This group of islands, with a preferred climate and constant temperature throughout the year, and splendid beaches of fine sand, consists of 7 larger islands (Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote, Tenerife, La Palma, Gomera, Hierro) and a few smaller ones (Alegranza, Graciosa, Montaña Clara, Roque del Este, Roque del Oeste und Lobos). Surprisingly, the landscape of each island is radically different from the others.
It´s called The Small Continent because of its extremely varied landscapes with European, African and even American vegetation. The mountain range in the island's center, of a height of about 2000 meters, is cut by some bizarre canyons.
Hardly anywhere else you can find such different landscapes and even climatical zones being geographically that close one to each other: mountain massives, desert land, tropical forrests, ... Along the seaside there are wide beaches of sand, and while elsewhere people are shuddering of cold, here the tourists are lying in the sun and looking at those mountainpeaks being covered with snow ...
If you are looking for beaches and coconuts, Gran Canaria is the place... well it is if you are looking beaches! With beaches for all tastes and preferences, Gran Canaria is a sandy golden paradise! Smaller or bigger, with more or less privacy, there is a huge choice for everyone!
Telde lies surrounded by excellent orchard lands. Noteworthy are El Santo Cristo Basilica and the Parish Churches of San Juan Bautista - which has an exceptionally valuable Flemish retable -, San Gregorio and San Francisco.
Melenara - Here there is a splendid beach and a harbour. The area includes Tara preserves marvelous caves of the original inhabitants of the island, and Cuatro Puertas has the most interesting native sight of the island, dating from the palaeolithic period: the holy mountain the Guanches.
Tejeda - At about 45km on the road from Telde to Valsequillo and Vega de San Mateo, there is Tejeda, the centre and highest point of the island, here can be seen Roque Nublo and Bentayga: two enormous basalt rocks. La Cruz del Tejeda also comes into view there with its Parador. The beautiful scenery includes almond trees, gardens and powerful summits, towering over a splendid panorama.
Ingenio - It is one of the oldest villages of the island, famous today for its crafts, especially openwork and embroidery.
San Bartolomé de Tirajana - 23km from Aguimes, after negotiating a winding road, there is San Bartolomé de Tirajana in the mouth of a huge crater at the foot of the central massif. There are the highest points of the island: Pozo de las Nieves (1,965m) and Los Pechos (1,961m), from where there is a marvelous view of the scenery of La Galdera de Tirajana, the valleys of Ayacata and Fataga with their villages and the Guanche necropolis of Artenara.
Aguimes - A summer resort with beaches nearby. Agriculturally very rich. In Temisas, a lovely village amongst prickly pear and olive groves, there are traces of the historical Guanches.
Arinaga - A beautiful, typical harbour next to the promenade of the same name, from where there is a wide view.
San Agustín - A splendid beach in an area of perpetual calm. A magnificent housing development with many gardens, hotels, bungalows swimming pools and a recreational centre.
Playa del Inglés - With a length of 2,700m. A broad fringe of very fine, golden sand, gently leading to an always blue, peaceful sea. A large housing development with hotels, apartments, bungalows, etc.
Maspalomas - A 6,000m long beach, an extension of the previous one, and one of the most beautiful on the island. Nearby there is a large oasis with dense vegetation consisting of palm trees and salt marsh brushwood. Next to the oasis there is a small lagoon. The housing developments include hotels, bungalows, sports grounds, etc. and are very important. Two kilometres west of the Maspalomas lighthouse, there is Pasito Blanco beach with a yacht harbour and a tourist centre.
Agruineguin - This little village lies near El Perchel Point. Patalavaca beach has fine golden sand. It is the best area for deep sea fishing and there are the service facilities necessary for this kind of sport.
Puerto Rico - A modern housing development with apartments, hotels, villas and bungalows, tennis, a bowling alley, horses and a yacht harbour for over 55 boats.
Mogan - A beautiful valley where tropical fruit is grown. Lovely scenery all along the 12km stretch. A modern yacht harbour with numerous moorings, hotels and other accommodation.
