The Canary Islands are part of Spain, yet they are far closer to Africa than they are to Europe. Only 160 kilometers separate Fuerteventura from Morocco’s northwest coast, which is close enough for its beaches to be comprised of sand that blows from the Sahara. Continue reading to know more about Canaria Island in detail.
The official language is Spanish, but visitors might be shocked to learn that Canarian culture and character are very distinct from those of mainland Spain. In, therefore, don’t anticipate flamenco or bullfights. On the islands of Tenerife and Gran Canaria, where the famed beaches are, expect to see a lot of other tourists, especially.
The islands’ location where the tropical and subtropical climatic zones meet provides them an almost ideal climate of everlasting spring, with average temperatures fluctuating by just 14 degrees throughout the year. There is no bad time to visit the islands. You’ll find English being spoken in the majority of eateries, hotels, and businesses because the Canaries have long been a favorite among British and northern European sunbathers.
These seven islands provide a surprising range of activities, from hiking trails and water sports to modern art galleries and colonial towns to explore. Despite the differences between each island, they all share a volcanic past that gave rise to some of their most distinctive natural features.
There are remarkable volcanic features on each of the four largest islands—Tenerife, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, and Gran Canaria—two of which are designated as national parks. Three UNESCO World Heritage sites are located on the islands. This list of the top tourist destinations and activities in the Canary Islands will help you decide where to go.
1. Canaria Island: 23 Best Things to Do
Off the coast of Morocco is the Canary Islands archipelago, which consists of the seven principal islands of Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera, and El Hierro. The islands feature a fantastic mix of cultures that you won’t find anyplace else on Earth because they are part of Spain.
The Canary Islands can be summed up by combining the richness of North African culture with the attraction of Spain, together with a hearty dose of tropical weather. There are lots of activities to do in the Canary Islands, in addition to their fascinating culture and stunning beaches, and natural beauties. You can add these Canary Islands attractions to your travel wish list while making travel arrangements.
1.1. Timanfaya National Park, Lanzarote
The massive explosions that blanketed the majority of Lanzarote in molten lava and volcanic ash occurred between 1730 and 1736, making the island’s volcanic history far more recent than that of Tenerife. The inhabitants of the island, which was formerly known as the Garden of the Canaries, were driven from the island after a seven-year series of eruptions buried 11 settlements.
The farmers returned when the eruptions subsided and devised creative ways to cultivate some of their ash-covered lands. The Timanfaya National Park, which is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, today protects the most dramatic of the volcanic landscapes, including one that is still active.
To believe it, you must see the enormous, unearthly topography covered in swirls of hardened lava that have been carved into crevices by still-molten lava beneath it. Visit Islote de Hilario, the summit of a volcanic cone, where park rangers will show you the extreme heat that is right under your feet, to see the entire park. More volcanic wonders can be found close by, including a collapsed crater that has formed a cove beach where you can collect semi-precious stones, sea caves created by lava tubes, and red ash dunes.
1.2. Teide National Park, Tenerife
Teide, the third-highest volcano in the world with a height of 3,718 meters, looms above Tenerife, the smallest and most well-known of the Canary Islands. The entire mountain is part of Teide National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and visiting the enormous crater inside it is a highlight of any vacation to the Canary Islands.
The caldera, or crater floor, sits inside the crater’s rim and measures 19 kilometers in diameter. traveling across this desolate moonscape is like traveling into the center of the planet. This crater is the remnant of a much larger peak that blew its top and collapsed on itself some three million years ago. It is left behind walls in some places that tower 457 meters above the crater floor.
The El Portillo Visitor Center is a terrific location to start because it contains a great tiny museum with hands-on displays that explore the crater’s ecology and explain how volcanoes originate. Outside, a trail winds through a botanic garden where signs direct visitors to native flora they will see in the park and assist them to recognize and identify them.
Take the Teleférico cable car up Teide’s cone, a more recent volcanic peak that developed above the enormous crater after the old top of the mountain dropped off, to see the crater from above and to enjoy expansive views.
1.3. Cesar Manrique on Lanzarote
The architect and artist Cesar Manrique are remembered for his architectural and artistic creations as well as for his inspiration and perseverance in preserving the unique characteristics of Lanzarote, where he was born.
