Long a fun-and-sun getaway for gloom-weary Europeans, these islands off the coast of West Africa are some of the most spectacular tropical landscapes in the world. Yes, the beaches and resorts in Tenerife draw visitors by the thousands, but the islands are best experienced on their rugged side, where you can hike volcanoes and trek the desert in consecutive days.

Watersports are also huge here, whether you’re snorkeling with sea turtles of surfing monstrous waves offshore. You can even hit a nude beach on the sand dunes of Gran Canaria, or take a camel through Timanfaya National Park. Nature-lovers and leisure-lovers can appreciate the Canary Islands equally. And we’ve got all the info you need to plan your trip, no matter which camp you fall into.