Abama, Tenerife

Singing Like Canaries

9th April 2009

Did you know that if you added up all the land devoted to tourism in the Canary Islands it would occupy only a tiny fraction of the total area? By contrast, the area given over to rural parks, nature reserves and protected landscapes accounts for nearly 40 per cent of the islands’ territory. In fact, with an abundance of natural gifts and beauty and more than 650 native plant species, this small island group, nestling just off the northwest coast of Africa, is one of the most important natural environments in the world – comparable only with other archipelagos such as Hawaii and the Galapagos. Surprising, isn’t it?

What’s not so surprising is that the Canaries’ fine climate, splendid beaches, diverse landscapes and varied visitor attractions tempt so many holidaymakers every year.

With each of the islands having its own special allure, which is the best holiday island for you?

Playa de Isora, Tenerife

For all–round appeal, Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands, certainly has plenty to offer. Snow-capped mountains, spectacular sea cliffs and glorious beaches form the backdrop to Brazilian style carnivals, traditional fiestas and dazzling nightlife. There are Tenerife attractions for everyone. The north of the island is a tropical paradise, full of palm trees and breathtaking vistas. Inland you’ll find yourself amongst rural towns, beautiful hillside villages and some extraordinarily unusual landscapes formed from the twisted lava-rock of the largest mountain in Spain, Mount Tiede.

The coastal resort of Costa Adeje boasts several luxury hotels and the more secluded Guia de Isora is home to two stunning, world-class luxury resorts: Abama Golf & Spa Resort and Gran Melia Palacio de Isora.

If a long stretch of golden beach is a priority then Gran Canaria is the island for you. The beach of Playa de las Canteras is hard to beat and, of course, there are the splendid dunes at Maspalomas, where the sand is fine and white, and the long beach is backed by vast, wind-sculpted dunes.

The island’s interior includes spectacular crags, caves and pretty villages. Gran Canaria has some excellent walking country, and ramblers will delight in the views from the island’s highest peaks. Its perfect beaches and dramatic scenery combine beautifully with historic cities, cultural sites, some seriously good restaurants and lively nightlife. A continent in miniature, Gran Canaria is a great year-round holiday destination.

Lanzarote is famed for its water-sports and ideal weather conditions. The clear waters and fine sands attract windsurfers, surfers and sailors, while a rich abundance of underwater caves, reefs, shipwrecks and fish make it a popular destination for diving, snorkelling and big-game fishing.

Visually quite startling, and certainly very different from its neighbouring islands, Lanzarote’s lunar landscape is home to 300+ volcanoes.

The tourist attractions and cultural centres masterminded by landscaper and artist Cesar Manrique combine well with resorts such as Puerto Del Carmen and the general ambience of the island, with its whitewashed low-rise buildings, is delightful.

With more than 150 splendid beaches, virtually constant sunshine plus a very relaxed and typically Spanish way of life, Fuerteventura doesn’t have to try too hard to entice sun-worshippers and water-sports enthusiasts all year round. The island is blessed with miles and miles of lovely soft sands… a beautiful coastline that attracts visitors who seek isolation, tranquility and glorious beaches. The island’s enduring appeal is an absence of man-made attractions and an abundance of natural ones.

La Gomera is one of the smaller and quieter Canary Islands. Less well-known, it has a bountiful supply of beautiful mountain scenery but very little in the way of commercial attractions. There are relatively few hotels and restaurants of note, although more than enough for the discerning visitor, with a pleasant, tranquil beach or two on which to relax and, perhaps best of all, nothing to disturb the peace and quiet.

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