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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A quick guide to Lanzarote airport (ACE) in Spain

Lanzarote is the island of the Spanish Canarian archipelago that is located furthest to the east. Its unique landscapes, heavenly beaches and alluring holiday apartments and hotels have become a magnet for tourists looking for a different sort of vacation and adventurers wanting to take hikes to breathtaking places. If you are flying to the Canary Islands soon, find below a practical guide to find your way around the two terminals of Lanzarote airport, use public transportation from there and visit the Aeronautical Museum within a short walk from the airport parking.

Terminal 1 of ACE airport in Spain

Lanzarote airport’s T1 is the larger of the two and all domestic and international flights are operated from it. The ground floor accommodates the baggage claim area and the arrivals hall; once outside, you may rent a car or hire a shuttle to commute to your hotel in Lanzarote island. You will also find a bar, toilets and a tourist information office on this level.

On your day of departure, you will need to go up to the first floor, where the check-in desks are located. Before going through the security filter you may have a light meal at Caffé Ritazza or get some magazines and last-minute gifts at Hudson News but, in any case, there is a broader choice of restaurants and shops awaiting you in the only-for-passengers boarding area.

Walking between terminals

You can walk both from T1 to T2 and from T2 to T1; in fact, they are adjacent buildings. However, if you land in one of them and need to go to the other, know that there is a ramp in the parking across the street connecting them. From T1, you will have to walk straight ahead and then go up the ramp, and from T2 you will need to go across the street and then down the ramp.

Terminal 2 of Lanzarote airport in the Canary Islands

T2 is home to Canaryfly and Binter Canarias, the two airline companies operating interisland flights and even some intercontinental routes to destinations in Africa in the case of Binter. The terminal is quite small and, after landing, you can collect your baggage, step outside, and easily find the car rental offices.

When departing, you need to go back to this very same place, check in at the corresponding counter (all of them are facing the main entrance) and find the security filter to your right. If you feel like a cup of coffee or a hot sandwich before taking off, you are advised to visit Caffé di Fiore in the public area, since only two vending machines are available for passengers in the restricted departures lounge. On a brighter note, there are many power outlets to charge your mobile devices free of charge while you wait to board the plane.

Commuting from Lanzarote airport to Arrecife

Right outside T1 on your left and conveniently signposted you will find a bus stop where lines 22 (operating on week days) and 23 (operating during the weekend) of the Intercity bus company pick up and drop off travellers. These buses can take you to Arrecife bus station, only 10 minutes away, from which you may commute to most points in the island or get to your hotel in Lanzarote. A single ticket to Arrecife costs 1,40. It must be noted that the aforementioned bus lines also stop in Playa Honda before reaching the capital.

The Aeronautical Museum of Lanzarote airport

This museum, situated within a short stroll across the parking of T2 and across the road from Aena’s headquarters in Lanzarote is actually the original first terminal building from which flights departed and landed between 1946 and 1970. It keeps part of its apron and its control tower, and showcases faithful reproductions of different sections of the terminal as they used to be in the past, along with invaluable objects such as radio stations, telegraphs, scales and staff uniforms.

Aviation lovers will surely enjoy the room dedicated to spotters and their pictures, and art enthusiasts will get to know more about Cesar Manrique’s contribution to the decoration of the old and new terminals. Additionally, the aeronautical museum regularly hosts temporary exhibitions. It remains open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 to 14:00 and admission is free.

Visiting the Aeronautical Museum in Lanzarote airport (Canary Islands)

If you are an aviation lover who will be travelling to the Canary Islands in Spain, we strongly recommend that you make some time to visit the Aeronautical Museum of Lanzarote airport. While you might think that there are similar exhibitions or facilities dedicated to the history of aviation in other airports of the world, this small museum in particular does a wonderful job at preserving the actual passenger terminal which was in operation from 1946 to 1970, part of its old runway, the instruments and uniforms used by the ground staff and even the control tower -the first that served in the island- open to visitors today. Although this aviation museum in Spain is somewhat tiny, its richness in detail and the immeasurable value of the objects exhibited make it totally worth a visit.

How to get to the Aeronautical Museum

The Aeronautical Museum in Lanzarote airport in the Canaries lies within short walking distance of Terminal 2, but do not be discouraged as you won’t be able to spot it from there. If you arrive through Terminal 1, simply walk to T2 (to and from which inter-island flights are operated) and head towards the parking lot. Follow the signs indicating the way to the Aena headquarters and turn right. And old aircraft in front of the small building will welcome you confirming you have found the place.

Opening hours and admission

The facilities stay open for visitors Monday through Saturday between 10:00 and 14:00, yet less than four hours is more than enough for you to see and enjoy everything, so even if your flight lands around mid morning or leaves shortly after noon, consider paying a visit to this aviation museum in the Canary Islands as part of your trip to Lanzarote. Admission is free every day and at all times.

What to see in the Aeronautical Museum of Lanzarote in Spain

From historical photographs telling the story of the very first and most important aviation events in the island to scale models of airplanes and the building itself, not forgetting the varied array of tools and relics that will help you get an idea of the fast evolution of aeronautics inside and outside Lanzarote over the course of the decades, this place can be considered a source of knowledge for those wanting to learn further about or enter the aviation world.

The airplane spotters zone

The Aeronautical Museum in Lanzarote airport has a section dedicated to spotting which was specifically conceived to pay tribute to the aviation photographers in the island by showcasing their work. For such purpose, a series of high-quality pictures of virtually every aircraft that has landed in ACE from its early times are displayed in an area of the museum exclusively designated for the exhibition of spotting photographs and aircraft scale models.

Temporary exhibitions and works by Cesar Manrique

On a periodical basis, the temporary exhibition at the Aeronautical Museum of Lanzarote changes in order to showcase the latest trends in recycling techniques applied to aviation. As a declared UNESCO biosphere reserve, the island pays special to the preservation of nature by reducing the impact of aeronautical procedures on the environment. Cesar Manrique, a renowned local artist whose works can also be admired at the airport terminals, was a significant contributor to the environmental cause, and the staff of the museum will be glad to provide information about the meaning of some of his paintings in Lanzarote airport.

As the passenger terminals, managed by Aena, are just 10 minutes away by car from the capital city of the island –Arrecife- and roughly half an hour from holiday areas like Playa Blanca or Costa Teguise, you may as well plan to visit the museum any day of your stay even if you are not passing through the airport.

Have you found the right accommodation for your trip yet? Let us help you find a hotel in Lanzarote.

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