One of Spain’s holiday destinations most beloved by Britons is also an area of major seismic activity.
The Canary Islands, an autonomous community and archipelago located in the Atlantic Ocean, were visited by 4.96 million UK tourists in 2022 alone.
This huge figure shared by the Instituto Canario de Estadística and Promotur Turismo Canarias, shows a full recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, as in 2019 the number of UK holidaymakers who had made it to the Canaries was 4.94 million.
The area exercises a major pull on tourists looking to relax and enjoy a holiday in the sun despite the seismic activity it regularly records.
In the first six days of September alone, the Spanish National Geographic Institute recorded 52 tremors, ranging from magnitude 0.3 to 3.2.
As noted by the Institute, the seismicity of the Canary Islands archipelago, located within the African plate, is of moderate magnitude – and more often than not these tremors are not felt by locals and tourists.
Earthquakes in the area generally don’t exceed 5.5 degrees of magnitude, the Institute wrote on its website, and are in many cases linked to volcanic reactivations – which have the possibility to end in an eruption.
Indeed, the archipelago is described as volcanologically active, with four of its islands having experienced historical eruptions.
Most recently, an eruption took place on the island of La Palma between September and December 2021, forcing thousands of people to temporarily leave their homes as the lava closed in.
At the end of its volcanic activity, Cumbre Vieja destroyed more than 3,000 properties and hundreds of acres of farmland.
Nevertheless, the Canaries remain an attractive destination thanks to their breathtaking landscapes and the guaranteed sunshine.
And it’s not just stunning beaches, the volcanic scenery and good weather that ensure tourists are heading to the Canaries, as each of these islands has plenty culture and heritage to offer.
San Cristóbal de La Laguna, a city on Tenerife island, is a World Heritage site, as is the Garajonay National Park, a densely forested area on La Gomera.
The high presence of visitors in the Canary Islands has at times created discontent and disruption among locals and eco-activist groups, who argue the scale of tourism is worsening already existing environmental and social crises.