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 rainforests, 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.
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.
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.
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 of Spanish, Latin, and African cultures. Most of the 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.
8. Hiking – All Islands
The Canary Islands offer a wide selection of hiking trails that range from inhabited cave villages, forests, desert-like environments, lakeside 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!