Scattered in the Atlantic off the North African coast, the Canary Islands offer unique holiday experiences. With a winning mixture of year-round sun, stunning 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 encounters of another. While some of them are real beach destinations, like Fuerteventura, others combine culture and Tenerife, like Gran Canaria and nature. 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 nearby Loro Parque wildlife park with parrots, sea lions and penguins is a huge hit with all of the family.
The following islands are part of Santa Cruz de Tenerife:
The following islands are part of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria:
North of Fuerteventura and the closest of the islands to Africa, Lanzarote offers art and architecture, sunshine galore, a lunar-like landscape and activities for those who want to work up a sweat including mountain biking and surfing.
British tourists head to resorts such as Puerto del Carmen, Playa Blanca, Costa Teguise and Haria where accommodation is on offer for a range of budgets and tastes from all-inclusive five-star resorts and eco lodgings to budget apartments.
The oldest of the Canaries, this island is known for its kilometers-long beaches of white sand and shallow, clear water, perfect 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.
colder on average though it's still quite warm, even at night. Note that the north of the islands generally are somewhat cooler and wetter than the south, but still fine.
On the eastern coast, you'll find steep cliffs and coves which are well suited for snorkeling or scuba-diving, due to the subterranean trove of caves and rock formations. In the southern part, a region of virgin beaches called Jandía makes up one of the most important wild areas on the island. Almost all the beaches here are nude beaches and offer an experience of untouched nature away from the bustle of tourism, where hardly any roads can access. You can also take a short ferry-ride over to the Island of Lobos, a protected natural reserve where a great variety of bird and plant species can be spotted.
Most of the islands have direct flights from Europe , you can check the islands' articles for more information. The busiest airports are those on Gran Canaria and Tenerife
Gran Canaria Airport (LPA) is the busiest of the Canary Islands and dozens of airlines serve the island.
Only a few cities in Africa are served, though Mauritania Airways started flying to a number of Mauritanian cities from 2009 onwards. Binter Canarias , has flights from Marrakech to the islands.
Getting there: Flights come in from most major European cities and from the other islands to Gran Canaria Airport, 16 km south of the town of Las Palmas. Ferries to the city of Las Palmas are available from Lanzarote, Tenerife, La Palma, and Fuerteventura.
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Numerous other airlines serve Tenerife South though, the choice is wide.
Tenerife North Airport (TFN) is located about 10 kilometres from the city. Tenerife North mainly serves other Canary Islands , cities in mainland Spain , and several cities in Germany Also, two airlines fly here to/from Caracas in Venezuela
Lanzarote Airport (ACE) is the third busiest airports of the islands, follwed by Fuerteventura Airport
Tenerife Carnival; February; visit Santa Cruz and Puerto de la Cruz for the biggest celebrations: Held just before Lent every year, this carnival sees tourists and locals partying into the night and includes a glitzy opening parade, the burial of the sardine" and the High Heels Marathon.
This small island is formed by a huge 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.
The Canary Islands are connected by a smaller airline called Binter Canarias , which also has a flight to Marrakech from a couple of the islands.
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To rent a car is the best option for discovering the remote wilderness regions.
Buses are the most common method of public transportation around the islands. Mile per mile they are expensive while compared to mainland Spain but you are not going to travel really far away. We are, after all, islands. Most buses in touristic routes are adequate. Do not expect the drivers to know more than a couple of sentences in English or German, though they would try to be helpful.
Nightlife: Playa de las Americas on Tenerife is the ultimate night-spot. With an array of bars, parties, clubs and entertainment, energetic night owls will be spoiled for choice!
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, situated close to the island's highest mountain, Roque de los Muchachos.
The local fish is pretty good. You will find 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 offer a relaxing, non-package tourist vacation.
The Canary Islands are Europe's only exporter of plantain bananas. They are famously delicious here. These bananas are often fried and are also commonly found in the West Indies.
Gofio - Grain flour used especially at breakfast or to accompany potaje, a local stew.
Arepas - tortas made from fine corn flour filled up with minced meat, cheese, or nice mango.