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Spain‘s Canary Islands are well-known for their expanses of rugged volcanic landscape, not to mention some of the most spectacular beaches in the world. From pristine man-made coves to remote stretches of untouched coastline, here are the most beautiful beaches this unique spot has to offer.
Los Gigantes Beach
It’s the spectacularly tall cliffs with almost vertically sheer faces that make Los Gigantes beach one of the most stunning on the island for its setting. The fine sand is black volcanic and the water also relatively shallow, with the nearby marina providing good protection against waves.
La Caleta is one of Tenerife’s more secluded seaside gems, offering visitors the chance to spend a quieter time under the warming sun on this idyllic little beach. Part of a small fishing village, La Caleta is just 10 minutes’ drive up the coast from the often overcrowded Playa de las Americas. La Caleta also has a few traditional restaurants for visitors to sample the local seafood while sipping on a cold beer.
Playa de las Teresitas
One of the island’s manmade beaches, Playa de las Teresitas is known for its almost perfect, picture-postcard appearance. Situated very close to the the capital, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, it’s particularly popular with tourists, with scattered palm trees providing some shade and sand shipped in from the Sahara desert. Soaring mountainous backdrop and clear lagoon-like waters add to its undeniable appeal.
Translated as the ‘garden beach’, this urban strip of sand lives up to its name, surrounded by beautiful flora that includes palm trees and cacti. This lovely spot became a reality thanks to the vision of Cesar Manrique, who dreamed of creating a beautiful man-made coastline. The greenery of Playa Jardin stretches from San Felipe Castle to the Punta Brava and provides an picturesque backdrop to the shiny black volcanic sand. The waves are usually big here, attracting a surfer crowd that adds to the beaches relaxing and bohemian vibe.
Playa de Famara
The long and dramatic Playa de Famara is located on the northwest coast of the island, away from the resorts and back by spectacular cliffs. The sweeping bay combines fine sand and volcanic rock, and its position means it’s more prone to wind than most. This means some impressive waves that inevitably draw the surfing crowd. If planning a visit outside the summer months, expect conditions to be rather fresh.
Playa de Papagayo
Certainly one of the most well-known of all the island’s beaches, Playa de Papagayo actually comprises a series of beaches separated by volcanic rocks. The main Papagayo beach is the the last one before the Punta del Papagayo, and also the only one with somewhere to eat – a chiringuito-style bar-restaurant sits above the cove. The sand is fine and golden with lovely clear water that makes for great snorkelling. Importantly, thanks to its location at the southern tip, Papagayo usually enjoys the best weather on the island.
Playa del Charco de los Clicos
While it’s not somewhere to spend a typical day sunbathing, the Playa del Charco de los Clicos is a stunning example of volcanic beachscape. Its striking pitch-black sand contrasts with red cliffs and a strange green lagoon (coloured by algae), with a viewing platform to appreciate this spectacular and curious natural phenomenon.
Rather than being just a single beach, Caletón Blanco is a string of lovely tiny coves of contrasting dazzling white sand and jet black lava rock. Set on the north side of the island, it can be a little windy and not as warm as its southern counterparts, but the surroundings are stunning, and access is easy by road. Natural pools created by the tide are also great as shallow splash pools for toddlers.
Maspalomas is the second longest beach in Gran Canaria, and is mostly famous for its spectacular vast dunes that often grace the covers of the travel guides for the Canary Islands. However, dunes are fragile ecosystems, and need to be visited with care. There are three signposted walking routes available for curious visitors, and information is available at the information point at the Playa del Inglés.
This beach is famed for the high number of nudists who flock to its gorgeous black sands and rounded rocks each year. However, it will ideally suit all lovers of nature, as it offers a natural landscape of the west coast rock cliffs as well as dramatic flora and fauna and a beach that’s a marvellous location for observing the sunrise. Guayedra Beach is situated in close proximity to Agaete town in the Guayedra valley.
The exotic, mountainous Güigüí Beach is located in the western part of the island. The beach is best accessible via a trekking path, marked as a moderately hard walking route. Enjoy the opportunity to witness the breathtaking views of the Teide volcano on the horizon, and to dip into the pristine and crystal clear waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
Tourists who make the effort to get to this remote beach will be rewarded with the dramatic scenery and silence of Fuerteventura‘s deep south. A long dirt track leads to the perfectly-isolated Cofete Beach. The challenging ride, however, will require something more suited than a standard hire car. The eight miles of golden said backed by the majestic Jandia Mountains make it all worth it.
Located along Costa Calma on Fuertaventura’s southern coast, Playa Esmeralda is one of the most popular beaches on the island. It’s easy to see why – with some of the most gentle waves and beautiful golden sands, it’s got more than a touch of paradise about it.
Playa De La Concha De Lobos
A short 10-minute ferry from Corralejo brings tourists to Los Lobos, an almost untouched island and nature reserve. Playa De La Concha De Lobos is the main beach, and a totally unspoiled sandy bay flanked by rocks and with waters teeming with fish and marina life. The island is pretty small – it takes only a couple of hours to cover most of it – but there are also plenty of other secluded beaches and coves to discover.