El Palmar Beach
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El Palmar

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Haría

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Las Vistas Beach

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Restaurant El Lago at-Club La Santa
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About Canary Islands Info

RK-Hotel-El-Cabo

The seven main islands of the Canaries are among the best destinations in the world. For Europeans, the all-year summer-like condition makes it an ideal escape from the harsh winter season. Featuring gorgeous beaches and stunning geologic formations, the Canary Islands has attracted tens of millions of visitors yearly. On this site, we cover everything there is to know about the islands, from getting to and around, things to do, to food and accommodation.

IF YOU'RE THINKING ABOUT VISITING THE CANARY ISLANDS

you'll want to read this first!

The Canary Islands are a popular tourist destination for a reason – they offer everything from stunning beaches to lush mountain scenery. This guide will provide you with all the information you need to make the most of your visit to these beautiful islands. We’ll tell you about the best places to stay, what to see and do, and how to get around. So whether you’re planning a holiday or just curious about these fascinating islands, read on for everything you need to know!

History

The Canary Islands are located off the coast of North Africa. Their original inhabitants, the Guanches, arrived in the archipelago as early as 1000 BCE, or perhaps earlier. They were genetically similar to the Berbers who lived on the mainland of North Africa. Surprisingly, they were the first indigenous people to reside in this area, as it appears that the Azores, Cape Verde, and Madeira were unoccupied before the Europeans arrived.

The Arab traders arrived on Gran Canaria in 999, and from the 13th to the 14th centuries, they would be visited by French, Genoese, Majorcan, and Portuguese mariners. In the 15th century, French and Portuguese forces occupied several of the islands. In 1462, however, they were given to the Spanish in a treaty, and by the 16th century, Spain would have control of all of them, using the isles as a base for their westward explorations.

Over time, the Guanches were absorbed into the rest of society, but many of their customs and traditions have been preserved.

You might be wondering how the name the Canary Islands came about.

Many historians believe that the Latin name Canariae insulae, which means “Islands of the Dogs,” was applied initially only to Gran Canaria but has given rise to the Canary Islands’ name. According to the historian Pliny the Elder, the Mauretanian king Juba II dubbed the island “Dog Island” because it was home to an enormous number of huge dogs.

Another theory is that the “canaries” were a kind of monk seal (endangered species known as canis marinus or “sea dog”) that had previously inhabited the Canary Islands and no longer existed. The Latin term canarius comes from canis, which means “dog.”

What You Need to Know

When planning a vacation to the Canary Islands, there are some things you should know. The first is that, while the Canary Islands as a whole have an excellent climate, they are not identical. For example, on islands with interior mountains, you may discover microclimates based on slope exposure and altitude.

The second thing to keep in mind is that there are various landscapes to explore on each island. Tenerife, for example, has both black volcanic beaches and snow-capped peaks, while Lanzarote is known for its dunes and lava fields.

Finally, each of the seven islands has its own unique culture, attractions, and mode of transportation. Read on so you can plan your vacation accordingly.

Climate

The Canary Islands have a mild and pleasant subtropical climate all year long, with no significant temperature variations from day to night. The average maximum temperatures are between 20°C and 30°C, while the average minimum temperatures range from 15°C to 21°C.

The climates of the islands depend on their exposure to the northeast trade winds, differing from mild and humid to hot and dry. The eastern islands are semi-dry, while the western islands receive more rainfall.

The Canary Islands have a pleasant summer, with plenty of sunshine. Rainfall is modest, with December to February being the wettest months.

The winters in the Canary Islands are mild; they appear to be quite similar to European springs, with average minimum temperatures of approximately 15°C and maximum averages of around 20°C. It may be a little colder than the rest of the islands during the winter months on El Hierro, La Palma, and along the northern coasts of Tenerife and Gran Canaria. Snow frequently falls on top of Teide volcano in December and January.

Many people regard the Canary Islands’ climate as one of the world’s finest. With mild temperatures throughout the year, the archipelago has long been a sought-after holiday destination for travelers, especially Europeans. You may go to the islands at any time of year; all you have to do is choose which ones suit your fancy best.

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Antigua_Caleta_de_Fuste_-_Calle_de_Peatonal_Orchilla_-_Playa_del_Castillo
Terminal-of-Tenerife-South-airport-TFS-in-Spain
Kamakura-Teppanyak-at-Sheraton-La-Caleta-Resort-Spai

Language

The official language in the Canary Islands is Spanish, as it is throughout Spain. However, English and German are also commonly spoken. Almost all commercial establishments on the islands, such as shops, restaurants, hotels, and so on, have at least one person that speaks English or German. Furthermore, information boards and signs are available in Spanish, English, and German, making them easy to comprehend.

