Canary Islands, Spain: climate, islands, entertainment

Canary Islands

The Canary Islands – the Atlantic archipelago, one of the seventeen autonomous regions of Spain and one of the most remote regions of the European Union. It consists of seven large islands: El Hierro, La Gomera, La Palma and Tenerife, which form the province of Santa Cruz de Tenerife; Fuerteventura, Gran Ganaria and Lanzarote, which form the province of Las Palmas. In addition, the Canary Islands include the island territories of the Chinijo Archipelago (La Graciosa, Alegranza, Montaña Clara, Roque del Este and Roque del Oeste) and Lobos Island, all part of the province of Las Palmas.

The archipelago is located opposite the northwest coast of Africa, between 27º 37′ and 29º 25′ north latitude and 13º 20′ and 18º 10′ west longitude (this geographic location explains the time difference between the Canary Islands and Continental Spain and Lanzarote, which form the province of Las Palmas). The islands are not far from Africa, about 95km, especially when compared with the distance to the European territories: 1400km. Despite this, the culture on the islands is Western European, somewhere between Europe and Latin America.

The islands of volcanic origin are part of the naturally formed region of Macronesia, along with the archipelagos of Cape Verde, the Azores, Madeira, and Salvages. The climate is subtropical, although it depends on altitude and the side of the world – north or south. This climatic diversity has created a special biological heterogeneity, which, along with the landscape and geological richness, has led to the emergence of four national parks, some of them under the supervision of UNESCO. The beautiful nature, warm climate and beaches attract many tourists to the islands – about 12 million every year (11,986,059 in 2007, 29% British, 22% Spanish and 21% Germans).

Founded: Province of Spain since 1821 Area: 7,493 km 2 Population: 2,127,685 (2018) Official website: http://www.gobcan.es/

Flight time: from Moscow – from 9 hours 10 min (1-3 connections) from Saint Petersburg – from 9 hours 5 min (1-3 connections) from Kazan – from 13 hours 55 min (1-3 connections) from Ekaterinburg – from 13 hours 45 min (2 connections) from Novosibirsk – from 15 hours 25 min (2 connections)

The functions of the capital are divided between the two main cities, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and Santa Cruz de Tenerife; the President of the Government sits in each city in turn, according to the statutory periods, the residence of the Vice-President is separate from the President. The Parliament of the Canary Islands is located in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, while the Cabinet is in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. In addition, there are Government Offices on each of the two islands. Thus, a balance has been established between the capitals in terms of the division of power.

Climate and weather in the Canary Islands

Dust and sand from the Sahara Desert reaches the Canary Islands, a phenomenon known as “haze” or “dust in the air”.

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The climate is subtropical oceanic, with mild temperatures throughout the year due to the proximity of the sea, and with trade winds in the summer. Significant changes occur during the rainy season. In some areas of La Palma Island, for example, annual rainfall exceeds 1,200 liters. On the eastern islands it rains less often than on the western islands. Thus, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote are characterized by a dry, almost desert climate.

The lack of rainfall led to the installation of seawater desalination plants to provide fresh water to urban areas, for example in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria or Santa Cruz de Tenerife. In fact, the first such plant was developed in Spain and placed on the island of Lanzarote in 1964, today this island and Fuerteventura receive all fresh water in this way. The looseness of the soil due to its volcanic origin makes it difficult to use rainwater in dams and reservoirs, which are extremely important in Gran Canaria and La Gomera. In the western islands, the development of underground pipes through galleries has ended, with the exception of El Hierro Island, where wells and cisterns are used to collect and transport rainwater. On many islands, mountains are present near the coasts, causing the concentration of large masses of air, a phenomenon known as the “sea of clouds,” with high humidity causing rapid plant growth. Nevertheless, because of each island’s own microclimate, wet forests and semi-deserts can also be found.

Winds blow most often from the northwest and are usually not accompanied by rain, although they increase the humidity by creating a “sea of clouds” in the middle and high zones. The eastern winds, the siroccos, are usually accompanied by haze, or, as they say, dust from the Sahara Desert, sometimes very dense.

The islands are devoid of rivers, but have many ravines and precipices, so water from the high zones quickly descends down to the coast. Therefore, there are some water streams on La Palma, La Gomera and Tenerife.

Canary Islands: vacation in an earthly paradise

Eternal summer reigns on the islands of the Canary archipelago. In fact, these seven islands are a province of Spain. The capital is changed every four years. This right is shared between the cities of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Canary Islands: vacation in the earthly paradise guarantees you a trip to this corner, and this article will tell you about the sights, entertainment and prices, as well as all the features of rest in the Canary Islands in 2022.

General information about the Canary Islands

Features of vacations in the Canaries.

