Morro Jable and Playa del Matorral, Fuerteventura, Canary Islands, Spain
© Gavin Hellier/Getty Image
An island crossroad of culture. The Canary Islands
For thousands of years, the Canary Islands have served as an international crossroads for many cultures. As far back as 40 BCE, this group of volcanic islands drew interest from the Romans, followed by Arab traders in 999 AD. Through the centuries, Genoese, Majorcan, Portuguese and French navigators found their way to the islands. Agriculture has long flourished here, with bananas, tomatoes and potatoes being tops in crops. Today, the Canary Islands—just 108 kilometres off the African mainland—are part of Spain. While the first voyagers came in search of trade opportunities, today's visitors come to explore the many beautiful national parks and relax on beaches like the Playa del Matorral on Fuertaventura Island, seen here during a spectacular sunset.