The Canarian language is distinct from Spanish spoken on the mainland. This is due to the archipelago’s geography and heavy Canarian emigration to the Caribbean, allowing it to take a significant amount of outside influence, which caused cultural and linguistic changes.

There are plenty of similarities between Caribbean Spanish and Canarian Spanish.

For those who speak flawless Castilian Spanish (i.e., the language of the mainland, excluding Catalonia), you will notice these unique distinctions between the two variations of Spanish:

01.

The Canary Islands does not employ the word "vosotros," which is a plural form of "you." Use "ustedes" instead when speaking with an Islander. It applies to the entire archipelago, except La Gomera and La Palma.

02.

Castilian Spanish pronounces the letter c or z with a 'th' sound, while in the Canary Islands, they are instead pronounced with an s, similar to how it is in South America.

03.

You may hear English words spoken with a Spanish accent, so they don't sound exactly the same but are still recognizable. For example, in Canarian Spanish, the word knife is pronounced 'naife.'

04.

Some words with fascinating origins. For instance, “quinegua” for potato is a diminutive variation of ‘King Edward,' whose seeds were brought to the Canary Islands.

La Gomera, Spanien

Getting To and Around

The three international airports that serve the Canary Islands are Tenerife North, Tenerife South, and Gran Canaria. Lanzarote and La Palma are other islands with domestic airports. Ferries are the most efficient and enjoyable means of traveling between islands. Fred Olsen, Naviera Armas, and Transmediterranea are the three ferry services available, with Tenerife and Gran Canaria as their hubs.

Taxi

The official language in the Canary Islands is Spanish, as it is throughout Spain. However, English and German are also commonly spoken. Almost all commercial establishments on the islands, such as shops, restaurants, hotels, and so on, have at least one person that speaks English or German. Furthermore, information boards and signs are available in Spanish, English, and German, making them easy to comprehend.

The Canarian language is distinct from Spanish spoken on the mainland. This is due to the archipelago’s geography and heavy Canarian emigration to the Caribbean, allowing it to take a significant amount of outside influence, which caused cultural and linguistic changes.

There are plenty of similarities between Caribbean Spanish and Canarian Spanish.

Buses

Canarian islanders refer to buses as guaguas. Taking the bus isn’t necessarily the quickest or most convenient option for getting around, but it is safe and cheap. Keep in mind, though, that services are often reduced to a minimum on Sundays and holidays.

Each island has a different bus company, please check the individual websites for updated bus routes and timelines:

El Hierro: TransHierro / Fuerteventura: Tiadhe / Gran Canaria: Guaguas / Lanzarote: Intercity Bus / La Gomera: Guagua Gomera / La Palma: Transportes Insular La Palma (TILP) / Tenerife: Transportes interurbanos de Tenerife, S.A. (TITSA)

Rental Car

In the Canary Islands, rental cars are highly advised for travelers looking to go beyond the resort. You may rent automobiles at airports, hotels, and stand-alone locations in major tourist towns. Manual and automatic rental automobiles are available, although the latter is more expensive.

While excellent paved roads abound throughout the Canary Islands, you may need to go off-road to reach remote beaches or hidden, far-flung locations. Make sure you double-check with the car-rental company to ensure that it’s allowed.

Santa Cruz de Tenerife Road
Black SUV on Fuerteventura

Who Is the Canary Islands For

When it comes to selecting the best Canary Islands getaway, it might be challenging to determine which one is ideal for you. Each of the seven islands has its distinct personality and set of attractions. We can help you decide which island would be ideal for you based on your interests and abilities. Following that, we’ll provide some climate information, as well as the best time to visit and other important information, followed by a few valuable suggestions to guarantee a wonderful trip.

The Canary Islands are volcanic in origin. This explains the islands’ numerous black beaches, but there are breathtaking white ones as well. Mas Palomas, a 1.2-mile long beach with a massive desert-like dune on Gran Canaria’s south coast, is one of the finest. On the other hand, the lively Playa de Las Américas, with its three gorgeous beaches, is known for its all-year-round nightlife.

