Located at a privileged crossroads on the world map, the Canary Islands hosts a unique climate which most consider favorable practically every month of the year.
The names of its islands—Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote, Gran Canaria, La Palma, La Gomera and Hierro—perfectly express the greatness and magnitude of the archipelago. There are several theories regarding the origin of the name “Islas Canarias”.
Some historians attribute the name “Canarii” to the indigenous Berber people who originated from North Africa. Others attribute the name to the monk seals (“canis marinus”) that populated the island at the time it was discovered. A third theory is that Pliny the Elder, a first century Roman writer and military man, visited the Canary Islands during his travels. When he arrived there, the locals welcomed him with a large number of dogs, in particular two large mastiffs. The Spanish word “can” is synonymous with dog, hence the name “Canary Islands”.
Nature, Fauna and Climate: “Jewels” of the Canary Islands
The privileged location of the Canary archipelago translates into a unique climate and nature that in many places is practically unspoiled. Each island enjoys diverse and peculiar fauna, which makes the whole island a paradisiacal, tremendously beautiful place regarding its shapes, sounds, people and temperature.
The Canary Island’s spectacular climate spawns peculiar and awesome fauna. The nature which populates each of the seven islands is varied and rich. It’s impossible to speak of the archipelago in terms of a single landscape because each island enjoys a broad variety of microclimates and geological features.
The entire archipelago enjoys a subtropical oceanic climate similar to Hawaii, with minimum winter temperatures an average of 17 degrees Celsius, comfortable enough for most outdoor activities. In any of the seven islands, you can swim at wonderful beaches even in November and December, making it an ideal paradise almost all year round.
Hotels, Cottages and Apartments: Where to Stay?
There’s a broad range of accommodation, including rural houses and hotels scattered throughout the island. If you seek a few days to disconnect you can visit La Graciosa, or enjoy small spiritual retreats in Gran Canaria where you can forget about the world, stress, cell phones and emails among the ancient vegetation, ravines and hidden places. Whether you prefer isolation, an all-inclusive hotel, or a cheap hostel in Tenerife, whatever you are looking for, you will find it.
If you’d prefer a package that includes flight and hotel at a good price, we recommend you visit the Logitravel website. It is easy to navigate, there are very good offers, and you can choose between all inclusive, half board, etc…
Find the largest selection of hotels in the Canary Islands:
What to see and do in the Canary Islands?
Bathing and water sports all year round
This is one of the most popular attractions thanks to the Canary Islands’ favorable year-round climate. Choose a vacation package at any time of the year to enjoy its more than 1,500 kilometers of coastline and beaches that are impossible to find anywhere else.
There is nothing more relaxing than lying in the sun, or enjoying long walks on beaches populated with black, volcanic or sunny golden sand. Whether you prefer your beaches to be isolated, or family friendly, you can choose between remote, unspoiled beaches or more urban beaches with all kinds of amenities.
Water and sea-related sports are another great option. Thanks to the Canary Islands location, it provides an ideal paradise for lovers of both recreational and professional diving.
The Canary Islands has also become a sports paradise for those who love windsurfing, kite surfing, and Jet Sky, as well as sailing in any type of recreational boat, or to simply go fishing at either an amateur or professional level.
Gastronomy by the Sea
The Canary Islands offers a simple, impressive cuisine where the taste of the sea dominates the cuisine on each of the Islands. Canarian culinary culture is the result of crossbreeding from different cultures that have shaped the modus vivendi of the Canary Islanders.
Best-known are the “tapeos” (Spanish Tapas) in “chiringuitos” (beach bars) and restaurants, located practically on the seashore.
While visiting the islands, enjoy local fish, such as cherne or vieja, and of course the popular “cazuela de atún en adobo” (marinade tuna casserole). You can enjoy local “takes” of these dishes in any of the fishing villages located along the coasts.
Carnivals, Romerías, and Canarian Culture
The festivals and customs that define the Canary Islanders include numerous festivals, the carnivals and Romerías (religious festival).
These celebrations last for days, often weeks, attracting many visitors who travel to the islands every year to enjoy the beat of drums, Latin rhythms, and the visual spectacle of costumes and sensual dances.
Here, one can experience what it is like to live as a true Canarian. Two world-famous carnivals are held on the islands of Tenerife and Gran Canaria.
Canarian culture is also presented through magical places that highlight the special charm of the Canarian people. You can’t leave without paying a visit to Casa de Colón in La Gomera, where Christopher Columbus stayed during one of his many trips through the island.
While visiting Tenerife, don’t forget to visit San Cristóbal de La Laguna cathedral, a place of pilgrimage for the native Gaunche people, now recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The church is unique thanks to its saffron tones and construction of volcanic stone. The entire city is known as the “Florence of the Canary Islands” because you can walk through streets that preserve their original layout.
In Lanzarote, visit Castillo de Santa Bárbara (Santa Barbara castle), an authentic terraced fortress built atop Mount Benacantil which dates back to the conquest of the Iberian Peninsula by Muslims. While there, you can visit a museum dedicated to pirates.
In Santa Cruz de La Palma, travelers can find the balconies of Avenida Marítima de Santa Cruz de La Palma, a civil architectural jewel formed entirely of wood, with each unit featuring totally different typology. These homes are a classic example of Canary saledizos, with double balconies to ventilate the interiors of the houses and take advantage of the winds that cool the palm trees.
Finally, we finish our tour in what is known as “the lighthouse at the end of the world”, El Faro de la Orchilla, in Isla de Hierro. Science fans should visit Monumento al Meridiano Cero (Monument to the Zero Meridian), which marks the original Prime Meridian before it was moved to Greenwich, England. This simple monument overlooks a breathtaking landscape and the ocean.
The Four Most Beautiful Natural Parks of the Canary Islands.
Speaking of nature, one must visit the four most impressive parks of the Canary Islands, each unique thanks to their insular microclimates:
Parque Nacional de Timanfaya, which is located in Isla de Lanzarote.
Parque Nacional de Garajonay, located in Isla de La Gomera and declared a World Heritage Site.
Parque Nacional de la Caldera de Taburiente in Isla de La Palma.
Parque Nacional del Teide in Tenerife, also declared a World Heritage Site.
A curiosity of the Canarian flora is the Drago, an endemic species of Madeira, the Canary Islands, Cape Verde and the Moroccan Anti-Atlas. It is famous throughout the world, the dragon tree of the Canary Islands (Dracaena draco in botany) owes the origin of its name to the Greek word drakaina (female dragon) because of the reddish color of its sap, similar, supposedly, to the blood of dragons.
Fauna of the Canary Islands: What species can we find?
The Canary Islands treasure one of the most extensive and diverse communities of terrestrial animal species; currently there are almost 13,000 species of terrestrial animals and more than 4,500 species of marine animals.
One native reptile is El lagarto gigante de El Hierro (Gallotia simonyi), a giant lizard that populates the entire Isla del Hierro. Approximately 60 cm long, this personable large lizard predates human occupation on the island.
Populating the skies, we find native bird species of the island of Gran Canaria such as the Blue Chaffinch, the Houbara Bustard or the Tarabilla (Saxicola dacotiae) nesting between the islands Fuerteventura and Lanzarote, creating a visual spectacle with their bright colors and unique calls.
And there is no shortage of marine species, mollusks of various kinds, and fish of different species and sizes which can be seen a few meters from the shores.
Start dreaming about your trip with this video of the Canary Islands:
Routes, activities and excursions in the Canary Islands.