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Canary Islands

Canary Islands

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, June 05, 2011 at 17:13:52 :: Canary Islands

The Canary Islands (Spanish: Islas Canarias), also known as the Canaries (Spanish: Canarias) are a Spanish archipelago located just off the northwest coast of mainland Africa, 100 km west of the border between Morocco and the Western Sahara. The Canaries are a Spanish autonomous community and an outermost region of the European Union. The islands include (from largest to smallest): Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera, El Hierro, and the islets La Graciosa, Alegranza, Montaña Clara, Roque del Este, Roque del Oeste and Isla de Lobos.

Sunset on the beach of Los Cristianos in the south-west of Tenerife, Canary Island


The archipelago's beaches, climate and important natural attractions, especially Teide National Park and Mount Teide (the third largest volcano in the world), make it a major tourist destination, with over 12 million visitors per year, especially Tenerife, Gran Canaria and Lanzarote. The islands have a sub-tropical climate, with long hot days in summer and cooler days in winter.

Canary Islands - Fun Facts

- All seven islands are inhabited to greater or lesser degrees. There are a number of smaller islands in the archipelago, notably Graciosa, but only seven contain the major populated areas.

- The islands' name is likely derived from the Latin term Insula Canaria, meaning Island of the Dogs, a name applied originally only to the island of Gran Canaria. It is thought that the Romans gave the island this name due to the large number of native dogs they found when the islands were first visited.

- The largest island is in fact Tenerife with an area of 2,034 square km. Gran Canaria is the second largest with an area of 1,560 square km. The smallest of the seven major islands is El Hierro with an area of 278 square km.

- Mt Teide is the highest mountain in Spain. At 3,717m Mt Teide (or Pico del Teide in Spanish) is indeed the highest point in Spain despite the fact that the islands lie off the coast off Africa. It is also the highest point in the Atlantic Ocean, standing some 7,800m from the seabed. Teide is a volcanic peak which, whilst currently dormant, is considered to be the 13th most dangerous volcano in the world by the United Nations Committee for Disaster Mitigation in view of its close proximity to major towns.

Playa de la Arena resort town in the Santiago del Teide municipality on the West Coast of Tenerife, Canary Islands


- The islands are only some 108 km off the coast of the north west African mainland. Morocco is the nearest sovereign territory but the border with the disputed territory of Western Sahara is just to the south.

- Tenerife and Scotland have both adopted St. Andrew as their patron saint. Consequently, the flag of both is a diagonal white cross on a blue background.

- Christopher Columbus sailed and anchored in Las Palmas prior to leaving for the New World in 1492. The Spanish conquest of the islands had begun in 1402 and Las Palmas was a well established city by the time of Columbus's voyage of discovery. The use of the islands as a stopping off point during the ensuing growth in the number voyages to America brought much wealth. Magnificent churches and palaces which can still be found on the island of La Palma are a testament to this wealth.

- Tourism accounts for 32% of the island's economy. Between them, the islands receive around 10m visitors per year. The range of climates and environments make the islands an interesting destination. Even individual islands can offer diverging climates with Gran Canaria in particular being described as a continent in miniature - lush in the north and warm and arid in the south.

(Source: Wikipedia and Funtrivia.com)

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UNESCO World Heritage

Canary Islands, Teide National Park

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, April 13, 2014 at 12:40:59

Location Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands
Coordinates N28 16 17 W16 38 37
Property 18,990 ha
Date of Inscription 2007

Brief Description (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1258 )

Situated on the island of Tenerife, Teide National Park features the Teide-Pico Viejo stratovolcano that, at 3,718 m, is the highest peak on Spanish soil. Rising 7,500 m above the ocean floor, it is regarded as the world’s third-tallest volcanic structure and stands in a spectacular environment. The visual impact of the site is all the greater due to atmospheric conditions that create constantly changing textures and tones in the landscape and a ‘sea of clouds’ that forms a visually impressive backdrop to the mountain. Teide is of global importance in providing evidence of the geological processes that underpin the evolution of oceanic islands.

Photos from Landolia

Mount Teide, Teide National Park Pico Viejo, Teide National Park

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Canary Islands, San Cristobal de La Laguna

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, April 01, 2014 at 11:45:28

Location Province of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain
Coordinates N28 28 40.4 W16 18 42.4
Property 60 ha
Date of Inscription 1999

Brief Description (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/929 )

San Cristóbal de La Laguna, in the Canary Islands, has two nuclei: the original, unplanned Upper Town; and the Lower Town, the first ideal 'city-territory' laid out according to philosophical principles. Its wide streets and open spaces have a number of fine churches and public and private buildings dating from the 16th to the 18th century.

Photos from Landolia

La Laguna Cathedral, San Cristobal de La Laguna Royal Sanctuary of the Christ of La Laguna

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Canary Islands, Garajonay National Park

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, March 18, 2014 at 09:36:53

Location Island of La Gomera, Province of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands
Coordinates N28 7 34.5 W17 14 14
Property 3,984 ha
Date of Inscription 1986

Brief Description (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/380 )

Laurel forest covers some 70% of this park, situated in the middle of the island of La Gomera in the Canary Islands archipelago. The presence of springs and numerous streams assures a lush vegetation resembling that of the Tertiary, which, due to climatic changes, has largely disappeared from southern Europe.

Photos from Landolia

Enchanted Forest, Garajonay National Park Guanche Sanctuary, Garajonay National Park

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