An African-European archipelago with perfect climate.
Outside of Europe, I never hear anything about the Canaries. Americans seem completely unaware of their existence. This volcanic archipelago is filled with fascinating cloud forests, sandy deserts, and the most picturesque towns anywhere. While not tropical, the climate is absolutely fantastic. The Canaries are owned and administered by Spain, and the culture is mostly Spanish.
I had wanted to see these islands for over 15 years before we actually made it happen. We spent time on the islands of Gran Canaria, Tenerife, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura. It's impossible to pick a favorite, because they are all different. Tenerife is unfortunately highly densely populated, but wild mountains are still within easy reach. The beach at Famara on Lanzarote is easily one of the best in the world. And the town of Tejeda on Gran Canaria is picture-perfect.
Suhei and I had the best trip I could've expected. Being fluent in Spanish certainly makes it more fun, but there are plenty of other foreigners living and travelling here. We also completed one of the most amazing canyoneering routes, on Tenerife.
World travellers sometimes 'skip' these islands for reasons like 'it's just Spain'. What a pity, because these islands are Spain, Africa, and so much more.