The Canary Islands
The Land of Eternal Spring
The Canary Islands are part of Spain but they're located much closer to Africa than the Spanish mainland. The seven islands are in the Atlantic Ocean, 1,350 kilometres south of the Iberian Peninsula. Their nearest neighbour is Morocco (95 kilometres east of Fuerteventura) and the climate is wonderful all year round with temperatures rarely falling below 18C in the winter and rising above 24C in the summer.
They call the Canaries "The Land of Eternal Spring". The sub-tropical climate is regulated by the Gulf Stream and Trade Winds and any time of year is a good time to visit with guaranteed sunshine, virtually no rainfall and non-stop tourist activity. Small wonder that 11 million international tourists migrate to these shores each year!
The archipelago consists of five main holiday islands - La Palma, Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote - and the two, small unspoilt islands of Hierro and Gomera. The islands are the tips of a vast volcanic mountain range lying beneath the Atlantic Ocean. The fact that four of Spain's seven major national nature reserves are located here reflects the extraordinary wealth of natural beauty to be found in the Canaries.
Tenerife and Gran Canaria, at the centre of the archipelago, are the liveliest tourist resorts. Both offer frantic beach activity and an all-night party scene but get away from the most popular package holiday centres and you'll be able to enjoy the islands' wealth of natural beauty far from the madding crowds.
Whatever you're looking for from your holiday, as long as you choose your island carefully you'll find it in the Canaries. There are bustling seafronts lined with high-rise hotels and non-stop entertainment centres; you'll find gay bars, all-night clubs, foam parties and fish and chip shops.
The islands are also a paradise for lovers of nature and water sports enthusiasts. The Canaries are home to some fascinating indigenous animal and plant life and the local waters provide some of the world's richest hunting grounds for deep-sea fishermen. Shark, tuna and marlin are all to be found in abundance here. Most tourists prefer to hunt for a glimpse of the bottle-nosed dolphins and pilot whales which you can often see around the islands.