Most adventurous travellers have their favourite locations when it comes to a beach holiday, but with little wonder, Canary Island holidays tend to be a favourite paradise destination for so many travellers these days.
We’ve created this special page within the site to advise visitors on what to expect and look forward to when visiting the Canary Islands for a holiday. While including great info on finding cheap deals to Canaries, this page is also ideal for giving you that initial inspiration you need to start planning your warm trip away!
Winter sun, busy resorts, ‘cheap and cheerful’ holidays – that’s what people think they know about Canary Islands holidays. And, definitely, if that’s what you’re looking for, you’ll still find plenty of these in the tourist centres of Tenerife, Gran Canaria and Lanzarote. However, increasingly nowadays, it’s possible to find so much more on these sometimes surprisingly beautiful islands perched just 71 miles off the coast of Africa. There is so much more to Canary Islands holidays.
There are seven major islands in this volcanically formed archipelago, ranging from Lanzarote and Fuerteventura in the east to Hierro and La Palma in the west. The nearer the island is to the African coast, the hotter and drier it will be. Despite their reputation as beach destinations, the islands are all quite mountainous – indeed, Spain’s highest mountain, Teide, looms above Tenerife – the third biggest volcano in the world.
The most populated, and largest, of the Canaries are Gran Canaria and Tenerife and, although they – like all the islands – have their own special atmosphere, they are perhaps the most similar. Both have greener, wetter northern areas, mountainous interiors with delightful, attractive little villages tucked away, and then enormous modern resorts in the south, appealing both to young holidaymakers and families. It’s also increasingly common for older people to come and spend their winters here – Christmas on the beach has its attractions! Both islands, in recent years, have managed to broaden their appeal to tourists and now offer good quality rural tourism and, additionally, both now have a large number of truly superb hotels offering luxurious accommodation, if that‘s what you‘re searching for. This has greatly broadened the appeal of Canary Island holidays.
The all year round good weather of the islands, which led to them often being known as the ’Fortunate Isles’, means that walkers, climbers, golfers as well as water sport lovers and sun seekers are attracted to both. The capital cities of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and Santa Cruz de Tenerife are themselves typically bustling Spanish centres, with some magnificent buildings – the spectacular beachside theatre in Santa Cruz and Las Palmas‘s imposing cathedral, for example – and, in the case of Las Palmas, one of the world’s very best city beaches, Las Canteras.
Of the three western islands of La Palma, Hierro and La Gomera, only La Palma has regular charter flights from the United Kingdom. There are, however, excellent ferry services between all the islands as well as the frequent connections offered by Binter Airways. Not for nothing is La Palma called ‘La Isla Bonita’; it has to be one of the world’s most scenic spots. Although only about 31 miles long and 15 miles wide, the island is a paradise for nature lovers with spectacular mountain walks amongst the abundant flora and fauna. For those people who remember the television documentary about the tidal wave that might drown New York caused by La Palma’s volcanic eruption, you can walk round the rim of the still-active volcano and visit the scientific monitoring centre.
Lanzarote and Fuerteventura are the places for the real water sports enthusiasts. Windsurfers, kite boarders, canoeists, surfers and divers flock here all year long. Lanzarote, with its moon-like interior, black volcanic sand beaches and amazingly constructed César Manrique buildings, is almost like another planet compared with La Palma – but it has an eerie beauty to it. Fuerteventura has not only the best sandy beaches in the Canaries, but amongst the best anywhere. The drive north from the airport to the main resort of Corralejo takes you past some breathtaking beaches.
The great attraction of Canary Island holidays still remains that visitors can find year round sun without having to fly on a long haul flight. With regular charter and scheduled flights from all over the United Kingdom, taking little over four hours, they remain a great place to escape to, whatever kind of holiday you‘re looking for.
The lunar landscape of Timanfaya National Park in Lanzarote; the weird and wonderful Drag Queen festivities at Las Palmas Carnival; exploring the colourful wooded slopes of La Palma; or just lying on a sun-soaked beach with a glass of the local honey rum – Canary Islands holidays offer so much variety. These Atlantic islands, for many years the stopping off points for explorers, yachtsmen and tall ship races, have long been favourites for British holidaymakers; and when you consider the Pandora’s Box of Delights available, it is easy to understand why. Canary Islands holidays have never offered as much as they do now.
The weather has always been a major attraction for visitors from northern Europe. The trade winds have resulted in the islands generally having warm, sunny weather for the majority of the year. The summer is rarely too hot and, especially in the southern half of each island – where the majority of tourist resorts tend to be – winter temperatures make a pleasant break from the cold of home, rarely falling between 18° during the day. Both Tenerife and Gran Canaria tend to be cooler and wetter in the north, with the volcanic spectacular mountains separating this area from the much drier and warmer south. Gran Canaria, in fact, has such diversity that one of its long-time holiday slogans has been ‘ a continent in miniature’. One of the highlights of many a visit to this continually fascinating island is a drive around the complete perimeter; it takes between four and five hours without a stop and the variety of land and sea scapes is simply stunning.
Although the seven major islands all have completely different characteristics – those in the west are nearest to Africa and have very little rain whereas those in the east are much greener and cooler – they also have many similarities. The islands have been Spanish since the 15th century, but there is still considerable evidence of the local Guanche culture. Perhaps the most extreme example of this is the Whistling Language of La Gomera – developed to help communication over long distances – but many of the traditional dances and songs that are performed across the islands reflect what can be a beguiling cultural mix.
The food of the islands, whilst also being predominantly Spanish, has significant local influences. Fish, of course, features highly in Canarian cuisine, but also keep a lookout for Mojo sauce – a spicy concoction of garlic and peppers – often served up with papas arrugadas, salty little potatoes that have been boiled until they are wrinkled: it might sound strange but they are simply delicious.
