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View of the Canary Islands

Holidays on the Canary Islands

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The Canary Islands–say hello to the sun

So you can make the most of what's on offer in the eight Canary Islands, we suggest a travel plan with the essentials of each one. We're thinking of a stay of at least two days on each island and we know it's not long enough. Make the most of the magnificent airport connections.The two main islands are Gran Canaria and Tenerife. We set off from these two because they have the main air and sea connections: Fuerteventura, Lanzarote, La Gomera, La Palma, El Hierro and La Graciosa. Discover how and enjoy.

The first week: the islands of Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote and La Graciosa

Distance:800-1000km

Gran Canaria

It is known as the miniature continent so just imagine what you can find there. Its main city is Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, capital of the eastern islands.

During your visit, you can't miss a stroll through the historic quarter of Vegueta and its shopping street, Calle Triana; a swim on the urban family beach of Las Canteras; or enjoy its many leisure options.An island for wandering around: The tour of the island is one of the most popular excursions. The reasons? On a route that is about 250 kilometres long, you can visit the church of San Juan Bautista in Arucas, the port of Agaete, the spectacular Mirador del Balcón viewing point in La Aldea, discover a picture-postcard harbour in Mogán, visit some of the most popular beaches such as Arguinegüin, Patalavaca, Puerto Rico, Amadores and other small coves, or stroll through the historic town centre of Telde.However, if any of the beaches is a must visit it’s Maspalomas: a desert of dunes that stretches all the way to the sea. We recommend you take a walk along the seashore to the neighbouring Playa del Inglés beach,Inland, don't forget to visit rural Tejeda and Teror. If you have time and, above all, if you are fascinated by nature, jot down the Mirador del Pozo de las Nieves Viewpoint, the Nublo Rural Park, the Las Niñas Dam and the Bandama Caldera.When planning your visit to the island, remember that temperatures are usually higher in the south and there are more beaches there. Whereas, as you go further inland, the temperature may decrease.

Natural pools in Agaete, Gran Canaria

Fuerteventura

A paradise for relaxation with more than 150 kilometres of beach. A dream for surfers due to the waves. An endless playground of sand and fun for children.

All of this is Fuerteventura, an island with a virgin coastline, emerald green water and white sand, declared a Biosphere Reserve, and we are going to tell you what the essentials are for a few days here.Canary Island beaches: The perfect plan for Fuerteventura is to combine time spent in the sun on the beach with a pleasant meal of fish or kid and local cheeses, and some kind of water activity. At dusk, a good option is strolling and having dinner in places like Corralejo, Morrojable, Costa Calma or Caleta de Fuste.You have to swim at beaches such as the really long Sotavento, Cofete, Morro Jable or Costa Calma (in the south) or the Playa de la Concha Beach, in El Cotillo, and Grandes Playas de Corralejo Beaches (all in the north). The latter is at the foot of the Las Dunas de Corralejo Nature Reserve, an impressive desert full of dunes. If you have never rolled down an enormous dune, you have to–and here you can.Other points of interest are the viewpoints of Peñitas and Morro Velosa, near Betancuria. Discover spectacular landscapes.If you still have time, we recommend a short boat trip to Islote de Lobos from the port of Corralejo, going snorkelling or getting to know the desert fauna in Oasis Park.

Cofefe beach at sunset, Fuerteventura

Lanzarote

If you can only stay on the island two days, there are some activities that we recommend you don't miss.

The must-do activities include a tour of the protected landscape of La Geria to discover the original grape growing of Lanzarote and its white wines; a camel ride (you can take one in the Timanfaya National Park); a trip to the Charco de los Clicos; or a swim on beaches such as Papagayo or Las Cucharas. Other highly recommended beaches but ones that take a little longer to get to are Las Conchas Beach and the nudist beach in Famara.Volcanic magic: Yes, magic exists in Lanzarote or it seems to when you discover its nature. It is so valuable that the island has been declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Furthermore, it is extremely easy to discover its essentials thanks to its Art, Culture and Tourism Centres. They include Timanfaya National Park (Fire Mountains), Cueva de los Verdes, the Cactus Garden, Jameos del Agua, the Mirador del Río Viewpoint and the San José Castle International Museum of Contemporary Art. If you are on a short visit, you may be interested in a pass for the four centres.It is also special to visit places such as the fishing village of El Golfo, what is known as the valley of the thousand palm trees (Haría), Yaiza and its quiet streets with white houses, the bustling Puerto del Carmen or the shopping town of Puerto Calero.

The Green Lagoon in Lanzarote

La Graciosa

An island where you can relax on beautiful golden sandy beaches, and enjoy nature and silence.

