Looking forward to future Canary Islands travel and adventure? Are you choosing a cruise itinerary? Maybe you’re deciding whether to book a trip to the area. No matter your reason, getting to visit these beautiful islands is an opportunity you’ll remember fondly for years to come. Here are a few fun facts about the Canary Islands to get you excited for your vacation.
If the islands bring to mind a colorful songbird, we understand why. After all, they share the same name, both lift people’s spirits and historically have ties to Spain.
However, while the Canary Islands are believed to be named for an animal, it’s far from the bird! The Canary Islands come from the Latin word canaria which means dogs. Local legends have it that large dogs inhabited the islands around the time the Romans arrived.
Even funnier, biologists of today dispute this and think that the name arose from the islands’ populations of seals, also known to sailors as sea dogs, probably for their friendly dispositions and bark-like call.
As with most of the world’s beautiful islands, the Canary Islands are volcanic. This island chain has volcanoes ranging from long-extinct—as with La Gomera’s 3-million-year-old shield volcano—to the somewhat active Cumbre Vieja volcanic ridge on La Palma. However, that doesn’t stop an average of 9-10 million tourists from visiting the islands each year. As with most volcanic areas, the islands are lush with verdant plant life, thanks to their mineral-rich soil. Along with stretches of pristine beach and deep-blue ocean, the islands are truly paradise.
Despite their close proximity to Morocco, the islands are under Spanish jurisdiction and mandate. This means that they are also within the Schengen Zone, so European nationals can visit the islands without needing a passport or visa. This is convenient for Europeans who want to travel with ease to their destination, and for Americans and Canadians who need only their passport for Canary Island travel and will most likely not need to fret over complicated visa requirements.
The gastronomy of the islands is called Canarian cuisine, and it is highly popular with tourists from across the globe. It’s heavily influenced by Spanish cuisine and cooking methods. Canarian foods are also known for the freshness of their ingredients, most likely attributable to the rich soil the local vegetables and fruits thrive in.
Many dishes are relatively simple and allow the natural flavors of the produce, meats and fish to shine without being overwhelmed by other ingredients. The spices that are used are ones frequently found in Spanish and Latin American dishes, such as red pepper, cumin and coriander. Popular dishes include rancho canario, a soup made from potatoes, meat, chickpeas and noodles; costillas con piña, pork ribs with corn on the cob; and bienmesabe, which is a dessert Venezuelan in origin and made from egg yolk, ground almond and honey.
Are your mind and body ready for a relaxing vacation to the Canary Islands? There’s no better way to experience the islands’ magic than by a cruise, which can feature more than one island per itinerary. Celebrity Cruises offers some of the most immersive trips to the region. Contact one of our travel agents today to find out which voyage is perfect for you.