The Canary Islands have a fantastic year-round climate, fabulous sandy beaches and crystal clear waters. For many years they have been a great destination for a beach holiday, especially during the UK’s winter months. As tourism has developed on the islands they have become a more active destination with opportunities for most water sports, golf courses on all islands and some great walking in the interior of the islands. Boutique hotel offerings have popped up meaning the islands have a lot to offer a more discerning traveller. With a flying time from the UK of just four hours and some short transfer times they also make for a great long weekend destination.
With a beautiful coastline of over 150 sandy beaches Fuerteventura is the second largest island in the Canary Islands. The interior has extinct volcanoes, traditional villages and old fashioned windmills. The closest Canary island to the African continent, Fuerteventura has nearly constant sunshine and excellent weather conditions for both windsurfing and surfing.
Like the rest of the Canary Islands Gran Canaria has a lot more to offer than its reputation as a reliable beach holiday destination would suggest. Sand dunes, rugged mountains, tropical forests, tranquil valleys and dramatic cliffs to name but a few. It’s an island that offers loads for both active and less active travellers and there is a stark contrast between the tranquil interior of the island and the busy resorts on the coast.
This pint sized island is just fifty minutes by ferry from Tenerife but a whole world away in terms of scenery and atmosphere. It is a laid back island with traditional time warped villages, deserted rocky beaches, ancient rainforest, breathtaking ravines, green terraced valleys and some of the best walking in the Canaries. One third of the island is protected by UNESCO. It is simply stunning.
There is so much more to Lanzarote than its Brits abroad reputation. Visit the centre of the island with the stunning Timanfaya volcanic park and the quirky art installations of Cesar Manrique and you will see a whole different side to the island. Thanks to the influence of Manrique there are no real high rise developments in Lanzarote and in the interior there are some pretty white cube villages.
Known as the Isla Bonita, the island of La Palma has a varied climate and varied landscape. Forest covered mountains in the north and a volcanic lunar landscape in the south. It is a world biosphere reserve with nineteen protected areas. With a large network of signposted walking trails it is an excellent hiking destination.
Formed when three volcanoes fused together Tenerife is an island of two halves: the arid desert-like south and the verdant north. The island is perfect for an active holiday hiking, windsurfing, paddle boarding and cycling in lunar Teide National park. There is great hiking in the Anaga cloud forest in the north as well as in Teide National Park where strong walkers can summit Mount Teide itself. Those of you wanting a more genteel holiday will enjoy the world heritage town of San Cristobel de Laguna, (perhaps for churros and hot chocolate) and visits to vineyards. It is also possible to take a cable car to near the top of Mount Teide and there is fabulous star gazing to be had.