Canary Islands Holidays
"An all-year-round destination, with each island having it's own unique character and culture..."
A holiday to the Canary Islands is like an adventure to the farthest flung corner of the Spanish territories but just a stone throw’s away from North Western Africa’s coastline; a real mix of cultures yet a cluster of islands offering seclusion, dreamy coastlines and a unique culture so you feel like it’s a whole destination of its own. Gran Canaria, Tenerife, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, La Palma and La Gomera; islands far from the rest of Spain’s mainland and Balearics, they offer something a little bit different from the norm. For some, it’s the paradisiacal beaches and 5 star luxury resorts that really draw them into the Canaries dream; for others, it’s the dramatic volcanic landscapes and the promise of endless nature trails across the islands’ stunning national parks that really makes it; but for most, it’s simply not what they might expect from a Spanish destination. Full of surprising sights, intriguing topography and mind-blowing views at sunrise and sunset, the Canary Islands is a fantastic holiday alternative to islands in the heart of the Med.
Due to its proximity to the equator, the Canaries offers a fantastic winter destination as well as a busy summer destination. But if you want warm, balmy weather without all the tourist crowds, you have to visit between March and May or from September to November. From its famous black and white sandy beaches to its luxury golf and spa hotels, outstanding dive spots to awesome surf, and from the subtropical walking trails and volcanic landscapes of Timanfaya to the tumbling waterfalls of La Palma, there seems to be something for just about everyone. A gorgeous romantic destination and a perfect family holiday island all the same; and with just as much forest as there is coastline, as many geysers as there are white sand beaches, and as much Spanish surrealist art as there are tapas bars, everyone is set to have an unforgettable time.
Canary Islands Travel Guide
At A Glance:
Canary Islands inFocus
The Islands are a Spanish archipelago that are nestled in the Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of Africa. They were formed by volcanic activity between 30 and 70 million years ago, meaning that the majority of them are characterized by beautiful coastal beaches and geologically fascinating inland areas. The largest of the islands is Tenerife is dominated by Mt. Teide, which is the tallest peak in all of Spain, while the smallest is Fuerteventura.
The Canaries are characterized by their warm climate that doesn’t change much throughout the year. This means that temperatures generally exceed 20 degrees between April and October, with the coldest month, January having an eminently pleasant average of 18 degrees. This means that visitors will be able to swim and enjoy their many beautiful beaches all-year-round. The hottest month on most of the islands is August, when temperatures average 24-26 degrees, depending on which island you visit.
History & Culture
Having been inhabited since pre-Roman times, historians have long been speculating that the original residents migrated from North Africa. However, their existence was forgotten for more than 1000 years, after the fall of the Roman Empire, until they were rediscovered by Spanish Conquistadors in the late 14th century. From then on, the marauding invaders gradually brought each island under the dominion of the Spanish Crown, with Fuerteventura, falling in the early 15th century and Tenerife being the final domino in 1496. From then on, they were ruled from Spain, having a largely fishing and agrarian based economy, until the 20th century, when they became tourist hubs.
Canarian cuisine, varies slightly from island to island, however there are plenty of dishes that they share in common. The most popular of these is papas arrugadas, which are whole potatoes that are boiled in seawater, giving them wrinkly skin and a salty flavour that all visitors are bound to enjoy. The islanders are also massive fish eaters, with a variety of large fish cooked all manner of ways and usually drizzled with a healthy dose of either mojo rojo or mojo verde the two most popular sauces throughout the Canaries. Various islands have their own cheeses, which are usually made with either goat’s milk or sheep’s milk and the islanders are also partial to rabbit, which they generally eat in a spicy tomato stew.
The Canary Islands are all about sun and sand and no trip to them would be complete without a lot of time spent on their many beautiful beaches. However, for those seeking some more organised family activities: the Siam Waterpark in Tenerife, is a Thai-themed waterpark that is considered to be one of the best in Europe and is famous for its wave pool that generates 3-metre-high waves, the biggest in the world. Palmitos Park, is situated in Gran Canaria and combines luscious jungle scenery with a host of different animal species, including exotic birds and playful dolphins. While the secluded Los Lobos Beach in Fuerteventura, is populated by hundreds of seals, making it perfect for children who love animals.
Tours & Attractions
Visitors will be amazed by the beaches' incredible diversity: from traditional golden beaches, to jet-black volcanic beaches and dark red beaches, ideal for a varied beach holiday. The islands are equally beautiful inland, with the areas that surround the volcanoes that formed them especially beautiful. The most famous of these national parks is the one that surround Mt. Teide in Tenerife, although all the islands have their own alien landscape as well. The waters that surround the Canaries also teem with life and visitors can take a boat trip to see dolphins, whales and the occasional shark, depending on the time of year.
Famous for the quality of their nightlife, visitors are bound to enjoy the fabulous evening social scene on offer. Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and Tenerife are all renowned party hubs with a plethora of trendy pubs, clubs and bars, where visitors can let their hair down and enjoy themselves from dusk until dawn. Fuerteventura tends to be a bit quieter with the Corralejo area the only place that you will find genuine night-time action.
All of the Canary Islands have duty-free areas, meaning that visitors can generally purchase normal items, much cheaper than they would at home. This can range from fashion, to cosmetics and electrical items, however, it should be noted that there are sometimes limits on what you can take back. The most authentic shopping is probably found on the least developed of the islands, Fuerteventura, where locals still sell handmade goods, although the resort of Teguise on Gran Canaria and its local market is also another excellent option.