Scattered in the Atlantic off the North African coast, the Canary Islands offer unique holiday experiences. With a winning mixture of year-round sun, spectacular beaches, dramatic landscapes and lively nightlife, holidays to the Canary Islands keep travellers coming back for more year after year.
Each of the Canary Islands (and their satellite isles) are extremely different in feel. Some people love one island, but hate another. Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder and your island encounters may be totally different to the experiences of another. While some of them are real beach destinations, like Fuerteventura, others combine culture and Tenerife, nature and like Gran Canaria. Whereas La Palma is very beautiful with a tropical feeling.
All the islands of the Canary Islands have a volcanic history, which explains the black beaches of the islands. All the sandy beaches you will find on the islands are man made. The islands lie in the Atlantic Ocean , about 100 to 400 kilometres from Morocco and Western Sahara The Teide vulcano on Tenerife is the highest mountain of Spain, topping the Mulhacén in the Sierra Nevada by more than 200 metres. El Hierro saw the last volcanic activity on 2011, when an undersea volcano erupted just of the southern coast.The island is served by two airports Tenerife South
Airport (TFS) and Tenerife North Airport (TFN) with the majority of tourists landing in the south and heading to resorts such as Playa de las Americas, Los Cristianos and the quieter Costa Adeje. Puerto de la Cruz in the north of the island is another firm favourite with British holidaymakers and the close by Loro Parque wildlife park with parrots, sea lions and penguins is a big hit with all of the family.This region of petrified lava make up the National Park of
Timanfaya and its Mountains of Fire, where visions of a lifeless, prehistoric (or even apocalyptic) earth, with enormous craters of an incandescent red color, can be seen on a bus or even camel tour. Its unique atmosphere has made it a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and one of the most impressive natural parks in all of Spain.Corralejo on the north coast
is a popular spot for British holidaymakers with miles and miles of unspoilt beaches and dunes, a range of nightlife options from romantic meals overlooking the sea to fun-filled nights out in bars and clubs, and activities for all of the family. Other popular resorts include Caleta de Fuste which is a hit with families due to its sheltered beach and calm waters, and Costa Calma on the Jandia Peninsular, a good spot for watersport enthusiasts with miles of golden sand. To make the most of any trip to the island, hire a car to explore the volcanic landscape inland.
Not only is Lanzarote home to bizarre and fantastic landscapes but also to beaches which can compete with any found in the tropics. The best ones are located in the southern part of the island. Playa Blanca, one of the most popular, has long stretches of clear sand and crystalline waters, and so does the close by Las Coloradas beach. For a less touristy one, check out Papagayo , a beautiful large cove encircled by impressive cliffs.
Getting there: Flights to Lanzarote from most major cities in Europe, as well as from the other islands, arrive at the Lanzarote Airport 5 km away from the capital, Arrecife. Ferries arrive at Playa Blanaca from Fuerteventura, La Palma, Tenerife, and Gran Canaria. Some of these ferries are legs of an overnight ferry from Cadiz , Spain.The oldest of the Canaries,
this island is known for its kilometers-long beaches of white sand and shallow, clear water, ideal for water-skiing, wind-surfing, fishing, or sailing. It has the longest coastline of all seven islands, spanning 340 kilometers, and is easily accessible by a 40-minute ferry from Lanzarote.South east of Lanzarote, Gran Canaria's golden sands and bright sunshine attract
holidaymakers every year, and the island's natural beauty with huge stretches of dunes and pine forests make them fall in love with the destination.
The individual islands in the Canary archipelago tend to have distinct microclimates. Islands such as El Hierro, La Palma and La Gomera lying to the west of the archipelego have a climate which is influenced by the moist gulf stream. As one travels east toward the African coast, the influence of the gulf stream diminishes, and the islands become increasingly arid. Fuerteventura and Lanzarote the islands which are closest to the African mainland are effectively desert or semi desert. In terms of its climate Tenerife is particularly interesting. The north of the island lies under the influence of the moist atlantic winds and is well vegetated, while the south of the island is arid.Getting there: Flights come
into Fuerteventura Airport, 5 km outside of Puerto del Rosario, from the other islands and from most major European cities. Ferries arrive at Corralejo from Lanzarote, Tenerife, and Gran Canaria.
The most extraordinary sights on this island are its steep ravines of granite rock, which plummet from almost 2,000 meters high to meet the coastline. From just about anywhere you can appreciate the sheer force of nature that Gran Canaria has to offer. Its vegetation can be found in such far-away places as America, Europe, and Africa. You can explore a variety of flora in areas like Tejeda , with its lush green valleys of almond trees, and Mogan , a valley where tropical fruits are cultivated. There are also many fishing villages worth visiting for their mountainous sea views and small-town such as Agaete, charm and Arinaga. In the ancient city of Arucas, huge banana plantations, rocky coves, and volcanic areas form neighboring landscapes.El Hierro is the smallest of
the Canary Islands and its western end was once considered the end of the world. Visit to truly get away from it all. La Gomera is slightly bigger and the perfect destination if you like exploring the great outdoors on foot or by bike. Alternatively, pack your beach bag and surf board and head to the black sands along the coast to sunbathe without having to fight for a spot.Tenerife is serviced by two airports: Tenerife North (TFN
) and Tenerife South (TFS).