Arucas lies in the middle of an extremely fertile plain where the largest and most important banana- growing area is found. It is a clean village with beautiful gardens, such as the Municipal Park, a collection of exotic flowers and plants. It has an interesting parish church in pure Gothic. Close to the village lies the volcanic cone called La Montaña de Arucas, from the top of which there is a wide, panoramic view, including El Puerto de la Luz and the mountains of La Isleta. The beautiful Bañaderos coast lies at a distance of six kilometres. The whole coast of this township is full of beautiful scenery with cliffs, lovely coves and a breath-taking panorama.
Teror - This is an inland summer resort 11km fro Arucas. The Countryside in the surroundings is bounded only by the impressive mountain massifs where a large hamlet with scattered houses lies. The village is most famous for the Sanctuary of La Virgen del Pino, the patron saint of the island, which attracts many worshippers.
Guia is a prosperous village in the north near Point Guanarteme. There are interesting cavings of the Canary image maker Luján in the parish church. In the vicinity, the Cenobio de Valerón consists of a series of caves under a huge eave-like projection of lava.
Galdar - A place of special interest from the point of view of history and archaeology. Traces of the Guanche culture, mainly in the cave, the Cueva Pintada, where geometric paintings in different colours are found. Interesting sights are the Town Hall with its age-old dragon tree in the courtyard, the parish church and Mayor Sq. the Plaza Mayor. It has sheltered pebble beaches.
Sardina del Norte - This small fishing village lies in picturesque surroundings. It has a small pebble and coarse sand beach.
Agaete - It is a beautiful village with a long sea-faring tradition near Agaete valley. There is a long zigzagging canyon where bananas, coffee, papayas, avocado pear, maize, etc. are grown. Note the archaeological excavation site of Malpais, a Sight of National Interest. The Virgen of Las Nieves, depicted on a valuable Flemish panel, is worshipped in a beautiful hermitage. Las Nieves beach consists of pebbles and coarse sand, surrounded by rugged basalt cliffs. Seven kilometres away there is the health resort called Balneario de los Berrazales in the middle of lush vegetation. It has a spring with ferruginous water and there is a good hotel.
La Palma - The green island, holds two world records: La Caldera del Taburiente is the world's largest volcanic crater, with a diameter of 9 kilometers and a depth of 770 meters. From the view-point Mirador de la Cumbrecita this terrific natural monument. The island's highest mountain, Roque de los Muchachos, with an astronomical observatory at its peak, measures 2423 meters.
Breña Baja - Follow the coast from Santa Cruz going South and you will arrive at some very beautiful small bays and great beaches such as Playa de Cancajos. In Mazo, close to the airport, there is the Cueva de Belmaco, a cave with prehistorical engravings. From here you also have a great view of the coast.
Fuencaliente - This area has the unusual contrast of vineyards and volcanic craters. Best known are the craters of San Antonio and Teneguía, the latter having erupted for the so far last time in 1971. Puerto de Naos is a traditional fishing-village with splendid beaches of fine sand.
Tazacorte - It´s surrounded by large plantations of bananas, has a picturesque port and fine beaches to offer.
Over the beautiful valley of Los Lanos de Aridane is located the view-point El Time, from which you can overlook the National Park Caldera del Taburiente.
Cueva Bonita, close to Tijarafe, is a beautiful grotto really deserving a visit.
Around San Andrés and Sauces there are large and beautiful woods.
This is the island with the longest coastline, with wide plains and gentle valleys, with huge beaches: it is a geographical no man's land, a place for those who wish to escape from the pressures of today's life. In addition, there are possibilities of fishing in unbelievably transparent waters, as a special attraction for a growing number of tourists who refuse to spend their holidays without any activity. In fact the island is separated from Africa by a corridor where sardines, tuna and sword fish are the objects of mortal persecution. The fishing sportsman can easily get his share of the booty.
Fuerteventura has a magnificent airport with a 2,400m runway where national and international flights land and airplanes arrive from numerous, mainly European countries.
There are lovely beaches in the vicinity of the capital, Puerto del Rosario. But in the very north and south, there are two areas with beaches that can be compared with the best in the world. Especially outstanding are those of Jandía in the south and those of Corralejo in the north.
At Playa Blanca in Puerto del Rosario there is a Parador belonging to the Office of the Secretary General for Tourism.
A Calendar of Celebrations:
January 5th: Procession of the Magi. Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
January-February: Music Festival of the Canaries. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and La Orotava (Tenerife).
