The Canary Islands, one of Spain’s most popular tourist spots, has welcomed a new island into their group this week.
Spain’s Senate voted unanimously on Tuesday to recognise the volcanic island of La Graciosa, which has around 700 inhabitants, as the eighth Canary Island.
It will join the seven current Canary Islands: Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro, becoming the smallest island in the chain, off the coast of West Africa.
But unlike the other islands, which each have their own council, La Graciosa will remain a district of the nearby island of Lanzarote. It will, however, have its own budget for services.
The most undiscovered island of the Canaries, La Graciosa is one of the few places in Europe that does not have tarmac roads; its streets are made from sand.
The 29-square-kilometre island has a school, a supermarket, pharmacy, medical centre and post office, as well as restaurants and a campsite.
Its arid landscape means it does not have its own source of natural water – water has been pumped in from Lanzarote since the early 2000s. Cars are banned on the island and most inhabitants travel by bike.
The main industries of the island, whose capital is Caleta del Sebo, are fishing and tourism.
La Graciosa currently receives around 25,000 tourists a year. The only way to travel to the island is by a 35-minute boat ride from Orzola, on Lanzarote, two kilometres to the north.