National Geographic’s picks: Two of Spain’s 7 natural wonders found in the Canary Islands

National Geographic has recognized two stunning natural areas in the Canary Islands as part of Spain's seven natural wonders, highlighting their unique and diverse landscapes.

National Geographic recently celebrated Spain’s rich natural beauty by naming its seven natural wonders, and the Canary Islands proudly claimed two spots on this prestigious list. Renowned for their diverse landscapes—from volcanic terrains to ancient forests—the islands offer some of the most unique and breathtaking scenery in the world.

The Celebrated Wonders of the Canary Islands

Two natural wonders found in the Canary Islands

The Canary Islands are a haven for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike. Among the islands’ numerous natural attractions, two have been distinguished by National Geographic for their exceptional ecological and aesthetic value:

Garajonay National Park (La Gomera)

National Geographic's picks: Two of Spain's 7 natural wonders found in the Canary Islands

Garajonay National Park is a stunning relic of the Tertiary period, showcasing one of Europe’s oldest forests. This laurel forest, or Monteverde, thrives under the nourishment of the frequent mists brought by the trade winds. Known for its “horizontal rain,” the environment allows for the flourishing of subtropical rainforest flora, a rarity in Europe.

The park spans the highest peaks of La Gomera, from 800 to 1,487 meters, offering lush landscapes and a vital sanctuary for diverse species. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986 and a Biosphere Reserve in 2012, Garajonay is a testament to the enduring beauty of ancient ecosystems.

Timanfaya National Park (Lanzarote)

National Geographic's picks: Two of Spain's 7 natural wonders found in the Canary Islands

Unlike the verdant Garajonay, Timanfaya National Park presents a stark yet stunning panorama of volcanic landscapes shaped by eruptions in the 18th and 19th centuries. The cataclysmic forces covered a quarter of Lanzarote with lava, creating dramatic formations of volcanic rock and more than 25 volcanic structures, including the iconic Montañas del Fuego.

The park’s rugged terrain is characterized by minimal vegetation, a variety of rock colors from black to red, and an intense interplay of shapes and silhouettes. Declared a National Park in 1974, Timanfaya remains geothermally active, with surface temperatures reaching up to 120 degrees Celsius, offering visitors a vivid glimpse into Earth’s dynamic processes.

How to Explore These Wonders

National Geographic's picks: Two of Spain's 7 natural wonders found in the Canary Islands

For those planning to visit these celebrated sites, here’s what you need to know:

  • Best Time to Visit: Early spring or late autumn are ideal, avoiding the peak tourist seasons while enjoying mild weather.
  • Getting There: Both parks are accessible by public transport, with local tours available for those seeking guided experiences.
  • Activities: Both parks offer a range of activities, from hiking and photography in Garajonay to guided tours and geothermal demonstrations in Timanfaya.

Other Notable Spanish Natural Wonders

National Geographic's picks: Two of Spain's 7 natural wonders found in the Canary Islands

The rest of National Geographic’s list includes diverse destinations across Spain, from the marine fossil-rich trails of Ordesa and Monte Perdido National Park in the Pyrenees to the vibrant ecosystems of Doñana National Park. Each site offers a unique testament to Spain’s geological and ecological diversity.

The Canary Islands’ inclusion in National Geographic’s list of natural wonders underscores their global ecological significance and the sheer beauty they offer to both residents and travelers. Whether exploring the ancient forests of Garajonay or the volcanic landscapes of Timanfaya, visitors to these islands are treated to an unparalleled encounter with nature’s artistry.

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