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By: Declan Bolen
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

Each of the Canary Islands (and their satellite isles) are very 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 like Gran Canaria, Tenerife and nature. Whereas La Palma is very beautiful with a tropical feeling.

Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands and is a firm favourite with Brits as it's possible to spend a week or two in the sun completely relaxing on a beach, but also to have a more active break playing golf, diving, hiking in Teide National Park or riding the waves on a surf board. And while families will love the attractions on offer like the water kingdom" Siam Park, those after wild nights out will enjoy the lively nightlife in resorts such as Playa de las Americas.

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

This region of petrified lava make up the National Park of Timanfaya and its Mountains of Fire, where visions of a lifeless, prehistoric (or even apocalyptic) earth, with enormous craters of an incandescent red color, can be seen on a bus or even camel tour. Its unique atmosphere has made it a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and one of the most impressive natural parks in all of Spain.

The following islands are part of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria:

North of Fuerteventura and the closest of the islands to Africa, Lanzarote offers art and architecture, sunshine galore, a lunar-like landscape and activities for individuals who want to work up a sweat including mountain biking and surfing.

Getting there: Flights to Lanzarote from most major cities in Europe, as well as from the other islands, arrive at the Lanzarote Airport 5 km away from the capital, Arrecife. Ferries arrive at Playa Blanaca from Fuerteventura, La Palma, Tenerife, and Gran Canaria. Some of these ferries are legs of an overnight ferry from Cadiz , Spain.

The oldest of the Canaries, this island is known for its kilometers-long beaches of white sand and shallow, clear water, perfect for water-skiing, wind-surfing, fishing, or sailing. It has the longest coastline of all seven islands, spanning 340 kilometers, and is easily accessible by a 40-minute ferry from Lanzarote.

colder on average though it's still quite warm, even at night. Note that the north of the islands generally are somewhat cooler and wetter than the south, but still fine.

The largest resort on the island, Playa del Ingles, is on the south coast and offers fun-filled holidays for visitors who enjoy strolling down its promenade and drinking in the bars and clubs. Other popular resorts include Playa del Ingles' quieter neighbour, San Augustin; sophisticated Maspalomas with its world-famous sand dunes; pretty and exclusive Puerto Mogan; and stylish Meloneras.

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 may 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.

Whichever Canary Island takes your fancy and whether you are looking for an all-inclusive getaway or a self-catering bargain, find the best prices by using TravelSupermarket's search tool.

Like Gran Canaria, Tenerife, the largest island of the Canaries, boasts a sizable variety of mountain, forest, and beach landscapes with an ever-warm climate. Most notably, it contains the majestic Mount Teide , a massive volcano which, at 3,718 meters, is the highest peak in all of Spain and the third largest volcano in the world.

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.

Tenerife North Airport (TFN) is located about 10 kilometres from the city. Tenerife North mainly serves other Canary Islands , cities in mainland Spain , and several cities in Germany Also, two airlines fly here to/from Caracas in Venezuela

Lanzarote Airport (ACE) is the third busiest airports of the islands, follwed by Fuerteventura Airport

Trasmediterránea provides ferries from Cadiz in Spain to and from the Canary Islands.

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.

The Canary Islands are linked by a smaller airline called Binter Canarias , which also has a flight to Marrakech from a couple of the islands.

As the coastline consists mostly of jagged cliffs, the majority of the beaches on the island are small coves. Nevertheless, beaches such as Valle del Gran Rey and Playa de Santiago have that crystalline water and golden sand all vacationers seek. Also recommendable to see is the Acantilado de los Organos, or the Organ Cliff, which includes thousands of basalt columns soaring up from out of the water, giving the impression of a giant, rocky organ.

Families: For a day out with a difference, why not treat the family to a camel ride across the sand dunes of Maspalomas on Gran Canaria? From your elevated position, you'll be able to take in panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

Active types: Catch some waves at Costa Teguise on Lanzarote. Whether you're a beginner or a well-seasoned pro, the ideal wind and wave conditions will give you lots of opportunities to sharpen up your skills.

But the most spectacular site by far on the island is the National Park of La Caldera de Turburiente , a massive crater formed by the erosion of a volcano. With a perimeter of 9 kilometers and depth of up to 770 meters, this crater is one of the largest in the world. Covered with thick forests and home to a biological diversity of almost a hundred different plant species, its beauty can be appreciated from the surrounding mountains, and also from points such as Mirador de la Cumbrecita.

Canarian cuisine is a mix between African cultures, Spanish and Latin. Most of Canarian cuisine is a variety of fresh vegetables, fruit and fish, generally light meals, more simple to digest in a warm climate. Meat is generally consumed as a part of stews or as steaks.

Getting there: Direct flights to La Palma airport in the town of Santa Cruz de La Palma are available from mainland Spain, the other islands, and some cities in northern Europe. Ferries arrive in Santa Cruz de La Palma from Tenerife and Gran Canaria

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...

The Canary Islands are Europe's only exporter of plantain bananas. They are famously delicious here. These bananas are usually fried and are also commonly found in the West Indies.

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

Arepas - tortas created from fine corn flour filled with minced meat, cheese, or nice mango.
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