Pink Fire Pointer February 2012

Best Winter Holiday Destinations – Canary Islands

At this time of year, when the mercury drops to its yearly lows, there's nothing more appealing than a getting away from the UK for a spell of sunshine. We’ve just passed officially the most depressing day of the year but for many the January blues still hang over our heads like a dark cloud. With much of mainland Europe being even chillier than the UK at this time of year (thanks to its lack of Gulf Stream warming) it makes sense to look elsewhere for a spot of winter sun.

And the Canary Islands, off the Western coast of North Africa, are an excellent choice for those seeking a break from the miserable dark days of England. They boast a subtropical climate, with warm winters and warmer summers although the variation between the seasons isn’t massively pronounced. Holidaymakers jetting off in January-March can expect temperatures of around 19-21°C and plenty of sunshine. Below we take a look at a few of the most popular islands in the Canaries.

Lanzarote – The Easternmost Island of the Canaries, Lanzarote boasts a dramatic landscape which has formed as a result of millions of years of volcanic activity. While much of the island is fairly baron, many of the scenery is spectacular, and the beaches are a huge draw, with the warm Atlantic Ocean making it great for a splash about. The capital Arrecife is the main hub for tourism,  and is also home to the islands airport. The name originates from the reefs offshore which are a treat for snorkelers and scuba divers.

Scuba diving in Lanzarote

Tenerife – the largest of the Canary Islands, Tenerife is popular with a range of holidaymakers. The South and North are separated by Mount Teide, a volcano and national park which, on a clear day, gives excellent views from the top which can be reached by cable car. The island offers a few good lovely beaches including the largely artificial Playa las Teresitas to the East. The island also offers plenty to do in terms of activities and days out. Loro Parque zoo and Siam Park water park are both must-dos and combo tickets can be purchased for these to save money. Flights to Tenerife can be found at great prices which adds to the draw of this island.

Siam Park, Tenerife

Gran Canaria – another island of volcanic origin, emerging from the sea millions of years ago as a result of tectonic activity. The island has an array of microclimates but generally temperatures are warm in winter. Las Palmas, the capital, is the focal point for tourism and plenty of good value package deals can be found here. It is the scene of much of the islands nightlife and plays host to Carnival every January-February. Due to the differing microclimates certain areas of the island are extremely arid which makes for some lovely sandy beaches and breathtaking landscapes.

Gran Canaria Beach

Overall the Canary Islands offer some of the best holiday destinations for some winter sun and each present their own unique sights and attractions, making them well worth a visit.