La Graciosa is a small island opposite Lanzarote, and can be reached by a 30-minute ferry ride from the port of Orzola in Lanzarote. The best ways to get to know the island are by bicycle, or on boat trips that include stops along some of its beaches.

La Cocina beach, Chinijo Archipelago, La Graciosa, Lanzarote

Second week: the islands of Tenerife, La Gomera and El Hierro

Distance:800-1000km

Tenerife

Are you thinking of a few days in Tenerife? Perfect for disconnecting but certainly not enough for discovering all of it.

When it comes to organising your getaway, you can divide the island into three large areas: the south, where you will find the Tenerife-South International Airport; the north, which is home to the Tenerife-North International Airport; and the metropolitan area.One island, one thousand possibilities: As many as you can think of. Thousands in natural surroundings and one that is completely essential: the Teide National Park. We recommend you take some hiking routes depending on the time you have. If you don't have much, a good option is to drive along the TF-21 (from La Orotava and from Granadilla), TF-24 (from La Laguna) and TF-38 (from Chío). There are lots of viewpoints along the way where you can enjoy the beauty of the park. More nature options are whale watching and the lunar landscape of the Corona Forestal Nature Reserve.You will also come across thousands of leisure options. For example, in the south, one of the largest water parks in Europe, Siam Park; and, in Puerto de la Cruz, an incredible zoo where you can see penguins, killer whales, parrots and all kinds of animals, Loro Parque. Possibilities include discovering beautiful villages with rural charm, such as Vilaflor or Icod de los Vinos.In the south, we are struck by the peculiar contrast between mountain towns and popular beaches such as El Médano, Los Cristianos, Las Américas and Las Vistas, which are spread out over the areas of Costa Adeje and Costa del Silencio, the warmest spot on the island. In the north, the highlights are Puerto de la Cruz and La Orotava. In the first, the Lago Martiánez (salt water pools) and the lively seafront promenade are very popular. Whereas La Orotava allows you discover the island's most traditional architecture and the beautiful Valle de La Orotava, one of the main entrances to the Teide National Park.Lastly, the metropolitan area refers to the cities of San Cristóbal de La Laguna and Santa Cruz de Tenerife. They are the cultural nucleus of the island and there is barely 15 kilometres separating them. They are cities to discover on foot and enjoy their parks, historic building and avenues. Furthermore, San Cristóbal de La Laguna is the only city in the Canary Islands declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Teide

La Gomera 

This is a mysterious island, a place where time stands still... or seems to. If you're not convinced, look out from one of its spectacular viewpoints during your stay and you'll see how you forget all about time.

The island has a network of more than 40 viewpoints. The Alto de Garajonay, the highest spot on La Gomera, is especially fascinating, and you can make out the islands of El Hierro, La Palma, Tenerife and, even, Gran Canaria in the distance. It is in Vallehermoso, where there is an abundance of a landscape that is very popular in La Gomera: that of crops grown on terraced land.An island of magical sensations: See for yourself when you visit the Garajonay National Park. It is an immense virgin forest where you can walk through mists and discover the phenomenon of horizontal rain. We recommend booking a guided tour. If you go by yourself, a good option is to start from the Juego de Bolas Visitor Centre.The island conceals many secrets. For example, an enormous cliff of volcanic origins that erosion has shaped so that it is known as “The Organs”. To see it, take a sea trip along the Vallehermoso coastline.If you feel like swimming at the beach, take into account that the most popular ones are in Valle Gran Rey, one of the most touristy municipalities, along with San Sebastián de La Gomera, the place from which Christopher Columbus left Spain to discover America; and Agulo, which has the best conserved historical quarter on the island.

Garajonay National Park, La Gomera

La Palma

Its nickname says it all: “La isla bonita” (the beautiful island). Its natural landscapes hide unique routes.

The perfect plan for the island? Hiking, a good swim in a quiet cove, eating overlooking the sea and a drive through its charming little villages. At nightfall, look up at the sky: there are few places where you will see the stars as clearly as you do here.An island of stars: The sky of La Palma is protected and it is known worldwide as a centre for stargazing. You'll discover this any night without thinking about it. You'll get the best views at the Roque de los Muchachos, where there is an important observatory.And for the daytime... take note: Caldera de Taburiente National Park, Los Tilos Forest and the Volcano Route. You can hike above a sea of clouds, in green landscapes with extraordinarily beautiful viewing points. Furthermore, you will come across very simple routes in the first two. To relax after the walk, we suggest one of its many beaches. From the quiet natural pools of Charco Azul and La Fajana (north-east of the island) to the beautiful beach of La Zamora (south-west) or Los Cancajos (near the airport), or Puerto de Naos Beach and Puerto de Tazacorte (in the west of La Palma).Make sure to keep time for a very special visit to Las Salinas and Faro de Fuencaliente, in the south of the island. It is well worthwhile. Furthermore, you can complete your trip with activities such as a boat trip (there are caves and beaches that can only be reached by boat), a guided nocturnal tour or a wanderthrough the historical quarters of Llanos de Aridane or Santa Cruz de La Palma.

