It’s not just the year-round sunshine that makes holidays to the Canary Islands so popular – it’s also the sand dunes, the volcanoes, and the cutting-edge art.
Black and gold
With award-winning beaches, whitewashed towns, and knockout scenery, it’s easy to see why the Canaries are so popular. Floating off the west coast of Africa, these Spanish islands are an exotic blend of two continents. Think sweeping sand dunes, dramatic mountains and tropical forests. You can unroll your towel on a golden beach, swim in a black-sand bay, and hike up a volcano – all in one day.
A tale of two islands
As part of your cruise and stay holiday, you can book a retreat in Gran Canaria or Tenerife. If you’re taking the kids, Blue Flag beaches and family-friendly attractions mean that Tenerife’s Costa Adeje and Maspalomas in Gran Canaria are the best options. Meanwhile, the sleepy town of Puerto de la Cruz in Tenerife has a cute harbour and a long stretch of sand. Or you could stay in Gran Canaria’s quiet spot, Meloneras, for traditional streets and delicious seafood.
In the centre of Tenerife, you’ll find the world’s third-largest volcano and the highest mountain in Spain. Over 3,700 metres tall, Mount Teide towers above the rest of the island. You can walk the National Park trails, or take the cable car to the top for spectacular views. Surrounded by other-worldly scenery of hardened lava and deep craters, this place is the backdrop for several classic sci-fi movies.
Stretching from Maspalomas to the ocean, Gran Canaria’s sand dunes are an impressive sight to behold. The sea breeze means this Saharan-like landscape constantly changes shape, so the white dunes will never be the same twice. Wander across the undulating sands, or travel by camel for a better view.
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Tenerife’s unerring reputation has been built on the back of decades of good reviews. One of the earliest came from Queen Victoria, who used to take her vacations here in the 19th century. If you want a more up-to-date character reference, you only need to look to the two million holidaymakers who flocked here in 2016.
As far as holiday destinations go, Gran Canaria is part of the world’s vintage collection. The third-largest Canary Island first appeared on the Spain tourism radar as far back as the 19th century, and it’s gone from strength to strength ever since.