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Journey To a More Intimate Gran Canaria

One August morning in 2014,  Stephen Curry, one of the world’s best basketball players, looked out of the window in the hotel where he was staying in the south of the island, together with the American national team, and wrote a message for posterity on the social networks: “Gran Canaria, God’s creation” was the immortalising phrase he wrote while taking in the scenery. He thus confirmed, decades later, that what the writer and journalist Domingo Doreste had said about his land of birth being a miniature continent was still true. The key to this is the combination of factors which make Gran Canaria a unique destination for nature lovers.

In 2005, almost half the island’s surface area was designated a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, a tribute to the incalculable wealth of its species and a state of conservation which has kept human impact on the environment to a bare minimum. Indeed, man’s traces in the protected nature areas open to visitors is hardly perceptible. Each strip of land, whether on the coastline or in the mountains, reveals a genuine flourish of beauty.

One of the must-visit landmarks is Caldera de Tejeda, which affords stunning views of the north-west of the island. It is home to both Roque Nublo and Roque Bentayga, two basalt monoliths regarded as emblematic by the islanders. The summit is presided over by El Pico de las Nieves, at an altitude of 1,949 metres. This great height often puts it above the cloud level, setting up an effect known as the “sea of clouds”.

This spectacular backdrop, swathed in silence, exerts a great pull on visitors seeking direct contact with the living legacy of Macaronesia, the ensemble of five archipelagoes in the North Atlantic, made up of the Canary Islands, the Azores, the Cape Verde Islands, Madeira and the Savage Islands. The flora of Gran Canaria is one of the island’s great draws and has aroused interest among the scientific community for centuries. Over a hundred plant species are indigenous to this island alone, while another five hundred species are endemic to the Archipelago. Laurel forests and towering pines are conducive to immersing oneself in an environment blessed with a privileged climate. If you’re fond of botany, be sure to visit the Jardín Viera y Clavijo – also known as the Jardín Canario (Canary Island Garden) – given over primarily to flowers and plants endemic to the seven Canary Islands.

The indigenous fauna scattered across the island is also interesting. In addition to lizards, perenquenes (Canary wall geckos) and such iconic birds as the blue chaffinch, Gran Canaria is home to almost fifty types of nesting birds. The sea is another of its fortes. The waters surrounding the island feature a broad variety of fish, notably the comber, grouper, island grouper, cow bream and white seabream, among many others. It is also quite common to spot dolphins and whales coasting along at a safe distance.

Gran Canaria’s biodiversity can be seen in all its splendour from the Red de Miradores, a network of viewpoints comprising 31 observation platforms affording the best possible views and where you can take great photos. Further, if you’re an enthusiast of trekking, climbing or cycling, Gran Canaria offers endless opportunities in the form of routes with various difficulty ratings.

Accommodation at stunning sites is provided by a good range of rural hotels and houses spread across the whole island. Small spiritual retreats, where you can dispel all stress, located in gorges and other concealed tracts of land, guaranteed to enhance your experience of Gran Canaria.

Come and live it out for yourself. Check out our flights here.

Photos by Patronato Turismo Gran Canaria

 

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TREAT YOUR LOVED ONE TO THE MOST BEAUTIFUL SKIES (AND STARS!) THIS VALENTINE'S DAY

You could buy flowers or chocolates, but we've got a better idea: this Valentine's Day give something that won't wilt and that isn't bad for you... a super romantic getaway to gaze at the stars from the most incredible places.

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In the Land of Sailors

Genoa City is the gateway to the Italian Riviera and the great communication route between the Mediterranean and Europe. In 1992, to mark the fifth anniversary of America’s discovery, was completely refurbished to become one of the main city’s entertainment areas, in the heart of the city. One of the elements that attracted the most attention is the beautiful wooden galleon built for Polanski’s film Pirates.

But the true symbol of the city is the Lantern, the great lighthouse of Genoa, with its 76 meters high San Benigno, is the pride of the Genoese and offers fantastic views over the city to visit it. Next to the tower you can visit the Museo della Lanterna.

