Thursday, 18 October 2012 6:29 PM
If you're lucky enough to be escaping the dreary weather at home for sunshine in the Canary Islands, you'll want to know what there is to see and do when you arrive at the archipelago on a cruise trip. Read our guide to some of the top attractions to take in during your voyage.
The main draw for many people planning a break in the Canary Islands is the chance to spend time on the beach. All the isles of the archipelago offer lovely sandy spots, with Tenerife being a particularly ideal location in which to hit the beach.
Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands and boasts many sandy areas, such as the family-friendly Playa del Duque. If it's seclusion you're after, head to El Bollullo beach in the north of the island. Backed by spectacular cliffs, the beach is perhaps unlike any other you've been to before, as the sand here is black. Some of the beaches on Tenerife have dark sand as a result of the island's volcanic past.
If you head to Gran Canaria during your cruise, you'll find four main beaches here, and any one of these is likely to be a perfect spot for enjoying the island's subtropical climate.
History buffs touring the Canary Islands should climb ashore at the port of Arrecife in Lanzarote, as there are a few interesting castles to be seen here. Once you've spent some time soaking up the sun on the local beach, head to the castle of San Gabriel and take a look round the archaeological museum it contains.
Another fortress worth visiting during your time in Arrecife is the Castillo de San Jose, which dates back to the 17th century and houses the Museo International de Arte Contempornneo. There are all sorts of works of modern art to take in here, even in the restaurant, where contemporary paintings line the walls.
Fortresses aren't the only old buildings to be seen on a trip around the Canary Islands - there are numerous antique churches too. While you're in Lanzarote, call in at the Iglesia de San Gines, a former hermitage that is now a parish church. The place of worship was built in the 17th century and has since become an important focal point for community events and festivities.
Meanwhile, in Gran Canaria, you'll find some lovely old churches, like the Cathedral of Santa Ana and the ornate Church of San Juan Bautista, the latter of which dates back to 1909.
The Teide National Park in Tenerife is a popular attraction for visitors who want to learn more about the isle's volcanic history. In the centre of the park is the dormant Mount Teide - one of the biggest volcanoes in the world - and you can find out about the volcano's past eruptions during your visit. There's no need to worry about an eruption during your visit as the volcano has been dormant since 1909.
Another popular natural landmark is the Bandama Natural Monument - a caldera that measures 700 ft in depth. Located in Gran Canaria, the crater can be explored on foot, although it takes a couple of hours to walk to its base. Along the route you can admire the flora growing in the colourful ash.