Which is the best Canary Island for your holiday trip?

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.

Gran Canaria

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

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.

Tenerife

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.

Fuerteventura

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.

La Gomera

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

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.

La Palma

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.

La Graciosa

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.

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Aloe Vera from the Canary Islands

Flying to Fuerteventura airport in the Canary Islands, Spain (FUE)

The airport serving Fuerteventura in Spain, locally known as El Matorral, is located just five kilometres from the capital –Puerto del Rosario-, a small town home to the main economic and commercial district that offers frequent scheduled public transport connections to virtually every site of interest in the island. As the UNESCO Biosphere Nature Reserve it is, the unique volcanic landscape of Fuerteventura never ceases to amaze its visitors: whether you hire a car to get around or you opt for public buses, it is easy to commute from the arrivals zone of the terminal to the Natural Park of the Dunes of Corralejo, the beaches of Costa Calma or Morro Jable while admiring the views. Later in this post, you will find out where to rent a vehicle after landing or how to transfer between buses to arrive at your accommodation in Fuerteventura.

Passenger terminal of FUE airport in the Canary Islands

Fuerteventura airport has a single terminal building accommodating its baggage-claim hall, check-in counters, airline offices and passenger services. When departing, head to your right and walk past the aquarium and the Costa Coffee restaurant in order to find the check-in area. You will be able to see the desk handling your flight and when it will open on the flight information screens, however, note that there are two distinct security filters depending on your destination: the regional flights-only security is clearly signposted, whereas passengers on flights to national and international destinations must clear security in a checkpoint located behind the check-in desks. The airside has a walk-through duty free, several cafés, two restaurants with a terrace, a local products shop and an Aloe Vera store, to mention but a few. Upon arriving, travellers are guided to the baggage carousels and, after crossing the sliding doors, they are received by a coffee place and the car rental offices.

Transportation from Fuerteventura airport

Whatever the purpose of your trip, the island’s long distances are best covered by car or bus. Public transport is affordable and efficient, and renting a vehicle at one of the various car rental offices in FUE will give you the freedom to tour the island without being subject to a timetable.

To travel by bus, wait outside the arrivals zone of the terminal for line 03 towards Puerto del Rosario. This line operates every day of the week and its schedule changes according to the volume of arriving passengers, yet it is safe to say that buses normally come every 15 minutes between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m  on weekdays. It takes less than fifteen minutes to get to the central bus station of Puerto del Rosario, where you can transfer, for instance, to bus 06 towards Corralejo, also departing every 15/30 minutes.

If you prefer to hire your own vehicle, there are several car rental offices situated by the doors leading to the non-restricted area: Top Car, Avis, Cicar, Hertz, Payless, Autoreisen, Europcar and Goldcar. Take FV1 motorway going north if you want to visit the Dunes, otherwise, take FV2 so as to reach Morro Jable (the drive lasts a little more than one hour), or if your accommodation in Fuerteventura is in Costa Calma.

Flights to Fuerteventura island in Spain

If you are planning a holiday in the Canary Islands, perhaps you are looking for the best way to arrive. In the case of choosing this island belonging to the province of Las Palmas, many European airlines sell connecting and direct flights to Fuerteventura. The most popular carriers and routes are listed below:

Air Europa (from Madrid and other islands in the archipelago), Binter and CanaryFly (from other Canarian Islands and cities in Africa like Agadir, Banjul and Casablanca), Aer Lingus (Dublin), Austrian (Wien), Azur (Düsseldorf), Brussels Airlines (Brussels), Condor (Düsseldorf, Munich, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hannover and Leipzig), Easyjet (Basel, Berlin Tegel, Bristol, Lyon, Liverpool and London Gatwick), Edelweiss (Zürich), Eurowings (Köln Bonn, Düsseldorf, Munich), Germania (Berlin Schonefeld, Dresden, Bremen), Iberia and Iberia Express (Madrid), Jet2.com (Belfast, Leeds, Nottingham East Midlands, Glasgow, Newcastle and London Stansted), Luxair (Luxembourg), Olympus (Zürich), Ryanair (Florence, Barcelona, Nottingham East Midlands, Leeds, Berlin Schonefeld, Brussels Charleroi, London Luton, Manchester, Milan Bergamo), Tui (Amsterdam, Berlin Tegel, Nottingham, Bristol, Hamburg, Hannover, Stuttgart, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Munich, London Luton), Transavia (Amsterdam), Wizz (Budapest) and Vueling (Barcelona, Amsterdam, Rome Fiumicino, Paris Charles de Gaulle and most main Spanish cities such as Bilbao, Granada, A Coruña and Seville).