The Canary Islands are a highly popular cruise destination for British tourists looking for a wonderful mix of stunning weather and rich culture. With year-round warmth, a wide range of sights and activities, mouthwatering cuisine, and a sense of myth and mystery surrounding the islands, they’re simply perfect for families and first time cruisers especially.
The Canaries are located just off the Northwest coast of Africa and therefore the 12 months of sunshine provide an ideal holiday for escaping the cold British winter weather. Although the Canary Islands are a Spanish territory, they lie closer to Northern Africa than they do to mainland Spain, which really produces a blend of cultures. There is a definite Mediterranean feel with beautiful beaches, laid back tapas restaurants, and eye-opening boat tours along the coast, but the African influences are undeniable.
The Moorish architecture and adventurous dishes of goat stew, for example, are very much Moroccan in origin. Many cruise itineraries actually include a stop in either Casablanca or Agadir, so you can really see how Northern Africa influences have made their way across to the Atlantic islands. Interestingly, there’s also a third culture that enters into the picture - American. The islands were once a popular rest stop for trade ships importing and exporting goods between Europe and the Americas, and the traders certainly left their mark.
The Canary Islands offer a wide range of activities and attractions for people of all ages and with all interests. Whether you’re looking for a cruise holiday to relax and soak up the sun or for something a little more action-packed such as water sports, diving, fishing, hiking and cycling you’ll find the facilities and excursions you desire. For families and adventure enthusiasts, a Canary Islands cruise provides excellent tourist attractions including water parks, camel safaris, theme parks, museums, art galleries, gardens, monuments, mountains and volcanoes.
Be sure to take an excursion to the Timanfaya National Park for unbelievable views over the Island's lunar landscape that has served as a location for many sci-fi movies. Alternatively, for those looking for something a little more relaxed and laid back, there’s plenty of choice. Gran Canaria, for example, is renowned for its plantations which utilise the excellent weather conditions to grow exotic fruits, vegetables, and nuts, including papaya and mango.
To catch a glimpse of these lush plantations, take a trip to Las Palmas, on the north coast of the island. Similarly, you can opt to tour the fabulous and fruit vineyards of Lanzarote, understanding the winemaking process, and getting to sample some rich and tasty delights. Bodegas El Grifo, one of the oldest wineries in Europe, is a must-see for wine aficionados.
For those interested in mystery and legend, there is perhaps no better place to visit than the Canary Islands. While unconfirmed, and the subject of much debate, many historians claim that the Canary Islands, along with nearby Funchal, are the broken remains of the lost city of Atlantis. Whether you buy into the hype or not, there’s something very romantic and inspiring about the possibility of being stood thousands of metres above some of the most mysterious, curious, and perplexing palaces and temples in history.
The location of the Canary Islands makes them ideal for visiting during a cruise from Southampton, perfect for travellers with a dislike for flying. However, it is also possible to visit the islands during a fly-cruise holiday, or as part of a world cruise on the way from Spain or Northern Africa across the Atlantic to New York or the Caribbean. With highs reaching between 20 and 30 degrees celsius, typical lows of no less than 14 degrees, and minimal rainfall all year round, there’s really no bad time to take a Canaries cruise.
During a day ashore, the diversity of the Canaries will become clearly visible, with many regions to explore. You can enjoy stunning mountains, abundant valleys, bustling resorts, fabulous golden sand beaches, and the more unusual black sand beaches, tinted by lava and the vigorous volcanic activity of the past. Whatever your interests and desires, a Canary Islands cruise will certainly satisfy them.
The birds eye view of the dramatic landscape of the Canaries when arriving into port is the perfect start to your holiday. If you enjoy island hopping with beautiful scenery, desert-like landscapes, volcanic mountains, sandy beaches and hot weather, you’ll love a Canary Islands cruise holiday.