When planning our cruise with our sailing yacht “escape” we had to decide where to go first. We selected the Canary Islands and were very happy with our choice. We had a really great time and I hope that we will be back there one day. Here are the reasons why we liked this destination, regardless if you are a sailor or not.
The Canary Islands have a great climate, in the summer it does not get too hot. In the winter it is still mild, so that you can enjoy a day on the beach. Therefore the Canary Islands are a destination, which can be visited all year round, and it rarely becomes too crowded.
The Canary Islands have beautiful beaches. This is probably one of the main reasons for visitors to come here. Some of the beaches are dark, due to the volcanic soil.
But there is more to the Canary Islands than just beaches. The landscape is beautiful. When you travel round the islands you will enjoy stunning views of the islands and the surrounding sea.
The best way to enjoy the beautiful landscape is hiking. You can enjoy hikes of different lengths and difficulty levels. For example one famous hike is the “Volcano Route” on La Palma where you hike among several volcanos and can enjoy spectacular views. OK, I have to admit that after this 18km hike I was not able to walk for two days😂, but it was definitely worth it.
There are vineyards on several of the Canary Islands. The most spectacular by far is the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of Lanzarote, where the vines are planted in little pods in the volcanic soil. It was a unique experience to see this amazing landscape and taste the wine in the local wineries, accompanied by some local cheese.
The canaries have quaint little villages, where it is fun to stroll around and enjoy a coffee in the main square.
7.) Art and Culture
Especially in Lanzarote there is a lot to see if you are interested in arts. The work of local artist Cesar Manrique combines arts with landscape architecture and are visible everywhere in the Island.
8.) Marine Life
The Canary Islands offer several dive sites, for example in Lanzarote and El Hierro. But even if you do not want to submerge yourself in the Atlantic Ocean you will be able to see some of the marine life. In the waters close to Tenerife you can see pilot whales on a regular basis.
Like everywhere in Spain also in the Canaries you can find lots of nice little bars to spend an evening while having drinks and some tapas (little snacks). In the capitals of the islands like Las Palmas de Gran Canarias, Santa Cruz de Tenerife or Santa Cruz de La Palma you will find places, which are not only visited by tourists and you can mingle with the locals.
10.) Relaxed Atmosphere
In the Canaries everything is “laid-back”. It is a great place to relax and escape from stress at work. When I was sitting in the evening light watching the boats on the water I felt totally at ease, whising for nothing more.
The Canary Islands are quite diverse. Small La Graciosa is the only European Island without paved roads. Las Palmas de Gran Canarias is a buzzling city with an interesting colonial history and good restaurants. Lanzarote has its dark volcanic moonlike landscape whereas in La Gomera and La Palma you can find lush green valleys. It would be my recommendation to visit several islands. They are connected by short low cost flights or by ferry.
Last but not least: budget is always important when it comes to travel planning. The cost of living in the Canaries is lower than in many other places in the European Union. Therefore they attract many long term travellers. In the Canaries the value added tax is lower, which makes it attractive for shopping.
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