The Canary Islands are an ideal cruise destination for beach bums and active types alike, whether enjoying a luxury transatlantic voyage, or just looking for a short haul alternative for some winter sun. When visiting, travellers soon discover there is so much more to this region than skyscrapers and package holidays.
The whole archipelago is made up of volcanic islands, providing the striking, rugged, lunar-like landscapes that visitors can find just a short journey inland from the port cities, which largely maintain a thriving Spanish culture and charm. Alternatively, the long stretches of beach offer honey-coloured sand and serve as a hub of water-sporting activity.
La Palma, one of the smaller and much less well-known islands in the region, is the perfect introduction to the Canary Islands. Though still sharing the same volcanic geology as the larger islands, La Palma has a much more fertile landscape, earning it the nickname "the green and beautiful island". Port of call and capital city, Santa Cruz de la Palma is a compact little city, with winding cobbled streets full of traditional Spanish atmosphere.
Similarly rich in culture is the capital city of Gran Canaria and largest port in the archipelago, Las Palmas, not to be confused with La Palma! The strong Spanish feel mixed with a little African influence has given this city a vibrant, bustling and curious atmosphere. Be sure to explore the oldest quarter, Vegueta, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The Canary Islands' beaches offer some luxurious opportunities to relax under the sun, or enjoy the wide range of water activities available. The winds off the south coast of Fuerteventura make this an ideal spot for windsurfing.
One outstanding highlight common to all the islands is the volcanic landscape, vast craggy plains and mountains that certainly merit exploring. Timanfuya Volcanic Park on Lanzarote is the site of the world's longest recorded volcanic eruption, while over on Tenerife the Pico del Teide, Spain's tallest peak, makes for some outstanding walking territory.
Popular ports of call in the Canary Islands include Fuerteventura; Las Palmas, Gran Canaria; La Palma; Lanzarote; Santa Cruz, Tenerife.
Cunard Cruises run a round trip cruise of the Canary Islands from Southampton and some lines run cruises between the Canary Islands and the countries of the western Mediterranean. Most frequently, cruise lines visit ports in the region while making a transatlantic voyage from Europe to the Caribbean or USA, or vice versa.
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