He enjoyed a prosperous art career in New York and elsewhere before returning to Lanzarote in 1968, where he started a campaign to protect the island from the unchecked tourist growth that had destroyed so many other vacation spots.
By planning and constructing several tourist sites that utilized and honored the island’s natural features, including its volcanic landscapes, ragged lava flows, and soaring cliffs, he put the island on a new, environmentally, and culturally sustainable course.
In addition, he developed the stunning Salinas Hotel in Costa Teguise, transformed a decommissioned fort into the Museo Internacional del Arte Contemporáneo in Arrecife, produced enormous wind toys, movable artworks that are placed at road crossings all over the island.
But most importantly, he gave the islanders a sense of pride in their traditions and scenery as well as a will to preserve it. Several of these locations include gift stores that are great places to buy souvenirs and are stocked with high-quality local crafts and artwork.
1.4. Beaches of Gran Canaria
Beautiful beaches with golden sand are found almost continuously throughout Gran Canaria’s south coast. There are at least six large beach resorts located between Playa de San Agustin in the west and Puerto de Mogán in the east for sunbathers to choose from.
The biggest is Maspalomas, which is also maybe the island’s most well-liked beach. It is surrounded by a promenade and a row of eateries, cafés, stores, and amusements. At any hour of the day or night, it is one of the island’s busiest beach scenes.
Huge dunes extend in layers to the sea at one end of a protected area. Above beaches, where dunes as tall as 12 meters are continuously sculpted and moved by water and wind, mountains of wind-riffled sand undulate. While you can spend hours exploring on foot and taking in their bleak beauty, it’s more exotic to mount a dromedary and have a wild camel ride through this breathtaking dunesscape.
The Playa Las Canteras beach in Las Palmas, the island’s capital, boasts a broad sandy shore and calm waves because of a natural breakwater made of volcanic rock. There is a scuba diving area on part of the beach. A little beach with moderate waves and dark sand is called La Playa Jinámar.
1.5. Sightseeing in Santa Cruz De Tenerife!
Spend some time exploring Santa Cruz de Tenerife while you are visiting the Canary Islands. Despite the Canary Islands’ two official capitals, Santa Cruz served as the only one during the 1800s. The Canary Islands Parliament still resides there, along with several other interesting structures and locations.
Visit the Tenerife Opera House (Auditorio de Tenerife), which features architectural features that easily rival those of Sydney’s much more well-known opera house, as well as Plaza de Espaa, the magnificent mummy exhibit at the Museum of Man and Nature, and these other attractions. Be sure to pause and take a picture close to the 36-foot-long “Santa Cruz” monument while you are in the plaza.
1.7. The Beaches of Tenerife
The legendary beaches of Tenerife are located along its sunny south coast, similar to those of Gran Canaria. The golden sands of the family-friendly Playa de Las Vistas and the luxury neighborhoods around Playa del Duque, on the Costa Adeje to the west, are among the most developed, with plenty of vacation houses, hotels, restaurants, and sports opportunities.
The latter offers activities including golf, windsurfing, jet skiing, shopping, and luxury spas. Puerto de Santiago and Los Gigantes, which are spectacularly situated beneath towering cliffs, mark the conclusion of the beach stretch.
Along the entire coastline east of Los Cristianos, all the way to El Medano, are smaller natural beaches with darker sand. El Medano is a top-notch surfing beach, but it’s too windy for relaxing swimming or sunbathing. Further west, beneath a green park, are the lovely, little Playas Santiago and de la Arena, which are shielded by rocky headlands.
The wealthy resort town of Adeje offers a variety of recreational opportunities, including golf, windsurfing, jet skiing, and luxury spas. Playa de las Teresitas, located near Santa Cruz’s capital, is arguably the best beach for families. Its constructed barrier reefs protect its gently sloping, golden sands, which were imported from North Africa, making it ideal for swimmers and kids without the rough surf of some other beaches.
1.8. Marvel at Jameos Del Agua Cave
Jameos del Agua cave exploration is among the most fantastic things to do in the Canary Islands. It should be at the top of your list of destinations to visit if you enjoy outdoor activity, photography, or intriguing vistas.
