November 7th, 2011
Think January – think cold winds, sleet and snow…No! Think again!
Log onto Spain Holiday and browse the selection of properties in the Canary Islands for this coming January. Why? Well, if you enjoy the elegant strains of classical music, then you are in for a treat.
What´s the occasion?
The Canary Islands International Music Festival held throughout January and February, on the major islands. So book now for a holiday with a difference – and sunshine too of course!
A music lovers dream
Imagine a holiday filled with sunshine and days on the beach, exploring the fabulous Canary Islands, then a late dinner followed by the strains of Bach as the sun slips over the horizon ending a perfect day…sound idyllic? Well, how about two months of more of the same?
What about it? Escape the dreary winter skies of Northern Europe and head South – all the way to the Canary Islands, nudging Africa and availing of the same warm weather and bright blue skies - and the only outdoor festival held in all of Europe during the Winter months. It really is a tropical paradise – and the best bit is that it´s short haul!
So, packing essentials: Sunglasses, bikini, surfing shorts, white tie and tails …and that glamorous evening gown.
The 28th edition of the Canary Islands Classical Musical Festival. Running since 1985, the emphasis was originally on introducing ´cultural tourism´to the Islands. To allow the many visitors who arrive here all year round, and especially in the Winter, to appreciate the location for more than just the sun and the beaches.
Well, that aim has certainly been achieved, and how!
Originally, when the Festival was first organized, the location of the concerts was just the two main islands, Gran Canaria and Tenerife.
Today , however, due to the expanding bill, and the growth of tourism on the the other smaller islands, the programme has changed to incorporate other venues, including this coming year, 2012, concerts to be held at:
(The number after the named island indicates the amount of concerts at that location)
- Tenerife – 18
- Gran Canaria – 18
- La Palma – 4
- La Gomera – 4
- Lanzarote – 6
- Fuerteventura – 4
- El Hierro – 4
So, you can have the option to base yourself on one Canary Island and get to see the concerts that are available and closest to you – or if you are a true classical music afficionado then why not book a few days at several locations and island-hop your holiday?!
What do the different Islands have to offer?
Well, for the winter, sunshine in bucketloads – bring your spade too for the best beaches around. My first ever holiday alone was to Gran Canaria, and I will never forget my first glimpse of the shifting sand dunes of Maspalomas. It felt as though I had been dropped straight into the Sahara! The biggest of the islands, Gran Canaria offers secluded beaches, big busy beaches, miles of sand, a green centre of forestry and wildlife, fantastic nightlife at Playa del Ingles and the most charming capital, Las Palmas, with it´s busy port and colonial grand houses. Book the Auditorio Alfredo Kraus in Las Palmas and enjoy the Russian Philharmonic Orchestra led by Vladimir Spivakiv. Visit Agaete in the north of the island, they have a rain making festival here every August, if you happen to visit in summer, Fiesta de la Rama - just imagine! Visit the Huerto de las Flores here too, a lovely botanical garden and not always open, but the local town hall on the same street has the key – just ask!
The smaller Islands
La Palma, El Hierro and La Gomera are all smaller more personal islands, peaceful and green, you´ll be following in the footsteps of the great wanderer Christopher Columbus should you choose to book one of these island holiday homes to rent for your musical stay….not a bad recommendation!
On La Palma don´t miss the cobbled Calle O´Daly, named after an Irish trader - I am not making this up, he made a fortune from bananas! – and here you´ll find the Iglesia de San Salvador, worth a look for the Mudejar ceiling insideand then on to the Plaza Alameda for a complete and real sized replica of the Santa María – the ship of the great explorer himself - no, not O´Daly….Columbus!
Watch out if you whistle while you walk on La Gomera – be careful of what you might be saying on the island of the ancient whistle language – El Silbo.
El Hierro, the smallest island, is appealing, particularly to Naturists and skin divers, quiet and not overly populated and an interesting fact – the last place in Spain for the sun to set.
Tenerife attracts visitors all year round, as you fly in to this westerly isle, admire the colossal presence of Mount Teide, an enormous dormant volcano and, another fact, said to cast the largest sea shadow in the world. Tenerife was actually named after it and the translation in the original language of Aboriginal Guanche means Snowy Mountain. Today, explore the Parque Natural del Teide, and walk the plateau of Las Cañades, admiring the wild flowers that grow only here.
Amongst those are:
- Teide Violet
- Canary Mustard
- Teide Wallflower
- Teide Broom
- Teide Viper´s Bugloss – which grows up to 6ft tall in the early summer months.
Explore this walker´s paradise more fully, and listen to Manuel Hernández Silva lead the Tenerife Symphony Orchestra… book a few more days and choose your Tenerife home from home by clicking here…
If you just want to pack that tuxedo for the concerts and otherwise fancy travelling light, then head to Fuerteventura, where apart from the planned 4 concerts, you can take advantage of the large number of beaches devoted to Naturism. The calm sheltered east coast is home to some of the best beaches, and is known as the Costa Calma. Great stretches of fine sand and little sheltered coves framed by the low cliffs make for a superb holiday.
The west of the island, however, is windy! The beaches are still great but the real attraction is the marine life so you may want to pack a wetsuit and go diving here, or explore the deserted out of the way beaches in a hired 4×4.
The fourth largest island in the group, and the one to hold 6 of the concerts, is Lanzarote.
Often described as barren, due to the treeless state of the island, it´s attraction for most visitors lies in the volcanic landscape.
For me, the attraction is the traditional and environmentally friendly tourism, which eschews high rise and neon for something altogether more palatable. This is mostly due to the artist César Manrique, a native of this island who returned in the late 1960´s and who dedicated his life to ensuring that strict guidelines were set for the future of his beloved island – building height limitations, specific colours used throughout the island, and that any development remained environmentally sustainable. A good way of life that remains today after his death in 1992.
Vist the Parque Nacional de Timanfaya, the exclusive jet set Costa Teguise, the busier but yet still unoppresive Puerto del Carmen, or Arrecife, for old charm and elegant promenades.
Don´t miss the two forts here – Castillo de San Gabriel – with it´s archaeological museum – and Castillo de San José – now housing a museum of contemporary art where you will, of course, find work by the aforementioned César Manrique.
So whether you want to watch that sunset over El Hierro, discover the Dunes of Gran Canaria, whistle down the mountains of La Gomera, or just enjoy the music and guaranteed sunshine – then head to Las Islas Canarias for the outstanding musical programme of the only outdoor Festival in winter - Go on, hit the perfect note and book today!
* Ticket booking for the Music Festival´s various events is available on the following telephone numbers:
Gran Canaria +34 928247442/3
Tenerife +34 922531835