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 Islands Information

Place: Canary Islands

Escape to the Canary Islands
By Caitlin Moore

A chain of exotic volcanic islands off the coast of Africa that happens to receive about 10 million visitors a year has the kind of appeal that is difficult to ignore. There must be some wonderful sights to see and probably many fine vacation memories to be made in the Canary Islands, so take a closer look at the secrets of this sultry sprinkling of sunny isles.

The subtropical climate and steady year-round water temperatures lay a solid foundation for the islandsí allure. The conditions vary from island to island and even within the boundaries of each separate one, meaning that itís possible to lie in the warm sand and gaze up at a snow-peaked mountain. This unique setting makes for lots of exploring opportunities in the interior mountains and forests but also ensures that relaxing day on the beach is there to be had virtually anytime.

Seven major islands and several smaller ones make up the Canaries, meaning that thereís plenty of room in the sun for everyone. The largest, Tenerife, has a little bit of everything. Banana farms, volcanic ridges, friendly inhabitants, parrots, dolphins and fortresses provide the basic idea of this colorful spot.

The National Park El Tiede is also located here, and contains the highest mountain in all of Spain. Climbing the peak, descending into the crater and checking out the petrified lava forms will all satisfy adventurous urges and make for some great souvenir photos. Wildlife and rare plants complete the otherworldly landscape (watch out for lizards).

Gran Canaria is another diverse place to see Ė itís filled with contrasts of every kind. The capital of the archipelago is here, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, a festive and welcoming place known for its vibrancy and delicious food. History buffs will take pleasure in touring La Casa de Colon, the Museo Canario and the gothic and Latin American style architecture all over the island. With both natural and man-made beauty, touristsí eyes never have a chance to glaze over with boredom.

On that note it would also be interesting to learn more about the Guanches, the original inhabitants of the island. Museums tell their story and cave paintings and archeological sites offer an intimate view of these long ago Canarians. Evidence of their influences can be found all over the islands.

The oldest settlements and longest beaches can be found at Fuerteventura, also a great place for fishing. Lanzarote probably has the most eye-popping scenery thanks to years of violent volcanic eruptions and Hierro takes travelers to a quiet yet accommodating place of great natural splendor.

After working up an appetite by traipsing around the archipelago, be sure to sample some of the intriguing local fare. Mojo is a specialty sauce made with garlic and chili-peppers among other things; each chef has their own special way of creating it so be sure to taste a couple atop Papas Arrugadas (boiled potatoes). Homemade bread from an old traditional way of life, seafood galore, fried bananas and local wine finish out the menu and will surely keep taste buds feeling pampered.

The best way to enjoy all the assets of the Canary Islands is to choose a fabulous vacation rental on one of the isles and make it a home away from home. There are hundreds to choose from in this hotspot for non-hotel goers, so donít be afraid to dive right in with a list of criteria and prepare to discover the perfect place to stay. Chances are youíll see something that meets your needs and your budget as well; good deals are there to be had.

Online youíll find the key to reserving the right Canary Islands Vacation Rental for your upcoming trip, which surely wonít come soon enough once the daydreaming begins.

Visit HomeAway.com to take care of all vacation rental needs.