5 years, 4 months ago
It could be the year of the Canaries. – No, we’re not talking about Norwich City Football Club’s last minute triumph to stay firmly in the English Premier League; we’re referring to the resurgence of the Canary Islands’ popularity. With the weather in northern and western Europe a long way off from boiling point, families are rightly looking south for a guaranteed sunny escape. With over ten islands to choose from and plenty of confusion about what to expect from Europe’s most southerly islands, here’s our guide to understanding which Canary Island is best suited to you and your family holiday.
The largest of the Islas Canarias, Tenerife has it all; beaches, mountains, cities, villages and many a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. You can hide away in a luxury holiday villa close to the foot of Mount Teide, Spain’s highest mountain, or base yourself in the midst of it all in a city-slicking apartment with sea views in the cosmopolitan Santa Cruz. Thanks to a determined Atlantic breeze, Tenerife also has some of the best kite surfing and windsurfing opportunities. For those who prefer activities of slightly lower impact, you can take your pick from waterparks, theme parks, historic sights like the excavations of the Pyramids of Güímar and of course, miles of sunny beaches. No matter your age or extreme activity threshold, Tenerife will deliver.
Arguably the most misunderstood of the Canaries, Gran Canaria has a reputation for the package holiday and tackier beach break, however, there is much more to this island. From the dramatic sand dunes of Maspalomas – just metres from the beach and Europe’s most southernly point – to the ravaged volcanic landscape that you can explore on long (or short) walks or bike rides, the island is waiting to be explored. Gran Canaria is also home to hundreds of beaches and many very accommodating beachfront apartments like this sunny penthouse in Playa de Arianga or this family home away from it all in Telde. Be sure to make the kids’ holiday by including a day trip to Aqualand water park, though be warned grown ups could end up enjoying this too.
Comparatively flat and lacking in hiking or trekking opportunities, the appeal of Fuerteventura can be found along its coastline, where miles of white, sandy beaches promise long, hot, lazy days. The water is welcomingly clear, meaning excellent diving or snorkeling opportunities and a reliable wind means watersports can also be enjoyed on Fuertaventura if you did reach your beach-bumming limit. Seek out the authentic town of Jandia for its lively street market and for some offshore exploring head across the water to Lobos, a small mostly uninhabited island off the coast of Corralejo. For accommodation, you can choose from a modern apartment with sea views for two or a relaxing family home complete with private swimming pool.
Famously arid and home to those striking black sand beaches, Lanzarote is often overlooked as a barren place with little to offer holidaymakers but sunshine and sea. Lanzarote has often been described as ‘lunar’ thanks to its dry, black volcanic rock and when you cast your eyes on the bright white villages that clash with this, it’s an almost other-worldly experience. In fact, space-inspired films like One Million Years BC were filmed there. See our Flickr Friday post about the island for more photos from Lanzarote and read about the UNESCO Biosphere that protects its beautiful beaches. Enjoy amazing views from this eco-farm in the La Carona nature reserve or splash out on a modern luxury villa in El Cable for the whole family.
If Tenerife is for tourists, La Palma is for travellers. This island is mostly free from skyscrapers and it doesn’t host the same number of holidaymakers as its neighbouring brothers and sisters. Many come here, therefore, to take advantage of this and explore a very different landscape and pace of life. Its formation from a volcanic explosion means the island is covered in richly green tropical flora and fauna making it a hub for nature and wildlife treks. Of course, there are still beaches to lie on too. In fact you could stay within stumbling distance of one of them in this balcony apartment or surround yourself with greenery with this beautiful garden villa. Just remember to look up at night to see a wonderful display of stars. Thanks to clear skies La Palma is also an astronomer’s dream holiday destination.
The best news is no matter your island or holiday preference, you will be guaranteed delicious Canarian and Spanish tapas, affordable and varied day trips and of course, that all-important summer sunshine.,
Featured image by Falk Bayer.