It's this very diversity that makes outdoor pursuits such an easily accessible and key pleasure of the Canaries. Hike the many footpaths criss-crossing the islands, from meandering coastal trails to challenging mountain treks to tranquil forest walks; go diving or snorkelling in blissfully warm waters inhabited by more than 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.
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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. 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.
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 speciality. Alternatively, nothing soothes the soul like relaxing over a tropical cocktail or a glass of local wine as the sun sinks into the Atlantic. Read Less. Book your half-day or full-day tour and start your experience with a pickup from Puerto del Carmen, Costa Teguise, Playa Blanca, Puerto Calero or Arrecife meeting points.
Then, travel south by air-conditioned coach. Your route and destinations depend on the tour option you choose.
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Both finish with a hotel drop-off. Stop here for an optional camel ride own expense and follow the Route of the Volcanoes, twisting round the slopes for grandstand views.
Hear about the 18th-century eruptions that formed the surrounding cones and calderas and witness geothermic experiments; you can watch bundles of branches go up in flames within seconds of being tossed into fire pits. Then, head for a winery to sample a glass for yourself!
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Afterward, rejoin your coach for your return journey. Full-Day Tour:After traveling through Uga and Timanfaya National Park to see the geothermal demonstrations, follow the Route of the Volcanoes to see some of the more spectacular lava formations as your guide explains how they were formed by past eruptions. Pause at the Janubio salt pans and see Los Hervideros, an area where waves have hollowed out craggy grottoes into the coastline.
Next, continue to the idyllic winemaking region of La Geria. Visit a winery to sample some wine and return to your coach for a drop-off at the meeting point. After hotel pickup in southern Tenerife, your 3-hour tour begins as you board your yacht and sail or motor away from the port to the area where pilot whales are usually seen. It is popular with the gay crowd especially the Yumbo Centre but also with families. Large areas of the resort are quiet with bungalows set in tropical gardens.
Maspalomas is next door to Playa but is much quieter and popular with an older crowd more interested in sunbathing and relaxation than all night partying. Maspaolomas dunes and beach are popular with nudists but the beach is large enough to accommodate all sorts. The newest and most upmarket hotels on the island are based on the seafront in Maspalomas resort. San Agustin resort is quieter than the larger ones and has a pretty beach.
It attracts a British crowd and lots of Scandinavians in the winter. Mogan is probably the islands most attractive resort. At is heart is the harbour with pretty whitewashed houses and bougainvillea arches. It is the place to go for seafood and has a small but pleasant beach. See all 11 photos Maspalomas beach at the Playa del Ingles end. Source: Alex Bramwell.
The north end is sheltered behind a natural rock reef and is calm and great for swimming and snorkeling while the south end is more for surfers. Gui Gui beach on the rugged west coast has attained almost mythical status thanks to its remote setting and clear waters.
Getting to Gui Gui used to involve an arduous hike down steep cliff paths but can now be reached by water taxi or yacht cruise from the resorts. Puerto Rico has its own half moon beach within its marinas but Amadores beach around the corner is much prettier. The timeshare resort of Anfi Del Mar has a great Caribbean style, white sand beach and Taurito bay and Mogan also have decent stretches of sand.
See all 11 photos The Mountains of Gran Canaria. Gran Canaria is the island where you can do almost anything you want except alpine skiing. It is becoming world famous as a scuba diving destination and hosts world championship events for windsurfers and surfers. Even extreme runners gather every year to run up one side of the island to the foot peak and then back down the other side.
If that sounds like too much work then you can participate in the annual Las Palmas marathon or half marathon.
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Most visitors to the island are more interested in taking it easy than breaking personal bests. The resorts are full or mini golf courses and there are several full sized golf courses on the island.
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Mogan has a fantastic submarine that takes people out to see the fish and Playa del Ingles beach has all sorts of water sports on offer right from the seashore. Palmitos park is a world class zoo specializing in birds but also has a dolphinarium and orangutans. Towns like Galdar and the capital Las Palmas can be visited by bus.
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Gran Canaria is a very safe island but is is always best to be aware of the few things that could go wrong. It is a bustling sort of place with a large port and a gorgeous beach. Built just after the Spanish conquistadores took the island from the original Guanche inhabitants in the 15th and 16th Centuries, it is a compact and well preserved window into the past. Check out the Museo Canario for prehistoric mummies and the Casa de Colon for a glimpse of how Christopher Columbus lived as he planned his voyages to America.
The Vegueta cathedral, dedicated to Santa Ana, is worth visiting either go up onto the roof for the views or through the silver museum to see it domed interior. See all 11 photos Carnival In Las Palmas. Source: Alex Bramwell See all 11 photos Local romeria fun. Gran Canaria is a pretty laid back place and the locals a very friendly bunch; there is always some sort of fiesta or street party going on and visitors are always welcome.
Las Palmas hosts its world famous carnival party in February and March with parades, all night street parties and drag shows. The weekends are liveliest but action is centered around Santa Catalina park and there is always something to see. Other towns on the island have their own carnival parties in the first few months of the year. In November, Las Palmas hosts the annual Womad festival with music from around the world. The whole city turns out along the seafront to watch hundreds of yachts put up their sails.
Each town has its own traditions: The remote town of La Aldea de San Nicolas has an annual party where everybody gathers to catch fish from a lagoon while in Agaete everybody heads down to the sea with branches and beats the water to encourage rain. San Juan in Las Palmas has a bubble festival and most seaside villages take the Virgin Mary from the church and give her an annual boat trip accompanied by fireworks.
Canarian food is quite unique and based around rich stews and soups. The most famous dish is Papas Arrugadas or wrinkly potatoes; small new potatoes boiled in sea water and served with a spicy sauce. A complete guide to Canarian food can be found here. Seafood is popular, especially squid and octopus, and most bars and restaurants will do a great plate of fried squid rings or whitebait.
Tropical fruit is always available on the island and the bananas are particularly good. Pineapples, mangoes, papayas and guavas are common and can be found in markets and shops. Lonely Planet covers must-see spots but also enables curious travellers to get off beaten paths to understand more of the culture of the places in which they find themselves. Miami and the Keys Lonely Planet. Inbunden PhotoCity London Lonely Planet. PhotoCity Paris Lonely Planet.