With a warm and dry all-year-round climate and the deep blue Atlantic Ocean on the doorstep it is no surprise that the Canary Islands have become major attractions for people who love the outdoors.
The conditions are perfect for trying out something new or testing your skills at a favourite pursuit. Professional sports players have used the Canary Islands for training for years and sports tourism has become a burgeoning business.
Water sports of all kinds may predominate, but many other activities have superb facilities, including golf, cycling, walking and hiking, tennis, athletics, climbing and even paragliding. There are excellent gym facilities and some competition-sized swimming and diving pools.
Equipment can be hired and there are taster courses, coaches and academies to encourage beginners, challenge the more advanced or just enable visitors to have fun.
Water sports: Think of one and you are most likely to be able to do it
International competitions are held on the islands for surfing and bodyboarding, windsurfing and kiteboarding because conditions are often so ideal.
The crystal-clear Atlantic teems with life, making diving, fishing and deep-sea fishing exciting prospects. The weather is usually good for sailing and water-skiing too.
Golf in the Canary Islands
Beautiful courses, some designed by stars of the sport, are on four of Olympic Holidays five islands, with eight on Tenerife, seven on Gran Canaria and two on both Fuerteventura and Lanzarote. The 2005 Spanish Open was played at the Abama club on Fuerteventura.
Hundreds of miles of marked trails and good, smooth road routes have made the islands increasingly popular for cyclists. The demanding volcanic mountains of Tenerife helped Sir Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome win the Tour de France, but there are much easier routes too.
Walking and Hiking
As with cycling, there are many hundreds of miles of well-signed footpaths that enable walkers to get off the beaten track and explore the remote corners on all the islands. It has become such a popular activity that Tenerife is home to an annual walking festival.
The Annabelle Croft Tennis Academy in Tenerife is one of many tennis centres on the islands. Many hotels have their own courts and tennis holiday packages are available.
There are tracks on Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote and Gran Canaria. There is an international outdoor circuit for adults and youngsters in Tamaretilla in Fuerteventura.
One to watch rather than play and it’s big on Canarian TV. Teams of 12 compete and only their feet can touch the ground. The object is to throw your opponent so that another part of his anatomy touches the ground. It’s played in a sand circle.