The Canary Islands, close to North Africa and always bathed in the sun, always leave a very characteristic exotic taste. Hundreds of volcanoes, rolling dunes, lush forests and rugged cliffs dot these seven pearls of the Atlantic. Take a ferry to get to Lanzarote. Ride a camel in the Timanfaya National Park. In Tenerife, climb Mount Teide, the highest peak in Spain. Soak up the beaches of Gran Canaria or go hiking in the Garajonay National Park on La Gomera. You will find more adventures on the small island of Hierro, on green La Palma and on peaceful Fuerteventura.
Scented pine forests, haunting volcanoes, lunar-like landscapes, secret sandy coves, miles of Sahara-style dunes, beach-hugging resorts – the beautiful, unique Canary Islands wear many tantalizing hats.
Culture & History
In the Canary Islands there is a cultural identity that has been built throughout history from multiple influences from the three continents, among which the Archipelago has played a role as a commercial and also cultural bridge. In fact, the Canary Islands was a cosmopolitan society long before this condition spread as a value among the most advanced societies in the world, a society that has always been characterized by miscegenation.
The cultural identity of the Canary Islands must be understood as an open concept, in constant construction and as a contribution to the cultural wealth of the world. Its archipelago status characterizes a unique cultural reality. Culture in the Canary Islands is the result of both a history and conditions for its development and of the impulses and stakes of the present.
The islands have been for centuries a land of arrival, stopover, exchange, immigration and emigration. All these contributions have been rooted in the characteristics of the islands and their people, to form a rich and diverse cultural identity. Three fundamental elements converge in it: a Guanche substrate of Berber origin, the basic European contribution, and the American influence, a product of commercial and migratory relations with Latin America.
The Canary Islands are one of the most special corners of Spain. Located a few kilometers from the African coast, the Canary Islands are ideal at any time of the year, with a warm tropical climate that makes it always palatable. In addition, the Canary Islands can boast of one of the most special gastronomies in Spain, with influences of all kinds: African, tropical
The wrinkled potatoes with mojo are possibly the best-known dish par excellence in Canarian gastronomy. It is a very simple dish to make, but for which it is essential to get the potato that can be enjoyed in these lands. Canarian potatoes are especially tasty and the mojo with which they are usually accompanied is red mojo, whose main ingredient is peppers, although it can also be accompanied with green mojo.
Cocido Canario, also known as Canarian stew, is a delicious and very nutritious dish of Canarian cuisine that is made up of a large amount of vegetables and also a moderate amount of meat. The usual ingredients of the Canarian stew are: chickpeas, corn on the cob, beans, cabbage, carrots, pumpkin, bubangos, potatoes, beef, bacon, chopped sausage and sometimes it can also be accompanied by gofio.
Contrary to many expectations, the Canary Islands are immensely rich in both original art and architecture – sometimes you just need to know where to look. The spectacular surrealist canvases of world-acclaimed painter Óscar Domínguez grace his Tenerife homeland; the enormous abstract sculptures of Martín Chirino are impossible to miss on Gran Canaria; and César Manrique's inspired 'interventions' pop up all over Lanzarote (and beyond). Everywhere, seek out the emblematic wooden balconies, leafy internal patios, and cheerily painted facades that typify vernacular Canarian architecture, and pop into charming palm-shaded churches, many of which date back several centuries.
In the Canary Islands, you will also find cultural proposals such as visiting the monumental complex of San Cristóbal de la Laguna (in Tenerife) declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO; or the works of César Manrique in Lanzarote.
Art parks, impressive sculptures, excellent shopping areas, curious activities and festivities, and a whole urban infrastructure that makes us speak almost of a “New York” in the middle of the Atlantic.
Marvel at the pine-forested peaks of Gran Canaria’s mountainous interior, the tumbling waterfalls of La Palma, or the subtropical greenery of La Gomera’s Parque Nacional de Garajonay. Then contrast all this lushness with the extraordinary bare flatlands flanking Tenerife’s El Teide, the surreal party of colors glittering across Lanzarote’s lava fields, the gentle flower-filled hillsides of El Hierro, and Fuerteventura’s endless cacti-sprinkled plains. The Canary Islands' near-perfect temperatures mean that year-round, you can soak up fantastical, varied landscapes otherwise only found by crossing continents.
It's this very diversity that makes outdoor pursuits such an easily accessible and key pleasure of the Canaries. Hike the many footpaths cross-crossing the islands, from meandering coastal trails to challenging mountain treks to tranquil forest walks; go diving or snorkeling in blissfully warm waters inhabited by more than 350 species of fish (and the odd shipwreck); or pump up the adrenaline by riding the wind and the waves – kitesurfing, windsurfing, surfing, and paragliding are all big here. Then slow things down with horse rides, boat trips, kayaking, and paddle-boarding jaunts or beachfront yoga.
If your perfect trip is all about that enticing combo of R&R, the Canaries are the ultimate destination. The most obvious spot to kick back on is the beach, and you'll be spoilt for choice – from Fuerteventura's soft rolling dunes to Tenerife's sandy golden arcs to Isla Graciosa's wild blonde strands. Yoga, meditation, massages, and a world of other self-care therapies abound across the archipelago, and thalassotherapy is something of a local specialty. Alternatively, nothing soothes the soul like relaxing over a tropical cocktail or a glass of local wine as the sun sinks into the Atlantic.
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