Although it is a Spanish territory, lovers of true exoticism go here. Here the beautiful tropical landscapes, gentle waves of the ocean, beaches of black volcanic sand and fragrant ripe fruit all year round. It takes just a few hours to get to the islands, if you set aside the transfers. Here you can not just lie idly on the beach, there are many interesting places, historical monuments and waterfalls. For tourists there is excellent service and maintenance. Moreover, it’s a paradise for water extreme lovers – surfers and divers.

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A brief historical background

A long time ago these places of paradise were inhabited by primitive tribes. I must say that after these peoples left megaliths – monuments of ancient architecture. At one time, the Canaries were visited by the Greeks, Arabs and other peoples. But it was the Europeans who succeeded in the field of colonization: first the French, then the British, and the Spaniards have strengthened here.

In fact, even in the 20th century, when many metropolises went down, Spain retained power over the Canary Islands. Of course, they have extended autonomy, such as Catalonia, but still Spain does not lose complete control over the corner of paradise.

A brief geographical reference and climate

The Canary Islands – 7 islands formed by volcanic activity, they are washed by the waters of the Atlantic. The largest is Tenerife, it is the most popular as a resort.

The climate here belongs to the tropical trade winds. It is affected by the proximity to Africa (arid winds blow), wet trade winds, the Atlantic and its winds. In addition, the topography of the Canary Islands is mountainous.

In general the temperature of the water along the coast is 20 degrees almost all year round, the average temperature in the summertime is 25 degrees, but you can also reach 30 degrees, so if you are travelling to the Canary Islands in summer take care of your skin and head from the sun!

Canary Islands on a map

Safety in the Canary Islands

In general, these islands were quite safe and even luxurious area, but in recent years, an influx of illegal migrants from poor countries has increased. Alas, therefore, tourists should always keep an eye on their belongings and valuables, do not leave them unattended, and travel to remote areas only if accompanied by a guide, a group, a local trusted resident.

In addition, be on the lookout and at sea. In these waters often appear jellyfish “Portuguese ship,” about her arrival on the beaches display the appropriate flag. In general, always swim only in the presence of the allowing flag and abundance of lifeguards on the beach!

If you follow all these rules, your trip will go well and nothing will spoil it.

Planning your trip: Transport and lodging

How can I get to the Canary Islands?

You can get there by plane. Several airlines offer flights. However, they all have connections. The cheapest way to fly with S7 – the tickets will cost you 155 euros per person one way. Well, the fastest way to get you to the Canary Islands airline Iberia. The flight will take just over 10 hours. Change the plane in Madrid. True, for the speed have to pay much more expensive – 655 euros. All these prices are only approximate, in order to choose the option that suits you, it is worth to contact a travel agency or to monitor the availability of tickets in advance and on their own.

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Transport on the islands is represented by buses and cabs. Tenerife and Gran Canaria, major resorts, have a regular bus service. You can easily travel between towns and other destinations. Traveling by car, you will also not notice any problems, because all islands are connected by ferries, where you can even with a car. The Canary Islands are popular with tourists, and now they have everything you need to get around without any problems.

Most of the islands are equipped with modern highways, on which the buses run. Passage on them costs about 1 euro and paid to the driver. If you want to travel independently, then rent a car. The cost of renting a car depends on the brand of car and starts at 25 euros per day.

Where to stay in the Canaries?

Tenerife

On the largest island – Tenerife – you can choose a different vacation, depending on your preferences. Here there are resorts and with fun youth hangouts, and quiet vacation, suitable for couples with kids and retirees.

If you like the first option, go to Los Cristianos or Las Americas. Here the English and American crowd, hungry for booze and fun, is the main focus. Lodging in these resorts, for example, is possible:

  1. In a simple hostel in the center of the island – for 4 thousand rubles for two per night.
  2. In three-star hotel with a swimming pool – for 5.5 thousand rubles a day for two people.
  3. Apartment hotel with a sauna, fitness center, pool, terrace … – for 7 thousand rubles per day for two people.

A quiet holiday awaits you in Puerto de la Cruz. Here are mostly respectable hotels, offering a quiet holiday in the lap of nature. But note that there are practically no beaches and tourists spend all their free time by the pool. Here are examples of accommodation in the resort:

  1. Apartments in the center of the resort – 2 thousand rubles per day for two.
  2. Three-star hotel near the beach – 3 thousand rubles for two people a day.
  3. A luxurious five-star establishment with a swimming pool, spa, on a cliff above the ocean – 6 thousand rubles for two per day.
Gran Canaria

On the island of Gran Canaria, you can relax both in a major tourist center with lots of shopping and entertainment venues, and in a small resort village where you can do water sports, go on boat trips and excursions, fishing and try other activities.

Guest houses and hostels, as well as all that concerns the private sector, on Gran Canaria can be booked for about 1.5 – 2 thousand rubles per day for two people. Yes, in such institutions will not be European service or excesses, but cleanliness, proximity to the beach, privacy – all this is quite possible for such money.

