Reviewed on Dec. 3, 2021
Experience the varied scenery of this Spanish archipelago, where pine-forested peaks overlook lava fields and gentle waves lap at golden-sand beaches.
The Canary Islands are comprised of diverse landscapes usually found oceans apart. Located off the coast of West Africa, the archipelago features superb beaches, subtropical national parks, volcanic ridges and Sahara-like dunes.
Hop between islands to see the unique character of each, from indulgent waterfront resorts to hiking trails that wind through deep ravines and laurel rainforests. See colossal cliffs drop into the surging ocean and stroll along peaceful arcs of soft sand.
A good place to start your adventure in the Canary Islands is its capital city, Las Palmas, on the island of Gran Canaria. This thriving city has picturesque winding streets and a magnificent waterfront promenade along the Playa de Las Canteras. More gorgeous scenery can be found at the beach of Playa del Inglés. Check out the surf schools on the north of the island to get some tips on finding the best breaks on Gran Canaria.
Go on a daytrip to the monumental sand dunes in Maspalomas, explore the historic tree-lined neighborhoods of Valsequillo or trek to the cave villages of Barranco de Guayadeque.
Tenerife, the archipelago’s largest island, represents the Canary Islands’ rich heritage with its fascinating museums and monuments. The large resort of Puerto de la Cruz has a charming old town by the fishing port and is surrounded by fine black-sand beaches. Go windsurfing on the island of Fuerteventura or explore the island coastline on a charter boat trip.
Explore the paradisiacal island of La Gomera, which is renowned for its network of hiking trails. This island is characterized by rugged ravines clad in remnants of prehistoric vegetation. Try the island’s specialty tapas, such as roasted pork and regional cheese. Hear locals communicating across the ravines using a unique whistled language.
The Canary Islands are easy to reach via plane to major airports on Tenerife and Gran Canaria. Hop between islands on ferries or charter yachts and catch local buses around each island. Rent a car to reach the more remote areas of the islands. The high season is between December and February, with another peak in the summer months of July and August.
The Canary Islands are a year-round destination for discovering the diversity of an entire continent in miniature.