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Best Canary Island: Which Should I Visit?

With year-round sunshine, beautiful beaches and stunning landscapes, the Canary Islands make a great holiday destination. But with 7 islands to choose from, which one is the best for you to visit? 

  1. Tenerife
  2. Gran Canaria
  3. Lanzarote
  4. Fuerteventura
  5. La Palma
  6. La Gomera and El Hierro

1. Tenerife

Tenerife is the biggest island and has plenty to show for it. It boasts the grand scenery of Mount Teide, the highest mountain in Spain, and has the greatest number of tourist attractions by day and night. One of its highlights is La Orotava, a beautiful, unspoiled old town with cobbled streets, ancient churches and stately mansions.

In the south of Tenerife, the irresistible beaches on the Costa Adeje lure in sunbathers while Puerto de la Cruz tends to be Tenerife’s resort of choice for hikers. In fact, there are a multitude of activities to do on this island from golf to climbing, from whale watching to stargazing.

Best for:
Active adventurers.

2. Gran Canaria

Gran Canaria is very similar to Tenerife. Both islands have bustling modern cities, sleepy old towns to visit, dramatic and strikingly beautiful interiors, and busy resorts ranging from raucous to tranquil.

Due to the variety of climates and landscapes, Gran Canaria is known as the ‘miniature continent’. Here you will find rugged rock formations, mountain ranges, green coastal landscapes as well as golden dunes. This island really has it all.

Best for:
Cultural explorers.

3. Lanzarote

Lanzarote, with its stark badlands, will delight nature lovers - just as it delighted local artist César Manrique, who has left his mark throughout the island. 

Here you’ll find black sand beaches, pebble beaches, imposing cliffs along the coast and the beautiful Parque Nacional de Timanfaya. (Here’s your chance to ride up a sleepy volcano!) The most beautiful beaches on the island are the Playas de Papagayo in the south of Lanzarote.

Best for:
Nature lovers.

4. Fuerteventura

Fuerteventura is truly a desert island. The beaches here are certainly the best in the Canaries, and resorts to suit most tastes are springing up. The range of watersports is also amazing, with a lot of visitors heading to the island just for those alone. Beautiful, colourful coral reefs also make for exciting diving excursions.

Whether you long for relaxation or an itinerary full of activities, Fuerteventura will definitely tick the boxes. As the second largest island, there’s plenty to see and do.

Best for:
Watersport enthusiasts.

5. La Palma

La Palma is affectionately called ‘La Isla Bonita’ (The Beautiful Island) by the locals and it’s clear why. La Palma is the greenest of the Canary Islands, with an impressive flora and fauna, which is why it was declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. 

Hidden lava sand bays and shady spots under palm trees are a dream for those seeking tranquility, and the varied landscape is a paradise for hiking fans.

Best for: Curious wanderers.

6. La Gomera and El Hierro

The lesser known and much smaller islands of La Gomera and El Hierro do not have that many beaches and have therefore escaped mass tourism, although they are cultivating low-key turismo rural. And there lies their appeal: not many hotels and restaurants of note (although enough for discerning visitors, wink wink), no discos, and very few tourists. Just beautiful mountainous scenery and, if you search hard enough, a pleasant beach or two to relax on. If this is your idea of a dream holiday, one of these quieter islands may be perfect for you. 

For most people, though, a day or two away from it all is enough. Island hopping is easy, and a few days on an unspoiled island combined with the creature comforts of a major resort can offer the best of both worlds. Because you can really have your cake and eat it in the Canary Islands.

Best for:
Tranquility seekers.

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