Over 10,000 years ago, a modest lava flow created the enormous cave. A lagoon, unusual species including blind crabs, an entire subterranean restaurant and cafe, and even a stage where local folk music bands frequently perform can all be found inside the cave system. The opportunity to see this unique cave is undoubtedly the highlight of every trip to Lanzarote.
1.9. Unwind at Maspalomas Beach
Gran Canaria is quite famous for a reason—its breathtaking beaches—even though there is a lot to see and do there. Maspalomas Beach, which stretches for miles along the island’s southernmost point, is one of the nicest beaches to visit on the island.
A coastal promenade with stores, eateries, beach bars, and everything you could need or desire for a hassle-free day at the beach can be found next to the beach’s tall lighthouse.
There is some isolation here for tourists that prefer quieter surroundings. Just a short distance from the lighthouse are dunes, exclusive beach spots, and a few unspoiled natural reserves. Since the water at Maspalomas Beach is quite shallow, it is almost always warm enough to enjoy a fruity beverage while lounging in the surf.
1.10. The Beaches of Fuerteventura
On the island of Fuerteventura, miles of beaches are virtually deserted, and even the majority of those with significant tourism infrastructures are vacant most of the time. To the joy of surfers, who discover some of Europe’s best waves here, the northeastern beaches are frequently fairly windy and the surf on its northern beaches is quite strong.
The fishing port of Corralejo on the north coast is a surfing hotspot with rentals, surf schools, and a vibrant water sports scene. Along Corralejo’s roughly 16 kilometers of sandy shore, there are a variety of kiosks that rent out beach chairs, sun umbrellas, and water sports equipment at Playa el Pozo, which offers moderate waves and safe swimming waters.
Nearly 30 kilometers of golden sand that are lapped by blue waves are yours to select from. While there are towns and tourist hotspots with all the facilities, what draws visitors to these legendary dunes is the quantity of empty beach space.
1.11. Whale Watch on Gran Canaria
A whale-watching excursion on Gran Canaria’s southwest coast is one of the nicest things you can do in the Canary Islands if you enjoy wildlife safaris or simply being on the water. More than 20 different dolphin and whale species have been sighted around the Canary Islands, with bottlenose dolphins, sperm whales, and pilot whales among some of the most common sightings.
Whales can be viewed year-round since they reside here rather than just passing through on seasonal migrations. Even if you don’t see any whales, an afternoon spent sailing as dolphins jump in your wake is still very amazing.
1.12. Las Palmas De Gran Canaria
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is a seaside town in the sun with a rich historical history from its 15th-century Spanish colonial past. Spain’s first colonial outpost in its westward migration into the New World, the city was established in 1478.
The Grand Cathedral of Santa Ana, built in the sixteenth century, features a Gothic interior with distinctive palm-shaped columns. In the south wing of the building is the Diocesan Museum, which houses a significant collection of religious art and gold and silver work.
The Museum of the Canary Islands’ fascinating archaeological and ethnographic collections provide insight into the island’s pre-Hispanic culture. Columbus stopped at the first governor’s residence, the Casa de Colon, in the fifteenth century while traveling to the New World. The museum’s exhibits describe his explorations. With delicate wooden balconies, gorgeous patios, and a grand gateway, the home is a stunning specimen of Canarian architecture.
1.13. See Wildlife at Loro Park
Yes, Loro Park is a favorite among families visiting Europe with children, but even individuals traveling alone will adore this wonderful zoo and research facility. It’s one of the top zoos in Europe and boasts many accolades, including housing the biggest shark tunnel on the continent.
The park contains one of the largest parrot collections in the world and is one of the most well-known parrot research facilities on the planet, with more than 350 species and subspecies of parrots. The park is home to a variety of species, including tigers, hippos, and sloths. You should include Loro Park on your list of things to do in the Canary Islands if you enjoy learning about animal study and protection.
1.14. La Orotava, Tenerife
This colonial hamlet has been recognized as a National Historic-Artistic Site. It is located in a lovely valley of banana plantations. There are several elegant older residences with elaborately carved wooden balconies around the historic district.
The Casas de los Balcones, constructed in the 1630s as a residence for a wealthy colonial family, is the most remarkable of these architectural wonders. Today, it serves as a gallery and museum for traditional Canarian handicrafts.
