Spread across its seven main islands, the Canary Islands’ numerous beaches and tourist attractions draw over 12 million visitors per year, with families making up a sizeable chunk of that number. But where are the best places to book your next holiday-with-kids break to this this popular Atlantic archipelago?
Vacationing families have been flocking to the sunny resort of Costa Adeje for as long as Tenerife has been a holiday destination. And it’s easy to see why, with some of the island’s best beaches (Playa del Duque and Playa Fañabé), a wide selection of hotels, and plenty of family-friendly fun – it’s home two of the island’s best water parks, Siam Park and Aqualand. The setting on the south coast of the island also means guaranteed sunshine for most of the year.
Located on the most southerly tip of Gran Canaria, this is one of the island’s oldest and more popular resorts. While things can get lively at night, it’s perfectly relaxed during the day and families can find plenty to do here. It’s mostly known for its spectacular dunes, which have been declared a national park and are fringed by long beaches – families with older kids can also experience a camel safari. Children of all ages (and parents) can find all kinds of fun at the Holiday World theme park, which features thrill rides and classic amusements. As if that wasn’t enough, there’s also the Aqualand Maspalomas, offering numerous water slides and splash-based shenanigans.
Once a fishing village, Corralejo is now Fuerteventura’s largest resort town. It’s positioned on the north end of the island. While the island is generally less developed than its neighbours, it’s still a great place for families with little ones. Besides the town’s sandy beach, just outside the resort is the Corralejo Natural Park, a vast swathe of dunes and beautiful coastline that can be explored in dune buggies. There’s even a closed circuit Minnybuggy Safari Park for the littler ones. Other kid-friendly destinations include the Acuawaterpark, while for a fun day trip, catch a boat over to the volcanic wilderness and unspoiled nature park of Isla de los Lobo, which offers some of the best snorkelling in the Canary Islands.
Playa de las Américas
This Tenerife holiday resort was purpose built in the 1960s, and has remained particularly popular with bucket-and-spade package tourists ever since. Don’t expect much in the way of sophistication, but its big, brash and buzzy vibe is a undoubted draw for hordes of families each year. It has five main beaches (mostly artificial, with sand from the Sahara Desert), some of the islands biggest resort hotels, and – for families wanting to get away from the hubbub – the Central Park of Arona, providing 42,000 square metres (four hectares) of gardens featuring native flora and plenty of play areas.
For a calmer alternative to the purpose-built Canarian mega-resorts, head to Costa Teguise. It’s located next to its far louder and more garish neighbour of Puerto de Carmen, but development in this Lanzarote resort has been kept under check. The result is one of the most attractive resorts on the island, with beautiful sandy beaches, numerous family-friendly restaurants and a laid-back atmosphere. There are a few calmer protected bays with shallow waters for smaller kids, while older children can try a range of water sports on the main Playa de Las Cucharas beach. Also worth a visit is the Lanzarote Aquarium, with touch tanks and an an underwater tunnel surrounded by sharks. There’s also the obligatory water park within easy reach.
Puerto de Mogán
Set at the mouth of a steep-sided gorge on the southwest coast of Gran Canaria, this is probably the most picturesque of all the resorts in the Canaries. Dubbed Little Venice due to its pretty lanes and canals, the resort has a broad and very protected bay with artificial breakwaters that are great for snorkelling. A marina offers plenty of at-sea adventures, such as the underwater yellow-submarine experience. It’s fancier and far less generic than most resorts, but just five minutes’ drive away is the Lago Taurito water park in the neighbouring resort.
Beautiful white sand runs the length of this relatively remote resort, and stretches for about 19 kilometres (12 miles) along the coast. As the name suggests, much of the beach is fabulously calm and perfect for kids of all ages (while also being popular with windsurfers in the breezier sections). While a later developer than most, there are now plenty of hotels to choose from for most budgets, from big resort properties to self-catering apartments. While there’s (shockingly) no water park, there are numerous centres organising a wide array of water sports. There’s also the Oasis Park Zoo a short drive away, which includes Europe’s largest cactus garden.