The Canary Islands are safe to visit and a volcano eruption there is a "wonderful show", Spanish Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto said on Monday, just hours after 5,000 people, including hundreds of tourists, had to be evacuated.
The volcano - the archipelago's first eruption in 50 years - blew on Sunday, spouting lava hundreds of metres into the air, engulfing houses and sending molten rock towards the Atlantic Ocean across a sparsely populated area of La Palma, the most northwestern island in the archipelago.
"The island is open," Maroto told Canal Sur radio, calling the eruption "a wonderful show".
"There are no restrictions on going to the island ... on the contrary, we're passing on the information so tourists know they can travel to the island and enjoy something unusual, see it for themselves," she said.
Maroto's remarks drew immediate criticism from Teodoro Garcia Egea, secretary general of the opposition People's Party, who posted an article on Twitter quoting the minister and asked: "Can someone confirm the minister said that while hundreds of people are losing everything they have?"
About 360 tourists were evacuated from a resort in La Palma following the eruption and taken to the nearby island of Tenerife by boat on Monday, a spokesperson for ferry operator Fred Olsen said.
Another 180 tourists could be evacuated from La Palma later this week the spokesperson added.
As the summer holiday crowds die down and the autumn swell picks up, September is a great month for a surf trip.
Despite outside temperatures beginning to cool, the sea often stays warm well into October and November retaining the heat it absorbed throughout the summer. With the nights drawing in across the Northern Hemisphere, stunning sunsets will act as magical backdrops to your evening sessions.
Though September may have you heading south in search of heat, there are some surprising options on this list if you don’t mind less than ideal weather. After all, who cares about the rain if you are already wet anyway?
Here are our top picks for an autumn surf getaway.
Hossegor on a more than 200km long stretch of sand.Unsplash
This seaside town roughly 30 km north of Biarritz is a renowned surf destination. Its streets are filled with surf shops on every corner and campervans laden with boards.
At the heart of the town is La Graviere, one of the world’s top-rated beach breaks - where waves are created by a shallow sandy shoreline.
Although summer sees smaller peaks with everyone paddling out for some fun, as the seasons change the swells increase and it becomes a place for more serious sportspeople. If you come in autumn, expect bigger waves and some of the best barrels you’ll ever experience.
This is just part of the region’s 225km stretch of golden sand, however, with more than enough space for surfers of all abilities.