You have probably heard of the Canary Islands – or at least the biggest of them: Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro. But do you also know where the Canaries are, which island has what to offer or where you can spend the best vacation? No? Well, that’s not a problem, because here we present you an overview of the largest and most beautiful Canary Islands. Then you can decide best Canary Island for you!
Rugged cliffs, spectacular volcanic landscapes, old-growth forests and black, fine sandy beaches: The Canary Islands are among the most popular travel destinations for Europeans. Each year more than 12 million tourist visit the islands, reaching to 14mn in 2017. If you look for the Canary Islands on the map of Europe near the Spanish mainland, you will not find it. If you are wondering where the Canary Islands are on the map, you have to look much further south. Because although the 7 Canary Islands belong to the Spain and EU, they are off the west coast of Africa in the Atlantic.
The Canary Islands are commonly understood to be the seven main islands. However, there are still numerous small islands that belong to the archipelago. La Graciosa near Lanzarote is even inhabited.
Here are the tips to help you choose the best Canary Island:
Canary Islands Map
Let’s start our guide with a simple view on the Canary Islands Map.
The Canary Islands are an archipelago of seven large and several smaller islands located in the Atlantic Ocean about 60 miles (about 100 kilometers) off the northwest coast of Africa. The islands are an autonomous community of Spain, and the closest countries on the African continent are Morocco and Western Sahara. The seven large islands are, from west to east, El Hierro, La Palma Canary Islands, La Gomera, Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, and Lanzarote.
After Tenerife and Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria is the third largest of the seven Canary Islands and inspires almost 2.8 million tourists every year with its many facets . The island is often referred to as a miniature continent. Miles of sandy beaches, picturesque coastal towns, unreal lunar landscapes and a wide variety of views – these features are often heard when people talk about Gran Canaria. Read now what you shouldn’t miss during your vacation.
Whether for a relaxed beach vacation or an active vacation with various water sports – Gran Canaria has the right offer for every vacationer. If you are looking for a relaxing Canary Island holiday , you are in the right place in Maspalomas with its quiet hotel complexes. If you are looking for adventure, you have the ideal conditions for windsurfing in Pozo Izquierdo, for example. I also have a tip for tourists who would like to go on a sightseeing tour: off to the island’s capital Las Palmas ! Nature lovers come to the Pilancones Natural Park, where you can admire a huge pine forest. The enchanting island of Gran Canaria offers you with its various facets a diverse range.
Gran Canaria has 236 kilometers of coastline, including 60 kilometers of beaches. Whether on the south coast or in the north of Gran Canaria – the beautiful beaches of this island attract visitors from all over the world and offer a lot of variety. Cruise guests in particular don’t have to look far to see the first fascinating beach.
The famous long sandy beach of Maspalomas is located on the south side of Gran Canaria. In the center of a stretch of coast that is one of the most popular holiday destinations in Europe. This is famous not only for its enchanting dune landscape, which is even a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and its wonderful climate, but primarily for its 55 meter high lighthouse, which lit up for the first time in 1890. If you walk from the lighthouse towards the dunes, you will reach the headland “Punta de Maspalomas”. Playa del Inglés already begins there, even if it is actually still the same beach.
What do you think? Can Gran Canaria be your best Canary Island?
The largest Canary Island Tenerife is one of the most popular travel destinations for a successful and varied holiday. This is due on the one hand to the incredibly fascinating landscape, but also to the many exciting sights on Tenerife. The famous Teide National Park, the black volcanic beaches and a few other attractions make the island a true holiday paradise, which attracts with great variety for active holidaymakers.
With an area of almost 2,000 square kilometers, Tenerife is not only the largest, but also the most diverse island. Every year many people looking for relaxation spend their Canary Islands vacationon the Spanish island in the Atlantic. What they particularly like is the mild climate and diversity. No matter whether you want to pursue activities and hobbies on vacation, want to laze on a dreamy beach or aim for a tour of discovery – everything is possible on a Tenerife vacation . You almost have the feeling that this destination has two faces: the adventurous are drawn to the north, while the leisurely beach holidaymakers are drawn to the south.
Tenerife is so multifaceted that it gives the feeling that this destination has two faces: the adventurous are drawn to the north, while the more relaxed beach holidaymakers are drawn to the south. Tenerife South is touristy and sunny, but nature is correspondingly barren and dry. Here you will find many large beaches, some of which have been artificially created. The places Los Cristianos, Playa de las Americas and Costa Adeje form the tourist strongholds .
To Tenerife NorthIt is more for those who are close to nature who prefer a green landscape and are looking for Canarian flair. The only tourist stronghold in the north of the island is Puerto de la Cruz. In the middle of the island is the 7500 meter high mountain Teide, which divides Tenerife into the north and south of the island. The weather limit that results from the mountain is the reason why the sun shines more often in the south than in the north.
The landmark of Tenerife is the Tiede National Park: the 3,718 meter high Teide volcano forms the center of the island. The Pico del Teide is the largest mountain in Spain and one of the most popular attractions in Tenerife. The Teide cable car takes you to the mountain station at an altitude of 3,555 meters. From there you can enjoy a fantastic view. The overwhelming landscape, which has already been the backdrop for several science fiction films such as “Planet of the Apes” and “Star Wars”, can also be hiked through on a large network of trails. In Parque Nacional del Teide, which has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2007, there are a total of 38 routes of varying difficulty, which can take between two hours and a whole day.
