Catching some winter sun is a traveling benefit that’s really hard to beat.
Enjoying the warm embrace of the sun on spotless beaches while knowing the folks back home are donning their winter coats and shivering on their way to work can be very satisfying indeed.
And it seems one of the trendiest places to do that in this fall and winter season will be the Canary Islands.
This Spanish archipelago of volcanic islands just off the coast of Western Africa in the Atlantic Ocean is expecting a surge of visitors this winter that could break its all-time tourism record.
In fact, 35 per cent more air seats are scheduled to fly there this winter compared to winter 2019 according to a recent report by Guide to Canary Islands.
So, just why is this unique Spanish territory having such a moment right now?
The ‘Best Climate In The World’
At least, this is the claim that’s made by the Canary Islands tourism board (though it’s kind of hard to disagree).
The islands boast long sunny days throughout the year due to their very southern location compared to the rest of mainland Europe.
Even in the depths of mid-winter, the sun rises at 7:30am and sets at 6:30pm with average temperatures sitting between 60F and 70F – an especially pleasant climate if you live somewhere where snow is common in winter.
Unique Landscape To Explore
The seven main large islands of the Canaries are El Hierro, La Palma, La Gomera, Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, and Lanzarote.
These islands were formed here by volcanic activity and subsequently boast a unique and striking landscape that is a photographer’s dream (you don’t even want to know how many photos I took when visiting Lanzarote).
The blacks and reds of the soil and the strangely barren yet beautiful vistas of these islands give them something not too many other places have – it’s almost like a European Hawaii.
There has been volcanic activity here as recently as 2021 when Cumbre Vieja on La Palma erupted – however, it is constantly monitored, and there are very effective warning systems in place.
Mount Teide on Tenerife is, in fact, the highest mountain in Spain at over 12,000ft.
Affordable For Longer Trips
The Canary Islands are still relatively affordable if you know where to look.
Sure, there are expensive areas such as Tafira in Gran Canaria or Puerto Calero in Lanzarote, but it’s not too difficult to find somewhere to match your budget.
Lonely Planet claims that a cheap hostel can cost as little as €20 per night, while a decent Airbnb can be from €50 per night.
Add in the fact that the U.S. Dollar is surging against the Euro at the time of writing, and it makes these magical islands even more accessible.
While most flights to the Canaries will involve a change at a major European mainland airport such as Madrid or Frankfurt, there are some flights direct from the U.S. from cities such as Miami.
Hot Spot For Digital Nomads
Spain’s digital nomad visa is already attracting a lot of interest, so it makes sense that the Canary Islands is also benefitting from it.
The website Nomad List currently has the island of Gran Canaria down as the fifth best place to live for digital nomads.
While the islands have well-developed tourism markets, it is still possible to live on a relatively modest budget here – somewhere between $2,000-$3,000 will make you very comfortable.
To gain a Spanish digital nomad visa, you must earn double the Spanish minimum wage, must not be employed by a company based in Spain, and must not have lived in the country within the past five years.
One nice thing about this visa is that you can earn up to 20 percent of your income from a Spanish company.
The island of Gran Canaria is known for being a very friendly and welcoming place to the LGBTQ+ community.
The Canary Islands tourism board says that in Maspalomas, there’s plenty of exclusive accommodation and even features Yumbo Centrum, the world’s first shopping center dedicated to the LGBTQ+ community.
You will find several Pride parades and events throughout the year in Gran Canaria, including one in November, billed as the last Pride of the year.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com