Crowded and touristic, Gran Canaria has such a diverse landscape that it is often compared to a miniature continent. To the west of Playa del Inglès, the island's largest seaside resort, you will find the sand dunes of Maspalomas. To the north, you will come across the region of Agaete, which is surrounded by fertile valleys ripe with fruit. Further on, perched high above a canyon, you will discover Cenobio de Valeron, a network of 200-300 caves. However, it is the Roque Nublo, which rises in the west, (a 230 ft monolith) that was a sacred place for the Guanches, the now extinct natives of the Canary Islands.
The island may be lacking in sandy beaches but its turquoise waters, on the other hand, are great for diving.© Gadzius / 123RF
The flora and fauna of El Hierro are truly amazing and the landscapes spectacular.© Office du Tourisme des Canaries
A fertile basin formed by an ancient crater.© Alberto Giacomazzi / 123RF
Pine trees uprooted by the sheer force of the wind.© Michael Fischer
El Hierro was long home to the Meridian before Paris and later Greenwich.© Michael Fischer