If you wish to enjoy less frequented white beaches, head to Fuerteventura, the oldest of the Canary Islands. In its north, you will find Grandes Playas de Corralejo, part of Corralejo Natural Park. It is a 3km-long stretch that is ideal for long walks and water sports, with the most incredible view of the island of Los Lobos. Another excellent option is the tiny La Graciosa, a 20- to 30-minute ferry ride away from Lanzarote. Often called the eighth Canary Island, it is a paradisiacal place perfect for those who seek peace and quiet.

The landscape of the Canary Islands is enthralling. You’ll have a hard time choosing where to go from all of the contrasts in this region. There’s something for everyone, from volcanoes and lava fields to forests and fertile green valleys, so you’re sure to find something that suits your interests. Every taste and physical capability is catered for with four national parks and six biosphere reserves.

The Teide National Park is a great location to admire awe-inspiring creations of volcanoes. Anyone who has marveled at its breathtaking lava flows and unrivaled sky views will understand how this natural wonder became one of Europe’s most visited national parks.

El Pico de Teide, which measures 15 kilometers in diameter and was formed by various eruptions, is the main draw of this Unesco World Heritage Site. It is Spain’s tallest peak, measuring 3.718 meters above sea level, and is located in the middle of Tenerife. The third-largest volcano in the world, it is still considered an active volcano today, but it is entirely safe to visit and attracts over 2 million tourists each year. The fit may walk up to El Teide by foot, but it can be tough going at 2,200m, especially in the summer. There is also a cable car lift that takes 10 minutes to reach the 3,550m viewpoint. The view is breathtaking whether you climb or take the car; you can see all of Tenerife on a clear day.

Jameos del Agua, in the north of Lanzarote, is another must-see volcanic formation. It has a natural underground lagoon within the cave itself, which is home to a blind albino crab species that is unique in the world. The cafe inside the cave is the perfect spot for enjoying its peaceful, almost magical ambiance. On the other hand, the amphitheater was constructed within a volcanic cave and takes advantage of the sound qualities of this subterranean environment.

La Gomera’s Garajonay and its legendary laurel woodlands are the polar opposite. The laurisilva, which flourished in great numbers millions of years ago, is now rare and found only in a handful of places throughout the world. Garajonay National Park‘s lush 4,000-hectare vegetation is one of these locations where nature continues to reign supreme.

The Canary Islands are regarded as a paradise for stargazers, housing three Starlight Reserves, an indicator of low light pollution in the archipelago. The sky’s conditions for viewing stars are such that the IAC Observatories’ Law covers them for Astronomical Quality. You can see a wide range of constellations from all of the islands, but it’s on La Palma and Tenerife that the three IAC international astronomy observatories are located. There are guided tours of the observatories. You could also spend a pleasant starry night in an open and spacious location, ideally a high place with minimal lighting, to appreciate the night sky in all its beauty.

The Canary Islands’ most popular star viewing locations are:

  • El Hierro: Orchilla lighthouse 
  • Fuerteventura: Morro Velosa viewpoint, Tefia Observation Point
  • Gran Canaria: Mirador del Pico de los Pozos de Las Nieves viewpoint, Mirador de LaSabinilla, Roque Saucillo, Llanos de Garañon
  • Lanzarote: Peñas del Chache Lookout
  • La Gomera: Alto de Garajonay, Las Nieves recreation area
  • La Palma: Roque de los Muchachos, San Antonio Volcano viewpoint, Llano del Jable viewpoint, San Bartolo viewpoint, San Borondón viewpoint
  • Tenerife: Las Cañadas del Teide, Guajara Mountain, Masca viewpoint

The Canary Islands has cultivated a reputation for its stunning beaches, excellent weather, and pleasant people. What people don’t know about this island chain is that it also boasts some real architectural masterpieces. The European Gothic and Neoclassical architectural styles were introduced during the Spanish colonial period. Canarian architecture has evolved over time, but classic style, modernism, and ecology coexist in perfect balance on the archipelago.

The twin-towered Santa Ana Cathedral, the first church in the Canaries, is located at the center of the Vegueta district. It was erected on orders from Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon after Gran Canaria was taken in 1478. Impressing for several centuries now, this magnificent structure displays Gothic, Renaissance, and Neoclassical architectural features.

The Tilos Bridge is on La Palma, and it connects the capital city, Santa Cruz de La Palma, to the northern municipalities. Offering breathtaking views of La Isla Bonita (the beautiful island), this architectural masterpiece appears to hang like a mystical bridge over the Barranco del Agua of La Palma. It is also the longest and highest arch bridge ever built in Spain, a true feat of engineering.

