The Canary Islands have never had the glamourous celebrity visitors of Ibiza or the Cote d'Azur. Nor have they suffered from the horde of reality TV celebs that plague the Costas. However, the celebrities that have dropped in over the years have left some fascinating myths and mysteries behind. Here are the juciest.
Vulcanologists are investigating an undersea volcano between Tenerife and Gran Canaria after a series of earthquakes.
The Costa Meloneras hotel in Gran Canaria have this on their a la carte restaurant wine list and it's a great example of a dry Canary Islands white.
Tenerife is only an hour from Gran Canaria by ferry and you get to south Fuerteventura in less than three hours. Gran Canaria also has direct overnight ferries to Lanzarote and even boats to mainland Spain. While fares for non-residents aren't cheap, the ferries are a great way to get between islands with a car or a large family.
There are three ferry companies in Gran Canaria: Fred Olsen, Armas and Transmediterranea.
The ferry to Tenerife
Ferries to Tenerife run from Puerto de las Nieves in the north west of Gran Canaria and from the capital Las Palmas. Currently the Norwegian-owned Fred Olsen does the Agaete route (one hour to Santa Cruz plus a free 40 minute bus ride from Las Palmas) while Armas does the Las Palmas route (under three hours). Prices are similar for both journeys.
Look out for Fred Olsen deals that include the ferry ride and tickets to the Loro Parque theme park in Tenerife: They can be great value and you have the option to spend a night on the island next door.
The Ferry to Fuerteventura
Fred Olsen and Armas go from Las Palmas to Fuerteventura. The Fred boat is a fast catamaran and does the journey in under three hours while the Armas is a traditional ferry and takes about four hours to get to Morro Jable in south Fuerteventura.
Technically you can do a day trip to Fuerteventura by catching the early Fred Olsen and getting the late ferry back.
The Armas boat also continues on to Fuerteventura's capital Puerto del Rosario which saves you a long drive if you're he.ading north.
The ferry to Lanzarote
Armas runs a night ferry from Las Palmas to Arrecife in Lanzarote four days per week. It leaves at midnight and arrives early in the morning.
The ferry to La Gomera and La Palma
Where there's no direct ferries to these two island Fred Olsen has a bus link between Santa Cruz and its ferry port in south Tenerife at Los Cristianos. The bus is included in the price and there isn't too much waiting before you're on the ferry to the next island.
The ferry to Spain
Armas runs a weekly ferry between Las Palmas and Huelva in southern Spain using a brand new ship. The journey takes 48 hours and departs on Thursdays. Transmediterranea goes weekly from Las Palmas to Cadiz.
For the latest timetables check the Fred Olsen, Armas and Transmediterranea websites.
Gran Canaria and Tenerife are the two biggest tourist destinations in the Canary Islands. Since most visitors choose one island for their holidays, which is better, Gran Canaria or Tenerife?
Both islands get great weather all year round and are the same distance from Europe. We live in Gran Canaria and love the island, but Tenerife is a cracking destination as well. Here's what we think:
The beaches are why you guys head to the Canary Islands so let's have a look at what the two islands offer:
We think Gran Canaria has the edge because of its natural sandy beaches: Between the golden beach and dunes at Maspalomas and Playa del Inglés, and the stunning Las Canteras Beach in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria has two of Europe's best beaches. Tenerife has beautiful natural stretches of sand, such as El Medano, La Tejita and Playa Jardín, but they are not on the same scale.
When it comes to artificial beaches both Gran Canaria and Tenerife have some crackers. Las Teresitas in Tenerife is beautiful, as are Playa de las Americas, Playa del Duque and Fañabé. On Gran Canaria you have Anfi, Amadores and Mogan, all pretty beaches close to the resorts. Again, Gran Canaria has the edge, in our slightly biased opinion, due to its number and range of beaches.
Both Tenerife and Gran Canaria have excellent little beaches that rarely get any tourists. The best beaches on both islands are often the little ones at the mouth of quiet barrancos. You get the sun and the sea all to yourself! Overall, we give the beach crown to Gran Canaria.
Food and Drink
Tenerife just seems to do food better than Gran Canaria. From its little Guachinche restaurants in the hills to its quality resort restaurants, Tenerife is a cut above. There are plenty of good places to eat in Gran Canaria, especially in small towns and in the capital Las Palmas, but Tenerife still has the edge: We think it is because is more popular with French and Italian visitors and residents.
Tenerife's Dorada beer is slightly nicer than Gran Canaria's Tropical (hope nobody from Gran Canaria is reading this ;-D), even though both brews are made by South Africa's SAB Miller brewery. Gran Canaria's Arehucas rum is the Canary Islands' most popular spirit.
With Tenerife's beer topping Tropical and Arehucas carrying the spirits category we have to give the overall food and drink prize to Tenerife.
Landscapes and Nature
Tenerife has a 3,718 metre volcano and you can't argue with that: The Las Cañadas national park is unique in Europe and Teide is a stunning peak. The far north of Tenerife is rugged and spectacular and its laurel and pine forests are pristine.
Gran Canaria on the other hand has its spectacular ravines or barrancos and gorgeous pine forests, as well as the sheers cliffs of the west coast. Both islands have a huge range of outdoor sporting options such as cycling, diving and hiking. In the battle of landscapes, we think both islands come out equal.
Nightlife and Fun
Tenerife's Playa de Las Americas is the liveliest resort in the Canary Islands and beats Playa del Inglés in Gran Canaria. The famous Veronica Strip is where the young-uns head for fun after sunset. Where Gran Canaria wins out is in its local night-life: Las Palmas' bars and clubs are full most nights of the week and Santa Cruz just doesn't have the same energy. While La Laguna has a fantastic university scene, we think that Las Palmas' is better thanks to its size and diversity. With Tenerife taking the resort crown and Gran Canaria the local one, its another draw.
So which island is better, Gran Canaria or Tenerife? It's a tough call as both islands have world-class highlights, but we have to give the overall prize to Gran Canaria. But then we would: If we liked Tenerife more we would move there!
What do you think? Have we been fair? Or have we missed something that pushes Tenerife into the top spot? Let us know in a comment, or visit our Gran Canaria Facebook page.