Islas Canarias, or the Canary Islands, are the most famous Spanish archipelago of volcanic origin located in the Atlantic Ocean, close to the African coast. They were once called “the Happy Islands” and they are a synonym of unforgettable holiday. Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, Tenerife and Gran Canaria are the largest and most frequently visited islands, and each of them offers remarkable attractions and possibilities.
Marvellous, endless beaches, azure, crystal clear sea, mild, sunny climate, moonlike views, magnificent, breath-taking landscapes and never-ending fiesta – these exotic attractions are within your reach. It is also a real paradise for sports enthusiasts – quiet bays with perfect places to learn windsurfing or diving. If you are looking for an ideal holiday destination, the Canary Islands tick all the boxes!
Fuerteventura – the Canary Islands’ beach
Fuerteventura is the second largest Island of the archipelago sitting the closest to the African coast. Its name derives from French and means “strong adventure” (une forte aventure). It is also called the red island due to the colour of its clay soil.
One will never get bored on the oldest and at the same time the longest island of the Canary Islands, which coastline exceeds 350 km. The biggest attraction of Fuerteventura is its magnificent, endless beaches with fine, white sand that is blown straight from the Sahara Desert. Fuerteventura prides itself on as many as 150 beaches which makes it an ideal destination for beach fun lovers and those who enjoy active leisure and water sports. The most famous beach of Fuerteventura is 5-kilometer-long Playa de Sotavento with a picturesque lagoon and perfect conditions for windsurfing and kitesurfing. It is here where the World Cup in both disciplines is held every year.
On Fuerteventura we will not find high mountains but due to its landform, the warm wind from Sahara called cirocco reaches all parts of the island generating a mild climate. Magnificent weather is here almost all year round. In summer, the temperatures fluctuates between 28-30°C, however sometimes it can get as hot as 40°C. Luckily, the heat is alleviated by ocean breeze. In winter, average temperatures are between 18-22oC. It all makes Fuerteventura a sure bet for successful holiday for an entire family!
Tenerife – exotic charm
Do you long for fantastic weather and an exotic vibe? Tenerife, the largest and the most frequently visited island in the Canary archipelago, lures with diversified climate, picturesque landscape and lush greenery.
Tenerife abounds in exceptional beaches for all fans of lazy holiday – golden Las Teresitas made of Sahara sand is considered one of the best beaches in the Canary Islands, or Playa de las Americas. In total, there are over 140 beaches. Due to different concentration of volcanic dust, sand of some beaches varies from golden to almost black, as it is on Los Gigantes or Playa Jardin. Tourist will surely find it fascinating.
When in Tenerife, you cannot help but notice, even if from a distance, Teide volcano and its snow-covered peak which towers over the island. The highest summit of the Atlantic Ocean is not active at the moment, however a trip to Teide is by far quite an adventure.
Make sure you visit Teno National Park with its magnificent panorama or Masca gorge sitting close to the cliffs of Los Gigantes. The views over there can be compared to those of Machu Picchu! Fans of active leisure will not go home disappointed – cycling, trekking (there are plenty of mountain trails of various levels of difficulty) or all sorts of water sports.
Tenerife is the place to cater for all tastes and its weather guarantees ideal holiday not only in summer, but all year round. You cannot get bored there and there is always a good time to have some fun – the nightlife finishes at the crack of dawn and it is hard to list all restaurants, pubs and discos there. One of the most interesting attractions on the island is by all means the carnival held in its capital city, Santa Cruz de Tenerife. It is the second largest carnival in the world (after the Brazilian one).
Gran Canaria – island of singing birds
Idyllic Gran Canaria is located merely 210 kilometres away from the African coast. This is the third largest Canary Island and with its 60 kilometres of sandy beaches, it will surely live up to even the most demanding expectations.
It is called a continent in miniature – so many microclimates, exotic plants and various landscapes – from the moonlike sceneries, green volcanic mountains to spectacular, white, sun-clad dunes of Maspalomas. The high, snow-covered mountains sit in the centre of the island!
Gran Canaria is mainly a place for quiet holiday on amazing beaches with white, gold or black sand. The most famous beaches are Playa del Inglés (considered the most beautiful one in Europe), Las Canteras, San Agustinor Playa de Maspalomas. Playa de Amadore, hidden in a bay, prides itself on the Blue Flag received for crystal clear waters.
Water sports aficionados will never forget their time spent there: surfing, windsurfing, diving, sailing or motorboat sports. Hikers will also find something to their liking – mountains with magnificent trails or volcanic peaks will surely appeal to them.
Las Palmas is the amazing capital city that enraptures with the colonial sites. The Columbus House Museum is definitely worth visiting. This great explorer visited Gran Canaria to resupply before he set off on his famous expedition to discover America.
Lanzarote – island of ice
Lanzarote, the fourth largest island of the Canary archipelago is located the closest to Europe. Its characteristic features are white, charming, little houses and volcanic, moonlike landscape blending with the azure Atlantic Ocean. You can enjoy spectacular views, sandy beaches and volcanos.
On Lanzarote there are over 300 volcanic cones and the last eruption took place only 200 years ago. This event gave the island its moonlike character. It was declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO – the local landscapes, made mostly of volcanic rocks, captivate and take your breath away.
The island is full of charming places which hide rich and truly unique fauna and flora – as many as 41 plant species can be found only on the Canary Islands. Tourists are tempted with golden, sandy beaches. Each of them has different colour and texture and the most popular ones are Playa de Papagayo, Playa Dorada or golden Playa Grande (Playa Blanca).
Lanzarote caters for all tastes – it is a paradise for water sports lovers. Diving, surfing or swimming are everyday activities. When in Lanzarote, make sure you visit Timanfaya National Park with the youngest volcano on the island or Cueva de los Verde cave with 6-kilometer-long system of passages running along the foot of the volcano into the ocean. Mysterious El Golfo is a volcano’s crater with a green lake and the outstanding works of César Manrique are in keeping with exotic, volcanic landscapes.