Located 70 miles off the coast of Africa, the Canary Islands, a territory of Spain, is an archipelago comprised of seven volcanic islands that the ancient Romans once referred to as the Fortunate Islands. Rugged terrain and black-sand beaches make up the brilliant landscape, which is home to all kinds of wildlife, including an interesting assortment of European and African birds, lizards, geckos, the Canarian shrew and the Algerian hedgehog, as well as a diverse variety of marine life.
Long considered a tropical paradise for European travelers, the Canary Islands has emerged as a popular cruise destination due to its exotic locale and modern European style. Well-known for perfect weather and sun-drenched beaches, the islands offer captivating natural attractions and fantastic scenery -- four national parks and four biosphere reserves are located there. More than 40 museums displaying archaeological artifacts and aboriginal and modern art are open to the public. Take a camel ride to Fire Mountain in Arrecife to view amazing lunar-like landscapes, enjoy the vibrant city life of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria or sunbathe on the volcanic black-sand beaches in Santa Cruz de Tenerife. A 200-year-old botanical garden is a highlight for visitors to Puerto de la Cruz, and Loro Parque houses the world’s largest collection of parrots.