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The Canary Islands are special autonomous community of Spain and are located off the northwest coast of Africa, about 100 kilometres (Lanzarote and Fuerteventura are the closest to the mainland) from Morocco and the Western Sahara. The Canary Islands, although technically coming under Spain and part of the EU, are autonomous with their own government and taxation systems. The total population is roughly 2.1 million with most of them living on the islands of Tenerife and Gran Canaria.
Each of the Canary islands (and their satellite isles) are very different in feel. Some people love one island, but hate another. Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder and your island experiences may be totally different to the experiences of another. While some of them are real beach destinations, like Fuerteventura, others combine culture and nature, like Gran Canaria and Tenerife. Whereas La Palma is very beautiful with a tropical feeling.
All the islands of the Canary Islands have a volcanic history, which explains the black beaches of the islands. All the sandy beaches you will find on the islands are man made. The islands lie in the Atlantic Ocean, about 100 to 400 kilometres from Morocco and Western Sahara. The Teide vulcano on Tenerife is the highest mountain of Spain, topping the Mulhacén in the Sierra Nevada by more than 200 metres. El Hierro saw the last volcanic activity on 2011, when an undersea volcano erupted just of the southern coast.
The Canaries are split into 2 different communities: Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
The following islands are part of Santa Cruz de Tenerife:
The following islands are part of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria:
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Timanfaya National Park covers a huge part of the central eastern part of Lanzarote. The moonlike landscape you see today dates back from the eruptions that took place between 1730 and 1736, and from a smaller eruption in 1824. Access to the park is prohibited apart from 3 footpaths, of which two need to be done with a guide, that can be booked at the Timanfaya visitor center. The other one is a footpath along the coastline, which is free for everyone. Needless to say, you should stay on the path and take litter with you. The most used option is however to drive up to the El Diablo restaurant, and to take of the bustours that start from there. Take the LZ-67 either from Mancha Blanca (from the north) or Yaiza (from the south) and follow the signs. Upon leaving the LZ-67, you will have to pay the entrance to the park (€8). The ticket already includes the bustour. The bustour follows a 14 kilometre-long road, which was build under supervision of Manrique, and passes by the main features of the park. Apart from the tour and some demonstrations (including burning scrubbushes, and pouring water in the ground to create an artificial geyser), there is not much more to do.
The Canary Islands' climate is perfect for a week of enjoying the sun and making trips across the islands. Summers are mostly between 25º and 30º during the day and still above 20 °C at night. Winters are about 6-8 °C colder on average though it's still quite warm, even at night. Note that the north of the islands generally are somewhat cooler and wetter than the south, but still fine.
The individual islands in the Canary archipelago tend to have distinct microclimates. Islands such as El Hierro, La Palma and La Gomera lying to the west of the archipelego have a climate which is influenced by the moist gulf stream. As one travels east toward the African coast, the influence of the gulf stream diminishes, and the islands become increasingly arid. Fuerteventura and Lanzarote the islands which are closest to the African mainland are effectively desert or semi desert. In terms of its climate Tenerife is particularly interesting. The north of the island lies under the influence of the moist atlantic winds and is well vegetated, while the south of the island is arid.
Budget airline Ryanair has flights to a number of cities in Europe, while German based Condor and Air Berlin have flights as well. TUIfly, Thomson Airways and Thomas Cook Airlines serve a significant number of destinations as well.
These airports receive a lot of flights from all over Europe, Tenerife South Airport having by far the most possibilities. Lowcost airlines like Easyjet (from London and Manchester) and Ryanair have found their way as well, the last having most flights, including to/from Brussels, Dublin, Edinburgh, London, Glasgow, Madrid, Porto and Weeze (near Düsseldorf).
Numerous other airlines serve Tenerife South though, the choice is wide.
Tenerife North Airport (TFN) is located about 10 kilometres from the city. Tenerife North mainly serves other Canary Islands, cities in mainland Spain, and several cities in Germany. Also, two airlines fly here to/from Caracas in Venezuela.
For accommodation, check the articles of the islands and their cities and towns. For example:
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