Classic Canary Islands 2017/2018
The Canary Islands are a rugged, sun-drenched, Spanish archipelago located just 100 kilometres from the coast of Africa. Thanks to the unbeatable combination of year-round sunshine, stunning beaches, and spectacular landscapes that encompass volcanoes, forest, mountains and desert, the Canary Islands attract about 14 million visitors a year. The Canary beaches – a mixture of black volcanic sand and dazzling white sand – may be the biggest draw, but the Canary Islands are also a magnet for hikers and nature-lovers. Four of Spain’s fifteen National Parks are in the Canaries, and UNESCO has designated the entire islands of Lanzarote, Gran Canaria and Fuerteventura as Biosphere Reserves. The Canary Islands also boast beautifully preserved historic towns, enchanting island capitals, lively resorts, exuberant festivals, delicious local cuisine and a unique and fascinating culture.
Top resorts in Canary Islands
Puerto de la Cruz
from £144 pp
Caleta de Fuste
from £171 pp
from £164 pp
Most popular hotels in Canary Islands
Alborada Beach Club
Costa del Silencio, Tenerife
Pierre et Vacances Fuerteventura Origo Mare
La Oliva, Fuerteventura
Blue Sea Puerto Resort
Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife
Castillo Beach Park (Bungalows)
Costa Caleta, Fuerteventura
Costa Teguise, Lanzarote
DC Xibana Park
Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife
Playa Blanca, Lanzarote
Perla Tenerife Hotel
Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife
At a glance
- Currency: Euro
- Language: Spanish
- Time Zone: GMT +0
- Average flight time: 4h 35m
When to go
(°C) Avg. High Temp
The beaches are the biggest attraction in the Canary Islands. Whether you want a gigantic sweep of golden sand or a dazzling bay fringed with black volcanic rocks, this island has beaches and coves for everyone. Although all the Canaries have stunning beaches, perhaps Fuerteventura has the edge over the other Canary Islands, with its Caribbean-style stretches of white sand and its relaxed, beach bum vibe. The crystal-clear seas are perfect for trying out a huge range of water sports, from snorkelling and diving to kite-surfing and parasailing.
You can escape the crowds in one of the beautiful nature reserves or national parks that are found on all the Canary Islands. Hiking, birding and biking are all popular pastimes. Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands, is home to Spain’s highest peak – the Mount Teide volcano (3,718m). It’s the focal point of a huge National Park, which is the most visited in Spain, and you can swing up to the summit in a cable car. The views are simply breathtaking. The magnificent Timanfaya National Park on Lanzarote is also centred around a volcano – which, like Teide, is still active, although there have been no eruptions since the early 19th century. There are more volcanic peaks to explore in La Palma’s Caldera de Taburiente National Park. Inland, you’ll also find lots of charming villages, wineries and farms that you can visit, along with natural swimming pools and waterfalls.
Check out the Canary Island capitals for great restaurants, shops and a wide range of cultural events: Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Tenerife) explodes every year in the world’s second-biggest carnival celebrations, while Las Palmas on Gran Canaria and Santa Cruz de la Palma on La Palma have alluring historic streets packed with great tapas bars and cafés.
All the Canary Islands have plenty of fun theme parks to keep kids of all ages happy. The most famous of these is Siam Park on Tenerife, which is packed with rides for adrenalin-junkies.
Wine and Dine
The huge numbers of international visitors have meant that there is a wide choice of cuisines available in resorts across the Canary Islands. The local cuisine on each Canary shows the influence of different cultures over the centuries, from the indigenous Guanches to foods brought back by sailors from the Americas. Gofio, a cereal thought to have been central to the Guanche diet, is used in many dishes. Fresh fish is a staple across the Canary Islands, including sea bass, wreckfish, parrot fish and sea bream. Stews are also popular, often made with chicken, beef or rabbit. They are often accompanied by papas arrugadas, ‘wrinkled potatoes’, and mojo, a typical Canarian sauce. Mojo picón is made with peppers, while mojo verde is made with parsley and other herbs. For desert, there the islands’ abundant fruit – papaya, mango, peach, pineapple and, most famously, bananas – or the almond-and-honey dessert, bienmesabe.
The Canaries have been producing wines for at least five centuries, and there are now ten D.O. (denomination of origin) regions. You can visit bodegas (wineries) on most of the islands. You’ll also find spiced herbal liqueurs and rums.
