Beach bums, culture vultures, happy hikers – holidays to the Canary Islands are a hit with just about everyone.
This group of Spanish isles is way closer to Africa than Spain. This works to their advantage – guaranteeing plenty of sun for their batch of beaches. Other than a shared climate, they’re a mixed bunch. Pleasing holidaymakers is the name of the game in Lanzarote, Tenerife and Gran Canaria. Fuerteventura and La Palma are the shy ones, but they’re still packed to the brim with sleepy coves and hiking trails.
Tenerife and Lanzarote’s interiors have real star quality. The volcanic landscape of Mount Teide National Park looks like something out of Interstellar. Lanzarote’s Timanfaya National Park goes one better, with over 300 volcanoes and a lime-green lagoon. And even though La Palma’s one of the smallest of the lot, its terrain’s on the grand scale. Here, petite coves are trumped by mammoth mountains.
Dunes and sands
It’s easy to dig your toes into the sand in the Canary Islands. Beach-wise, it’s a rainbow affair. Lanzarote and La Palma bring the black sands, while Tenerife’s are of the golden variety. Settle on a sandy beach in the latter and it’s likely the grains have come straight from the Sahara. And that’s not the only African connection – the sand dunes in Gran Canaria and Fuerteventura are carbon copies of the desert, too.
Culture-wise, these isles can compete with the best of them. Abstract architect Cesar Manrique’s left his stamp all over Lanzarote and Gran Canaria. Plus, Lanzarote’s got another thing to brag about – Europe’s first underwater museum. When the evening hits, the tempo sky rockets in Tenerife. Places like Costa Adeje provide the swanky dining, while nearby Playa de las Americas has bars and clubs on tap.
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Fuerteventura is one of the more organic Canary Islands. It’s a no-added-sugar sort of place, where the buildings are low-rise and the landscape has been shaped by biology rather than builders. But that’s not to say nothing goes on here. In fact, as most of the Canaries creak to life around mid-morning, Fuerteventura has been up for hours catering for the people who want to fit it all in.
The third-largest island of the Canaries, Gran Canaria is part of the world’s vintage collection, because it’s been attracting holidaymakers since the 19th century. And, with its collection of long, sandy beaches and hidden coves, its legendary, round-the-clock nightlife and its traditional hamlets, it seems that this spot will be a popular holiday destination for years to come.
Even though it’s a volcanic island, Lanzarote boasts many resorts – such as Playa Blanca, Costa Teguise, Puerto del Carmen and Playa de los Pocillos – with stunning, white-sand beaches. These long stretches of sand have been attracting people to the island since the Seventies. In fact, Lanzarote helped to create the concept of the classic beach break. Nowadays, the beaches all feature tonnes of watersports .
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This national park, half an hour’s drive from Los Cancajos, is actually a volcanic crater and, with a circumference of 28…View details »
Back in the 18th century, pirates were a real headache for Lanzarote’s locals. To protect their treasures from swashbuckling…View details »
Hundreds of years ago this place was such a nifty hideout from pirates, one of its tunnels earned the nickname ‘The Refuge’.…View details »