A little piece of Spain just off the coast of North West Africa, the Canary Islands have been popular amongst British and Spanish tourists for many years now. Most of these tend to arrive by aeroplane, however, cruising is a less common option. The reason for this is probably the fact that visiting on land is highly economical with many package holiday options on offer. Yet, this is not to say that there aren’t benefits to cruising. Visiting by boat gives you the opportunity to sample the delights of three of the main islands whilst also fitting in a bit of Spain and North Africa on some itineraries. For the opportunity to get a bit of sun sea and sand as well as see a wide range of different landscapes it’s hard to beat a Canary Island cruise if you’re travelling from the UK. Below are the three islands with cruise ports along with a description of their most important features.
Tenerife (Santa Cruz)
Tenerife is the largest of the islands and is famous for the gigantic volcano, Mount Teide, which dominates the landscape. The towns on the island couldn’t be more contrasting, from tiny villages to highly developed tourist towns the island’s architecture spans a range of different styles and eras. The most popular aspect of Tenerife is, of course, its many beaches and year-round sunshine and with more pubs and chip shops than you can shake a stick at many British tourists will feel entirely at home, only warmer.
The port town of Santa Cruz itself was founded in the 15th Century and in this town there are numerous parks, theatres and museums that are famous the world over for their cultural value. In particular, the Muesum of Nature and Man is well known for being home to the island’s Guanche mummies which are some of the best preserved ancient human bodies in the world.
Gran Canaria (Las Palmas)
Gran Canaria has perhaps the best climate and the longest beaches of any of the Canary Islands and although the island itself is smaller, its capital of La Palma is the largest city in the archipelago. With no more than 14 days of rain every year you’re unlikely to have an un-sunny day on this island. Although it is not home to a conical volcano the island is a volcanic island and home to some of the strangest landscapes you’ve ever seen on the interior, pitted by craters and ravines. The town itself is also quite pretty, a mix of modern and older Spanish architectural styles and adorned almost everywhere with flowerbeds and palm trees.
Lanzarote, unfairly rechristened “Lanza-grotty” by Monty Python, is another Canary Island with an enviable climate and pleanty of beautiful beaches. It’s also the northernmost island making it slightly cooler than the others if blazing heat is not your thing. Similar to Gran Canaria, parts of the landscape bear the hallmarks of volcanic activity and have been described as moon-like, with sections of the film Planet of the Apes having been filmed there. Tourists can experience the bizarre nature of this topography at Timanfaya, a volcanic nature park.
The port town is Arrecife, also founded in the 15th Century and home to the ancient Castle of Gabriel. The church at Arrecife is a small but attractive building, built in the Spanish style and unlike any church many British people will have seen before. Like Tenerife, though, Lanzarote is also home to a good few pubs and clubs if religious architecture isn’t the main reason you go on holiday.