Canary Islands holidays have traditionally revolved around the beaches and the resorts that have grown up around them and these continue to be popular – indeed, it is claimed that 50% of all visitors to the island have been previously. Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura all have well-established resorts with all the clubs, pubs, theme parks and restaurants you would expect to find. During the past decade, the Canary Islands tourist authorities have tried hard to diversify and there are now many more top class hotels than there used to be as well as a much wider range of self-catering accommodation.
Moreover, all of the islands have developed the concept of rural tourism, attracting visitors to parts of the Canaries that they previously had not seen.
Surfing, windsurfing, golfing, bird watching, walking, climbing, diving, kite boarding, cycling, sea fishing, dolphin watching, star gazing, painting – this is just scratching the surface of the kinds of activities you can enjoy on Canary Islands holidays; that’s without mentioning tapas eating, flamenco dancing, swimming and sunbathing. Whether you’re looking for the vibrant atmosphere of cities such as colourful Las Palmas or quiet mountain villages; wide, sandy deserted beaches in Fuerteventura or the fun-filled banana boat beaches of Playa de las Americas; a McDonalds or a freshly caught swordfish served with green mojo sauce – it’s all here on a Canary Islands holiday.
Beach holidays are such a popular choice when it comes to a vacation destination. Many people flock to the world’s beaches every year to get away from it all. The question is what is the appeal? What makes beach holidays so great?
For many individuals beach holidays are wonderful simply because of the beaches themselves. People love the look of the cool blue waters lapping up on to the soft sandy beach. There is something refreshing about the smell of salt in the air, and you can feel instantly relaxed as the sound of the waves lulls you into a calmer state. There is something magical about feeling the sun on your face while you are walking through the sand that can only be experienced on beach holidays.
When planning for your beach holidays you will first want to think about what beach you want to go to. A lot of this may actually be dictated by which ocean you want to visit. The clarity and temperature of the water is actually very dependent on which body of water you are going to so be sure to take this into consideration in your planning. The wonderful news is that there are a plethora of beaches across the globe for vacationers to visit. Is there a land that you have always wanted to see? Well if so, beach holidays may provide the perfect reason to go see it.
Beach holidays are also wonderful because they do not simply consist of hanging on the beach. There are many different water activities that you can enjoy while hanging at the beach. From simply swimming to parasailing almost anything that you can dream of can be found on the water. Of course all of this may add to the cost of your beach holidays, but there are some wonderful inexpensive activities like snorkeling, boogie boarding, and beach volleyball that you can have fun with while also staying on a budget. However, if you are planning to splurge with your beach holidays you may want to look into scuba diving trips, chartering a boat, or even horseback riding on the beach.
Beach holidays are also a great trip for all ages to enjoy. There are no age limits on who can enjoy the beach. There is something amazing about seeing a little baby feeling the sand or the ocean waters for the first time, and there is something rejuvenating for seniors who visit the beach. While planning your trips be sure that you take into account everyone’s age and desires so that you can integrate something for everyone into your experience.
You cannot forget about the food that you can enjoy on beach holidays. Of course being so close to the ocean you can be sure to have some of the best fish and shellfish that you have ever had. Be sure that you take advantage of this, and it does not always mean heading into a beach front restaurant. Instead, check out some of the local beach stands and put together your own clam bake or lobster boil with fresh seafood.
Beach holidays are truly an escape. There are so many reasons to go that it makes sense that beaches are one of the top vacation destinations. The question is, why aren’t you headed there now?
How to Prepare for the Best Beach Holidays
Beach holidays are an incredibly popular vacation choice. It makes sense. Beaches are relaxing, there are tons of fun activities to do on the beach, and a change of scenery is always nice. However, many people think that planning beach holidays can be too expensive or time consuming to do. The truth is that there are great and affordable ways to visit the beach and all that you need is a little bit of creativity.
When planning beach holidays you need to determine which beach you are going to be visiting. Here is where you can really begin to set your budget. Are you going to head somewhere far away, or would you rather stick closer to home? Either option is fine, but often further away that you go the higher your travel costs. Be sure that when you are choosing where to go that you take some time to ensure that you are going to be visiting when the weather is nice and the water is temperate. The worst beach holidays are those that result in you shivering on the beach too cold to head into the choppy surf.
Once you have a location you will need to think about your lodging. There are many different ways to stay on the beach, and each of these can fit a different budget. Perhaps the most inexpensive and common is a motel or hotel stay. These will usually offer you a bedroom and a bathroom to stay in. If you are looking for something a bit more homey for your beach holidays, you might want to look at a vacation rental. Vacation rentals can vary from condos to full blown mansions. You can typically find something that fits the needs of your party and the constraints that your budget has. The truly fantastic thing about a vacation rental is that it will come with a kitchen, which will allow you to cook your own meals and consequently save a fair amount of money on food.
While packing for beach holidays you are going to want to be sure to pack for your own entertainment. Include some great books, fun sand toys, and rafts for your play in the water. You may even want to pack a couple of balls to play football or volleyball on the sand. You may also want to bring along a few card or board games just in case you get stuck inside due to some bad weather.
Additionally, you will want to pack few necessities that you need while on beach holidays. Of course, beach towels are a must, and you cannot forget sunscreen. The sun on the water can be more intense so you want to be sure that you have proper protection. You might want to bring an umbrella to set up on the beach and of course a swimsuit, cover up, and some sandals.
Beach holidays can be a lot of fun, and they do not have to be expensive. The trick is to plan for you needs and to pack accordingly so that you are genuinely prepared to have a great time on your trip!