t Bougainvillea-decked houses in Puerto de Mogán’s streets
Experience Eastern Canary Islands
The Canary Islands were originally inhabited by the Guanche people, who came over from North Africa around 1000 BC. When Spanish conquerors sailed to the archipelago in the early 15th century, they first reached these eastern isles, with Lanzarote being the first to yield to the invaders in 1402. Fuerteventura fell soon after, followed swiftly by Gran Canaria. Fuerteventura was densely wooded at the time, but European settlers cut down the timber for shipbuilding, and the dry climate and introduction of goats to the island reduced the vegetation to parched scrub.
The geographical position of these islands, coupled with the strong trade winds that blow over them, made them the ideal port of call on Columbus’s very first transatlantic journey to the New World. Casa de Colón on Gran Canaria is said to be where Columbus stayed while one of his ships was being repaired.
Lanzarote began to transform from a land dedicated to agriculture and fishing into a popular tourist destination in the 1960s, a change that was heavily influenced by native artist and architect César Manrique. The island’s idiosyncratic white houses and the conspicuous scarcity of high-rise buildings is thanks to him. Along with Fuerteventura and Gran Canaria, Lanzarote is a holiday playground – with winter sun, long beaches and plenty of outdoor activities.