Canary Islands

  • 15/12/16
  • MAP Travel

The Canary Islands are a group of seven islands in the Atlantic Ocean, stretching from 100 to 600 Km West of the coast of Morocco. All the islands are volcanic and have a subtropical climate making them popular as winter resorts. There is a great contrast between the dry arid areas with volcanic outcrops, and the lush vegetation and agriculture where the Gulf Stream provides the perfect conditions for crops including bananas, avocados, tomatoes, pineapples, tobacco, alongside vineyards producing some excellent wines. The islands were an important stopping place for the galleons carrying the explorers from Spain to the New World.

Airports and Ferries

There is an excellent network of internal flights and ferries between the islands as well as international airports at Las Palmas on Gran Canaria,, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, Tenerife North, Tenerife South, and La Palma

Gran Canaria

Gran Canaria is the province containing the three most easterly islands of Lanzarote, Fuerteventura and the island of Gran Canaria, in the centre of the archipelago. It is a circular island with the city of Las Palmas and coastal resorts surrounding the spectacular inland scenery of mountains, pine forests and pretty villages. Las Palmas is the seventh largest Spanish city. It was founded in 1478 and is now a busy port and a popular tourist destination as it has four beaches. Christopher Columbus sailed into the city on his journey across the Atlantic.


Papagayo Playa Blanca, Lanzarote

Lanzarote is the most northerly and easterly of the Canary Islands and also the closest to the African coast. The barren volcanic landscape contrasts with the coastal resorts which have built up beside the beaches, many of which have black volcanic sand. There are a number of protected plants and vineyards in the more fertile parts of the island. Its most popular attraction is the “Fire Mountain” where the heat from the volcano is sufficient to fry an egg! Arrecife, the capital city of the island, was originally a small fishing port in the centre of the east coast.


Playa de Morro Jable, Fuerteventura

Fuerteventura is a long narrow, mainly flat island 100 Km from the African coast declared a Unesco Biosphere reserve in 2009. It is divided into two sections, originally 2 kingdoms separated by a wall – Maxorata in the north and the Jandia Peninsula in the south joined by a narrow isthmus. There are many long sandy and surfy beaches. The capital of the island, Puerto del Rosario, is on the east side of the island.

Santa Cruz De Tenerife

Santa Cruz De Tenerife is the westerly province containing the islands of Tenerife, La Gomera, La Palma and El Hierro, as well as being the capital city of the island of Tenerife.


El Duque beach, Tenerife

Tenerife is the largest of the western group of islands, dominated by Mt Teide, the highest Spanish mountain at 3717 metres (12200 ft). Most of the vegetation is on the north side of the island where the resort of Puerto de la Cruz is in the midst of small villages, harbours and pretty coves. The south side is drier so the larger resorts have developed near Santa Cruz and at Playa de Las Americas and Los Cristianos, the ferry port for the neighbouring islands. Santa Cruz, the capital, is a large city and busy port at the north-east tip of the island. Mt Teide National Park, an area of extraordinary volcanic outcrops surrounds the mountain. Due to the lack of pollution and clear skies an observatory was built on the island.

La Gomera

Garajonay National Park, La Gomera

La Gomera is only a short ferry ride from Tenerife but in a world of its own as apart from small developments in a few coastal coves, a large part of the island is covered by the Garajonay National Park, a Unesco World Heritage Site as it contains many protected ancient trees and plants. There are walks to suit all ages and all levels of walking. San Sebastian de La Gomera , the capital, is a small town and port for ferries from Tenerife.

La Palma

Astronomical observatory in Caldera de Taburiente National Park, La Palma

La Palma is the most northerly of the western group. The influence of the Gulf Stream makes it very fertile with every imaginable crop growing in the centre and south of the island. There are large areas of pine forests in the north, contrasting with “La Caldera del Taburiente” which was declared a National Park in 1954. This is a huge area of volcanic outcrops and mountains with Roque de los Muchachos, at a height of 2426 metres (over 8000 feet), being home to a collection of international observatories in the middle of the dramatic volcanic scenery where many science fiction films were made. The capital is Santa Cruz de La Palma, on the east side of the island.

El Hierro

Aerial View of El Hierro

El Hierro is the most westerly of the Canary Islands and although the smallest of the main islands it has a great variety of scenery with dramatic cliffs, small coves and green hillsides covered with terraces of vines and pineapples. It is an ideal spot for relaxing, or joining one of the well organised walking or diving holidays. There is very little development as even the capital, Valverde, has only a few shops and bars.

The Canary Island Paradores Hotels

The Parador de Cruz de Tejeda

The Parador de Cruz de Tejeda is in the centre of the island at a height of 1560 metres. Surrounded by mountains and pine trees with views of Roque Nublo, the highest point of the island, it is tastefully decorated with a theme of wood and light with large windows to take advantage of the panoramic views. It has a spa, gym and small pool.

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The Parador De Cañadas Del Teide

The Parador De Cañadas Del Teide is at the foot of Mt Teide, close to the cable car to the summit. This is one of the smallest Paradores with wonderful views of the mountain but being the only building within the National Park is very remote. It has an excellent restaurant and a small indoor pool and gym.

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The Parador De La Palma

The Parador De La Palma is a spacious building with a large pool surrounded by landscaped gardens. With panoramic views of the capital and coastline, it is a most relaxing place and a good base for exploring the island.

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The Parador De El Hierro

The Parador De El Hierro is on the south side of the island in an ideal spot for walking and diving. It is very remote as it is 15 Km from Valverde. It is an attractive building at sea level beside a beach of black volcanic sand with a large pool and small gym.

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The Parador De La Gomera

The Parador De La Gomera is situated on a cliff above San Sebastian with views of the town, harbour and coastline and also of Mt Teide on Tenerife. Tranquil gardens lead to the large pool perched on the cliff top. This is one of the most relaxing Paradores and a perfect base for a winter holiday.

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