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The Islands and the inhabitants
The Canary Islands are seven (plus 2 cliffs)  specks of rock, scattered over 300 miles in the middle of the vast Atlantic Ocean. To the east lies the Sahara, from where the beaches of Fuerteventura have blown; to the north east lies the North of Africa, from where the Guanches — the original Canarians — once came. And to the north lies Spain, from where Conquistadors, colonialists and laterday bosses have laid the foundations for modem Canaries life. From further north still come new Conquistadors wearing shorts and shades. English, German and Scandinavian hordes are now descending on the islands all year round. Their effect on the Canaries is good for the tourism business but hasn't always been so good for the environment. Nowadays Spanish authorities even considering some ban on tourists in Balearic islands.. However, while certain areas, notably the southern coasts of Gran Canaria and Tenerife, have capitalized on tourism and capitulated on the wider issues, newcomers to tourism, such as Lanzarote, are progressing more slowly and surely. The smaller islands have yet to make up their minds, but as they all lack commercially exploitable beaches it seems unlikely that they will be experiencing more than a comparative handful of visitors in the near future. And yet, if all the land devoted to tourism was to be added up, it would still occupy only a mere fraction of the islands' total area and natural wealth. The diversity of landscapes on the islands is quite amazing. While Fuerteventura is truly a desert island  wind-swept, sandy and bare — La Palma is lush, verdant and fertile. And if the strikingly beautiful interiors of Tenerife, Gran Canaria and Gomera are Gardens of Eden then the stark malpais (badlands) of Lanzarote are surely the Valleys of Hell. The Canaries are volcanic islands, and volcanic islands are never dull. La Palma erupted as recently as 1971.

In Lanzarote  you can also watch your lunch cooking now over the heat of the ground  beneath your feet. What of the people themselves? Canarians look Spanish, speak Spanish, are imbued with Spanish culture, and to all intents and purposes are little different from their mainland cousins. They work hard in the fields, pay homage to the virtues of manana, they enjoy their food, siesta and fiestas and know how to turn a tourist dollar. So which is the best island for you? It may be a cliché but it is nonetheless true that there is an island for every kind of person. Tenerife is the biggest is-land in almost every sense. In Mount Teide it features the biggest scenery and it certainly has the greatest number of tourist attractions by day and night. In terms of all-round appeal, however, Gran Canaria runs it very close. Both have 6 hustling new cities and sleepy old towns to visit, both have wonderful inland scenery and charming villages to explore, and both have modern resorts ranging from good time to quiet time. If a long miles of golden beach is a priority ,then Gran Canaria has the edge. Lanzarote will delight all those people who are environmentally aware yet enjoy the company of other tourists. Whether or not the island can solve this paradox of modern tourism is yet to be seen, but the tourist attractions are created by design guru Cesar Manrique and the general ambience of this low-rise island are very appealing. Fuerteventura tends to polarize opinion: is it an oasis in the middle of an overcomplicated world, as some have claimed, or is it simply the desert of first impression? The beaches here are certainly the best in the Canaries, and resorts to suit most tastes are springing up. Watersports aside, though, there isn't much else to do or see, which may be fine as long as you know in advance. And its a sort of paradise for gig game fishing funs-whenever You come, there is a right time.

The lesser-known islands of Gomera, El Hierro and La Palma are for the hardier, more inquisitive travelers. Dont hesitate to use ferries or small cheap planes to get there, let say, Binter airlines will help a lot. There are relatively few comfortable hotels, no international restaurants and — best of all, as far as many are concerned — almost no tourists. If you enjoy walking through beautiful mountain scenery for days on end, if you don't mind conversing with the aid of a phrase book in the local village bar and your idea of nightlife is gazing at the North Star, then one of these islands may be your ShangriLa. For most people, though, a day or two away from it all enough. Island-hopping is relatively easy and a few days ( an unspoiled island combin( with the creature comforts of major resort offer the best both worlds. Travel independently, look around the Corr from the next hotel and y will soon discover that there much more to the Canan than just another winters tan.

