You’re 100km west of the Moroccan coast. It’s a short-haul flight from London (4 hours) and winter sun is guaranteed. Sun-starved Brits and Germans have been coming here for years, some to lounge by the pool, others to prop up the bar. Quite a lot of misinformation circulates. Take the following fact: there are no high-rise developments on Lanzarote. Not one. You do not encounter rampaging hordes of drunken English men at every turn. Instead, when we visited the Canaries, we found gorgeous beaches, lava lakes, an extraordinarily productive wine industry, and whitewashed towns with breathtaking views.
All in all, the islands offer unique, diverse and strikingly beautiful landscapes. Lanzarote has lunar-like volcanic craters. Tenerife has incredible Masca, a mountain-side village that looks out to sea. Gran Canaria has rugged mountains and golden beaches. Fuerteventura is flat with vast areas of sand dunes. La Gomera is a hidden gem, as green as a Welsh valley, with deep gorges for intrepid walkers. La Palma is the lushest of the lot, while El Hierro, a Unesco biosphere, is rocky, rugged and utterly remote. It may not make great headlines in the tabloids, but the truth about the Canaries is this: each island has something wonderful to offer. The archipelago’s history, culture and natural beauty remain, on the whole, undiscovered, and those who delve further are richly rewarded.