Each year, millions of travelers flock to both dormant and active volcanic sites around the world. For adventure enthusiasts and outdoor lovers, the popularity of these destinations is no surprise. While stunning natural sights are enough to book a trip to a volcano, these destinations also offer an unparalleled opportunity to take a trip back in time, learning about the fascinating geological processes that formed them over the course of thousands of years. For both an educational and adventurous excursion into nature, volcanoes and their surroundings make the perfect destination for nature lovers and curious travelers.
For those traveling with children, a trip to visit volcanoes is sure to satisfy everyone in the family. Kids will love exploring remarkable landscapes they’ve never seen before as they learn more about volcanoes and geology. They get an exciting, hands-on experience as they discover natural wonders such as craters, lava fields, and volcanic beaches covered in black sand and rock. Children will find great adventure in exploring the unearthly terrain and witnessing the impressive sites where volcanic eruptions of the past took place. These unique destinations will get children excited about and actively engaged in their surroundings, providing the perfect opportunity for parents and children to discover volcanoes together.
THE HIGHEST PEAK OF SPAIN
One of the best destinations for families seeking an exciting volcanic adventure can be found about sixty-two miles off the coast of North Africa, where Spain’s Canary Islands lay waiting to be explored. This volcanic archipelago, made up of the seven islands of Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Tenerife, La Gomera, La Palma, and El Hierro, offers a breathtaking escape into unexpected landscapes that’s perfect for the whole family. From soaring volcanic peaks and sugary white-sand beaches to forests teeming with biodiversity, the national parks of the Canary Islands are a dream destination for both adults and children alike as they discover all the natural wonders the islands have to offer.
Tenerife, the largest and most-visited of the Canary Islands, is home to one of Spain’s most impressive natural areas. In Teide National Park, visitors will find the highest peak in Spain and one of the highest island volcanoes in the world. At 3,718 meters above sea level, the active volcano of Mount Teide forms the centerpiece of the park. While hikers need to apply for a special permit in advance to climb to the summit of the volcano, anyone can enjoy the views from up to 3,550 meters.
Children will love taking the cable car ride up, which reaches an elevation of 1,200 meters with spectacular panoramic views of the island and sea beyond. Kids will also undoubtedly be enthralled visiting the Teide Observatory where they will be amazed as they peek through the solar telescopes to see sunspots and solar flares.
Aside from the volcano itself, the park is full of many other natural treasures to discover with kids. With an extensive system of trails, guests to the park can examine the details of the volcanic terrain firsthand. Petrified lava streams, crater-dented landscapes, ash beds, and an impressive array of colorful flowers in the spring make Teide National Park one of the most unique destinations when staying at a hotel in the Canary Islands and a must-see for family visitors to Tenerife.
In the northwestern corner of Tenerife, nature buffs will love exploring an entirely different type of terrain at Anaga Natural Park. Located just a short drive from the island’s capital city of Santa Cruz, Anaga boasts beautiful, dense laurel forests with plenty of walking trails suitable for children. Visitors can also discover the wild, remote beaches inside the park like Benijo Beach with its picturesque volcanic landscape, monolithic Roques de Anaga rock formations, and majestic sunsets looking out over the endless Atlantic.
THE LAND OF FIRE
For another unearthly experience, the easternmost Canary Island of Lanzarote offers an incredibly unique setting for outdoor adventurers. Visiting this quiet island known for its unusual black and red-rock landscape, feels like stepping foot onto another planet. Adventurous children will love exploring this otherworldly environment and learning about how it was created. At Timanfaya National Park, on the western side of Lanzarote, visitors can admire some of the most dramatic volcanic scenery of the Canary Islands. Covered entirely in volcanic soil, the national park sits atop the aftermath of a major volcanic eruption between 1730 and 1736. This eruption, relatively recent in geological terms, created the unique and rugged red landscape with very little vegetation known as the Montañas de Fuego, or Fire Mountains.
Once on the island, there are plenty of land activities to enjoy as well. Hikers can set out for a nature walk on the hiking trails circling the island where they will see volcanic cone formations, inland pools, salt marshes, beautiful coves, and the small settlement of Puertito that was once built by the island’s fishermen. For bird watchers, the island is an official protected area for birds and home to many endangered species that nest on the island’s ragged cliffs. Outdoor lovers who apply for a camping permit in advance are free to spend the night on the island’s campsite.
It should be noted however, that there are no facilities on the campgrounds, so it is important to bring everything needed for the night.
No matter which of the Canary Islands travelers choose to explore first, visitors of all ages are guaranteed to find something to learn about and to admire in the volcanic landscapes and natural parks there. From lush forests full of interesting species of plants and animals to wild, rugged scenery marked by volcanic activity, the islands remain preserved as unique gems, begging to be explored. The perfect family destination to admire nature at its purest, the Canary Islands offer a one-of-a-kind getaway into remarkable natural surroundings that parents will love and kids will never forget.
RACHEL GRAF | 25/09/2017
Photography by Cordon Press