Canary islands wealth of sub-tropical vacation possibilities.

By: Wendy Palmer
Seven islands make up the archipelago known as the Canary Islands. These are La Palma, La Gomera, El Hierro, Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventara,? and Lanzarote. Because they are an autonomous region of Spain, many tourists do not realise that they lay in the Atlantic ocean, 750 miles south of the Mediterranean and only a few miles outside of the tropic of cancer.This location makes the islands the only technically European resort to provide a guarantee of winter sun. Flights from British and other northern European airports take between three and a half and four and a half hours to transfer holidaymakers from a world of cold, winter gloom to a sub-tropical paradise of perpetual spring. Yet despite the islands’ proximity to Africa and the tropics, summer time is surprisingly mild, being just a few degrees warmer than winter. The weather never feels like a hot, African summer, resembling instead, a warm, Mediterranean spring. Little wonder that the Islands were once known to as the Fortunate Islands! This remarkable climate brought about booming tourism from the 1960s onwards. Although this has undoubtably spoilt some parts of the major islands, plenty of unspoilt scenery remains, almost everywhere. Tenerife and Gran Canaria have suffered more from the growth of mass tourism than the other islands. On Gran Canaria mass tourism was originally confined to Las Palmas, the islands capital; but development quickly spread to Maspalomas and Playa del Ingles.

These are both resorts on the south coast, where weather conditions are generally sunnier than in the north where Las Palmas is situated. On Tenerife, tourism spread in a similar pattern from the northern city of Puerto de la Cruz to the south coast, making its most devastating impact at Playa de las Americas. Despite these examples of unchecked and somewhat uncouth development, many areas of the coasts of both islands remain free of overly unpleasant urbanization with low impact tourist development having been achieved remarkably well. Non coastal areas are ally virtually untouched by tourist development.Of the remaining five islands, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote enjoy substantial tourism without any places having been over developed along the lines of Playa de las Americas or Playa del Ingles. The main tourist resorts on Fuerteventura are Corralejo and Jandia. Corralejo is in the North and popular with British tourists whilst Jandia is in the south and mainly visited by German holidaymakers. In Lanzarote the most developed tourist resorts are Costa Teguise, Playa Blanca and Playa del? Carmen whilst the islands capital, Arrecife is home to over half of Lanzarote’s resident population.The three small islands of La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro have been pretty unaffected by tourism. Of the three, La Palma receives the most number of visitors every year, but even this island has little in the way of tourist resorts compared to the larger islands. All three islands are scenically very attractive with dramatic cliffs and towering peaks. They are most certainly worth visiting by anyone who enjoys unspoilt countryside, and spectacular scenery. They are not without some very interesting history either. La Gomera was the last place that Columbus set foot on before reaching the Americas in 1492 and it was from El Hierro that he set off on his second voyage to America in 1493.Whether your idea of the perfect vacation is peace and quiet or sunny beaches and good night life, the Canary islands have it. Even if you want different daily doses of get-away-from-it tranquillity mixed with man-made tourist attractions, the extremes of both can often be found on the larger islands within only a few miles of each other. Add to this the year round sub tropical climateScience Articles, and you have in the Canary islands just about the best of all possible vacation choices.

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