Attractions in Canary Islands, Spain
Tenerife: Candelaria worships Virgen de la Candelaria
Candelaria, a town in the north-east of Tenerife by the sea, is the most important place of pilgrimage on the Canary Islands. On August 15th, the Virgen de la Candelaria (Brightening Virgin) is honored as the patron saint of the Canary Islands with religious festivals at the town hall. The Basílica de Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria pilgrimage church is located in the Plaza de la Patrona de Canaria. Between the plaza and the Playa de Candelaria beach, you can admire nine bronze statues of famous Guanche kings (the Guanches were the original inhabitants of the Canary Islands).
Tenerife: Hiking in the Anaga Mountains
From Laguna on Tenerife you can reach the Anaga massif, a wild, rugged mountain range that rises from the sea at a height of around 1000 m. The Anaga Mountains offer wonderful hiking opportunities, with a rental car you can drive to the Barranco de las Huertas and along the mountain ridge towards La Laguna. On the northern slope of the Anaga Mountains lies the picturesque town of Taganana with winding, small streets and a three-aisled village church. The northwest side of the Anaga massif is covered by the Bosque de la Mercedes, the Mercedes Forest.
The second largest island in the Canary Islands offers many beautiful beaches. The constantly blowing trade winds and more than 55 km of beach make Fuerteventura a paradise for windsurfers. Every year the world championships in speed surfing are held here. The most beautiful beaches can be found on the Jandía peninsula. Here you will find extraordinarily beautiful beaches, such as the more than 20 km long Playa de Sotavento. Another surfer’s paradise is Playa del Aguila, which lies south of El Cotillo. The strong surf is ideal for windsurfing and other water sports, but swimmers should be careful as the underwater currents can create dangerous undertows.
Tenerife: La Laguna
La Laguna is Tenerife’s second largest town and is set in beautiful countryside in the Aguere Valley. The historic old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here you will find San Fernando University and the Bishop’s Palace, which was destroyed in a fire in January 2006 but has now been completely restored and opened to the public. There are many churches worth seeing in La Laguna, the Catedrale Santo Domingo and the church Nuestra Señora de la Concepción with its baroque wooden pulpit from the 18th century are particularly beautiful.
Tenerife: Pico de Teide with National Park
The Pico de Teide, a mountain of volcanic origin, is the highest peak in Spain at 3718 m and is located in the Teide National Park on Tenerife. Teide National Park has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2007. To get to the top of the Pico de Teide, it is advisable to take the cable car. For the ascent of the Pico de Teide from the valley and also from the upper cable car station you need a permit for entering the national park, which the Spanish national park administrationexhibits. The number of permits issued per day is limited, which is why it is advisable to apply for the permit several months in advance if possible. Numerous providers offer bus tours from the hotel to the Teide and back both locally and online. In order to ensure that you can purchase a ticket, it is advisable to book the tour as early as possible, especially in high season. When booking the tour you have to make sure that climbing the top of Mount Teide is included in the tour, if you don’t just want to get to the upper cable car station, where you usually only have about 30-60 minutes. This is not enough time to climb the Teide summit from the upper cable car station. It is usually much colder up on the Teide than at the valley station. Warm clothing and sturdy shoes are therefore required, as is good physical condition because of the thin air at this altitude. The cable car is often not in operation because of the strong wind on the Teide. For this reason, a little bit of luck is essential for a successful trip to the Teide.
Gran Canaria: Playa del Ingles
The resort of Playa del Inglés is the largest tourist center on the island, having emerged during the 1960s and 70s as a result of the emerging mass tourism and the resulting construction boom. The Avenida de Tirajana and the Avenida de Alfereces Provisionales are lined with hotels, shops, restaurants, pubs, cafés and discos. There are also numerous shopping malls all over the city. The biggest entertainment mile is the “Kasbah” with live music, bars and restaurants.
