When it comes to picking an ideal holiday destination, the Canary Islands have pretty much all bases covered. Holiday Extras customers absolutely love them, and they are among the most popular holiday destinations every year.
With glorious weather, dramatic landscapes, beautiful beaches and plenty to do, it's easy to see why this cluster of volcanic islands off the coast of northwest Africa make for a perfect escape.
If you find yourself asking which island is best for couples, where the best beaches are, or which one to take the family to, read on for all the answers…
El Hierro | Best for diving
El Hierro's unique and diverse aquatic environments are home to an eye-catching combo of incredible seascapes and the wildlife that lives there. Many fascinating creatures make their home off El Hierro's volcanic shores, like:
- Cuvier's beaked whale
- Spiny Globefish
- Trumpet Fish
- Puffer Fish
- Black Sea Bream
Scuba diving in El Hierro appeals in no small part due to the vast volcanic tunnels, underwater caves and black coral reefs. At La Restinga, on the very south of the island, is Mar de las Calmas Marine Reserve, a popular launch point for dives. La Restinga also happens to be the southernmost Spanish town in the world.
A nature lover's paradise
Measuring just 30km end to end, El Hierro is the least populated of the Canary Islands, with just over 11,000 people living there. Despite its size though, just like the other Canary Islands, parts of El Hierro are considered a Biosphere Reserve of Europe.
This is because of its diverse ecosystem, which includes vast seabeds, volcanoes, lava fields, rugged cliffs and lush valleys. Plus dense forests of juniper and pine, home to ancient trees, rare reptiles and aboriginal legends.
El Hierro also gets bonus points for sustainability. Thanks to a combination of wind and hydro power, El Hierro is energy self-sufficient and powered entirely by renewable sources.
Spain and the Canary Islands rank 18th on the Good Trip Index
This score is calculated based on Sustainability, Human Rights, Women's Rights, Press Freedom, Quality of Life, LGBTQI+ Rights and Animal welfareFind out more
Fuerteventura | Best for beaches
Buckets and spades at the ready
All of the Canary Islands' beaches are pretty awesome. But with 150 km of stunning coastline lapped by the twinkling waters of the Atlantic, Fuerteventura just about snatches the crown.
All these beaches means there's one for every mood, whether you're looking for a secluded escape, a popular family spot or somewhere to hit the surf.
- Moro Jable: A beautiful beach on the Jandia peninsula. It's ideal for families, plus the calm, clear waters of the bay make it an ideal spot for snorkeling and stand-up paddle boarding.
- Costa Calma: Good for families with small children, its calm waters and outstanding facilities make it the perfect place to relax while the kids enjoy a paddle.
- La Lajita: Often overlooked by tourists, La Lajita is ideal if you want to avoid the hustle and bustle. With smaller, wilder islands such as Isla de Lobos, Playa del Cofete and Puerto de la Cruz just a stone's throw away, there's plenty of exploring to do.
It's windy out there...
While enjoying the year-round spring weather that blesses all the Canaries, Fuerteventura is also known somewhat for its strong and reliable winds. This makes it one of the best and most popular destinations for surfing, kiteboarding and sailing.
Fuerteventura Travel Guide
Get the most out of your trip to Fuerteventura with our hassle-free guide.Find out more...
Lanzarote | Best for families
Something for everyone
If you're planning a family holiday to the Canary Islands, Lanzarote is a great option. It combines welcoming resorts and gorgeous beaches with some incredible, eye-boggling landscapes created by volcanic activity.
Travelling with the whole family isn't cheap, that's why we recommend staying in Playa Blanca. Nestled in the south of the island, it offers a great choice of family-friendly accommodation in Lanzarote, ranging from budget, family holiday villages to swanky, private villas. Lanzarote will have something to please everyone.
A volcanic adventure
There are plenty of things to do with the kids in Lanzarote but we think it's worth a trip for the spectacular landscapes alone. Dazzling black sand beaches can be found alongside more familiar white sands, creating a unique, beautiful setting.
But there's more to the island than just dramatic scenery.
Lanzarote has its fair share of fascinating museums, including the Museum of Piracy. Set in a 15th-century fortress (on the peak of a volcano!), the museum tells the story of the pirate invasions the island suffered throughout its history. Equally, no family trip to Lanzarote would be complete without a visit to Timanfaya National Park and its awe-inspiring lava fields which look like something from another planet.
There are also plenty of animal parks and water parks to keep even the cheekiest of kids entertained. Oh, and a Submarine Safari.
Lanzarote Travel Guide
Planning your next family holiday? You can't go wrong with Lanzarote.Find out more...
Tenerife | Best for partying
Craving all-night happy hours, foam parties and cocktails of every colour? Tenerife has you covered.
Head to Playa de las Americas to the south of the island for the legendary strips Veronica's and Starco's. There, you can lose yourself in the lively atmosphere (in Tenerife, we wouldn't have it any other way), with clubs such as Tramps Tenerife and Sugareef Tenerife able to keep the party going as long as you can.
What else is there to do in Tenerife?
As much as some might hate to admit it, it's hard to keep the party going for a solid week. Fortunately, Tenerife has plenty more to offer. If your hangover permits, find the Piramide de Aron, a show venue where you can enjoy flamenco and modern fusion dance performances.
What's more, the hip Noria District in Santa Cruz is packed with cool restaurants, bars and live music. Perfect for if you're not ready for the party to end, but feel the need for a more refined, reserved soire.
If you really wanted a chance to take some photos you can show your parents, head to the Tenerife Symphony Orchestra with it's unique architecture or the Guimerá Theatre. Classy!
Our guide to Tenerife
Tenerife is waiting for you, whether you're after party boats or relaxing coasts.Find out more...
What about Gran Canaria?
The nightlife in Gran Canaria is second to none. With very little happening before midnight, you can truly burn the candle at both ends.
Playa del Ingles serves as the island's party capital, with countless bars, clubs and pubs to suit all tastes for the perfect night out. Playa del Ingles is a great LGBT-friendly holiday destination, with most of Gran Canaria's gay bars and clubs located here. Expect to see drag queens, regular Pride processions and dress-up nights galore in a part of town where partying is a way of life and almost nothing is off limits.
Just note that if you're travelling to the Canary Islands with the kids, Playa del Ingles is not a family destination, with many resorts enforcing strict adults-only policies, at least after a certain time. Instead, why not visit the historic capital of Las Palmas, or the natural beauty of Maspalomas and its sweeping sand dunes. Just be aware of the beach nearby that's popular with nudists!
Read our guide on where to stay in Gran Canaria for more information on what the island has to offer.
La Palma | Best for stargazing
Fancy yourself a keen astronomer? La Palma is the place for you thanks to its clear night skies and lack of light pollution.
The island is the home of the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory, which includes the Gran Telescopio Canarias (GranTecCan), the largest optical telescope in the world.
Can't fit a telescope in your hand luggage?
Even without expensive equipment, it's impossible to miss the majestic canvas of space and stars that makes up La Palma's sky.
If you want to learn more about the constellations you can book an evening course with a local astronomer, or take a tour of the observatory.Top