Explore Spain’s Canary Islands


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The Canary Islands, or the Canaries, are a Spanish archipelago off the coast of north western Africa. The islands are world-famous for their rugged, volcanic landscapes and breathtaking beaches. If the Canaries have been on your bucket list for a while – which they certainly should be – then there’s no time like the present.

Travelling to Spain is once again possible for visitors from all over the world, including British tourists. The only upcoming change will be completing an ETIAS application form for British travellers before arriving.

With 8 unique islands that make up the Canaries, travellers are spoiled for choice when it comes to tropical getaways. We’ve put together a guide to the main islands to help you plan the perfect trip.


Tenerife is the biggest of the Canary Islands, and the most populated. In fact, it’s the most populous island of both Spain and Macaronesia. Tenerife is one of Spain’s most important tourist destinations, and it receives the highest number of international visitors of all the Canaries.

The focal point of Tenerife is Mount Teide, which is the highest summit in Spain and the third-largest volcano in the world. Mount Teide is also situated in a UNESCO World Heritage Site – Teide National Park.

Landscape of the Canary Islands, showing mountains covered with trees and a road running along the mountainside
The dramatic landscape of Tenerife (Image by Monique Stokman from Pixabay)

There are some well-known historical sites in Tenerife, including the Cathedral of San Cristóbal de La Laguna and the Church of the Conception of La Laguna. There are also a number of archaeological sites with cave paintings from the Guanche era.


Fuerteventura is the second-largest Canary island, after Tenerife. It’s also the oldest of all the islands, dating all the way back to a volcanic eruption 20 million years ago. The island has the longest white sand beaches of all the Canaries, drawing visitors from all over the globe. Some of the most popular beaches include Playa de Cofete, Playas de Jandia, Playas de Corralejo, Playa de Ajuy, and Playas de El Cotillo.

Long white beach and blue sea, with a few people, There are hotels and mountains in the background
A sandy beach in Fuerteventura (Image by Thomas Kulessa from Pixabay)

If you’re into water sports, Fuerteventura is a must-visit. The name translates as “strong wind”, referring to the windy climate the island receives throughout the year. This makes it the ideal location for windsurfing and other water sports.

Gran Canaria

Gran Canaria, or Grand Canary, is the third-largest Canary island and the second most-populous. The capital – Las Palmas de Gran Canaria – is also the biggest city of all the islands.

Gran Canaria is often referred to as a “miniature continent”, as it has varying climates and a wide range of landscapes. The views range from long white sandy beaches to deep green ravines, with a third of the island protected as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

The annual carnival in the capital is one of the most celebrated events in the Canary Islands. If you’re going to be there in July, you can’t miss this explosion of festivities.


Lanzarote is the fourth-biggest Canary island. It’s well known for its subtropical-desert climate, giving it the nickname “Island of the Eternal Spring”. The island has been a UNESCO biosphere reserve since 1993, and one of the main natural attraction is Timanfaya National Park. The greatest volcanic eruptions on the island were recorded in this park, between 1730 and 1736.

Some of the best places to visit in Lanzarote include Haría, with its whitewashed villas and tropical gardens; Teguise, the oldest settlement in the Canaries; and Arrieta, with white beaches and a chilled harbour.

Church with white painted walls and a palm tree in its courtyard
The old church of Teguise (Image by Bernd Hildebrandt from Pixabay)

La Palma

La Palma, officially San Miguel de La Palma, is the next biggest island after Lanzarote. It’s also the most volcanically active of the Canary Islands, along with Tenerife. The island is full of natural wonders, with its volcanic rock fragments and lush pine forests. La Palma is also home to one of the four national parks in the Canaries – Caldera de Taburiente National Park – and 19 protected natural areas.

One of the most popular things to do in La Palma is to hike, and this is the best way to explore the island’s incredible natural beauty. You’ll wander through an array of landscapes, and be spoilt for choice when it comes to picturesque havens.

El Hierro

As the second-smallest Canary island, El Hierro is one of the lesser-known destinations in the archipelago. It’s a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, so there is limited construction on the island, which maintains its traditional look.

El Hierro is world-famous for its incredible diving spots. Travellers come from all over the world to explore its 40+ diving points, with crystal clear waters and vast marine life. The island is the perfect getaway from the bigger and busier Canary Islands like Tenerife and Gran Canaria, offering peace and quiet nestled in astounding natural beauty.

Accommodation On The Canary Islands

There is a wide choice of accommodation on the Canary Islands, including hotels and self catering. Have a look at the recommendations on booking.com.


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WorldWideWriter is owned and managed by Karen Warren.

I have been writing and travelling for many years (almost 70 countries at the last count), and I’ve visited every continent except Antarctica. This website is my attempt to inform and inspire other travellers, and to share some of the things I’ve discovered along the way. Read more…


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