On the one hand there are idyllic villages and wonderful beaches inviting you to relax, and on the other hand there is a wide range of sports and leisure activities and sightseeing. A Canary Island holiday on the great island definitely promises variety, relaxation and, above all, no boredom! However, I have to admit that there are not as many sights to discover on Fuerteventura as on the neighboring island of Lanzarote, 10 km away, but that should by no means deter you from a trip, after all, every island has its own advantages.
Some of the beaches are truly heavenly and even exude a touch of the Caribbean. The most popular beaches include Playas de Sotavento, Playa de Esquinzo and Playa del Mattoral.
Even if Fuerteventura is more geared towards sun worshipers and active vacationers, the island also offers a lot to discover. Betancuria in the west of Fuerteventura is the oldest village on the island. The former capital of the island is considered to be the most historically significant place. The few buildings indicate their cultural past of the village. Today’s capital Puerto del Rosario is located on the east coast of the island. Cozy cafés, bars and restaurants are lined up here. Numerous shops invite you to browse and souvenir shopping. Speaking of souvenirs: Fuerteventura is particularly proud of its exquisite cheesewith designation of origin. Not only a great souvenir but also a treat for your own palate. Definitely try it!
If you’re not convinced that Fuerteventura is the best Canary Island for you, check our complete guide on Fuerteventura here!
From volcanoes and lava fields, to a lunar landscape full of abstract colors and shapes, to picturesque places and unique sights, the Canary Island, which belongs to Spain, shines in its very own remarkable charm. In particular the astonishing volcanic landscapes, but also the impressive design by the artist and most famous son of Lanzarote, César Manrique, characterize the fourth largest island of the so-called “Islas Canarias” and make it a popular travel destination.
Sights , leisure activities – and what about sun, beach and sea? Of course, the beach vacationers among you in need of relaxation will not miss out on Lanzarote. Despite its volcanic origin, this island with its almost 100 km long coastline also has many beaches to offer. Including all of them, there are around 100 beaches, of which a third are fine sandy Sahara beaches, a third are black volcanic beaches and again a third are stony and less suitable for swimming. If you are looking for beautiful, fine sandy beaches with crystal clear sea, you should definitely head towards the south coast. A true beach paradise is waiting for you in the south of the island!
When it comes to the Canary Islands , Gran Canaria, Tenerife or Fuerteventura come to mind, but did you hear about La Palma (actually La Isla de San Miguel de La Palma ) in passing? That should change as soon as possible, because this beautiful island could prove to be your next favorite island for your Canary Islands vacationturn out. You won’t find the classic bathing tourist here who just lazes around the pool or beach all day, but that would be too good for this island paradise. There is a lot to discover and experience here – from spectacular hikes through volcanic landscapes and thundering waterfalls to lush laurel forests. Nature seems to run wild here and unfold its true splendor.
The second smallest but maybe the best Canary Island La Gomera is hidden inconspicuously between its popular sister islands in the Atlantic west of the African continent. But its low level of awareness makes it something very special, because mass tourism is a foreign word here. Originality and breathtaking nature enchant all those who find their way here. The Canary Island impresses with its magical enchanted forests, black lava beaches, a language that is unique in the world and beautiful colonial buildings. Today I will show you why La Gomera is “small, but powerful”!
22 degrees, pleasant spring weather and no change to be expected – the weather report on La Gomera sounds like this every day. Although the island is on the same latitude as the Sahara, the Canary Current cools La Gomera down to temperatures that neither make you sweat nor freeze.
So it’s no wonder that La Gomera is particularly popular with hikers and mountain bikers who want to experience their vacation actively. It offers ideal conditions to let the fresh air waft your nose all day and all night. Temperature fluctuations, as they can occur again and again on La Palma Canary Islands , are not to be expected, especially in the touristically developed south of the island. So it is hardly surprising that Christopher Columbus also appreciated the advantages of the island and landed with his team on La Gomera for the last time before setting off on his expedition to India.
As the smallest of the Canary Islands, El Hierro stands for pure nature. And it is a real insider tip, especially if you are looking for sustainable tourism. With just under 1000 beds, the island was spared from mass tourism and has retained its originality. The volcanic rock landscapes with great natural swimming pools and great diving areas are particularly impressive.
El Hierro measures 24 kilometers in north-south direction, from east to west it is at least 27 kilometers. Almost 11,000 people live here – and countless giant lizards. A holiday on El Hierro is definitely not for people who love the hustle and bustle. Time seems to have passed by almost without a trace on the dreamy Canary Island on the edge of Europe. Beaches are in short supply on the smallest island in the Canary Islands. El Hierro’s trump card is loneliness. There is no industry or bigger cities. There are no direct flights from Germany. If you want to go to El Hierro, you have to travel via Tenerife or Gran Canaria.
Hikers and mountain bikers are in their element on El Hierro. Divers will also be happy here. The water is almost crystal clear and exceptionally calm for the Atlantic. In the sea one encounters angel and whale sharks as well as manta rays. El Bajón in particular, an extinct volcanic cone that rises from a depth of up to 15 meters, is home to an unusually large number of fish.