Located off the west coast of Africa, near Morocco, The Canary Islands are filled with rich forests, rugged cliffs, volcanoes, and of course, beautiful beaches. The Canary Islands are very modern, very European, and extremely liberal. The islands that comprise the Spanish archipelago are: Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote, Tenerife, La Gomera, La Palma, and El Hierro. Each island has it’s draw, but there are a few can’t miss highlights on your next trip to the Canary Islands.
Visit Timanfaya National Park on Lanzarote
The lunar landscape of the Timanfaya National Park is pretty bizarre and thus a must-see. You can hike through the Fire Mountains (Mountains del fuego) and experience the heat of the dormant volcano. At the beginning of the park, guides will demonstrate the power of the heat by setting a bush on fire and creating artificial geysers shooting up into the air. An interesting way to see the park is by taking a 25 minute camel ride.
There is also a bustling nightlife in the four main resorts on the island (Arrecife, Costa Teguise, Puerto del Carmen, and Playa Blanca). While on Lanzarote, you should also pay a visit to the highly regarded vineyard, La Geria.
Catamaran sailing to Papagayo Beaches on Lanzarote
Another great Lanzarote activity is catamaran sailing to the golden beaches of Papagayo. You can relax with drinks and fresh fruit as the boat sails and lunch is served on board at the beaches and coves where the anchor is dropped for swimming, snorkeling, and Jet Ski rides. If you’re lucky you might see dolphins and pilot whales on the sail back.
Visit Mount Teide and Las Canadas National Park on Tenerife
At 3,718 meters high, Mount Teide is the third largest volcano in the world. You can walk to the summit through the National Park exploring pine forests, giant craters, and a lunar landscape along the way. For those not interested in trekking the third largest volcano in the world, you can catch a cable car up to the summit where, on a clear day, you can see some of the other Canary Islands.
Tenerife is the largest and newest island of the seven islands and has many museums and monuments that serve as portrayals of its rich history. As the newest island, its relatively recent volcanic activity mean that the land has few natural beaches. Those that exist are characterised by black sand created from the island’s volcanic rocks. The demand for tourist sun-bathing space, however, has led to the creation of resorts and man-made beaches, with golden sand having been imported in some cases. Some of the best beaches on Tenerife are Los Gigantes and San Juan in the west and Fañabe, in the South with its golden sand, showers, and excellent facilities
Maspalomas Sand Dunes on Gran Canaria
This 400 hectares stretch of sand dunes along the coastline of Gran Canaria island provide a habitat for a number of rare plant species, some of which can only be found in the Canaries. The dunes can only be crossed by foot or camel.
Gran Canaria is the largest Canary island by population. Las Palmas is the largest city and one of the capitals in the Canary Islands.
The Canary Islands have some of the most unique combinations of land and sea activities anywhere in the world. Whether you’re looking for unadulterated sand and surf time or a desert trek, these islands won’t disappoint.