Unless you are lucky enough to get the opportunity to tour the whole archipelago, when you decide to visit the Canary Islands in Spain for the first time it will invariably take you some time to discern which island in the Canaries suits your interests and preferences best. Aside from the fact that they all originated from volcanic activity and common features such as their gastronomy and sub-tropical climate, it is safe to say that each Canary Island is a micro-world in itself, with its own pace and way of living, its unique landscape and its distinguishing lifestyle.
In this post, we are going to help you find out which is the best Canary Island to travel to according to your taste. For instance, water sports lovers and surfers normally choose Fuerteventura for their trip, while those seeking a peaceful retreat typically go to Lanzarote; Tenerife caters to the needs of luxury travellers and offers a wide choice of travel experiences and, on the other hand, Gran Canaria is more nature and culture-oriented. The minor islands in the Santa Cruz Province –El Hierro, La Gomera and La Palma- are primarily visited by hikers, adventure travellers, wine lovers and astronomy students.
All that being said, we must admit that we would lie if we did not acknowledge that all of them have something to make everyone happy, and so backpackers, vacation lovers, urban travellers, beach addicts, foodies, digital nomads, children and adults can find their small piece of paradise on earth regardless of the corner of this Spanish archipelago they land in. However, if your holiday trip will last for just a few days or a week in such a way that there won’t be too much time to explore, let us help you discover which the best destination in the Canary Islands is for you.
The municipalities in northern Gran Canaria preserve the charm of old customs and traditions related to architecture, gastronomy and handicrafts, so roaming its small towns and quarters is an ideal plan for the early mornings. Museums, theatres, shopping malls, city hotels and the Alfredo Kraus Auditorium await in its buzzing capital, all within short distance of Las Canteras, considered as one of the best urban beaches in the world, although if the typical island retreat is what you are after, you will certainly find it in the south: Playa del Inglés, Maspalomas and its popular dunes and Puerto de Mogán are some of our recommendations. If you are into walking tours and nature trips, know that there are hiking trails all over the island.
Lanzarote is probably the island of the Canaries in Spain where the volcanic origin of the archipelago becomes more evident: lava stone deserted landscapes are common, creating a beautiful contrast with the small white houses and the pristine sea waters bordering them. For a beach trip, go to Playa del Papagayo, Costa Teguise, Playa Blanca or Famara, but do not forget to make time for a visit to Jameos del Agua, the Cesar Manrique Foundation, Timanfaya National Park or the Cactus Garden.
For many, Tenerife is the best Canary Island for a tourist trip due to the wide range of hotels and resorts catering to holiday goers and beach lovers located in Costa Adeje, Los Gigantes, Puerto de la Cruz and Santa Cruz, for instance. Luxury travellers who appreciate VIP hospitality and parties may consider staying at the Hard Rock Tenerife hotel. This island is the largest one in the archipelago, and in turn home to the highest peak in Spain –Mount Teide-, in such a way that it combines different landscapes and even distinct climates.
Anybody who has visited Fuerteventura before is already acquainted with the fact that it is the place to go in the Canary Islands for water sports and surf lovers. Furthermore, the Corralejo Dunes National Park has been declared a Protected Natural Reserve of the Biosphere, and it is a mandatory stop when touring this island. With some other highlights like the Oasis Wildlife Park in the south, Fuerteventura is eminently residential and offers both self-catered apartments for visitors and 5-star hotels like the Gran Atlantis Bahia Real; for something in between, we recommend the coastal zone of Costa Calma.
Taking a trip to La Gomera can be a great choice knowing that, as one of the minor islands in the Santa Cruz Province of the Canaries, beaches such as Playa de Santiago, San Sebastián or Valle Gran Rey are considerably less crowded than the ones in the capital islands. Other highlights of a visit to La Gomera could be Garajonay Natural Park, a boat excursion for whale spotting or a hike up its green mountains.
El Hierro is the smallest of the Canary Islands and so we recommend that you include it as part of a tour to make the most of your trip. That being said, as a 100% sustainable island it is worth visiting but most of all worth taking care of. Take advantage of this opportunity to put responsible tourism into practice and enjoy its small towns, swim in its natural seawater pools, and climb to its many viewpoints to soak in the views of stunning protected virgin landscapes.
As was the case with La Gomera, the beaches in La Palma island are hardly ever crowded and mostly frequented by locals: some of the best ones are Nogales, Charco Verde and Bajamar. La Palma or “the beautiful island” -as it is commonly referred to- invites you to immerse yourself in nature and tradition, as it boasts vast green areas, several viewpoints and the most typical canarian houses with their characteristic balconies. Some travellers schedule their trip to La Palma only to visit its Astronomical Observatory in Roque de Los Muchachos.
For a long time, La Graciosa was considered just an islet of less than 800 inhabitants, but its unique beauty has finally led it to be recognised as the eight island in the archipelago of the Canary Islands, even attracting tourists to its lands. If you are planning a trip to La Graciosa in the Canaries, you may choose to stay either in a holiday apartment or in a hotel at the municipality of Teguise –Lanzarote– only one kilometre away.