Step into the patio’s greenery to enjoy the internal balconies. Two beautiful bell towers can be seen on the Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de la Concepción, a Baroque church from the sixteenth century. More than 3,000 vibrant tropical flowers and uncommon plants are housed in the exquisitely designed Hijuela del Botánico, which is surrounded by lawns with ornamental pools.
Nearby Puerto de la Cruz, which formerly belonged to La Orotava, a port well-known for its fishing (whose boats still carry in the daily catch to its restaurants), has an even bigger botanical park. The Jardin Beach on the nearby island of Lanzarote was created by Cesar Manrique, a sculptor, architect, and artist.
1.15. Explore Cueva De los Verdes, Lanzarote
Investigating the seven-kilometer-long volcanic tube that runs from La Coruna Mountain to the sea is one of the most well-liked activities on Lanzarote. These tubes were created as a lava flow’s top surface cooled and solidified while the molten river of lava beneath it continued to flow. The hollow tube was left behind by the subsurface lava when it poured into the ocean.
The two kilometers of the cave that you can tour are still in their natural state; the only additions are walkways and lighting for safety. You enter the caves through a cameo, a hole made when a thin section of the lava tube’s roof collapsed. Larger chambers can reach heights of nine to twelve meters. The stone that makes up the walls is colored red, orange, and black with substances like calcium carbonate and iron oxide.
1.16. Hike to Roque Nublo, Gran Canaria
One of the largest natural crags in the world, this 220-foot stone pillar is the emblem of Gran Canaria. One of the most popular activities on Gran Canaria is the easy hike to Roque Nublo, which is about a mile from the La Goleta parking lot and has a moderate ascent but no severe hills.
Amazing vistas may be seen from the rock’s base. You are at the island’s center, and you can see a line of ragged volcanic peaks stretching out in all directions. The highest peak in Spain, Mount Tiede, on Tenerife, can be seen if the weather is clear.
Wear strong shoes; the terrain is rugged and not suitable for sandals. Be prepared for wind and sun. La Goleta has a limited amount of parking, so it’s a good idea to be there early on weekends and holidays.
1.17. Fun at the Carnival of Santa Cruz De Tenerife
Every year, three days of parades, parties, concerts, and general revelry are held in the capital city of Tenerife. This typically occurs in February, just before Lent begins. Carnival lasts for three weeks, but the first two are less vibrant because they are mostly used to choosing the different queens who would compete in the last three days’ grand finale. When the parades take place and the outdoor gatherings go all day and night, that is when you should be there.
Up to 400,000 people may be there, there is nonstop music, and the extravagant feather and glitter costumes frequently overshadow the stunning girls who are wearing them. Even more intricate and creative than the costumes are the parade floats.
Only Rio de Janeiro’s Carnival surpasses Santa Cruz’s in popularity and recognition abroad. Some suggestions include booking accommodations early, not even considering driving into Santa Cruz, arriving early to secure a good viewing spot for the parades, and donning a costume, however simple, so you can participate in the festivities.
1.18. Parque Nacional De Garajonay, La Gomera
It is difficult to construct a road around the coast of La Gomera because of how steep it rises from the Atlantic. The world’s largest pre-glacial forest, designated as Garajonay National Park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, crowns the top half of the island. The 9,325-acre park is 70% covered by dense laurel woodland resembling those that once covered Tertiary-era Europe.
The islands’ streams and springs are nourished by clouds and mist that hang over the peaks in the park, and these lovely, green woodlands are home to numerous species of flora and animals that are native solely to this island.
The landscape is rocky, and routes through the moss- and mist-covered forests lead to stunning, if frequently dizzying, views. Before sailing across the Atlantic in 1492, Christopher Columbus outfitted his ships in San Sebastián, the island’s capital.
1.19. Go Stargazing on Mt. Tiede, Tenerife
While the island’s most popular tourist destination is the volcano and its enormous caldera during the day, Tiede National Park has a different draw at night. The Starlight Foundation has designated it as a “Starlight Destination” in recognition of the extraordinary observing conditions.
