With incredible volcanic scenery, stunning beaches, and some of the best value holiday resorts anywhere in the world, the Canary Islands have become an extremely popular holiday destination. The temptation for many visitors is to head off the plane and straight to the beach or the poolside but taking this approach means missing out on the many great sites and places to visit that the likes of Fuerta Ventura, Gran Canaria, and the other islands have to offer visitors.
Climate And Scenery
The greatest reason for the popularity of the Canary Islands is its temperate climate. The proximity of the islands to African means that temperatures can get really hot but the year round breeze that sweeps across the islands means that it still remains pleasant for sitting out in. The islands also offer a unique insight into volcanic landscapes, as the islands were formed and shaped by volcanic explosions.
Beaches and resorts are found throughout the larger islands and this is where you will find many of the hotspots and unique places to visit. There is more than 1,500km of coastline on the islands and, as well as beautiful golden beaches there are those that are black from volcanic rock and those that benefit from imported sand. El Golfo on Lanzarote is of particular note because of the contrast between the blue ocean waters, the black sand beach, and the green algae covered lagoon. Corralejo on Fuerta Ventura is notable for its incredible sand dunes and massive expanse of beach almost as far as the eye can see.
The abundance of beautiful beaches and the pleasant weather makes the Canary Islands a very popular water sport retreat too. The beaches of Jandia on Fuertaventure are home to the world windsurfing and kiteboarding championships and the Canaries are especially well suited to watersports that are reliant on the wind because there is a constant breeze. Gran Canaria is also home to windsurfing schools including those at Paradise Valle Taurito and Hullon Pozo Izquierdo.
Whatever you choose to do during your stay on any of the incredible Canarian Islands you should sample the local food. Seafood is obviously high on the menu but you can also find a good number of Western dishes as well as meat and vegetable dishes that typically use locally farmed produce. The Canaries relied heavily on farming prior to the tourism boom and there is still a lot of evidence of this on the islands.
Few people that have not visited the Canary Islands are even aware that they offer a very good selection of decent wines. This is because most of the produce is retained for use on the islands by the burgeoning tourism industry and the massive crowds that flock to the islands every single year.
Canarian Wine History
Vines were introduced to the islands in the 15th Century and within 50 years, the production of wines had become a very popular economic pastime. Another 100 years later and the wine producers of the area were exporting some of their produce to countries like the UK. Production and export dipped again in the 19th Century.
Although the Canaries are under Spanish rule they lie closer to Africa in terms of geographic location and the unique microclimate of the islands means that they have some very unique wines to offer. Tenerife has arguably the greatest concentration of cellars and vineries and this is where you will find the best wine routes. However, a number of the islands, including Gran Canaria which has a young but fast developing wine industry, have many locally brewed reds, whites, and roses to offer.
The Canary Islands
Of the 11 denominacions de origen (DOs), five are located on Tenerife with a greater concentration of red wine found here. Listan Negro is the main grape of the island and the best way to enjoy Canarian wine is sitting by the beach on one of the incredible islands and sampling the locally caught fish while chatting to friendly locals. Failing that, you may have to dig around in order to find a bottle or two of exported wine but it is worth the effort to taste a little of volcanically grown produce.
The Canary Islands have much to offer the visitor including adventure, incredible scenery, and glorious weather. You can enjoy romantic breaks, wine tasting trips, or luxury family holidays and all at reasonable prices too.
Written by: Matt Jackson.