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Dramatic volcanic sands. Rugged coastlines, dotted with postcard perfect beaches. Constant sunshine. Yes, the Canary Islands may have a reputation as a sun-seeker's paradise, but there are so many secret sides to this archipelago, just waiting to be discovered. Here are just seven things you may not have known about the Canary Islands.
When you’re ready to pull yourself off the beach, you may just discover that the Canary Islands are scattered with artistic masterpieces. In Tenerife, you’ll find the Tenerife Art Space which hosts some of the most famous canvases of renowned surrealist artist Óscar Domínguez.
The towns on the islands of Gran Canaria and Lanzarote are filled with fascinating abstract sculptures as well as examples of typically Canarian architecture. The first style to reach the islands was Gothic, evident in their many cathedrals and churches.
What many people don’t realise is that the Canary Islands were once famous for their wines. Madeira is still renowned for its slightly sweet wine, but did you know that Tenerife is also a major producer?
Sample some for yourself at Casa del Vino – a whole museum dedicated to wine in the quiet, northern village of El Sauzal. In the wine cellar, you’ll find over 300 different varieties, all of which are produced locally. In the tasting room, try 12 different types alongside some traditional snacks. In Lanzarote, you can pay a visit to the picturesque vineyards of La Geria.
You might be aware of Tenerife’s beaches, but what about its lava-scorched, otherworldly landscapes? Its verdant greenery and forests? On the Canary Islands, you can experience dramatically contrasting terrain that you would usually need to cross continents to find.
Explore the almost lunar volcanic landscapes of National Park of Las Cañadas del Teide on Tenerife. This protected park spans for 19 hectares, and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Admire views of the spectacular Mt Teide, the highest mountain in the whole of Spain, scaling an impressive 12,198 ft.
Alternatively, you can explore the expansive Esperanza Forest and the Pirámides de Güímar with its alluring pyramid structures.
Few people know that the Canary Islands are home to a surf culture to rival California. The consistently sunny climate, sheer number of beaches and water with a temperature of up to 20° make it an ideal place to try a lesson for yourself any time of the year.
Ride the waves (or just admire the pros) at Canteras Beach, home to local favourite wave Lloret, just 3km from where we make port on the island. The beach is also surrounded by restaurants and cafes, and you can try your hand at other water sports, such as windsurfing or stand-up paddle-boarding, too.
The Canary Islands are famous for their unique landscapes, but you might not know that the islands are home to a few still active volcanoes. Explore them for yourself in the Timanfaya National Park in Lanzarote, which is home to the Montañas del Fuego (translating as “The Fire Mountains”).
It’s not difficult to see why – temperature just under the surface here reach between 400° and 600°. Take a volcano tour to discover both active and dormant formations.
Traditional Spanish food meets African and Latin American influences in the Canary Islands (with delicious results). The islands are also home to a number of pioneering upscale restaurants – why not tempt your taste-buds on your next Canary Island cruise?
On the island of Tenerife, you’ll find Los Roques, overlooking the harbour in the charming fishing village of Los Abrigos. Expect fresh, local seafood, such as creamy lobster bisque and saffron risotto with king prawns, as well as a delicious array of cocktails to enjoy as the sun goes down.
In Lanzarote, make sure to pay a visit to la Tegala, an ultra-stylish eatery situated close to the bustling town of Fuerteventura where we make port. Traditional ingredients are given a contemporary spin – think black pork ravioli with coconut and banana juice, or stingray served alongside a local stew.
The Canary Islands are home to not one, but two capital cities; Las Palmas and Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Both of these destinations have plenty of cultural and historical attractions to offer on your Canary Islands cruise.
In Las Palmas on Gran Canaria, you can explore the old quarter of Vegueta, with its atmospheric 15th century fortifications and Las Palmas Cathedral. A scattering of bars, cafes and restaurants mean you can easily lose yourself here for the afternoon.
In Santa Cruz de Tenerife, which offers a traditionally Spanish rhythm with colourful buildings, immersive museums and an impressive number of patio restaurants to enjoy some local fare. Don’t miss the historic Old Town.
The landscapes, cuisine and historic sites of the Canaries are waiting. Find out more about our Canary Island cruises.
Athens is packed full of world-class galleries as well as outdoor sculptures and art boutiques. Find out more here.
Amsterdam is well-known for its bustling districts, lively café culture and world-class museums. However, look a little closer and you’ll discover relaxing attractions, from spas to green parks.
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