8 Things To Do In The Canary Islands

Canary Islands

The Canary Islands are an archipelago comprised of seven main islands (Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote, Tenerife, La Palma, Gomer, and Hierro), along with six other smaller islands (Alegranza, Graciosa, Montaña Clara, Roque del Este, Roque del Oeste, and Lobos).  Even though they are Spanish territory, this archipelago is located just off the northwest coast of Africa – 100 km west of Morocco.

Here are 8 things to do while you are hopping between the Canary Islands:

1.  Enjoy Nature – All Islands

Although located within a very short distance of each other, each island contains a different landscape and culture that contrasts with the others.  The Canary Islands are famous for its exotic landscapes dotted by hundreds of volcanoes, rugged cliffs, lush green rain forests, sand dunes, and its world-renowned volcanic black or white sandy beaches.  Due to its location, the weather varies from island to island.  You could be enjoying a sunny tropical weather on one island while on another island you could be experiencing snowfall or rainfall.

Timanfaya National Park

2.  Timanfaya National Park – Lanzarote

The Timanfaya landscape was created by a volcanic eruption that covered around a third of the island.  You will be able to connect with nature and feel the heat of the dormant volcano while hiking through the martian-like landscape of the Montañas del Fuego (Fire Mountains), the park’s main feature. Camel rides are also a unique way to explore Timanfaya.

3.  Beach Time!! – Gran Canaria (and most islands)

When looking for things to do during your holiday in Gran Canaria, you won’t go wrong planning time along the beach. Here you’ll find the world famous Playa del Ingles – the island’s most popular beach. It counts with many resorts, nightclubs, and restaurants.  Regardless of the time of year, the weather is good enough to sunbathe at Playa del Ingles, do some water sports and explore the sand dunes at Masapalomas, or relax at the quiet beaches of Amadores and San Agustin.

Interesting enough, the beach scenery varies drastically between islands – black sands at Las Palmas, white beaches at Fuerteventura, and golden sands at Gran Canaria, among others.

Boat trips in Tenerife

4.  Boat Trips – Tenerife

There are a number of boat trips offered in Tenerife that range from booze cruises, to fishing trips, to water sports trips, and more. No matter which type of cruise you take, one of the main attractions is the chance to see whales (almost certain to see one) and dolphins in the wild.  Trips depart from either Puerto Colon in Playa de Las Americas or from the port at Los Cristianos.

5.  Caldera De Taburiente – La Palma

Caldera de Taburiente is one of the biggest and most fertile volcanic craters in the world. While exploring the crater, you can also visit Mirador de la Cumbrecita and enjoy its wonderful views.  In addition, you can explore the nearby capital, Santa Cruz de la Palma, a charming town dominated by the views of Cumbre Vieja Volcano and other impressive landscapes.

Canary Islands Beach

6.  Water Sports – Fuerteventura and Gran Canaria

The beaches of Corralejo, in the north of Fuerteventura, and Jandia, in the south, are perfect places to practice windsurfing and kitesurfing.   Thanks to the trade winds, these golden, unspoiled beaches have become the hosts of the World Championship of such water sports.

In Gran Canaria you can find miles and miles of some of the best beaches to practice surfing.  Gran Canaria is also referred as the “Hawaii of the Atlantic”.  Other water sports include sailing, jet skiing, and scuba diving, among others.

7.  Canarian Cuisine – All Islands

Trying the local cuisine is a unique way to experience the Canary Islands.  Canarian cuisine is a mix between Spanish, Latin, and African cultures. Most of Canarian cuisine is a variety of fresh vegetables, fruit and fish, generally light meals (easier to digest in a warm climate).  Given the fact that this is an archipelago, most of the Canarian diet revolves around fish.

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.

Tapas, with wine or beer, are also a good selection while dining at these Spanish islands.

Teide Mountain

8. Hiking – All Islands

The Canary Islands offer a wide selection of hiking trails that ranges from inhabited cave villages, forests, desert-like environments, lake side walks, and mountain trails.

In Tenerife, the Teide National Park, declared a World Heritage Site in 2007, also serves as a great place to hike.  Take the cable car up the 12,198ft Mount Teide (Spain’s tallest mountain) and stop 1,000ft below the summit, from where you can hike to the summit.

As you can see, things to do in the Canary Islands are as diverse as the people who come to visit. 
These were just a few of the many attractions these Spanish islands offer… too many to mention them all!

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Images by marcp_dmoz, Alexollon, IDS.photo, palestrina55, and szeke respectively from Flickr’s Creative Commons.

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    • Simon Jones says

      You should do, it’s awesome. I especially agree about the food item. I think the Tenerife carnival warrants a place on this list also though.

  1. says

    Great list. One of my photographer friend is from there and just send me a url to check out the island and then I justs aw your post. Is this a sign telling me that should be my next list? haha

  2. says

    I love the Canary Islands We’ve both been to Lanazrote and Tenerife – it’s brilliant as they’re not too far away from the UK but you are guaranteed better weather
    I love the volcano landscapes and eating chicken cooked by them! :-)

  3. says

    Brilliant overview of all the islands. I have visited many times and personally like Lanzarote best because it’ so volcanic and there are places you think you might have stepped on the moon.

  4. says

    Your photos and descriptions have reawakened my desire to go to the Canary Islands. A friend and I considered going there many years ago, but ended up in the Bahamas. Liked the Bahamas, but need to get these islands back on the list — now!

    • says

      Not a bad choice with the Bahamas. Been there and loved them! :)
      I recently found out that part of my family came from the Canary Islands, so, I will explore even more of these islands!

  5. says

    I haven’t read much about the Canary Islands but it sounds like a fantastic place for outdoor activities. Would love to go hiking and take a nice boat ride.

  6. fitness girl says


    I haven’t been there to Canary Island but as what I’ve seen and heard about this island it is so beautiful and especially the volcano landscaping………


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