The Canary Islands are a fantastically family-friendly destination. You've got the chance to pick what sort of Canary holiday you'd like: from busy Tenerife to the quieter Fuerteventura, the Canarian flexibility is something you'll fall in love with. The beaches on all the Canary Islands are ideal for little ones to build sandcastles and jump waves, while the water sports on offer will keep older kids happy for hours. There are also glass-bottomed boat tours and cruises to watch dolphins and whales. Active kids and teenagers will enjoy climbing to the summit of Mount Teide in Tenerife, or tramping across the volcanic wilds of Timanfaya National Park on Lanzarote. Tenerife is home to one of Europe’s most exciting theme parks: Siam Park is a fun-filled adventure park that combines rollercoaster rides with water slides and pools. The nearby Loro Park is another top attraction, with flocks of unusual parrots and whale and dolphin shows. There are plenty of safari parks across the Canaries, including the Las Águilas Jungle Park in Tenerife, and the Rancho Texas Lanzarote Park in Gran Canaria. Most of the resorts offer kid-friendly attractions such as go-kart circuits and inflatable playgrounds (both on dry land and in the sea).
Action and Adventure
You’ll find all the action and adventure you could ever want on the Canary Islands. From the windsurfing paradise of Fuerteventura to the hiking mecca of La Gomera, this archipelago is packed with thrills. There are water sports galore: world-class snorkelling and diving, sailing, kite-surfing, paddle-boarding, canoeing, parasailing and scores of other aquatic activities. The four national parks – Mount Teide on Tenerife, Timanfaya on Lanzarote, Garajonay on La Gomera, and Caldera de Taburiente on La Palma – plus nature reserves like the Anaga mountains on Gran Canaria, provide fantastic opportunities for all kinds of outdoor activities, including climbing, hiking, mountain biking, paragliding and canyoning.
Life's a Beach
The Canary Islands are blessed with some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Some of the Canary Islands have golden sand, while others boast the amazing black sand that attests to the volcanic origin of the Canary Islands. The water is turquoise and usually startlingly clear – perfect for swimming and a host of water sports.
Resorts have grown up along many of the best beaches, such as Maspalomas and Playa del Inglés on Gran Canaria, which are magnificent swathes of golden sand backed by undulating sand dunes. Corralejo, at the northern top of Fuerteventura, is also built around a glorious sandy beach, and the sand dunes are a protected nature reserve. Playa Blanca on Lanzarote has a fabulous golden beach. Nearby Papagayo’s beach may not be one of the largest, but it’s certainly one of the prettiest, and is set in a nature reserve. In the north, Famara is a surfer’s paradise, and is one of Lanzarote’s loveliest and most unspoilt sandy beaches. On Tenerife, you can admire the stunning dark sands of El Bollullo, a gorgeous bay near Puerto de la Cruz, or tuck into some of the best seafood in the Canary Islands at San Andres, a fishing village overlooking the fabulous Las Teresitas beach.
If you’re looking to party, you won’t be disappointed on the Canary Islands. Whether you want international DJs, fashionable beach clubs or an intimate jazz bar, there’s something to suit everyone.
Tenerife is generally considered the best island for nightlife, particularly the resort of Playa de las Américas, which is often described as party capital of the Canaries. The island capital of Santa Cruz has plenty of lively bars and clubs, and low-key Puerto de la Cruz has lots of venues to hear live music and go dancing. Costa Adeje has a wide array of chic beach bars, where you can sip cocktails and listen to DJ sessions. Gran Canaria is a popular LGBTQ holiday destination, and there are some fabulous gay clubs and bars in and around Maspalomas and Playa del Inglés. Lanzarote’s nightlife scene is centred around the Puerto del Carmen and Playa Blanca beach resorts, and you’ll find plenty of buzzing bars in the capital of Arrecife. Fuerteventura is great for live music and laid-back beach parties.
The Canary Islands are the perfect escape for couples. You’ll enjoy beautiful views and incredible landscapes, and can dine in charming restaurants and sip cocktails in fashionable beach bars. You can pamper yourselves with a massage or spa, or get a thrill on a two-seater parasailing ride. Take a stroll along the Canarian cliff tops to find beautiful bays to watch the sun set, or go for a dip in a natural swimming pool or waterfall in one of the gorgeous nature reserves. You could go for a sail, or go snorkelling or diving in the translucent waters. And if you’re party people, hit the bars and clubs at the big resorts and dance till dawn. If you want to make sure you have plenty of grown up fun, take a look at our fantastic range of adult-only hotels.
The Canary Islands boast a rich and unique traditional culture that has been forged over centuries. Although the indigenous Guanche people were wiped out after the island was conquered, their culture lives on in the Canarian cuisine and in the traditional sports such as cart-pulling and stone-throwing that take place during festivals. The island of Tenerife is home to the historic city of San Cristóbal de La Laguna (better known simply as ‘La Laguna’), which is a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site. Lanzarote was saved from over-development by the artist and architect César Manrique, whose legacy is celebrated in gardens and buildings across the island. His former home near Costa Teguise is now a foundation and museum. All the island capitals boast excellent museums, theatres and venues for the performing arts: in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, there is the Auditorio de Tenerife, designed by Santiago Calatrava, and in Las Palma, in Gran Canaria, Óscar Tusquets designed the fortress-shaped Auditorio Alfredo Kraus.