Tourism has brought prosperity to the Canary Islands, an archipelago of seven islands that lie in the Atlantic Ocean just off the coast of North Africa, 60 miles or so west of Morocco. Despite their proximity to Africa, however, the Canaries are part of Spain, and proud of it.
Visitors are lured to the Canaries with the promise of perfect weather and incredible beaches where htey can sunbathe, swim or stroll from morning to night. There's a lot more to do and see in the Canary Islands, though, than sun and surf.
Tenerife, the largest island in the group, entertains five million tourists every year. Mount Teide, the promontory that dominates the island, is the highest volcano in the world outside of Hawaii, measured from its base at the bottom of the ocean floor. Though it's an active volcano, its peak is snow-capped. Gran Canaria has so many different micro-ecologies and microenvironments that its official travel brochures describe it as a "miniature continent." Fully one-third of the island is a designated UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
Gran Canaria is also home to Palmitos Park, one of the most famous aviaries in the world, where 1,500 parrots and other exotic birds fly openly. Las Palmas, the regional capital, is the center of the Canaries' vivid nightlife. Dance the night away in one of the city's dozens of neon-lit nightclubs, discos and bars.
Fuerteventura, the island closest to Africa, is famous for the best beaches in the Canaries. Nude sunbathing is the norm here. You will want to grab a bathing suit if you decide to go surfing though. Between the summer trade winds and the winter swells rolling off the Atlantic, Fuerteventura boasts some of the best surfing in Europe.
The volcanic island of Lanzarote also has some picturesque stretches of sand. The Costa Teguise, at Puerto del Carmen and Playa Blanca beaches are particular favorites with travelers from abroad. The remaining three islands, La Gomera, La Palma and El Hierro, also have their attractions. You may be too busy playing a round at one of the Canaries' dozen golf courses or exploring the islands' 29 archeological sites to explore everything on your first trip though.
An all inclusive holiday distills the very finest the archipelago has to offer so that you experience the quintessential Canary Islands. An all inclusive holiday is the best way to tour a destination when you're falling in love with it for the first time.