Canary Islands

Captivating Coastlines of the Canaries

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The wonderful watery west of Europe


Politically European, being a colony of Spain, geographically and climatically they more resemble the nearby West African Sahara coast. The islands, pre-tourism, were inhabited by small fishing communities and visited by wind-borne mariners bound for the Americas and the Caribbean. Named not after the bird species, the Canary, the Romans in fact gave the islands their Latin name Canariae Insulae, translated as "Island of the Dogs". Whether they actually meant dogs, or rather seals which they referred to as sea dogs, is unsure.


The coastline of the 13 islands offers a plethora of sandy beaches, many golden but some with black sand ground from the dark, volcanic obsidian. The Atlantic Gulf Stream casts its influence with the smaller westerly islands’ slopes awash with wild flowers and cloud forests, ideal for walking, while the easterly islands are more barren, but still starkly impressive. Inland, imposing sparsely-clad mountains, ideal for the paragliders whose multicoloured wings soar silently on the warm upward thermals, are also world-renowned among astronomers as ideal sites to observe the heavens through the clear, light-pollution free atmosphere.


Active volcanoes, and people’s fascination for them, mean that the Canary Islands offer four unique National Parks. Tenerife’s Teide National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the slopes of Mount Teide, depending on the season visited, could be covered by a thin veil of snow or white, pink, violet and red flowers, populated by geckos. Timanfaya National Park on Lanzarote is equally as impressive, as are the huge wind-driven mobile sculptures of the island’s famous artist, Cesar Manrique, that decorate the landscape. The Garajonay National Park on the tiny island of La Gomera offers, in complete contrast, a humid, mysterious subtropical forest.


Around the harbours of each of the islands, thriving towns have grown, each with their own architecture and atmosphere providing a wealth of shops, cafes, bars and restaurants. A table in the shade with a tall, refreshing drink and a plate of the national dish papas arugardas, salt-crusted small new potatoes, accompanied by a red piquant mojo sauce would be a fine way to take in the wonderful surroundings.


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Featured cruises


Brand new
from £1,199pp
Cabin type: Inside

Portugal, Canary Islands and Azores

CHOICE OF CAR PARKING, ON BOARD SPEND OR COACH TRANSFERS*, NO-FLY CRUISING, PAST PASSENGERS WILL RECEIVE 5% DISCOUNT*, BRAND NEW LAUNCH PROMOTION

08 April 2019 | 16 Nights
P&O Cruises : Aurora

Itinerary
Southampton, Lisbon, Portugal, Lanzarote, Gran Canaria, La Palma, Spain, Madeira, Ponta Delgada, Southampton

from £4,614
Cabin type: Solo

Celestial Canaries

Return chauffeur service to the port, or free car parking, Optional travel insurance provided by Cigna Insurance Services (Europe) Limited and additional cancellation rights, or a reduction if not…

14 March 2019 | 14 Nights
Saga Group : Saga Sapphire

Itinerary
Dover, England, Funchal, Madeira, Santa Cruz, La Palma, San Sebastian, La Gomera, Santa Cruz, Tenerife, Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, Arrecife, Lanzarote, Lisbon, Portugal, Southampton

Choice of benefits
from £1,849pp
Cabin type: Inside

Christmas in the Canary Islands

CHOICE OF CAR PARKING, ON BOARD SPEND OR COACH TRANSFERS*, EARN EXCLUSIVE CRUISE MILES, NO-FLY CRUISING

21 December 2018 | 14 Nights
P&O Cruises : Ventura

Itinerary
Southampton, Lisbon, Portugal, Lanzarote, Gran Canaria, Santa Cruz, Tenerife, La Palma, Spain, Madeira, Southampton

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