The Canary Islands consist of seven islands located in the Atlantic Ocean off Western Sahara. The islands are named Tenerife, Palma, Gomera, Hierro, Grand Canary, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura. Fuerteventura is 108 kms from the African coast.
In 1402 a Norman, Jean de Béthencourt settled in Lanzarote and with the support of the kingdom of Castile, became the king in 1404. The islands were frequently raided by pirates and privateers amongst them the well-known Francis Drake in 1595 and the famous Horatio Nelson in 1797. Since 1982 Canary Islands became an autonomous region of Spain. From the early 21st century the islands have become a destination for illegal immigrants from Afrika.
Their main export was wine until the grape blight in 1853. Today their leading exports are sugarcane, bananas, potatoes, tomatoes and tobacco. The islands have become a major tourist centre due to their subtropical climate and amazing beaches.
Of all the islands is Gran Canaria the most sought-after holiday destination for young people. With its consistent year-round warm climate, variety of stunning landscapes, an incredible choice of 236 kms coast, beaches with dunes, broad untouched white coloured sands, multiple bars and nightclubs.
Gran Canaria is a place you´ll need to visit to be able to feel it for yourself. You can´t read about tropical days with hot, dry, dusty winds blowing fine Sahara Desert sand in your eyes and making it difficult to breath. The smell of warm ocean air drifting through your open sliding doors at night or seeing in the morning the dew rising from the tarseal off the streets. Imagine ignoring the feeling of superstition when numerous black cats cross your path. The triumph you feel when entering the lobby of your hotel having survived an obstacle course of sometimes funny but often pushy pesky salespeople.
It is a place you need to experience! Whether you are swimming or diving in the blue, warm, salty ocean. Holding tight onto the backseat of a 2 euro taxi ride. The sweat running down your back while exploring a network of tracks and trails through the nature reserves on foot or by bike. Getting pushed and shoved on the dancefloor in nightclubs. Gran Canaria has it all.
Holidaying here was a lot of fun. On booking my hotel I had forgotten to check the star rating. I arrived close to midnight and on entering my room a black cat followed me in. My impression of the room was fairly poor with absent and broken floor tiles in the bathroom. Notably the black cat wouldn´t leave till I left but also peed in the corner. Not normally a superstitious person but agreeing with the cat, I decided to request a different room, luckily the staff was extremely helpful and I ended having an unforgettable enjoyable holiday.
Arriving in September was an unique time, it meant the nights were a little cooler and the place wasn´t overwhelmed by groups of young tourists. Within days everywhere I went or passed I was greeted by name and was given tips and recommendations before I had asked. No issues with pushy and bothersome salespeople, no waiting in queues. It is a place I certainly want to visit again.
I hear you ask, what is the difference compared with holiday spots in Spain? For starters, it´s an island with only by air and sea access. It’s also a lot cheaper due to the reduced tax rate. So, definitely worth a look, it can´t hurt and you’ll certainly have a great time. Book a hotel, jump on a plane and find out for yourself.