The Canary Islands: A Traveller’s Guide

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Just off the coast of Africa, the magical Canary Islands are Europe’s sunniest frontier. We invited the experts at James Villas to guide us through the four most popular of the isles…

The Spanish Canary Islands are incredibly popular places when it comes to luxury holiday destinations. The islands boast a beautiful climate with warm temperatures for most of the year and minimal rainfall as well as beautiful beaches, stunning volcanic landscapes, thriving nightlife, water sports, and excellent shopping opportunities. If you’re not sure which of the Canary Islands to choose for your holiday, this guide will take you through the key points of four of the biggest: Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, and Lanzarote. There are also other islands that have become increasingly popular, including La Gomera, La Palma, La Graciosa, and El Hierro. There are other islets that are uninhabited such as the Chinijo Archipelago and Lobos Island.

Where to stay

There are plenty of options when it comes to choosing where to stay in the Canary Islands, but many people decide to rent villas in Canary Islands. This gives them their own home from home with easy access to local facilities, activities and gorgeous beaches. Some also have their own pool, and, with your own kitchen, you can choose to make homecooked meals or head out to local restaurants.


Tenerife has the largest population of the Canary Islands and is also the biggest in terms of land area. It’s a big favourite for families as well as people looking for relaxation, luxury, and top-class golf courses. It is also home to Mount Teide, which is the tallest Spanish mountain and has more than 40 miles of beaches. Tenerife is also a great place for nightlife and theme parks, but there are still plenty of traditional Spanish villages to explore.


The next biggest island is Fuerteventura and offers some of the most beautiful beaches you’ll find anywhere. The landscape is sandy in general, but the beaches are white while being lapped by clear blue water. There is also a great breeze from the Atlantic which makes Fuerteventura ideal for water sports. When you’re finished with the beach you can head into town for fantastic nightlife and shopping or a relaxing meal at an open-air restaurant.

Gran Canaria

Gran Canaria is not as big as Fuerteventura but is home to more people. It has the most varied landscape, including forests, deserts, mountains, towns, villages, and, of course, stunning beaches. The towns have not only some of the best shopping opportunities in the Canary Islands but also a thriving nightlife with lots of bars and restaurants which make it ideal for couples or groups.


If you are seeking a more relaxed holiday with natural beauty, Lanzarote is the ideal choice. It has plenty of unspoiled beaches and volcanic landscapes, including the famous Timanfaya National Park. The island was greatly influenced by the artist César Manrique and, because it has had several volcanic eruptions in the past, Lanzarote has developed a unique personality while introducing tourism in recent years. Relax on the beaches, explore the incredible natural landscape and indulge in some of the fantastic Spanish tapas restaurants in Lanzarote.

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