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Canary Islands holiday guide – from maps and weather to the best attractions and restaurants – here’s what you need to know

At a glance

Holidays to the Canary Islands are great for

  • Beaches and more beaches. Small beaches, large beaches, golden beaches, black beaches
  • Spectacular volcanic scenery
  • Heavenly year-round sunshine and warm temperatures

Introducing the Canary Islands

The Canary Islands, with their sub-tropical climate, natural attractions, and stunning beaches are a year-round tourist destination.

Offering a lively lifestyle, all manner of open-air and leisure activities and a range of accommodation, holidays to the Canary Islands tick so many boxes its hard to know where to start let alone which one to choose.

Each island has its own list of must-see- must-do, from national parks to water parks and from the skies to the Earths core its all scattered across Spains finest islands for you to discover.

Snuggled just off the coast of North Africa visitors can select from the stripped back, traditional La Palma, tranquil Fuerteventura, lively Tenerife, fun for all Lanzarote and the stunning scenery of Gran Canaria.

There really is an island to suit everyone, all of which come complete with year-round sunshine, fine fairways, and endless golden or volcanic sands.

Mountain backdrops

Getting Around the Canaries

Each of the different Canary Islands has its own infrastructure but they all offer the standard travel options including car hire, buses, and taxis. Some even throw in boat taxis or scooters for good car hire can be a great option for exploring the more remote areas of the islands and making your way around the miles and miles of stunning coastline, stopping when you spot a tempting beach.

Cars drive on the right here and you must give way to buses and taxis. There are some toll roads on the islands but there are usually fairly inexpensive and can be avoided by opting for the smaller, scenic routes.

The distinctive bright green buses (or guaguas) you see on the Canary Islands are pronounced wa-wa and the networks tend to be comprehensive and easy to use. In the big towns of the larger islands buses run frequently, but in more rural areas you need to be prepared to wait.

Tickets are cheap and can be bought on the bus, or in the form of a Bono Bus pass on some islands.

This is a pre-paid pass you can load up with money to save worrying about change while youre travelling. Each Canary Island has a selection of taxi companies. Rides are charged by meter using affordable prices set by the government. Fares are slightly more as night creeps in.

The Canary Islands, with their sub-tropical climate, natural attractions, and stunning beaches are a year-round tourist destination. Offering a lively lifestyle, all manner of open-air and leisure activities and a range of accommodation, holidays to the Canary Islands tick so many boxes its hard to know where to start let alone which one to choose.

Each island has its own list of must-see-must-do, from national parks to water parks and from the skies to the Earths core its all scattered across Spains finest islands for you to discover.

Snuggled just off the coast of North Africa visitors can select from the stripped back, traditional La Palma, tranquil Fuerteventura, lively Tenerife, fun for all Lanzarote and the stunning scenery of Gran Canaria.

There really is an island to suit all, all of which come complete with year-round sunshine, fine fairways and endless golden or volcanic sands.

Jet skis in a bay

Things to do in the Canary Islands

Soak up the climate

One of the big attractions of the Canary Islands, especially when holidaying with children, is the almost permanent spring-like temperatures, 365 days of sunshine and pleasant coastal breeze.

The lack of searing summer heat or cold winter weather makes these islands the perfect destination for a holiday at any time of year. It also means that theyre great to get out and explore.

Youll still get an amazing tan discovering the national parks and mind-blowing volcanic trails you know. Canarians are highly regarded as cheerful, friendly and happy and why not living in the land of eternal Spring.

Make a splash

Whatever water sport you enjoy, the coastal breeze and mild Atlantic waters around the Canaries are perfect for it. So stand on a surfboard, sail away on the breeze, dive deep down or cast out your rod for an ideal holiday experience.

If youre a serious water sport fanatic, head to Tenerife where youll find a whole host of centres ready to rent, teach and guide you on the waves.

Colourful village life
Colourful village life

While Gran Canaria is a great choice for diving with some big wrecks to explore plus the popular El Cabrn Marine Reserve.

Holidaymakers will be greeted with an array of water sports in the larger resorts, ideal for those wanting to enjoy some high adrenaline activities, including kite-surfing, snorkelling, jet skiing, parascending and sailing.

So take your pick, sit back and enjoy the ride.

