The Canaries – which island is the one for you? Together they offer idyllic year-round weather, endless sandy beaches, rugged volcanic landscape and their signature delicious Papas arrugadas (that’s wrinkly potatoes to you and me). But with a closer look, you’ll find that each of the seven sunny islands has something unique to suit every holiday personality. Scroll down or choose from the list below to find which one is right for you…
What: The largest and by far the most popular of the Canary Islands, Tenerife has something for everyone. The diverse beaches, the Michelin star restaurants and the unbounded entertainment are just the beginning of what’s on offer.
Where: From the more built-up resorts in the south, like Playa de las Americas and Los Cristianos, to the more local old town charm in the north; diversity is the word for this island.
Why: This Canary will give you freedom and flexibility in your beach break. Experience the majestic nature of Mt Teide, make a splash in Siam Park, party into the early hours or enjoy some relaxation on one of the many beaches – Tenerife has it all.
Who: Party-goers will definitely find their crowd, while families can enjoy a day out at Loro Parque or pick from the many excursions on offer. Holidaymakers seeking an active holiday will find it with hiking and water sports opportunities, while those just looking to catch some rays can do so at the numerous sandy beaches along the coast.
When: The hottest and busiest time to visit Tenerife is August. For a more peaceful visit, head for the sun when spring is turning into summer. Or for a winter break, be sure not to miss the Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife in February. Celebrate fiesta-style with locals and visitors from all corners of the world.
What: Located just off of Lanzarote’s southern coast and the oldest Canary, Fuerteventura is windy by name and windy by nature. The drier and desert-style landscape is characterised by rolling hills and studded with sandy beaches.
Where: Perhaps most like its North African neighbour with the Corralejo sand dunes in the north, there is much unique beauty to be explored on the island. Get out and about by hiring a car or hiking to find the best secluded beaches.
Why: If beach life is the life for you, Fuerteventura is the island we recommend. Try your hand at some water sports or simply relax on one of the postcard-worthy stretches of white sand. While it’s the 2nd biggest island, it enjoys a much less developed tourist industry than Tenerife, so you can soak up the sun in peace.
Who: Surfers and water sports enthusiasts will find a slice of paradise on Fuerteventura’s western beaches, owing to the winds blowing onto the coastline. The more sheltered bays are perfect for sunbathers.
When: Being the closest Canary to Africa, warm and sunny weather is almost always guaranteed. It is both hottest and breeziest during the peak of summer.
What: Gran Canaria is perhaps most similar to its neighbour Tenerife in character, but with arguably better beaches. Visitors can revel in many of the entertainment facilities the island has to offer, but there is also plenty of opportunity to get off the beaten track.
Where: The south of the island enjoys a slightly warmer climate and has more tourism as a result. Beautiful beaches can be found on the eastern side of the island, from Playa del Inglés to dozens of hidden gems heading more north. Travel inland to admire the natural scenery and quaint local villages.
Why: There is historical culture to be discovered in Las Palmas, fun to be had at the waterparks and plenty of natural parks to be marvelled at. This is the island where you can enjoy a beautiful beach break in the sun with leisure opportunities within easy reach.
Who: Those looking for the comforts of a resort holiday will find it on Gran Canaria’s south coast, while holidaymakers seeking a variety of attractions will definitely be pulled in by the island’s diverse charm.
When: While the sunniest time to visit is undeniably in the summer months, spring in Gran Canaria sees lush green landscape come to life, so it’s a great time to witness the dramatic differences in landscape. Late spring also sees the Maspalomas annual Gay Pride, which has been growing in popularity every year.
What: The surreal landscape of Lanzarote makes this island the most obvious result of volcanic eruption. Craters, rugged coastline and unique black sandy beaches dominate.
Where: A must-do on Lanzarote has to be Timanfaya National Park, with its mesmerising Fire Mountains and mini geysers. Many sandy beaches can be found near the resorts of Puerto del Carmen and Costa Teguise, while the mythical-esc Cueva de los Verdes is not to be missed.
Why: The unique landscape is the distinguishing factor of Lanzarote. But also noteworthy to the island are its beautiful beaches, charming markets and unique art and architecture moulded by the notable César Manrique.
Who: Sports-oriented crowds head to the village of La Santa, while more traditional holidaymakers and explorers can be tempted with the golden beaches of the southeast.
When: Any time is a good time to visit Lanzarote. Temperatures tend to comfortably range in the 20s (degrees Celsius) and the lunar-like surroundings remain aesthetically impressive all year round.
What: The almost jungle-like greenery found here gives this island a tropical feel that’s perhaps not so expected from a volcanic island. This is the place to escape the crowds and revel in the diversity of the natural environment.
Where: Explore the rich plethora of fauna and fauna in the Caldera de Taburiente national park, amble through the delightful village of San Andrés and lounge on one of the island’s unspoilt beaches complete with trademark volcanic sands.
Why: If you want to slow things down and get back to nature, look no further than La Palma. The lush inland scenery is interspersed with beaches, elegant towns and craggy mountains; making for a truly tranquil holiday escape.
Who: This Canary is for those seeking a peaceful beach break without all the hustle and bustle of the bigger islands. Nature lovers, eco-travellers and hikers will find their home away from home here. La Palma is also the site of a major observatory, so will tempt astronomy fans and star gazers.
When: The mild temperatures surrounding the coast make the island ideal for a beach holiday in the summer months, when it’s also least likely to rain. Meanwhile, the inland is more humid owing to the lush greenery that can be found here.
What: La Gomera is the Canary Island’s best kept secret – visitors can reach it by ferry from Tenerife South Airport or fly direct from Tenerife North Airport. Its laid back and almost spiritual nature make for a dreamy getaway in the Spanish sunshine.
Where: Being the 2nd smallest island, La Gomera can be explored within one trip. The unique rocky ravines make music at the Los Órganos Natural Monument, while Garajonay National Park and its palm-studded valley are not to be missed. The island’s few beaches are on the wilder side, but still with the signature black sand of a volcanic island.
Why: Authentic nature is the primary reason to visit this gem of an island. From forests to valleys to viewpoints, connecting with the natural environment is essential. Also learn about the fascinating indigenous culture and sample the distinctive and delicious local cuisine.
Who: If it wasn’t already made obvious, La Gomera is a nature lover’s paradise. Come here if you want to be at one with the flora and fauna and even try your hand at some hiking.
When: The summer months benefit from the most hours of sunshine and the warmest sea temperatures, but a mild climate is enjoyed all year round.
What: The smallest of the seven Canaries and the furthest west, El Hierro’s ‘edge of the world’ feel has kept its traditional charm intact. The island is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, so it’s serious about the natural environment and this is reflected in the way it does tourism.
Where: Perhaps underwater is where the best sites are hidden, as marine life here is the top spot out of all the Canary Islands. Wander through the mystical Sabine forest and swim in the lovely natural bays and, to finish off your day, catch the sunset from the west coast over the Atlantic Ocean.
Why: It’s rural and remote – and all the better for it. Here, you can find serenity in the surroundings and adventure in the activities. Try your hand at hiking, scuba diving and other watersports, or simply chill out and take in the beauty of the unique landscape.
Who: Much like the other smaller islands, El Hierro is a haven for holidaymakers looking to get back to nature. Plus, most of the island’s tourists are other Canarians, so it’s the perfect place to get away from the madding crowd if you’re seeking authentic local culture.
When: Sunny weather is guaranteed throughout the year on this southernmost island. To make the most of swimming and other ocean activities, head to El Hierro in summer when the sea is warmest.
So, which Canary Island takes your fancy? Let us know in the comments below!