Photoset: Maspalomas

The dunes of Maspalomas are one of its main attractions – and a photographic delight, provided you get up early enough to avoid the heat of the sands. Do so at dawn and you’re rewarded with a wonderful play of light and shadow as the sun rises, but all through the day I found the patterns of the sand fascinating. Head east from Gran Canaria and you’ll make landfall not in Europe, but Africa- specifically Western Sahara. It’s easy to imagine yourself there once you’ve spent any amount of time trekking across the shifting sands as an unforgiving sun beats down.