La Palma, sea of clouds

El Hierro 

It is a unique and different destination for several reasons. Do you know that it is an island that is 100% sustainable and self-sufficient with renewable energy? Even more impressive is the island of 1,000 volcanoes.

You will be struck by its variety of landscapes (sharp cliffs in the north, incredible lava formations in the south and lush vegetation in the centre) and, whether you are a fan or you have never done it, you have to try scuba diving or, at least, go snorkelling while you are on El Hierro. There are many dive sites and La Restinga is one of the best-known areas.Sea and volcanic views: Can you imagine swimming in a landscape full of colour? Visit the seashore of the south-west of El Hierro and discover the beaches of the Las Calmas Sea, with coves such as Tacorón where the blue of the sea combines with the ochres and blacks of the hillside and volcanic earth. We also recommend the area of El Golfo, where you will find natural pools such as Charco Azul, amongst rocks eroded by the volcanic lava.To appreciate the beauty of the scenery, we suggest some viewpoints: La Peña (by César Manrique) and Los Bascos reveal the El Golfo Valley; Las Playas reveals a gorgeous semi-circular bay without any buildings. Nearby is San Andrés (you have to visit the Garoé tree and ask about its legend) and, about 20 minutes away, Valverde – an excellent example of the island's traditional architecture.The Pozo de las Calcosas, Tiñor and El Sabinar are also examples of the originality of the island. The first two are striking because of their houses built from volcanic rock in a characteristic rural architecture. Whereas, in El Sabinar, in the Frontera Rural Park, you will see trees up to eight metres high that have been twisted by the strength of the wind to create an amazing image.

La Frontera lighthouse, El Hierro

Tips and recommendations

Transport. To verify the air connections to each island, we recommend you visit the Airports in Spain or the Canary Island Tourism websites. Above all if you only have a little time and you want to discover a lot, we recommend that you move around by car. The islands have a large fleet of vehicles for hire but it is always best to book from home.

Clothes. Swimwear, sun cream and leaving stress behind are compulsory for visiting the Canary Islands. Furthermore, if you are thinking of going hiking or visiting rural areas, remember that temperatures may be cooler.

Biodiversity. Take your camera and charger–you're going to see lots of pretty things and you'll want to immortalise it all. Remember that the Canaries stand out for their biodiversity and species of flora and fauna that only live here so be respectful, care for the environment and enjoy the nature.

Gastronomy. Basic, important and tasty advice: you have to try the most popular food. On all the islands, you will come across excellent cheeses, local wines, delicious desserts and a wide variety of “mojos” (sauces) for accompanying the delicious “papas” arrugadas (wrinkly Canarian potatoes) or the "gofio amasado". Also, remember that bananas from the Canary Islands are internationally renowned. Here are a few suggestions by island:

  • Gran Canaria: typical items are the “pata asada” (roast ham), Flor de Guía cheese, wrinkly Canarian potatoes with spicy mojo picón sauce, "sancocho" fish and potato casserole and the sweet “bienmesabe”.
  • Lanzarote: its cheeses are called “conejeros” and are perfect for accompanying its wines and the highlights of its baking are peanut bread and “roscos de alma” (which are doughnut-style).
  • Fuerteventura: the star products are its Majorero cheese, its kid and the fish that are served in its little ports.
  • Tenerife: try some fresh fish overlooking the sea, accompany it with cheeses and wines from the island, try the Canarian "puchero" casserole, taste some "gofio", or some shrimps as a starter... these are just some recommendations.
  • La Gomera: its star product is palm tree honey and the confectionery made with it. Its cheeses are very tasty and they are used for making "almogrote" (a kind of cheese paté). You also have to try the watercress stew served in a wooden bowl made from Spanish juniper.
  • La Palma: its rum and wine are very well known, along with its artisan goats' cheeses and its confectionery with desserts such as "rapadura", "marquesotes", almond cheese or Príncipe Alberto cake.
  • El Hierro: there are lots of cheese-based recipes on El Hierro, such as quesadillas (a typical dessert), cheese soup or cheese mojo sauce. Amongst its casseroles, the Champurrio is very popular.
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