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What to do in the Canary Islands in October

While in the rest of Europe the leaves are starting to fall from the trees, the days are growing shorter and the cold weather is setting in, you can really make the most of the month of October in the Canary Islands. With 10 hours of sunlight a day and an average temperature of 26°C, the gentle climate offers total freedom to choose how to invest your time: strolling by the sea, sunbathing on the beach, hiking or visiting delightful beauty spots.

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This is the month when the Open Fotosub Isla de El Hierro takes place, a prestigious underwater photography contest which for two decades now has attracted over twenty photographers to the Marine Reserve of Punta de La Restinga. They come to this island to immortalise the incredible seabed of one of the best places in the world for diving.

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The Canary Islands has its own traditional celebration of the ‘Day of the Dead’. It is called ‘Noche de Los Finaos’, an ancient custom that has gradually been recovered in many districts of the islands. Children would go from house to house asking if there were ‘santos’, or saints, and in return they would receive almonds, walnuts, dried figs or chestnuts, which ended the route around the neighbourhood. Afterwards they would return to their homes to remember their deceased relatives through the voice of the oldest woman in the family, who told stories and anecdotes as the sweet plunder was shared. The fiesta ended with dancing in the street and a meal of roasted chestnuts.

 

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It was October 1492 when Christopher Columbus reached America. But first, on his voyage of discovery, he put in at the Canary Islands to gather strength, resupply and finish preparing his ships. All of the details of his stay here, and the connection of the American continent with the Canary Islands, are displayed at the Casa de Colón. Located in the capital of La Gomera, San Sebastián, it was once a palace that was used to accommodate the admiral himself. In Gran Canaria, the traces left by the navigator are housed in a museum of the same name, which conserves some of its original parts, of great historical value.

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Every five years La Gomera is decked out in its entirety in honour of the ‘Virgen de Guadalupe’, when the icon is taken on a sea procession, amidst the sound of chácaras (a castanet-type instrument) and drums, by fishermen and crowds of people who accompany the image from its sanctuary, in Puntallana, to San Sebastián, the capital of the island. A journey that culminates with the emotive entrance of the patron saint of the ‘Isla Colombina’ into the church of La Asunción.