Canary Islands Holidays
Take a look at our guide to the Canary Islands
Dependable sunshine and nicely contrasting resorts make the Canary Islands our most popular summer and winter beach holiday destination. The Canaries cater superbly to a wide range of ages and holiday styles. Parents will find exceptionally safe beaches and easily accessible attractions. Getting around the major islands is easy on excellent local buses. Couples can choose between lively nightlife resorts and smaller destinations that remain peaceful in peak summer.
Both Tenerife and Gran Canaria offer terrific variety. Many of the best beaches are found on Lanzarote and quiet Fuerteventura. Complete your holiday with watersports, boat trips, top-class golf or an excursion into dramatic island interiors.
Holidays to the Canary Islands are rewarding at any time. The weather remains warm and sunny throughout the winter and there is always plenty of life in the larger resorts of Tenerife and Gran Canaria. The Canaries are liveliest in July and August but the vast majority of resorts still retain a pleasantly laid–back atmosphere. Many hotels lay on activities and entertainment during a long summer beach holiday season that runs from May to October.
Prices are highest during peak summer and the Christmas and Easter school holidays. Good-value beach holidays can be found throughout the year.
The Canary Islands have the best beach weather in Europe. All the islands offer dependably sunny weather all year round. Winter is much warmer and drier than mainland Spain, with an average 6 hours a day of bright sunshine. Temperatures around 20º feel even warmer when arriving from the gloom of the UK!
The spring and autumn will enjoy incredibly long hours of sunshine. Temperatures hit the high 20’s by June and stay that way until October. July and August are the hottest months but the heat never feels extreme. Gorgeous summer evening temperatures around 20º are perfect for outdoor bars and restaurant terraces.
For the widest choice of hotels and apartments you should plan well in advance. Leave it late in summer and you may find much of the best-rated accommodation is fully booked. The Easter and Christmas holiday periods are also popular. An early holiday search can also find the best early booking discounts. Late deals can offer significant savings but require more flexibility.
For the cheapest flights and holiday packages try quiet months like October and February. The cheapest package holidays to the Canary Islands are often found between October and Christmas and between New Year and Easter. Keep an eye on our current best deals. Take advantage of our low deposit scheme. Book now, pay later.
Here are some additional tips to help you plan your holiday to the Canaries
Some might argue that the most alluring holiday sights are to be found on the beaches of the Canary Islands. It’s a fair point, but there are also heaps of other things worth seeing that have equal wow-factor. Well... almost. These are just some of the best.
Las Cañadas, Tenerife
An absolute must-see in Teide National Park. Less than an hour from the sandy swathes you can be standing in a surreal moonscape of petrified lava and eerie rock formations. And the highlight of the show? Mount Teide, third largest volcano on the planet and Spain’s highest peak.
Timanfaya National Park, Lanzarote
Another out-of-this world experience, this time in Lanzarote. Timanfaya National Park has explosive geysers, volcanic craters and natural underfoot heating that can melt your flip-flops in seconds.
Whales and dolphins, Tenerife
Although present off the coast of several islands, the best location for spotting our aquatic relatives is the deep channel of water between the west coast of Tenerife and La Gomera.
Cueva de los Verdes, Lanzarote
Head underground along one of the longest network of volcanic tubes on earth. A guided tour will take you deep down and dirty into illuminated grottoes and caverns under the surface of Lanzarote.
A startling piece of gravity-defying architecture gracing the island’s capital. If you can, grab tickets to see either the Tenerife Symphony Orchestra or one of the many visiting performers from the world of classical, jazz and rock music. More on the Tenerife Auditorium website.
The vineyards of Lanzarote
Take a trip to the ash-black vineyard of La Geria in Lanzarote’s interior. Described as a miracle of engineering, you can’t help but be amazed how lush fruit grows from such inhospitable terrain. Better be quick though, the old methods of viniculture are rapidly being replaced by more modern techniques.
Painted cave of Galdar, Gran Canaria
Incredibly understated, absolutely fascinating and definitely worth ditching an hour or two of beach time for. This museum and archaeological park in Gran Canaria offers a superb recreation of how village life was for the island’s original inhabitants and should be on every visitor’s itinerary.
Picture postcard villages
Every island has them, villages so cute you want to pack them up in your case, take them home and rebuild them in your back garden. Some of the prettiest are Masca and Taganana (Tenerife), Yaiza and Teguise (Lanzarote), Telde and Teror (Gran Canaria), Betancuria (Fuerteventura) and Santa Cruz de La Palma (officially La Palma’s capital city but of village-esque proportions).
Caldera de Taburiente, La Palma
What measures six miles across, 2,000 metres high in places and houses one of the world’s largest telescopes? The phenomenal Caldera de Taburiente crater in La Palma. Trek up, hop on a donkey or steal a piggyback ride from a friend, but make sure you don’t miss the incredible sight from the rim.
The night sky
Talking about telescopes... there’s a reason why some of the most important international astronomy associations base their equipment in La Palma and other Canary Islands. Head away from the bright lights of resort areas, tilt your head skywards and you’ll see. The skies above the Canary Islands are amongst the clearest in the world, offering a spectacular show every single night.
With its perfect climate and long sandy beaches, the Canaries offers a great opportunity to indulge in plenty of watersports, with facilities for activities such as kayaking, water-skiing, parascending and surfing available.