This is because there isn’t much light pollution, there are trade winds, and it’s close to the equator, making it possible to see most of the Southern Hemispheres and all of the Northern Hemisphere’s constellations.
From Tiede, 83 of the 88 formally accepted constellations can be seen. Due to this, stargazing is a popular pastime in Tenerife at night. Meteor showers, which include the Perseids in August and the Quadrantids in January, and several minor ones throughout the year, are among the most stunning celestial phenomena.
1.20. Caldera De Taburiente National Park, La Palma
La Palma, the greenest of the Canary Islands, is referred to as the Isla Bonita (Beautiful Island). La Palma’s terrain ranges from pristine forests to towering cliffs and black-sand beaches, and it is designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
The Caldera de Taburiente National Park, where lava flows fall into the sea and volcanic peaks climb to 2,400 meters, is one of its numerous protected areas. The park features woodland regions with waterfalls and mountains for visitors looking for ideal surroundings. Beautiful small bays are tucked up between rugged mountainsides along the rocky coast.
1.21. El Monumento Natural De Los Roques
There is no need for a lot of trekking equipment or an Olympian attitude to get to this stunning location, which is perched virtually in the middle of La Gomera and can easily observe while you are driving. From the capital city of San Sebastian, take the road TF-713. The greatest way to view the canyons, mountain ranges, and virtually unsplit nature is during the entire breathtaking trip.
Silbo Gomero, the most unusual language in the world, might be audible if you pay close attention! It is a whistling-based language that has historically been utilized by locals to communicate across great distances. So, pay close attention as it appears that the whistling sounds could be heard up to 5 km away due to the topography.
1.22. Puerto Del Carmen, Lanzarote
Lively Puerto del Carmen, which is bordered by more than six kilometres of sandy beaches with calm waters, is the largest tourist town on Lanzarote. Despite having a large selection of hotels and restaurants, the former fishing village has been converted into a thriving tourist destination without losing its authentic Canarian charm.
The Fiesta de la Virgen del Carmen will be a hit with visitors during August. The fishing village is decorated with vibrant bunting for this religious festival, which commemorates the patron saint of the community. A customary parade of adorned boats travels through the village to mark the occasion. As other fishing boats follow in a twilight maritime procession, one of the boats is carrying the statue of the Virgen del Carmen.
1.23. San Cristóbal De La Laguna, Tenerife
Because of its rich cultural legacy, this lovely colonial city has been named a UNESCO World Legacy Site. The historic capital of all the Canary Islands was San Cristobal de la Laguna, more commonly referred to as La Laguna.
The charming ancient town is home to many architectural treasures, including its ornate cathedral, churches constructed in the Renaissance and Neoclassical styles, and grand houses constructed by affluent families in the 17th and 18th centuries. Iglesia de Nuestra La Concepción, the parish church for the community, was initially constructed in 1496 and later altered in the 16th and 18th centuries. The sanctuary contains simple Mudéjar coffering and decoration.
Iglesia de Santo Domingo de Guzmán, a 17th-century church with Plateresque features on the facade and an elaborate Mudejar ceiling, is another significant building. The inside is decorated with paintings by Canary Islands artist Cristóbal Hernández de Quintana. Visit the History and Anthropology Museum, which is located in the magnificent Casa de Lecaro, built in 1593, for a historical overview of the area.
The Canary Islands are an array of volcanic islands located far from the Spanish mainland and are renowned for their sand beaches, pleasant temperatures throughout the year and a plethora of natural beauties. With 12 million tourists visiting the Spanish colony each year, they are a tourist haven.
They are referred to as Islas Canarias collectively in Spanish and have long been a source of curiosity. Surprisingly, rather than the adorable canary yellow local birds, these Atlantic islands presumably owe their name to man’s best friend.
Relaxing on the beach is one of the nicest things to do in the Canary Islands. Playa de las Canteras and Playa de Maspalomas on Gran Canaria, as well as Playa de Las Teresitas on Tenerife, are some of the most well-liked locations to accomplish this. There are four national parks located around the archipelago, so there is more to do here than just relax by the water.
Additionally, you should leave sometime on your trip schedule to discover the Canaries’ charming cities, particularly Las Palmas on Gran Canaria and Santa Cruz on Tenerife.