February-March: Carnival. Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and Puerto de la Cruz (Tenerife)
March-April: Opera season. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
April 29th: Commemoration of the incorporation of Gran Canaria into the Crown of Castile. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
May: Celebrations of La Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz de Tenerife. On the third, the founding of the capital of the island is celebrated (a Celebration of Interest to Tourists).
May 20th: A festive-religious excursion or romería in honour of San Isidro Labrador. Los Realejos (Tenerife). (A celebration of Interest to Tourists).
Corpus Christi: Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and La Laguna (Tenerife). Preparation of flower carpets. Villa de Mazo (La Palma). (A Celebration of Interest to Tourists).
Octava de Corpus: La Orotava (Tenerife). (A Celebration of Interest to Tourists). On the following Sunday: a romería in honour of San Isidro, La Orotava (Tenerife).
June 21st-30th (Every five years): Celebration in honour of Nuestra Señora de las Nieves. Santa Cruz de la Palma. (A Celebration of Interst to Tourists).
First Sunday in July: Celebration and romería in honour of San Benito Abad. La Laguna (Tenerife). (A Celebration of Interest to Tourists).
July 14th: Day of San Buenaventura, patron saint of Betancuria (Fuerteventura).
July 16th: Popular celebrations in honour of La Virgen del Carmen. Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
July 25th: Romerías of Santiago Apóstol. Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Commemoration of the heroic defence of the city against Nelson's attack.
August 5th: Day of La Virgen de las Nieves. Agaete (Gran Canaria). (A Celebration of Interest to Tourists). Santa Cruz de la Palma.
August 16th: Day of the Tradition and romería in honour of San Roque. Garachico (Tenerife). (A Celebration of Interest to Tourists).
August 25th: Day of San Ginés. Arrecife de Lanzarote. (A Celebration of Interest to Tourists).
August 28th: Romería in honour of San Agustín. Arafo (Tenerife). (A Celebration of Interest to Tourists).
September 6th-8th: Celebrations in honour of La Virgen del Pino. Teror (Gran Canaria). (A Celebration of Interest to Tourists).
September 7th-15th: Celebrations in honour of El Santísimo Cristo. La Laguna (Tenerife).
September 11th: Typical celebrations of El Charco. Aldea de San Nicolás (Gran Canaria).
Sunday after September 17th: Day of El Cristo del Calvario. Icod de los Vinos (Tenerife).
Second Saturday of October: Romería in honour of Nuestra Señora de la Luz and a procession of boats. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
December 13th: Day of Santa Lucía (Gran Canaria). (A Celebration of Interest to Tourists).
Walking, hiking, trekking - call it what you will, but it's probably the single most common attraction outside of the large resorts. Tenerife offers great and varied hiking terrain for all levels of expertise, with some of the best trails being in and around the national park, and of course, Mount Teide itself. Other area's of note are the Orotava Valley, with it's ancient forests, and the mountainous regions of Teno in the North-West and Anaga in the Noth-East.
Puerto de la Cruz and the Orotava Valley make one of the best bases from which to explore the various hiking trails on the island, but it is possible to find trails wherever you are on the island. Discovery Walking Guides publish a series of books covering the various regions of Tenerife, each with routes to accomodate all experience levels, from beginner to expert. In addition to these commercial publications there is a boxed set of leaflets available from most tourist information kiosks on Tenerife, outlining more than twenty trails around the island.
Locations of particular interest to hikers:
Water Sports - In addition to the plethora of water sports typical of a tourist resort, Tenerife offers world class windsurfing opportunities. Championships are frequently held at El Medano on the South coast.
Beginners can get a taste for it at many locations in and around Playa de Las
Americas. With prices for an introductory course being competitive, there's few better places to learn the basics!
Tenerife offers some great scuba diving opportunities, and although not quite the Great Barrier Reef, the cliffs at Los Gigantes are supposed to be fantastic, with some diving schools can arrange an expedition to dive with huge stingrays at 'Stingray City', located at the base of the Los Gigantes cliffs.
There are various diving schools on the island, and most offer beginners courses where you can become a qualified PADI diver.
As you would expect with an island that enjoys Tenerife's location and climate, there's a huge number of watersports that can be enjoyed around the island, from wakeboarding to jet-skiing. The resorts of the South-West are easy to find with all the flyers that litter the bars, restaurants and hotel reception desks.