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World's Best Islands 2011

world's best islands: Canary Islands, Spain

Travelshots.com / Alamy

No. 29 Canary Islands, Spain

These Spanish islands off Africa’s northwest coast are overrun with tourists (mostly Europeans) in winter. So you’ll have more sand to yourself from March through October, when the weather is still balmy. Hikers generally choose to visit Tenerife, the largest island and the one with the highest volcanic mountain, the 12,198-foot Pico del Teide; 20 trails wind through the national park that surrounds it. There’s also an archaeological park with pre-Hispanic step pyramids in Güímar.

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