The Canary Islands are a popular holiday destination as they offer the sun, sea and sand that you expect somewhere like the Caribbean, but they are much closer to home. Each of the seven islands has its own personality and all are equally fantastic places to visit, so how do you decide between them? With the help of John Dixon, Managing Director of Prestige Holidays,we’ve put together our guide to the Canary Islands.
Culture Vultures – Tenerife
If your idea of a great vacation involves museums, art galleries, impressive architecture and immersing yourself in local culture (and plenty of sun!) then Tenerife is the island for you. It is the most popular of the Canary Islands, but this is mainly due to the tourists heading to the south coast where there are many inviting sandy beaches. This leaves the lively port and capital city of Santa Cruz largely tourist free and it is here where you can soak up plenty of culture. There are many fascinating museums and galleries to enjoy, but it is the Auditorio de Tenerife is highly recommend. Completed in 2003, this striking modernist building hosts many concerts throughout the year so be sure to see what is on during your stay. If you happen to be there in the autumn, the Tenerife Opera Festival is supposed to be a marvellous event and something that any culture vulture will get a real kick out of.
Nature Lovers – La Palma & La Gomera
Nature lovers will want to head to the peaceful La Palma and La Gomera islands, which are somewhat hidden gems as they are largely free of tourists (shh, keep it a secret!). These islands boast outstanding and varied natural beauty, which make them perfect for those that like to hike or simply enjoy being surrounded by nature.
Caldera de Taburiente National Park offers many rewarding walks along epic cliffs that allow for spectacular views of the ancient forests and volcanoes that inhabit this rugged yet beautiful island.
Just 14 miles in diameter, keen walkers will adore this tiny yet scenic island. A UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, La Gomera is bursting at the seams with volcanic mountains, thick forests and black-sand beaches. The best area to explore is the superb Garajonay National Park, which is located in the heart of the island and is a magnificent place for hiking.
Gran Canaria is the third largest island in the Canary Islands and 46% of it has the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve designation. Exploring the nature reserves on foot or bike is great fun. If you’re lucky, from the south of the island you can spot whales and dolphins in their natural habitat .
Another one for the nature lovers. Maspalomas is best is known for it’s vast expanse of coastal dunes which is a protected area that provides a habitat for some rare species of flora and fauna to flourish. It’s also a favourite spot for nudists.
Salobre Old and New
Avid golfers will want to head to Salobre Golf Resort, which features two excellent 18-hole courses. That’s right; here you can enjoy a full 36 holes (the only resort in the Canaries where you can do this). The Old Course can be played by those with mixed abilities, whilst those who like a challenge will want to tee-off on the more technical and demanding New Course.