Wine and Wars.
The Canaries' first major agricultural enterprise was sugar. Sugar canes sprouted easily on the islands, and during the first half of the 16th century a burgeoning industry developed. Boom turned to bust, however, with cheaper sugar production from Brazil and the Antilles  and the industry died.
Still, trade links had at least been established with both the Old and the New World, and wine became the new farming
venture to bolster the economy. Grapes grown in the volcanic soil produced a distinctive, full-bodied  wine (malvasia) which became the fashionable drink of aristocratic Europe.Unique and divine product comes from Lanzarote Shakespeare and Voltaire, among others, were lavish in their praise, and today's island visitors can still sample the excellent wine in bodegas, restaurants, or even from the supermercado. Old disused wine presses (lagares) may still be seen on hillsides when touring the islands.
By the end of the 18th century the Canaries were a sufficiently important trading point to attract all types of looters. In 1797 Horatio Nelson attacked Santa Cruz de Tenerife in search of a Spanish treasure ship. The defenders responded vigorously, accounting for the lives of 226 British sailors and the removal of the lower part of Nelson's saluting arm. The Santa Cruzeros clearly had no hard feelings towards the Admiral, however. Once it was known that the attack had been repelled, a gift of wine was sent out to Nelson (England was,after all, an important wine market).Posibly, it was an idea to kill completely a poor lad Horacio, because wine drinking can cause inflammanation, if one is injured.

Where to Go
In this section we will describe each of the islands on by one, its featheres, geography and personality, where to stay and what to taste!.
Tenerife area: 790 sq miles (2,046 1km) pop. 600,000 Tenerife is not only the largest of the Canaries geographically, also offers the tourist more sights, more attractions, more towns and cities to explore, and more contrasts than any of the other islands. Where else in the Atlantic can you look round a banana plantation then [ take a short drive half way up mountain for a snowball fight? The mountain in question is  Teide, at 2,198 ft (3,718 m) the tallest in all Spain. The majestic  symbol of the island, it can he seen from all over areas of Tenerife. Also for the  best views you too need to be high above its ring of clouds. Tenerife has been welcoming visitors from cold northern climes since the 19th century. However, the focus has changed from the cloudy, green and lush north coast where Puerto de la Cruz was once the favourite place for Germans  (it is still very popular) to the hot, dry,  south. By day the beaches are packed with glistening bodies; by night the streets throb to a new sort of holidaymaker's beat, far removed from the travelers who used to visit the island on medical prescription base.


SANTA CRUZ DE TENERIFE

With moderate population around  225,000 The capital of Tenerife and the administrative centre for the westerly Canaries, Santa Cruz is not a city in which tourists spend a great deal of time. This is a pity, because although there are few tourist attractions and it is not especially beautiful, the city possesses an undeniably authentic Spanish spirit.

What to do in Santa Cruz.

You can quite easy reach this city from Puerto de la cruz and Las Americas as well, because public transport are well developed and there is no need to rent a car for that purpose. So, as its defined for capitals, even if its island,Santa Cruz are full of cultural life and museums.
One of the most amazing museums are museum de Hombre-museum of the Man.
Those , who loves history, skulls and bones and lot of artefacts, ilustrating the life and death rituals of Guanche society , will be surpised!. The city's other museum of note is the Museo Municipal de Bellas Artes, which lies on Calle Bethencourt Alfonso and includes some fine Spanish and Flemish works. The adjacent &lurch of San Francisco is also worth a visit. The area extending up the rill from the plaza is the island's banking centre. On the Plaza de la Candelaria is housed in the beautiful palacio Carta building, which dates from 1742. The main shopping area continues along Calle del Castillo with the parallel street, Calle Bethencourt Alfonso, also important. For craft shops visit Artespalia on Plaza de la Candelaria. The most vibrant shopping area is a short walk away at the Mercado de Nuestra Senora de Africa. This clean, airy, modern area is full of small competing stalls, selling all manner of fresh meat, fish, fruit, vegetables and flowers. On Saturdays colourful flowers are everywhere, and on Sundays the adjacent rastro (flea market) is the big attraction. The bridge to the Mercado crosses a ravine, where goats graze, oblivious to all the activity. Follow the barranco to the seafront to discover the Iglesia Matriz de la Concepcion (Church of the Immaculate Conception). Dating from the early 16th century, this is the town's most important historical building and contains several interesting relics, including Nelson's faded battle flag (see page 13). A notice on the door tells you where the key is held, should you wish to look inside. One of the most charming aspects of the city is its squares and gardens. Situated conveniently for shoppers at the very end of Calle del Castillo is the flower-decked square of Plaza del General Weyler, a perfect spot for a drink and a snack. If you are interested in ceramics, walk a short way along Avenida da 25 de Julio to the Plaza of the same name to admire the delightful tiled benches here.Since Medieval time Santa Cruz was very international city, still many Italian and German families lives there in fourth generation..