The Spanish archipelago of the Canary Islands is closer to Africa than it is to Europe, with a climate to match. And for British tourists it offers a winning combination of good weather and a laid-back, almost Caribbean vibe. Here are some more reasons to visit the Canary Islands – and book your stay with Culture Trip.
Before the global pandemic, the Canary Islands saw a large number of international tourists visit throughout the year. The subtropical climate, abundance of beaches and important natural attractions made this an easy choice for anyone looking for a cheap holiday where sunny days are almost guaranteed.
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Even though there are seven main islands, only four are true tourist hotspots. So while there’s plenty to see and do, especially for nature lovers, on the other three – La Gomera, La Palma and El Hierro – we’ve picked out the highlights from the UK’s favourite Canary Islands. If you really want to explore the region as a whole, you could always opt for an island-hopping tour to take it all in.
Lanzarote has a reputation as the party island of the Canaries. The large airport sees its fair share of package-holiday passengers and youngsters heading to the nearest club, but there’s more to it than the night scene. Take the tunnel of Atlantis, the largest underwater volcanic tunnel in the world, which was forged by an eruption on the island around 20,000 years ago. The mountains in the north are a good spot to view of the surreal landscape that resulted from the eruption, although even at ground level you can see traces.
After years of decline, the tourism boom of the 1980s changed the fortunes of Fuerteventura for ever. Visitors came for the beaches, which are some of the best in the region, and the rich history of Puerto del Rosario, the capital. Desert and sand dunes that formed in the central region of the island have become a popular attraction – you can even drive through them. If you do visit, make sure you sample some majorero, the local cheese made of goat’s milk.
If you want to get a sense of Spanish city life while on an island holiday, then the Gran Canaria capital, Las Palmas, is the place to head to. You’ll find some of the best beaches and restaurants here, as well as a great sense of culture amid the streets of what is the ninth largest city in Spain. There are plans to connect the rest of the island to the Las Palmas via a new train route, but until then, you can get around quite easily by car or bus.
The largest and most populous island of all the Canaries, Tenerife can feel during peak season as if it was purpose-built for tourists. The key to making the most of your experience, if you want to leave the confines of your hotel, is to head inland. Away from the admittedly beautiful coastline is a rarely seen side of the island where lush massifs, undulating ravines and incredible valleys create an awe-inspiring landscape.
Where to stay in the Canary Islands
This is a classic Canary resort with an extra dose of class. It’s actually hard to tell where the beach ends and the pool area – complete with beach bar – begins, such is the elegance of revered architect Fernando Higueras’s design. Outside you can expect spectacular gardens and fine white-sand beaches, while inside the sleek, white, wall design blends beautifully with water features and greenery. We recommend spending a little extra and booking a room on the Level, a VIP area that offers guests exclusive access to another luxurious pool, as well as preferential reservations for restaurant bookings, spa treatments and leisure facilities.
This resort, on the east coast of Fuerteventura, gets its name from the old castle tower that still stands on the hotel grounds; however, everything that surrounds it today is ultramodern – from the pool areas, restaurants and bars to a theatre and spa. This place is heavily marketed towards families and watersports lovers. Children are catered for with a kids club, three swimming pools and endless activities on site, while scuba diving and windsurfing are among the most popular activities for adults. With more than 400 beachside bungalows and studios, and easy access to the airport, Barceló Castillo is as convenient as it is fun.
Find yourself a peaceful home from home at the prime beachside location of Playa del Inglés, in the south of Gran Canaria. Its centralised position on a strip of hotels is masked by the fact that it sits in 10,000sqm (108,000sqft) of gardens, with more than 200 varieties of local plants. The natural theme continues inside, with wooden doors, windows and balconies, as well as terracotta paths and roofs that maintain a classic, airy Canary Island vibe. Rooms are spacious and comfortable, and all feature a furnished balcony or terrace to bring maximum relaxation to your stay.
This spectacular resort, which dubs itself the most romantic hotel in the south of Tenerife, is the place to come if you’re looking for luxury – and are willing to splash the cash. Picture yourself in an individually designed villa, fitted with a private heated pool and surrounded by sub-tropical flora. Throw in some views of the dramatic southern mountains and the Atlantic Ocean and you have a stay at the Royal Garden Villas & Spa. Enjoy five-star restaurants and spa facilities, and finish every decadent day of relaxation with a few cheeky beverages at the casual poolside cocktail bar.
Gethin Morgan contributed additional reporting to this article.
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