SUNSHINE ALL YEAR ROUND, MYSTERIOUS LAVA FIELD AND FINE SANDY BEACHES
Lush ancient forests, fertile valleys, sheer cliffs and all surrounded by crystal clear waters, this is the Spanish archipelago in the Atlantic some 100 to 500 kilometers west of the Moroccan coast. The 7 volcanic islands, which were formed by earth movements and volcanic eruptions a good 23 million years ago, belong geologically to Africa, politically to Spain although more than 1,000 km in distance from the Iberian Peninsula and geographically to Macaronesia, which also includes the Azores, the islands of Madeira and Cape Verde.
The largest islands of the archipelago are Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro, and there are six other secondary islands, La Graciosa, Los Lobos, Alegranza, Montaña Clara, Roque del Este and Roque del Oeste and many small rocky outcrops. Because the Autonomous Community of Canarias was divided into two provinces in 1927, there are also two capitals: Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
However, what makes the Canary Islands particularly popular is the Mediterranean-subtropical climate, with pleasant temperatures all year round. The more than 3,000 hours of sunshine and the average temperature of 22 degrees have given them the nickname “Islands of Eternal Spring”.
Thanks to their volcanic origin, the center of each island is a high mountain, which means that nature always remains green and does not become desert like the Sahara, which is at the same latitude. In addition, the rainfall, which can range from 1 rainy day in summer to 8 days in winter, helps nature to maintain this climate.
Each of the islands has its own unique landscape, on the one hand due to its own flora and fauna, but on the other hand also due to the visitors and the resulting infrastructure. Seven biosphere reserves have already been declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
Tenerife is the largest and most populous island with its capital Santa Cruz de Tenerife. It is towered over by the 3,718-meter high, still active volcano Pico del Teide, which is not only the highest mountain in the Canary Islands, but also in Spain. The center of the island consists of green mountain slopes and a wild subtropical flora and up here, above the impressive crater landscapes and the bizarre rock formations of cooled lava, the largest astronomical observatory in the world has been standing since 1964 at an altitude of 2,390 meters.
The island is characterized by geographical contrasts. On the one hand deep gorges, large exotic forests and valleys with wide banana plantations and on the other hand a 400 km long coast with extensive beaches, especially Arona, Costa Adeje and Granadilla de Abona in the south of the island and Playa de las Teresitas in Santa Cruz.
Particularly impressive are the huge rock formations Acantilados de Los Gigantes, meaning “the giants”, which stand on the West Coast and rise up to 800 meters above sea level. Tenerife is also famous for its Carnaval de Santa Cruz, a huge festival of parades, music, dancing and colorful costumes, and its rich and wholesome cuisine, best described as a fusion of haute cuisine and traditional cuisine.
Read the full article in Issue 22