Isla Colombina (“Columbus Island”), as La Gomera is also known, has a dramatically varied landscape with black beaches and rugged mountains, plantations, fertile valleys, rainforests and volcanic cones. The island is less developed for tourism than the other Canary Islands and the existing tourist infrastructure fits seamlessly into the landscape of La Gomera. There are no hotel complexes like on some of the neighboring islands. The wafts of fog from the constant trade winds move through the forests and are responsible for the warm and humid subtropical climate. The landscape on La Gomera is rough but not as mountainous as on the other islands. The pebble beach Playa de Hermigua is near Hermigua, but swimming is, like on many other beaches on La Gomera, very dangerous because of the strong underwater currents. In the west of the island is the village of Alojara, which has a beach of fine black sand. Another quiet beach is La Rajita, located below the village of La Dama in the southwest of the island.
Gran Canaria: Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
In the capital Las Palmas de Gran Canaria there are many historically and architecturally interesting buildings, the old town Barrio de la Vegueta is particularly beautiful with stately houses that are influenced by Spanish colonial architecture. The impressive Gothic Santa Ana Cathedral stands in Plaza Santa Ana. The archbishop’s palace and other buildings in typical Canarian style are also located here. The Casa de Colón (Columbus House) should be visited as well as the San Antonio Abad Sanctuary where Columbus prayed. A must is also the Museo Canario. It shows a permanent exhibition about the culture of the native people of Gran Canaria, the Guanches. The Castello de la Luz fortress is one of the most popular photo opportunities on the island. The aquarium Poema del Mar at the port is new.
La Gomera: Hermigua and the Garajonay National Park
Hermigua is located in a steep valley on La Gomera and stretches 6 km down to the sea. Here is the largest banana growing area on the island, grain and citrus fruits are also planted. Nearby is the El Chorro waterfall. East of the center of Hermigua is the Parque Nacional de Garajonay, which has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The largest part of the park consists of the Bosque del Cedro (cedar forest) and centuries-old laurel trees. Tree-high erica plants and the rare cedar juniper grow in El Cedro. Long moss beards hang down from the laurel trees and cedars, which together with the low wispy clouds transform the park into a fairytale forest.
Children’s amusements in the Canary Islands
The Sioux City theme park on Gran Canaria is particularly attractive for children. Also on Gran Canaria, Las Canteras beach is best for small children. Unfortunately, fun activities for children do not include trips out to sea to watch whales and dolphins. Shortly after the departure, the sick bags are distributed on the catamarans, because experience has shown that most of the little guests struggle with seasickness during the entire boat trip. Of course, the children are no longer interested in the whales and dolphins in this state. Instead, you would rather go to the zoo in Tenerife or visit the farm on Las Américas beach in Tenerife.
Lanzarote: Castle of Guanapay
Above the former capital of Lanzarote, Teguise, is the Castillo de Guanapay with the Santa Barbara Castle, which was built in the 16th century on the top of the Guanapay volcano. From there you have a wonderful view over many parts of the island. The castle now houses a museum on the emigration of Canarian residents who emigrated to South and Central America during a period of drought in the 19th century. A market is held every Sunday morning where, alongside the sale of modern and traditional products, folk music and dance are performed.
The largest island of the Canary Islands essentially consists of a central mountain range and valleys, but also fine sandy beaches and impressive cliffs. The capital of the island is Santa Cruz. Part of the volcanic island has been placed under nature protection. The island offers a range of leisure activities for active holidaymakers such as hiking, cycling, climbing, horseback riding, diving, surfing, windsurfing, deep sea fishing, golfing and paragliding. Tenerife generally has mild temperatures all year round. Popular beaches around Santa Cruz de Tenerife can be found on the Anaga coast, in the north and in Igueste. The Las Teresitas beach in the north with sand from the Sahara is particularly recommended. Beautiful beaches with fine black sand can be found north of Adeje, in Alcalá and on the Los Gigantes cliffs.