Like Gran Canaria, Tenerife, the largest island of the Canaries, boasts a huge variety of mountain, forest, and beach landscapes with an ever-warm climate. Most notably, it contains the majestic Mount Teide , a massive volcano which, at 3,718 meters, is the highest peak in all of Spain and the third largest volcano in the world.Mount Teide and its
surrounding volcanic craters and peaks of Las Cañadas make up the comprehensive Mount Teide National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. You can take the cable car all the way up near to the summit of Mount Teide, and if you're up for some walking, load your lungs up with oxygen for the altitude. There are numerous hiking trails that showcase a view of an extraterrestrial landscape.These mountain ranges separate
the island into two climate zones, with the north being greener and more humid and the south being hot and dry. If you're a wine connossieur, you would love a drive up north to Taraconte, famous for their red wines, where fertile vineyards contrast with coastline cliffs. There are also a number of beautiful old colonial cities to visit, including Garachico to the west, which has black sand beaches and naturally-formed pools, and La Laguna to the north, a historic city considered to be the cultural capital of the Canaries. La Orotava is another old city which is adorned with colonial mansions and gorgeous gardens, situated in the sea of banana plantations that make up the Orotova Valley.
Lanzarote Airport (ACE) is the third busiest airports of the islands, follwed by Fuerteventura Airport
Getting there: Tenerife has two airports, Los Rodeos airport in the north and the Reina Sofia airport in the south. Most international flights come through the Reina Sofia airport, whereas inter-island flights arrive at Los Rodeos. Ferries arrive at the city of Santa Cruz from Gran Canaria, La Palma, and Fuerteventura.
This small island is formed by a large mountainous forest in its central area called Alto de Garajonay, a national park which is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. The abrupt coastline extends inwards and climbs up to 1,487 meters above sea level. Curiously, La Gomera was the last port of call before Columbus set off for the New World.
In these mountainous terrains, the ancient tradition of lenguaje silbado" is still used among inhabitants, a method of communication using whistling techniques to send messages between mountains. Continuing traditions like this is just one of the reasons Gomera attracts tourists searching for a more authentic experience off the beaten track.As the coastline consists
mostly of jagged cliffs, the majority of the beaches on the island are small coves. Nevertheless, beaches such as Valle del Gran Rey and Playa de Santiago have that crystalline water and golden sand all vacationers seek. Also recommendable to see is the Acantilado de los Organos, or the Organ Cliff, which includes thousands of basalt columns soaring up from out of the water, giving the impression of a giant, rocky organ.
To rent a car is the best option for discovering the remote wilderness regions.
Active types: Catch some waves at Costa Teguise
on Lanzarote. Whether you're a beginner or a well-seasoned pro, the ideal wind and wave conditions will give you lots of opportunities to sharpen up your skills.
Trasmediterránea and Fred Olsen , are the main operators between the Canary Islands of Lanzarote, Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, La Palma, El Hierro and La Gomera.
An excursion by car around the island will take you to such places as Breña Baja on the east, a series of small coves with transparent waters which include the popular Playa de Cancajos. In the southernmost point, you will find the town of Fuencaliente , which is full of pine trees, vineyards, and volcanic craters. On the western coast, towns such as Puerto de Naos and Tazacorte have picturesque ports and attractive beaches. La Palma also has one of the world's most important telescopes at the International Astrophysical Observatory, located close to the island's highest mountain, Roque de los Muchachos.The local fish is fairly good
. You will look for a wide variety of international recipes of fish and seafood, too. Two popular fish dishes from Tenerife are Caldereta, a meal with tomatoes, goat meat and potatoes and the Sancocho Canario, a salted fish, usually white, in a mojo" sauce.
This is the smallest island of the Canaries, as well as the least populated and least traveled, which makes it a perfect spot for those wishing to get away from it all and experience nature to its fullest. Its clean beaches and mountain scenery provide a relaxing, non-package tourist vacation.A plateau and mountainous area
make up the central part of the island, where rises up as the highest peak. From here, you can admire the views of the gulf, forests, volcanic craters, and of the entire island. The coast also offers a fascinating and unfamiliar sight with its cliffs jutting out from under the water, as if they were little crag islands. El Golfo is where the largest amount of cliffs can be found along with the some of the highest viewpoints of the area.
Gofio - Grain flour used especially at breakfast or to accompany potaje, a local stew.
Arepas - tortas made from fine corn flour filled with minced meats, cheese, or lovely mango.