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However, the Canaries, as a rule, go to those who have at least an average level of income. This means you can afford such proposals as “three-three” for 4-5 thousand per night for two people, and maybe even luxurious spa hotels for 9 thousand a night for two people. In any case, wherever you stay – know that not necessarily to spend all the time in the hotel, you need to enjoy the stunning Canarian nature, sights, and entertainment!

The best of Canary Islands

Beaches and Watersports

The Canary Islands are more than 1,500 kilometers of beautiful beaches. True, the water in these places is not very warm, the current of the Gulf Stream from the north affects. But it has a beautiful rich blue color. The longest beaches with white sand on Fuerteventura, Lanzarote and Gran Canaria. On the islands lying to the west, the coast is mostly precipitous. The beaches of the island of Tenerife are characterized by golden colored sand. And some beaches, like Santa Cruz de Tenerife, and even covered with black volcanic sand, which looks outlandish and just requires a photo shoot.

Some Canary beaches are well equipped, with cafes and restaurants, umbrellas and sun loungers. Others are a cozy enclosed coves. It depends what you want from a vacation!

The Canary Islands are a great place for diving. First, the underwater fauna is impressive: turtles, sharks, rays, and real whales. The topography is also magnificent: grottoes, shipwrecks, caves. In general, there are a lot of dive sites. It is pleasant that not only experienced divers can swim in the Canaries. No, the islands are full of diving centers, where they offer a trial dive for beginners, courses, equipment rentals and everything that anyone wants individually.

Attractions of the Canary archipelago

For lovers of antiquity, head to the northwest of Gran Canaria. There you will find the ancient settlement of Galdar, where you can see the remains of the homes of the island’s original inhabitants. Be sure to visit the Cueva Pintada cave. There you can admire the ancient rock art. The artists of the Gaunchi tribes left brightly colored ornaments on the cave’s vaults, perhaps replacing their calendars.

Lanzarote is famous for its fortresses. In the fortress of Castilla de San José there is now a museum, where you can see objects of modern art. And in the fortress called San Gabriel, which dates back to the 16th century, now houses the Museum of Archaeology.

On the island of Tenerife should take a trip to the Guimar desert and see the pyramids. According to scientists, these structures are the product of local farmers who cultivated the land and dumped stones to the boundaries of the plots. Now an ethnographic park, cafeteria, souvenir store, and museum have been built in this desert.

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On the island of Las Palmas the most notable place is the house where Columbus lived during his vacation. Now there is a museum, where you can learn a lot of interesting facts about the life of the famous traveler. A visit to the museum will be to the taste of people of all ages, because it is always good for the outlook to get acquainted with history.

Natural attractions on the Canary Islands include the picturesque waterfall of the Ada Gorge, the Caldera de Taburiente volcano, and the majestic Los Gigantes cliffs. All of them are worth seeing in person.

Entertainment in the Canaries

Lunch or dinner, enjoying the sea and walks, you can in one of the fishermen’s taverns, which serve traditional Spanish dishes. The cost of dinner will be from 5 to 20 euros. If you want a better restaurant – be prepared to pay up to 70 euros per person. What to try on the islands? Not just Spanish cuisine. Focus in any case, the seafood: the freshness and skill of the chefs will give excellent results to your stomach. If the gifts of the sea has become boring, try the local vegetable soups.

Prices for shopping on the islands are lower than in Europe, as they are in a separate economic zone. You can safely buy designer goods and leather. And the best souvenirs will be:

  • local wicker handicrafts;pearls;
  • a box made of canary pine;
  • Pieces of obsidian;
  • embroidery.

Where to go on the islands with the kids? For example, it will be interesting for them to visit the Park of Eagles. It is located in the vicinity of Las Americas, except eagles, there are also raptors. Eagles, by the way, do not just fly, and sometimes participate in a show for the public.

If the proud birds are too scary for your child, go to the Parrot Park. Colorful, big, small, talking – for all tastes! As usual, the parrots were not the only ones: expanding, the park attracted dolphins, penguins and sharks.

The local water park … if you can call it that – is called Siam Park. It is a huge Oriental-style building with slides for all tastes, from frogs to extreme rides. A few kids of different ages? No problem. Everyone has something to do at Siam Park.

On Tenerife all year round a variety of holidays and festivals. For example, Labor Day, American Discovery Day, Canary Islands Day. Numerous fiestas – religious in its origin – marked by prayers, dances, processions, last sometimes a couple of weeks. Between May and October, there are a dozen such festivals.

Canary Islands … Blows of luxury, but in fact quite affordable for a week, even with an average budget. Pristine beaches and waters, colorful residents, an abundance of unusual natural and architectural beauty… All this awaits those who dare to sail across the ocean to the paradise!

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