The CANARY ISLANDS is an archipelago of SEVEN OFFICIAL islands LOCATED 100 km west of the border between  Morocco  and the  Western Sahara . The CanarY ISLANDS are one of Spain 's 17  autonomous communities  and an  outermost region  of the European Union . The islands include (from largest to smallest):  Tenerife Fuerteventura Gran Canaria Lanzarote La Palma La Gomera El Hierro La Graciosa Alegranza Isla de Lobos MontaƱa Clara Roque del Este  and  Roque del Oeste . The archipelago's beaches, climate and important natural attractions,especially  Maspalomas  in  Gran Canaria  and  Teide National Park  and Mount  Teide  (the third tallest volcano in the world measured from its base on the ocean floor), make it a major tourist destination with over 12 million visitors per year, especially Tenerife, Gran Canaria and Lanzarote. The islands have a  subtropical climate , with long warm summers and moderately warm winters. Due to their location above the  temperature inversion  layer, these islands are ideal for astronomical observation. For this reason, two professional observatories, Teide Observatory on the island of Tenerife and Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on the island of La Palma , have been built on the islands.

The capital of the Autonomous Community is shared by the cities of  Santa Cruz de Tenerife  and  Las Palmas de Gran Canaria , which in turn are the capitals of the  provinces  of  Santa Cruz de Tenerife  and  Province of Las Palmas . Las Palmas has been the largest city in the Canaries since 1768, except for a brief period in 1910. Between the  1833 territorial division of Spain  and 1927 Santa Cruz de Tenerife was the sole capital of the Canary Islands . In 1927 a decree ordered that the capital of the Canary Islands be shared, as it remains at present The third largest city of the Canary Islands is  La Laguna  (a  World Heritage Site ) on TENERIFE .

During the times of the  Spanish Empire  the Canaries were the main stopover for  Spanish galleons  on their way to the  Americas  because of the favorable easterly winds.


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