Consisting of 7 beautiful islands, the most popular being Tenerife, Lanzarote, Gran Canaria and Fuerteventura (the Magnificent Seven are completed by La Palma, la Gomera and El Hierro), the Canary Islands will entrance you with their outstanding natural beauty, sheer diversity and stunning national parks. Closer to Africa - just 62 miles! - and the equator than the Spanish mainland, the near-perfect year-round climate makes these islands a perfect holiday destination. If you're looking for virtually guaranteed sunshine (3,000 hours a year) and a flight time of around 4 hours - with some moonscapes thrown in for good measure - then look no further.
Sun-worshippers, rather unsurprisingly, come for the sun. The beaches at Corralejo on Fuerteventura, for example, are considered to be among the very best in Europe, with miles of fine, soft sands. Golfers come for the world-class golf courses, and windsurfers for the favourable winds and strong waves. Nature-lovers visit for whale-watching (no less than 26 species can be spotted in the Canary Islands, including baleen whales, killer whales, pilot whales and even blue whales) and the chance to see the endangered Loggerhead Turtle, one of the largest hard-shelled turtles in the world. Long sunny days, spectacular sunrises and sunsets, emerald green waters and award-winning family attractions, including Tenerife's Thai-themed Siam Park with its thrilling rides and gorgeous gardens - there's nowhere on earth quite like these volcanic islands, continually bathed in sunshine.
Formed from millions of years of volcanic eruptions, their origins are still prevalent in the islands' black and white sand beaches, rugged coastline and mountainous landscapes. You'll find the world's third-largest volcano, Mount Teide, and more than 100 other volcanoes on Tenerife's west coast. And no visit to Lanazarote is complete without a bus tour of the volcanic Timanfaya National Park. The spectacular and ever-changing sand dunes of Maspalomas, meanwhile, are one of the most photographed places in Gran Canaria. So with their world-class beaches, charming seaside villages, lush sub-tropical greenery and ideal year-round temperatures, the Canary Islands are the perfect destination for some summer and winter sun.