Thanks to a subtropical climate and location just off the coast of Africa, Spain’s Canary Islands offer the perfect wintertime escape for those in search of a little sun and sand. With mild year-round temperatures and pleasant weather conditions, the seven volcanic islands draw in visitors from all over the world each year.
Tenerife, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote, three of the most popular islands among visitors, boast unique and unexpected landscapes, stunning parks and a wealth of natural beauty. A dream destination for beachgoers, even in the winter months, these three islands offer some of the best places in Europe to enjoy sun and outdoor activities all year long.
Perhaps, it is not common knowledge that Tenerife is popularly named Picuda Island - because of its shape or the Island of the Eternal Spring (isla de la Eterna Primavera) – because of its enviable climate all year around. Well, no wonder it is the most visited island in the Canaries then, as well as being the largest in the archipelago (2,034.38 sq. m.), and the most populated island in Spain. Therefore, we offer the best 4 and 5-star hotels in Tenerife South.
TENERIFE: THE LAND OF ETERNAL SPRING
Tenerife, the largest and most populated of the Canary Islands, has an eternal springtime climate that keeps visitors flocking to its shores year after year. As flights to the island generally tend to be cheaper during the winter months, it’s one of the prime destinations for a winter holiday among many Europeans. The island’s white sandy beaches and incredibly diverse landscapes attract more than five million sun-seeking visitors and outdoor enthusiasts every year, reason enough to take a closer look at what makes Tenerife so special.
For beach lovers, Tenerife’s stunning natural beaches stretch for miles all over the island. On the north side, Playa de el Bollullo is a favorite among visitors who can hike to the beach from Puerto de la Cruz, passing through banana plantations along the way. Many locals consider Bollullo to be the most beautiful beach on the island, framed by magnificent cliffs on one side and sparkling turquoise water on the other. The beach’s volcanic black sand and unmatched views provide the perfect setting for a picnic, swim, or relaxing day of sunbathing.
Finally, any holiday on Tenerife would be incomplete without a visit to Mount Teide, the island’s famous volcano and the highest point in Spain, with a summit at 3.718 meters above sea level. The volcano and national park surrounding it offer a one-of-a- kind experience for nature and geology lovers. The largest of all the national parks in the Canary Islands, UNESCO declared Teide National Park a World Heritage Site in 2007, and its unique landscape continues to draw in about four million travelers every year.
Inside the park visitors can choose from a variety of activities. Hikers will love the climb up the volcano surrounded by breathtaking views. Those with less time can take the cable car ride up to Spain’s highest peak where, on clear days, the nearby islands of Gran Canaria, La Gomera, and El Hierro can be seen in the distance. Guided tours through the national park offer another great way to explore its rugged volcanic surroundings. Geologist guides point out the impressive lava fields, fascinating rock formations, and unique biodiversity of the native flora and fauna on and around the volcano.
FUERTEVENTURA: A WATER LOVER'S PARADISE
After exploring all of Tenerife’s natural treasures, the breathtaking shores of Fuerteventura are nothing short of paradise for beach lovers. The second-largest Canary Island, famous for its expansive stretches of white sandy beaches and crystal- clear waters, offers the ideal destination for a relaxing holiday in the sun throughout the entire year. The whole island is a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve with over 93 miles of unspoiled beaches to explore. Well connected to neighboring islands by flights and ferry rides, Fuerteventura is easily reachable as both a primary destination and stopover between islands.
On Fuerteventura, the pristine coastline takes center stage, and renting a car provides the best way to explore the perimeter of the island and its immaculate beaches. Sotavento Beach, which stretches for nine kilometers and contains five smaller beaches, is one of Fuerteventura’s most popular stretches of coastline. The golden sand, huge lagoons, and long hours of sun make it a popular spot for walks along the beach, sunbathing, swimming, and watersports.
Corralejo Beach, at the northern tip of Fuerteventura, is well known for its beautiful protected sand dunes, which form the centerpiece of Corralejo Natural Park. It’s the perfect place to spend a long relaxing day under the sun and a great spot for children who can swim and splash safely in the shallow water. Besides the beach itself, the area is the ideal base for a day trip to Isla de Lobos, the stunning and remote island just twenty minutes from Corralejo by boat. With ferries running back and forth frequently throughout the day, a trip to the secluded island is a must for those visiting Corralejo.
In order for you to be able to enjoy all the best places in Fuerteventura easily, Iberostar offers the best hotels in Fuerteventura, where you can set your worries aside and enjoy a perfect few days’ rest.
Holidays in Lanzarote can be both relaxing and active, as the whole of the island is a delight for sports and outdoor enthusiasts. Lanzarote’s warm weather and sunny days welcome sport-loving visitors from all over Europe. Visitors and locals alike enjoy popular water activities such as windsurfing, kayaking, or paddle boarding, while some of the most scenic areas of the island provide the perfect backdrop for land sports like cycling, running, and trekking.
For outdoor lovers, Lanzarote boasts several magnificent spots for getting lost in nature. La Graciosa, a small island situated to the north of Lanzarote, is one of the most remote and unknown places in the entire archipelago. This tiny desert island at almost five miles in length and about two and a half in width is nothing less than an unspoiled paradise. Its dazzlingly wild beaches deliver an unforgettable day for travelers venturing over to the secluded island by ferry from Lanzarote. There’s no better place to swim, enjoy the sun, and just get away from it all for just a few hours.
High on the list of best beach destinations in Europe, the Canary Islands are the perfect getaway for warm weather and sun throughout the entire year. While every one of the islands has a distinct character, each welcomes travelers from all corners of the world with pleasant climates, warm and friendly people, and breathtaking natural beauty. From Tenerife’s dramatic scenery to Fuerteventura’s pristine coastline and Lanzarote’s rugged remoteness, each destination has something exceptional to offer visitors. The entire archipelago stands out as one of Spain’s most magnificent natural treasures, full of diverse landscapes and unparalleled charm.
RACHEL GRAF I 22/12/2017
Photography by Cordon Press