The Mirador del Río, on the island of Lanzarote, was created by great Canarian artist César Manrique and is the perfect example of blending seamlessly with the environment. From the volcanic crags where this hidden gem is found, visitors may take in a stunning panoramic view of the cliff of Famara and Chinijo Archipelago, the second-largest archipelago of the Canary Islands.

A creation by architect Santiago Calatrava, Adán Martín’s Auditorium, known simply as Tenerife’s Auditorium, stands in a prime location on the seafront. It’s a stunning 20th-century masterpiece with a meticulous exterior design and an elegant interior. It’s in some ways comparable to the Sydney Opera House in Australia, which blends water and white to create a sleek waveform profile against the backdrop of the sea.

The Church of San Juan Bautista, better known as the Cathedral of Arucas, is a beautiful Neoclassical church with an intriguing architectural past. Despite its historic architectural style, it was only built in the early 20th century and took less than 70 years to complete. The current San Juan Bautista Church occupies the site of an earlier church established in 1515.

The Canary Islands are a must-see for art fans and those interested in learning more about the culture of the archipelago. The chain of islands has a diverse culture, and one way to explore that culture is by visiting one of its many museums or partaking in a festivity. This list will help you find out which one is for you.

The Historical Centre of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is home to the Atlantic Centre of Modern Art (CAAM). It has become a prominent contemporary art museum that focuses on the artistic culture of three continents: Africa, America, and Europe. The exhibition features a wide range of works, including paintings, drawings, sculptures, mail art, and other fascinating art projects relating to the three-continent theme.

The Santa Cruz de Tenerife Carnival in Tenerife is the world’s second-largest carnival, after Rio de Janeiro. For 15 days, color, rhythm, and flamboyance spill out onto the city’s streets. Because of its distinctive flavor and spectacular display, the event is described as “more Brazilian” than other Spanish carnivals.

When it comes to traditions you shouldn’t miss, two immediately come to mind–Silbo Gomero and salto del pastor.

Silbo Gomero is a whistled language unique to La Gomera. Whistles may be heard up to three kilometers away under ideal conditions. Many islanders still use the language daily. They can even tell who they’re talking to by the sound of their whistle: just like with a person’s voice, each individual’s whistle is distinct.

Also a custom among indigenous communities, salto del pastor, or “shepherd’s leap,” began with shepherds using long wooden poles to cross ravines and steep slopes to keep up with their goats. It is now a popular sport played throughout the islands, where participants use long sticks with sharp iron tips to make giant leaps.

A visit to the Canary Islands is not complete until you’ve tried the best local food and drink. The cuisine is hearty and delectable, relying on the islands’ produce. Papas arrugadas, the Canarian potato grown from volcanic soil, go with grilled meat and fish (usually tuna or swordfish). These potatoes, which are wrinkled and smaller than the regular ones, are cooked whole in their skin, salted, and served with flavorful pepper sauces: mojo verde, mojo rojo, and mojo picon. They’re suitable for snacking or as part of a meal.

Rancho Canario, a hearty noodle soup with chicken and potatoes, is the way to go for colder months. Baifo, made from young Canarian goat marinated in bay leaves, garlic, oregano, and thyme, is also very popular. For dessert, try bienmesabe, a sweet paste made with almonds, cinnamon, egg yolks, honey, and sugar syrup with lemon zest. This heavenly dish means “it tastes good to me” in English, and it most definitely is!

The Canary Islands have a good selection of wine. The majority of their wines are white, but there are a few reds and roses as well. Tenerife has several vineyards, although the most unique are found on Lanzarote. The Canaries’ wines, including Malvasia and Palomino grapes, all have a distinct flavor profile.

Hotel La Palma Princess Pool
Vista del roque de La Bonanza, en la isla de El Hierro
Morro Jable, Spanien

Canary Islands:
For Anyone, Anytime

The Canary Islands are a great place to visit because there’s so much to do and see. Beautiful beaches, a picturesque environment, and various activities to keep you occupied are just a few of the benefits. The archipelago offers plenty more if you’re interested in history and culture. The islands’ rich history dates back centuries, with many interesting buildings and monuments awaiting discovery. There are also loads of excellent restaurants that will satisfy all your cravings. Furthermore, the weather is nice, and the people are kind and pleasant.

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