8 Reasons why The Canary Islands are awesome

1. The weather

Boasting over 300 days of sunshine a year quite a lot more than the rest of Europe. The World Health Organisation has declared the climate as one of the healthiest in the world and it’s by far the number one reason people flock to this beautiful region. This magnificent climate encourages life outdoors, creating a more active and far more sociable way of life that captivates everyone who visits.

2. Nature

All you need to know to get an idea of the incredible selection of landscapes, native animal and plant species and spectacular subtropical forests is that of Spain’s 15 national parks, the Canary Islands are home to 4 of them. And of those 4, Teide on Tenerife is the most visited national park in the whole of Europe. With 546 endemic plant species and 141 protected nature areas to discover across the islands, stay a little longer if you can and visit them all!

3. Stars

Clear skies free of pollution and high altitudes make the Canaries one of the best places in the world for stargazing, where a selection of the world’s largest and best telescopes and a team of dedicated professionals try to unravel some of the countless mysteries found in space. Just ask former Queen guitarist Brian May – he studied part of his PHD in astrophysics here. Tenerife also hosts the Starmus International Festival.

4. El silbo gomero

The whistling language. Declared a “Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity” by UNESCO in 2009, on the island of La Gomera there is a traditional whistling language used to communicate across valleys. Called the siblo gomero (Gomeran whistle), workshops and demonstrations are still available today, offering a fascinating insight into this bizarre, yet highly practical, communication tool.

5. Gastronomy

Foodies, take note: the Canaries have some seriously good culinary delights for you to discover, starting with the emblematic green and red mojo sauces. You’ll find them pretty much everywhere and, magically, they taste amazing on almost anything: bread, potatoes, cheese, fish, meat, vegetables, even on their own eaten by the spoonful. Try them once and you’ll be a fan, no doubt about it. The list of other foods worth sampling is long and includes papas arrugadas (salted potatoes), local goats’ cheese, potaje de berros (watercress soup), coffee with condensed milk, Liqueur 43, cinnamon and lemon) and some of the freshest fish and seafood imaginable. Forget any diet, life’s too short to miss out!

6. Loggerhead turtles

Engage in a spot of diving while you’re visiting the islands and you may get more than you bargained for by having a close encounter with the endangered loggerhead turtle, of one of the largest hard-shelled turtles in the world.

7. There’s something for everyone

Many places say they can offer something for all tastes and ages, but few really do. The Canaries, however, deliver the goods. Beach-loving surf fanatics can catch all the waves they could dream of in Fuerteventura or Tenerife. Nature-seeking ramblers who want to cut themselves off from literally everything will find solace and beauty in La Palma or El Hierro. Action lovers seeking an endless list of activities or party animals keen to drink and dance their week’s holiday away will discover plenty of opportunities in Gran Canaria or the south of Tenerife, while art lovers can enjoy César Manrique’s masterpieces in his native Lanzarote. Family fun, a couple’s retreat, an active break or relaxing escape, the Canaries really do offer almost everything you could wish for. Except skiing, of course. We said almost…

8. You can enjoy volcano-cooked food

For the barbecue to beat all barbecues, and possibly one of the most unique holiday experiences ever, head to Timanfaya National Park in Lanzarote and enjoy some meat or fish cooked on a massive grid over an open vent that goes right down into the volcano. Yes, seriously. Now if that isn’t something to bring up at a dinner party when you get back from your holidays, what is?

 

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