Holidays in the Canary Islands

For a delightful mix of the exotic coupled with the cosy feeling of familiar surroundings, holidays in Canary Island take some beating.

The exotic comes from the location – just off the coast of north west Africa. Geographically, the islands form the furthest flung region of the European Union, so you get to be right next door to Africa but have customs and norms that us Europeans know and understand.

The Canaries belong to Spain, which is another point in their favour that endears them to British visitors. Our love affair with Spain and all things Spanish has been going on for decades and shows no sign of slowing down. Not even the recent economic downturn and resulting property problems for ex-pats can quite take the shine off the clamour and fervour that is Spanish culture.

The islands

There are 12 islands altogether that make up the archipelago, although for holidays in Canary Islands a few are more familiar than others. Here’s the list, ranging from largest to smallest:

Tenerife

Fuerteventura

Gran Canaria

Lanzarote

La Palma

La Gomera

El Hierro

La Graciosa

Alegranza

Isla de Lobos

Montana Clara

Roque del Oeste

Tenerife

Probably the best known and most visited is the largest of the islands, Tenerife. The World Heritage Site of Mount Teide, with the central volcano being the world’s third tallest, attracts millions of visitors every year, making it a major contributor to the economy of the wider Canary islands, which together draw in over 12 million visitors each year.

Everyone loves the beaches, especially the golden sands of the southern resorts of Los Cristianos and Playa de las Americas, to name just two. Of course, the natural beaches of the island are composed of rich dark, volcanic substance and are something of a novelty in their own right. But with so many tourists more used to seeing golden sand, the southern beaches are enhance with sand specially shipped in from the Sahara. It’s regularly topped up to make up for the action of the sea.

Activities and trips

Most people choose to restrict their holidays in Canary Islands to just one of the islands, but there’s no real reason why you can’t visit other islands during your stay.

Of course, with so much to do and see on any one of the islands, you’d probably need an extended stay to see more than one. Tenerife alone has far more to show visitors than can be seen during one short holiday, so it’s no wonder people go back year after year.