Genoa is a historical city of trade and navigators tradition. Here are some examples: although there are many theories and ramblings about Christopher Columbus’s home town, the greatest consensus of the experts is to indicate the city of Savona as his city of birth. In Genoa, at Piazza Dante you can visit the house-museum of Christopher Columbus, where he lived between 1455 and 1470. Genovese was alsoAndrea Doria, the admiral who discovered how to sail against the wind or Lancelotto Malocello, considered the medieval discoverer of the Canary Islands and named the island of Lanzarote in his honour.

In this city so related to the sea, we find the largest aquarium in Europe of aquatic biodiversity, theAquarium of Genoa which is in the same port, with over 15,000 animals of 400 different species among sharks, penguins, manatees, Antarctic animals, jellyfish and tropical fish, a journey which takes about three hours. Galata is located next to the Museum of the Sea and Navigation, dedicated to the deep sea and Genoese navigation history.

Another place closely related to their maritime culture is the Museo Delle Culture Del Mondo, at Castello d’Albertis, Florentine style. Enrico d’Albertis was another Genoese writer and navigator and circled the world three times and circumnavigated Africa in search of archaeological excavations. The museum includes these interesting ethnographic and archaeological collections Enrique d’Albertis collected in his travels around the world.

The historic center of Genoa is especially beautiful, though a bit chaotic with this mix of buildings and streets that form a labyrinth. Here lived the rich merchants of the time, in sumptuous Gothic buildings have been converted into museums or modern shops.

Finally, a note on the Genoese cuisine made with fresh and simple products. You have to try a vegetable focaccia with a splash of olive oil or the different types of pasta stuffed which one you like best, such as ravioli or corzetti. Vegetable dishes and numerous seafood recipes, fish soups, fried fish or crispy cod fritters and specialties like ciuppin or buridda.

Picture by Twice25 & Rinina25

A place well worth discovering! Check out our flights here.

 

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Fuerteventura – Seaside and Zen

They happen to be the best beaches for doing all sorts of watersports, especially windsurfing. Apart from the island’s fine seaboard, it also has other spots worth discovering, notably the Lobos islet, its age-old towns and its coastal villages, where you can taste fresh seafood.

150 Kilometres of Beaches To Choose From 

Fuerteventura is sand and sea in their pristine state. Huge beaches and small, solitary coves, some completely wild and virgin; others, sheltered and safe for all the family… a vast array to choose from. The Jandía peninsula features the endless Playas de Sotavento, with some of the most popular and celebrated seaside resorts: Morro Jable and El Matorral, Playa Esmeralda and Playa Barca. On the leeward side we find the stunning beach of Cofete – kilometres of solitary sand lashed by the powerful Atlantic. The north side is surprising for its Grandes Playas, and the immense Corralejos and dune system. The area also features family beaches such as El Cotillo and La Concha with their calm waters, thanks to the nearby horseshoe-shaped natural reef. Stretching out under the sun on any of those beaches, and bathing in the crystal-clear turquoise waters, is capable of giving anyone a new lease on life.

Raw Nature Under Clear Skies

Fuerteventura is the second largest of the Canary Islands. Its stark landscape, which conveys a relaxing, soothing feeling, is the best antidote to the stress of hectic, everyday life. Listed as a Biosphere Reserve, the island is divided into thirteen protected natural spaces, from Malpaíses to the vast area of sand dunes which support endemic species. The volcanic landscape has been modelled by the passage of time into a land of gentle relief, albeit dotted with such unique elements as volcanic cones and blades. The famous Mirador de Morro Velosa vantage point, designed by the brilliant Canary Island artist, César Manrique, affords spectacular views over the landscape of Fuerteventura. The depths of the Cueva del Llano take you into the bowels of the earth, providing insights into the formation of this vast volcanic tube and the island itself. Additionally, if you cast your gaze skywards, you will appreciate why Fuerteventura was also listed as a Starlight Reserve.

Why wait to discover it for yourself? Check out our flights here.

Text: Turismo de Canarias

Images: Promotor Turismo Canarias, S.A.

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