Hike or bike

The Canary Islands offer great hiking opportunities with striking tracks running through forests, volcanoes, along ravines and between mountains stretching down to the coastline. You can take guided walks on different topics: archaeology, volcanic or astronomical to name a few.

If youre not so mobile, theres no need to miss out as some paths are adapted for people with reduced mobility. Cyclists are also well catered for across all the islands, with sealed roads aplenty and bike rental cheap and convenient.

It really is a superb way to witness the unique natural beauty of each of the wonderful Canary Islands.

Fishing harbour

Attractions in the Canary Islands

Anfi Tauro Golf Course, Gran Canaria

For short-haul sunshine and perfectly manicured greens, the Canary Islands are a hole in one.

There are over 20 courses to choose from across the major islands of the group, and all boast a backdrop that could easily put you off your swing.

One of the best-loved is Anfi Tauro Golf on Gran Canaria, with pristine greens and a challenging championship course.

Thousands of fairway fans flock to the Canaries each year in search of warm, dry, quality golf courses guaranteed in particular in Gran Canaria and Tenerife.

Siam Water Park, Tenerife

Wet n wild water parks can be found dotted throughout Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura.

All have lifeguards, special areas for children and areas for eating and sunbathing. Enjoy the adrenaline rush of the descent and then relax in the wave pools.

Hold on tight for the ride of your life on Kinnaree before chilling out along the lazy river and in an array of swimming pools.

Sioux City, Gran Canaria

Immerse yourself in the Wild West of the Canary Islands, built like a film set as you play cowboys and Indians for the day. There are rides and slides, bars and restaurants and an array of activities that the whole family will enjoy.

Loro Parque, Tenerife

Meet tigers, flamingos, gorillas, monkeys and jaguars at Tenerifes leading zoo park, and be amazed by the headline attractions displayed by the resident dolphins for a spectacular holiday experience.

Bodegas Teneguia, La Palma

The volcanic origins of the Canary Islands give a distinctive flavour to its produce, so theres plenty of deliciousness to discover in the islands Bodegas, restaurants and cheese-makers. Bodega Teneguia offers visitors friendly tours and plenty of opportunities to sample the delicious wines!

Volcan El Teide, Tenerife

The Canary Islands are home to dozens of ancient volcanoes, which give the islands their distinctive look. One of the most dramatic is Volcan El Teide, where you can choose from activities including hiking, riding a cable car to the summit, or even sleeping by the crater for an unforgettable stargazing experience.

To infinity, and beyond at the Starmus Festival in June 2016

The third Starmus Festival, dedicated to Professor Stephen Hawking, is set to take place in Tenerife in June 2016. Founded in 2007 by Queens Brian May, the festival will celebrate space exploration and astronomy with a multitude of talks to attend, all followed up by a party with star gazing and live music.

The public are welcome to attend, and with previous years speakers including Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Stephen Hawking, you just never know who youll bump into.

street in the Canary Islands

Eating Out

Budget

An Caisteal Fuerteventura Enjoy a bit of warm, Scottish hospitality along with some great home-cooking at this friendly bar, whose name translates as the castle.

Whether you fancy a full Scottish breakfast, a pint and a burger with the footie, or some comforting homemade lasagne, you can enjoy a real taste of home and friendly welcome. The drink of choice is, of course, Irn Bru!

Mid-range

Tasca Tierras del Sur, Tenerife For some authentic Canarian flavour, this cosy tapas restaurant is a great option. With sparkling Cava flowing freely, rose petals scattered on the tables, and a wide selection of mouth-watering plates, this place has real atmosphere.

Dishes such as prawns in pernod, grilled goats cheese in honey, hand-cut Iberian ham, and crispy croquettes are among the favourites but theres something for all tastes. The restaurant is family-friendly and has a well-stocked bar.

Expect to pay around 20-30 for a selection of dishes with wine.

Treat yourself

Que Tal, Gran Canaria For a truly special night, Que Tal is an elegant dining destination. Offering just one seasonal set five-course menu for 59 each you need to be open-minded to trying something new but with menu choices such as Indulgence: chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate its not too much of a hardship!

You can also choose between the house or deluxe wine selections, where a glass will be paired to complement each course. The experience is romantic with a bit of theatre thrown in, as dishes are plated in front of you.

Holidays to the Canary Islands are definitely something to sing about, so the big question is: Which one will you choose?

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