The Canary Islands are part of Spain but they're located much closer to Africa than the Spanish mainland. The seven islands are in the Atlantic Ocean, 1,350 kilometres south of the Iberian Peninsula. Their nearest neighbour is Morocco (95 kilometres east of Fuerteventura) and the climate is wonderful all year round with temperatures rarely falling below 18C in the winter and rising above 24C in the summer.
They call the Canaries "The Land of Eternal Spring". The sub-tropical climate is regulated by the Gulf Stream and Trade Winds and any time of year is a good time to visit with guaranteed sunshine, virtually no rainfall and non-stop tourist activity. Small wonder that 11 million international tourists migrate to these shores each year!
The archipelago consists of five main holiday islands - La Palma,Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote - and the two, small unspoilt islands of Hierro and Gomera. The islands are the tips of a vast volcanic mountain range lying beneath the Atlantic Ocean. The fact that four of Spain's seven major national nature reserves are located here reflects the extraordinary wealth of natural beauty to be found in the Canaries.
The volcanic crater of Mount Teide, the major landmark of Tenerife, was designated as a national reserve in 1954 along with the Taburiente crater on La Palma. Teide is the third tallest volcano in the world and its 3,718-metre peak is the highest in the whole of Spain. The Caldera del Taburiente on La Palma is the world's largest erosion crater with a diameter of nine kilometres and a depth of 770 metres.
The islands are also a paradise for lovers of nature and water sports enthusiasts like Diving. The Canaries are home to some fascinating indigenous animal and plant life and the local waters provide some of the world's richest diging grounds. Shark, tuna and marlin are all to be found in abundance here. Most tourists prefer to dive for a glimpse of the bottle-nosed dolphins and pilot whales which you can often see around the islands.