The Canary Islands are not just Tenerife or Gran Canaria. Here you can get much more than the usual summer resorts for fun in the sun, all-inclusive resorts and parties from midnight to morning.
You may be surprised at what each island has to offer – from shopping to star gazing, from “volcanic” wine tasting to rolling in sand dunes. And don’t forget the beautiful kilometers of sandy shores and picturesque views over the sea.
If you don’t know which island would best suit your vacation experience, read this text that will help you help find out which of these seven volcanic islands is best for your trip.
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For outdoor adventures: Tenerife
It’s Tenerife home to one of the largest and most impressive volcanoes in Europe: El Teide. Even though it is a summer day below, closer to the sea, you can see snow near the top of the volcano. It is possible to reach almost all the way to the top of the volcano by hiking or cable car, but a permit is required to travel to the top. Sailing is also popular around the island. And you can go canyoning to Mount Tejina, an ancient system of craters and caves. Excursions should walk through the village park of Anaga, which contains numerous species of moss and laurel trees. And finally, a walk (or a ride, if it’s easier for you) Los Gigantesa lithicam, aptly named for their enormous size, offers a beautiful view from the cliff to the ocean and the famous beaches of Tenerife on the black sand.
For wine and culture: Lanzarote
Few places in the world can boast of “volcanic” vineyards, but here you can enjoy tasting and exploring Lanzarote wines, while enjoying the view of national parks: Timanfaya and Los Volcanoes. In addition to taking in wines, you will learn all about how grapes are grown in ash, volcanic soil with small stone circles that protect the vine from wind and other harmful weather conditions.
In addition to the famous vineyards, volcanoes and beaches of Lanzarote (Papagayo is one of the most beautiful on the island), visitors can enjoy art, architecture and design. Original creations by artist Cesar Manrique can be found in various places around the island. One of the most interesting examples is his former home, where he combined his eclectic design with the natural landscape of caves and volcanic rocks and tunnels.
For beaches, sand dunes and spa: Gran Canaria
Gran Canaria has 59 kilometers covered only by beaches. Couples will enjoy the peace and quiet along the cliff that stretches from Playa de Puerto Rico to Playa de Amadores. Amadores Beach Club is especially elegant if you want to try some Spanish coffee while sunbathing. For relaxing, four-hour spa break, spa centar Corallium in Lopesan Costa Meloneras offers, in addition to the basic offer, a salt cave, a zodiac room with water beds and a hall of Himalayan salt ($ 45 per person).
Families should head to Maspalomas, where they will be greeted by golden sand with numerous restaurants and facilities nearby. Children will love to play in the giant sand dunes, but with the sparkling sea behind. To socialize with the locals, wander the cobbled streets through the island’s capital, Las Palmas. There you will find numerous historic buildings and a lively urban beach, Las Canteras.
For star gaze and peace: La Palma
La Palma was the first destination to be certified as a Star Reserve. The whole island is dedicated to protecting the quality of the night sky, making it one of the best places in the world for people who like to watch the stars. You can admire the twinkling stars from anywhere on the island, but there is 16 special points – miradores astronomicos – which are marked as the best places for astrotourism.
UNESCO has declared the entire island a World Biosphere Reserve. So be sure to visit Caldera de Taburiente, a national park formed by volcanic landslides. There you will have the opportunity to enjoy a peaceful atmosphere near waterfalls, streams and hilly, pine forests. Or consider exploring hidden black sand beaches like Playa de Nogales, which you can access only by walking up a long staircase, built into the cliff. Those who do not want so much “adventure” can walk to the city The Plains of Aridane, where they can shop at the open-air Sunday market and admire the street frescoes.
For water sports and sandy white beaches: Fuerteventura
Fuerteventura in Spanish means “strong winds”, so it is not surprising that it is an island known for the best kiting (kite surfing) and sailing in the world. If you would rather stay on “dry” terrain, you can admire many talented surfers from the beach, while active participants in water sports would have to plan going to the World Cup in windsurfing and kiteboarding. The popular event takes place every summer on Playa Barca, near the southern part of the island. Those who dream of paradise beaches should relax on the beaches that are located near the town of Corralejo. For a wild paradise covered with wind, El Cotillo is a beach in the northern part of the island, with coves of crystal sand, surrounded by clear waters. Day trips to the small volcanic island of Lobos they are perfect for those who want to isolate themselves. For diving lovers, any option is good because the whole island is a nature reserve.
For eco travelers and divers: El Hierro
Environmentally conscious travelers should look no further than the smallest of the seven Canary Islands, El Hierro. Unlike many other Canary Islands, there are regulations that limit construction to only two floors. In addition to being a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, El Hierro uses mainly renewable energy sources (both wind and hydro) for power supply.
The sea surrounding El Hierro has almost 50 diving spots. Visibility can be up to 160 feet when it is a clear sunny day, and below you can spot marine life like barracudas, dolphins, and even whales and sharks. Photography lovers or those who simply want a unique look should look at points like Roque de la Bonanza or Salmor, where you will find rocks protruding from the sea, formed by underwater landslides and volcanic eruptions.
Tip: Combine a trip to El Hierro with a visit to a larger island like Gran Canaria or Tenerife.
For hikers and nature lovers: La Gomera
La Gomera is perfect for active travelers who like to be close to the ocean and in nature, but they are bored just lying on the beach all day. Whether you prefer intense or light walks, 400-kilometer island trails offer something for every style of hiking. Many of these trails run through Garajonay National Park, a subtropical forest known for its laurel forests, located at more than 3,200 meters above sea level.
One more an impressive outdoor wonderland is the Organos Monument (Los Organos), a cliff resembling a massive tubular organ formed by basalt pillars descending across the ocean. Those who they like to climb rocks they should head to the Los Roques area, where giant rock formations protrude into the sky. The three most famous are Roque de Agando, Roque de la Zarcita and Roque de Ojila. Although these three have been declared national monuments and you can no longer climb them, there are plenty of trails (and places for climbing and hiking) nearby that provide magnificent views of the rocks.
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