Boasting delightful warm weather and exceptional wind conditions, the Canary Islands are an established base for wind-surfing and kite-surfing. Fuerteventura, in particular, is a haven for wind-surfing and hosts the World Championships each year, with resorts such as Corralejo and Caleta de Fuste offering equipment and tuition for visitors.
Plenty of schools offer charters out into the clear warm waters surrounding the Canary Islands, with the trade winds creating enjoyable conditions for sailing, both for those looking for expert tuition or pure relaxation out on the water.
Diving is widely available throughout the Canaries, with the area boasting some excellent scuba-dive sites. Tenerife, Lanzarote and Gran Canaria are the most popular islands for diving, with varied coastlines offering several wrecks, and an impressive array of marine life, such as sting rays, barracudas, trumpet fish and eels.
The Canaries are one of the worlds' leading sport-fishing locations, with most of the major resorts on the islands offering trips and excursions. With the waters home to varieties including sharks, marlin, swordfish and tuna, conditions for deep-sea fishing are excellent.
Full of natural beauty and with a glorious climate, one of the best ways to explore the Canary Islands is on horse-back. With its diverse landscapes of volcanic mountains, tropical green forests and long sandy beaches, horse riding is a great way to spend time here.
Walking and hiking
With an extensive amount of hiking trails both along the coastline and inland, the Canary Islands are ideal for discovering on foot, whether it's strenuously making it up to the top of Mount Teide on Tenerife, or strolling through the lush tropical greenery on La Palma.
There are many water parks to choose from all over the Canary Islands, and everything from zoos, marine shows, botanical gardens, bird and butterfly sanctuaries, to specialized amusement and entertainment parks, (including a Wild West theme, and even an aboriginal park).
Seven islands, over 500 beaches and almost 365 days of sunshine a year. Now if that’s not a recipe for holiday happiness then we don’t know what is. Whether you favour white, black, gold or even red sand, and prefer frenzied activities with friends or simply lying back and lazing in a hidden cove, there’s a sandy stretch just waiting for your beach towel.
Probably the most photographed beach in the whole of the archipelago, Las Teresitas is the tropical beach bum’s dream. Think palm trees, knee-deep sand and calm waters thanks to some thoughtfully positioned breakwaters. If you’re staying in one of Tenerife’s southern resorts you’ll have to drive around an hour and a half to get there as this beach in San Andres is positioned to provide weekend respite for the city workers of the island’s capital, Santa Cruz, but it’s well worth the mileage.
Gran Canaria also has its own capital city beach in the form of Las Canteras, a horseshoe curve stretching 2.5 miles along the edge of Las Palmas. Again a breakwater keeps the waves at bay making it ideal for families with young children. Naturally, being on the doorstep of a city, services are aplenty so when hunger strikes take your pick from scores of restaurants just a short flip-flop shuffle away.
It’s not hard to come over a little ‘Laurence of Arabia’ when clambering up and down the undulating sand dunes of Maspalomas (pictured above), located at the other end of Gran Canaria. Almost 1,000 acres of rolling sands separate the resorts of Playa del Inglés and Maspalomas, divided into areas for nudists, the gay community, families and watersports aficionados.
Gran Canaria isn’t the only island with its own mini-Sahara. Fuerteventura is an island of startlingly beautiful beaches, but one of its undeniable sandy stars has to be the Natural Dune Park of Corralejo. This 10-square-mile rectangle of sugar-white stretches from Puerto Remedio to La Salina and is edged by beautiful turquoise waters. The shifting sands change patterns daily thanks to the strong winds rushing in from the north and northeast so you’ll never get the same photo twice.
Like Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura is an island of two halves when it comes to remarkable beaches. Head south to the Jandía peninsula and you’ll find some of the finest between Costa Calma and Morro Jable. Many have been designated Blue Flag quality due to the clarity of water, cleanliness of sand and available services, including watersports.
Similar to beaches in Jandía on Fuerteventura, the harder they are to reach, the more idyllic they can seem. The white sand beaches of Papagayo in the south of Lanzarote are located in a protected area reached via a bumpy drive or sweltering trek – but they’re worth it. Considered the best on the island, a series of aquamarine coves await those who make the effort.
Playa del Duque
Of course not everyone wants to have to go on a route march to reach the seaside, especially if you’re laden with inflatable crocodiles and other beach paraphernalia. Playa del Duque is one of Tenerife’s best beaches and is conveniently easy to get to by car or on foot. Sandwiched between an imposing private mansion and a residential complex, the beach ticks all the right boxes when it comes to upmarket facilities and plenty of watersports.
The same can be said for Playa las Vistas in Los Cristianos. Half a mile long and 120 metres wide, it may have imported golden sand but it’s still a firm favourite with the locals as well as Tenerife’s visitors. Superb facilities for the mobility-impaired also mean this is very much a beach that can be enjoyed by anyone, regardless of physical ability.
Playa de Arena
If you’re looking for one of the best Canary Island’s famous black sand beaches, look no further than Playa de Arena on the west coast. It might not be what you’re used to but this volcanic sand is 100% natural and gives a nice gothic look to any sandcastles you build. As well as it’s dark demure, this compact beach is also known for its wealth of facilities including sunbeds, lifeguards, changing cabins and showers.
Playa del Salado
For a real Robinson Crusoe beach experience, hop on a ferry from Orzola in northern Lanzarote and head to the tiny eighth Canary Island, La Graciosa. Here lie some of the best and often deserted beaches in the archipelago, including the thin, sand-tastic strip of Playa del Salado.