The Canary Islands

Canary Islands Spain

The Canary Islands (las Islas Canarias) are a group of islands located northwest of Africa in the Atlantic Ocean (el Oceano Atlántico). The nearest of the islands to the African coast is Lanzarote, situated some 108km westwards of Morocco and the Western Sahara. On mainland Spain, the Canary Island‘s closest regional neighbour at 1,500km is Andalusia.

The region has a population around the 1.8 million mark, but the number of people on the islands swells during peak times due to the Canary Islands’ healthy tourist industry.

The combined surface area of the Canary Islands amounts to approximately 7,500km², which is around 1.5% of Spain’s total.

The Canaries are composed of seven large islands and several smaller islands.

The Larger Canary Islands

  • Fuerteventura
  • Gran Canaria
  • La Gomera
  • El Hierro
  • La Palma
  • Lanzarote
  • and Tenerife

The Smaller Canary Islands

  • Alegranza
  • Graciosa
  • and Lobos.

The capital city of the region is Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and the largest of the islands is Tenerife.

The coastal areas of each island have expansive sandy beaches of exceptional quality. Although Gran Caria has steep cliffs and rock faces on its west and north coasts, each of the Canary Islands have a landscape marked by their volcanic past: craters and volcanic rocks abound. The most distinguishing feature of the Canary Islands is Mount Tiede (el Pico de Tiede) on Tenerife. At 3,718m high, Tiede is Spain’s highest point and the highest peak in the Atlantic Ocean. It is also the third largest volcano on Earth and still very much active.

There are four National Parks (Parques Nacionales) in the Canary Islands: more than any of Spain’s other regions:

  • Parque Nacional de la Caldera de Taburiente (La Palma)
  • Parque Nacional Garajonay (La Gomera)
  • Parque Nacional del Teide (Tenerife)
  • and the Parque Nacional Timanfaya (Lanzarote).

Canary Island Weather

The climate of the Canary Islands is tropical: their location in the Atlantic, mountainous landscapes and warm coastal currents means that weather and temperatures are good all year round. The Canary Island weather and climate makes the region an extremely appealing place for tourists: the sun shines on the Canaries more than 300 days of the year and the average annual temperature is 20ºC.

Agriculture and tourism are the principal industries of the region.The Canary Islands produces bananas, sugarcane, tomatoes, potatoes, and tobacco, which are exported to Europe and the Americas. Subtropical weather and fine beaches on all the islands bring around 10 million people to the Canary Islands each year, although aach of the Canaries has something different to offer the tourist.

There are many excellent resorts offering entertainment and beautiful beaches on Gran Canaria. Fuerteventura is altogether much quieter, but also offers fine sandy beaches. The volcanically created lunar landscape of Lanzarote draws many vistors to the island’s Parque Nacional Timanfaya. La Palma has the stunning Parque Nacional de la Caldera de Taburiente and the colonial architecture of Santa Cruz de la Palma. The Parque Nacional Garajonay on La Gomera is home to a thick laurel forest. El Hierro has volcanic landscapes and sheltered coves good for swimming. Finally, Tenerife has the Parque Nacional del Teide and many popular resorts offering lots of choice for all types of holidaymaker.