Leaving Bahrain behind on our armchair tours it is so simple being like a pinpoint on a map. I looked on the map to see where we were at the moment and realized we had never toured the beautiful Canary Islands. So sit back, relax and off we go.
The Canary Islands have a lot to offer visitors. There are lovely beaches, everywhere you look the beauty of nature surrounds you and you can visit picturesque colonial towns. This archipelago includes seven large and six smaller islands located 200 kilometers off the northwest coast of Morocco and Western Sahara Africa. The largest island is Tenerife. You’ll find UNESCO listed heritage sites and UNESCO Biosphere Reserves.
First we’ll make a stop at the colonial city of Sancristobal de la Laguna on Tenerife Island. This city is the former capital of this island. It is a lovely historic town with an impressive cathedral, Renaissance and Neo-classical churches and grand mansions built by wealthy families in the 17th and 18th centuries.
The town’s parish church Iglesia de Nuestra La Concepcion was built in 1496. It is an architectural gem both outside and inside.
Dating from the 17th century is the lovely Iglesia de Santo Domingo de Guzman. The facade has Plateresque details and an ornately designed Mudejar ceiling. In the interior you can see paintings by Canary Island artist Cristobal Hernandez de Quintana.
To discover the history of this region head for the History and Anthropology Museum. This museum introduces visitors to the history and culture of Tenerife Island through the centuries.
Those who wish to sunbathe can choose between three beaches:
Al Apio Beach has a sandy and gravelly shore with moderate waves.
El Navio Beach is great for those interested in water sports and windsurfing.
Arenisco Beach is near the lighthouse and visitors here love to take scenic walks along the coast.
You’ll find the island of Gran Canaria about 90 miles off the African coast. There is amazing natural beauty here and practically half of the island has been protected as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The island has dramatic cliffs to the north and beautiful beaches to the south.
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is a lovely sun filled seaside town. It was influenced by a Spanish colonial past dating back to the 15th century as well as the culture of the aboriginal Guanche people.
An architectural highlight here is the impressive Cathedral Las Palmas de Gran Canaria dating from the 16th century with Neo-classical features. The interior is Gothic with unusual palm-shaped columns. In the south wing you’ll find the Diocesan Museum, displaying a collection of religious art and ceremonial objects.
Take the time to explore the Museum of the Canary Islands with an impressive archaeological and ethnographic collection. It shows visitors the pre-Hispanic culture of the island.
Art lovers will enjoy the Nestor Museum which exhibits the art work of Nestor Martin-Fernandez de la Torre, one of the most renowned Spanish Symbolist painters. Here you can see portraits and landscapes as well as drawings, sketches and craftwork. The museum belongs to the Pueblo Canario or Canaries Village that was built by the artist’s brother in the Neo-Canarian style.
Las Canteras Beach offers a wide sandy shore with gentle waters due to a natural breakwater formed by volcanic rock. Here for the comfort of visitors you’ll find public toilets, umbrella and lounge chair rental, water sport rentals and a play area for children. There is even an area for scuba diving.
La Playa Jinamar is a small beach with a dark sand shoreline and moderate waves.
Visit the beautiful Jardin Botanico Viera y Clavijo or Canary Gardens. This lovely botanic garden lies in a valley. There are stone paths that will take you through the slopes of the valley and you’ll see a landscape with plant species native to the Canaries.
Santa Cruz de Tenerife Tenerife Island is a picturesque seaport that has been built with broad avenues, lovely squares, exotic gardens and impressive architecture.
Among the visitor highlights is the Museum of Fine Arts with a wide variety of paintings by many different artists. It also displays the art work of Canary Island painters like Gaspar de Quevedo, Cristobal Hernandez de Quintana and Gonzalez Mendez.
To find out about the native people of Tenerife head for the Museum of Nature and Man. You’ll find out about the original inhabitants before the arrival of European settlers.
The most famous event here is the annual Carnival Festival with people in colorful costumes and amazing processions.
Among the beaches the best choice is Las Teresitas Beach with golden sand and two breakwaters giving way to gentle waves and waters safe for swimming. It is also popular with snorkelers. There are public toilets, sun lounges for rental, water sport rentals, a snack bar and play area for children.
