Travel Guide to Canary Islands, Spain

This year-round sunny destination is the largest and most visited of the Canary Islands. It’s capital Santa Cruz is a popular cruise destination and around half a million passengers a year get a preview of the shopping, botanical gardens, plazas, art galleries, and La Teresitas beach.

Some may remember Tenerife as a place for the tacky swilling nightlife but this has all changed. Playa de las America and its neighboring resort Los Cristiano, once riddled with tourist tat is now adorned with designer labels and pretty bougainvillea flowers. Slightly more upmarket is Costa Adeje, where the four and five-star hotels, chic boutiques, and well-kept beaches are found.

They remain the most popular tourist traps, offering big resort neon lights and buzzy nightlife, but these days its families and couples that visit attracted by wide open, sweeping soft sand beaches designed to be child-friendly and lively.

El Medani is much loved by surfers thanks to the trade winds and has some of the best beaches on the island.

If you head to the west, the tempo slows and quiet descends especially around Los Gigantes, a sheltered location thanks to the cliffs.

The further along the coast you head, the more authentic is the experience. Playa Sa Juan and the fishing village of Alcala offer a far more Canary experience and hostelries is predominantly at the luxury end.

In the north by the La Orotava Valley, is where you’ll find vineyards and banana plantations and probably the most genuine Tinerfeno experience.

Fuerteventura

This is the second-largest island of the archipelago after Tenerife with a high rise and arid plains whose barren beauty is broken up by scattered windmills and the odd cactus plant and perhaps a herd of goats.

It is blessed with 152 beaches of pale Saharan sand and with constant sunshine is ideal holiday fodder any time of the year.

The winds make the island a playground for windsurfers and a canvas for sand dunes. You can see mounting dunes and even scale them by camel at the Natural Dunes Park at Corralejo. The resort is located on the island’s northern tip and though it has theme pubs and souvenir shops you can find pavement cafes and lots of fish restaurants around the harbor and the appealing old town.

In the center of the island is Caleta de Fuste a purpose built a resort around ten minutes drive from the airport. The road cuts through a largely desolate landscape with high mountain ridges and tiny settlements punctuated with white churches and the odd clutch of palm trees.

There’s a man-made beach with shallow waters and so safe for children to wade in. Beyond the beach are some shopping centers, and a string.

Perhaps the most dazzling beach is in the south in Sotavento. It has a tidal lagoon and a stretch of 13 miles snaking its way along the south-east coast. This is where the International Windsurfing Championships are held annually in July.

Jandia, a resort that hugs the fishing village of Morro Jable is far more sheltered and perhaps sun worshippers are better off there.

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