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The dreamy island that provided inspiration to Chopin and Miró now has a reputation as a spring break beach destination. Don't worry, though, if you're holiday-making over elementary school spring break-- there's plenty for the younger crowd. Marineland's dolphin and sea lion shows and children's beach attract families. And if you have a Thomas-obsessed toddler, the antique train that travels between Palma and Soller is a must-see.
Strongly influenced by the tribal culture of the Guanches (the original inhabitants), Tenerife was conquered by the Spanish 500 years ago. It's home to Mount Teide, Spain's tallest peak, and to the popular beach resort of Los Gigantes. Today visitors flock to Loro Park to see tropical birds, to Tenerife Zoo Monkey Park and to Parque Nacional Las Canadas del Teide's volcanic rock formations. Explore by car or with a "bono bus" ticket, which offers reductions on regular prices.
Welcoming, tolerant Gran Canaria offers a little something for everyone. Families flock to the water parks and beaches of Puerto Rico. Those seeking peaceful escape scamper to Mogan's quiet fishing villages. Gay visitors crowd the bars, restaurants and beaches of Playa del Ingles. Urban attractions are on offer in Las Palmas. Three highways open up the island for those with a rental car or a bus schedule. Prime sites to visit include Iglesia de San Juan Bautista de Arucas and Palmalitos zoo park.
Drawn by its fiestas, late night discos and clubs, water parks and golf courses, visitors can't resist sunny Fuerteventura. Discover local culture in Betancuria, home to a cathedral and several museums, at Tefia's eco-museum or at one of February's quirky Carnaval celebrations. Cool down after a hot day on the beach or a hard night at the clubs at Baku Water Park.
If your kids are sick of the same old beach holiday you take every year, consider taking them to Lanzarote. There are great beaches, to be sure, but this UNESCO World Biosphere reserve has unique attractions and activities. We're talking camel rides on volcanoes (at Timanfaya National Park), or eating at a restaurant in a volcanic cave (at Jameos del Agua). Even the most jaded teens will be impressed.
Ibiza: Old Spanish for "party 'til you drop." Perhaps not literally, but this is definitely one of Europe's favourite nightlife playgrounds. Ibiza boasts more than 100 miles of coastline with some 50 beaches, plus plenty of restaurants, bars, and water sports—and clubs, of course. Fit in a little culture and visit Ibiza's UNESCO-designated old town.
As the first place in Spain to see the sunrise, Minorca is like the country’s ambassador to the morning. Beaches here are beautiful and, surprisingly, relatively empty. The jewel-coloured water is a magnet for waterskiers, windsurfers and sailors. Playa De Binigaus beach is perfect for families, while Cala Mitjana is an idyllic spot for romance. Head to the town of Alaoir to nibble on some fresh local cheese or turn back time in the charming fishing village of Fornells.
You may have to fly into Ibiza's airport to get to Formentera, but a holiday here is the antithesis of a wild week in Ibiza. You'll reach Formentera by ferry, and you'll find a quiet, peaceful little island with natural beauty to spare. Rent a scooter or bike to take you from beach to beach.
La Palma is a pristine paradise, set against a backdrop of volcanic landscape. Perhaps the best way to experience La Palma’s rugged beauty is a hike through the Caldera de Taburiente National Park or the narrow gorges of Los Tilos. The cool waters of natural swimming hole Charco Azul beckon on a steamy day. The dark sands of Playa Nueva are great for sunbathing and cat naps.
The volcanic island El Hierro has evolved from an ancient civilization to a prime (yet still pristine) destination for elite divers and beach lovers who crave remote beauty. The waters are calm and brimming with unusual sea life, while aboveground the landscape is peppered with ancient and twisted trees. Explore the lovely villages and hilly stone-laid paths on foot, then feast on rustic meals of fresh fish, local cheeses and wild herbs.