Brujas Beach offers a lovely sandy shoreline that is surrounded by beautiful scenery. This is not good for swimming due to strong waves.
On Fuerteventura Island you’ll get to know the religious heritage of Betancuria which was the capital until 1834.
This town has an impressive cathedral the Catedral de Santa María de Betancuria which was originally built in Norman-Gothic style but later renovated in the 17th century in Baroque style. In the interior the sanctuary is lovely especially the choir and baptistry.
Other important religious buildings include the Hermitage of San Diego and the Franciscan Convent Church.
To take a look at spiritual art visit the Museum of Religious Art.
The Pilgrimage of Peña takes place on the third Saturday in September. It is held in honor of Nuestra Senora de la Pena (Our Lady of Pena) who is the patron saint of the island. Taking part in the festivities you get to see the folklore of the island and their religious customs.
Also on Fuerteventura Island is Corralejo Fishing Port and beaches. Corralejo is a fishing port located in northern Fuerteventura. It is surrounded by impressive desert landscape of sand dunes. The town happily combines traditional seafaring culture with tourism. Around the port visitors will find picturesque houses with many restaurants and cafes. There is a beautiful waterfront promenade that ends in a small urban beach.
Outside of the town are lovely beaches like El Pozo Beach with a nice shoreline. There are many kiosks renting water sport equipment, beach chairs and sun umbrellas. It is great for swimming since the waters are mild.
El Moro Beach has white sand shoreline and crystal clear blue waters.
El Rio Beach also has white sand and at the end is a rocky promontory with a lighthouse.
You’ll discover that the biggest tourist attraction on Lanzarote Island is Puerto del Carmen. Once an old fishing village it has been transformed into a beach resort with many modern hotels and restaurants. There are over six kilometers of sandy beaches with calm waters.
Visitors enjoy the Fiesta de la Virgen del Carmen during the first two weeks of August. It is a religious festival honoring the patron saint of the fishing village. There are traditional processions and decorated colorful boats.
Visitors enjoy exploring the surrounding countryside. Volcanic activity created Lanzarote Island and it has a dramatic landscape of craters, canyons and valley. It is a UNESCO-listed Biosphere Reserve.
These are just some of the beautiful and amazing things you can do and see on these islands. There is plenty more and you can be sure that you won’t run out of things to do. For other activities you can visit:
Cactuaidea Park Gran-Canria the largest cactus park in Europe where the tallest cactus measuressix meters in height. It is located in La Aldea de San Nicolas in the west of Gran Canaria. You can find over 1,200 cactus species here. There is a cactarium with palm trees, aloe vera, peacocks and a tortoise.
Not only the cactuses will delight you but there is a lot of babbling water and just past the amphitheater you’ll find an erupting artificial volcano that leads visitors to the beautiful garden. A stone path takes you around and you can see the peacocks, ducks, tortoises and donkeys. You can also visit a cave, have tapas at the outdoor bar and buy souvenirs.
Whether you are visiting with children or not you have got to see Holiday World in the southern part of Gran Canaria. There are lots of activities for children like pony rides, parrot shows and a 4D cinema. For the older crowd there is a Ferris Wheel and even a roller coaster as well as a 20m free-fall Sky Drop. All of this is located in a shopping center. You’ll even find tenpin bowling in a U.S. style bowling alley that offers hot dogs. If you wish to indulge yourself there is a children’s entertainment service and you can head for the spa or gym.
Visit the friendly and delightful animals of Loro Parque one of Tenerife’s most popular attractions. You can see wonderful dolphin shows and see sea lions do tricks. There are jumping orca whales and parrots chattering to one and all.
Visitors delight in over 300 species of birds, gorillas, chimpanzees, tigers, sloths, jaguars, meekats, giant tortoises and so much more.
This adventure park is located in Puerto de la Cruz. They have even recreated Antarctic conditions for Planet Penguin and you can see the penguins happily jumping off ice blocks into freezing water.
Sharks swim through the tunnel in the aquarium and birds fly free in Katandra Treetops at the jungle recreation. There are plenty of swinging bridges and walkways leading you past cockatoos, emus and kookaburras.
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