Tenerife: Puerto de la Cruz on the north coast
In Puerto de la Cruz, the most important holiday resort on the north coast of Tenerife, there are numerous buildings from the 17th century that have been extensively renovated in recent years. These include, for example, the Casa Iriarte and the Casa Real Aduana. The beach promenade Avenida Colón in Puerto de la Cruz, which was modernized in 2005, is a wonderful place to stroll. The Plaza del Charco offers numerous restaurants and cafes and is the meeting place for the locals of Puerto de la Cruz. Much of the area around the old fishing port is filled with narrow cobbled streets and colonial architecture. In the south of the city there is a botanical garden worth seeing. Not far from Puerto de la Cruz is Loro Parque, an amusement park worth seeing and experiencing with parrots, sharks, dolphins, sea lions, orcas and penguins.
Tenerife’s capital, Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz is the capital of Tenerife and is located in the extreme northeast of the island. The city has a wealth of interesting architecture (e.g. the San Francisco Church) and the museums (e.g. the Municipal Museum of Fine Arts) offer a good overview of the art and culture of the Canary Islands. The Auditorio de Tenerife Adán Martín, a congress and concert hall, has become the symbol of the city because of its spectacular appearance. Many of the city’s buildings are protected cultural assets, such as the town hall and the Teatro Guimerá. The Rambla del General Franco is a popular promenade that runs through the city with cafés and boutiques. The best shopping opportunities can be found on Calle Castillo.
Gran Canaria: Cueva Pintada (Painted Cave)
In the north of Gran Canaria, near Gáldar, the world of the natives can be discovered in the museum and Parque Arqueológico Cueva Pintada in a pre-Spanish settlement. There are idols, paintings, ceramic vessels and stone and bone tools on display. The Cueva Pintada (Painted Cave) is a magnet for visitors.
This island is the westernmost and smallest of the Canary Islands. The whole island has been declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. El Hierro is small but offers an incredible variety of landscapes. The coast consists of steep cliffs that rise up to 1000 m, so there are few sandy beaches. Located on the west coast, the longest beach on the island, Playa de Verodal has reddish sand. Smaller bathing beaches are in the port of La Restinga and the Tacoron, about 5 km from La Restinga. Dry areas alternate with the volcanic landscape in the south and west of the island. The island also has the highest density of volcanoes in the entire Canary archipelago, there are around 500 volcanic cones on the surface and 300 other craters that were buried by previous lava flows.
El Hierro: Valverde
The capital of El Hierro, Valverde, is located 600 m above sea level on a mountainside. There is a pretty village church, Santa Maria de la Concepción, which dates back to the 18th century. The town hall, built in the typical Canarian style, is directly opposite. Every four years in July, Valverde hosts the island’s biggest festival, the Bajada de la Virgen de Los Reyes (The Descent of the Virgin). During this festival, a statue of Mary is carried in a solemn procession from her hermitage to Valverde. The colorful spectacle lasts several weeks and is celebrated in every village.
La Palma: Volcanoes
One of the largest craters in the world, the Caldera de Taburiente, is located in the national park of the same name in the middle of the island of La Palma. The crater walls are over 2000 m high. The best view of the volcano is from the La Cumbrecita viewpoint. Below Fuencaliente are the two volcanoes Teneguia and San Antonio, which last erupted in the 1970s.
La Palma: Excursions
Discovery trips on La Palma should be z. B. to Los Llanos de Aridane, Tazacorte, Belmaco Cave and Cave Cueva Bonita. In the northwest of the island lies Puntagorda, a quaint little village nestled amongst almond trees. In the municipality of Puntagorda there is also a beautiful vantage point, the Mirador de Miraflores.
La Palma: San Andrés y sauces
San Andrés y Sauces is a main trading center of La Palma, with its banana plantations and beautiful panoramic sea views from its plaza. The nearby Los Tilos, a laurel and fern forest, together with El Cubo de la Galga, forms the largest deciduous forest in the Canary Islands and has been declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO.
The Isla Bonita (“beautiful island”), as La Palma is also called by the locals, is the highest island in the world in terms of size. La Palma offers a dramatic natural landscape with rainforests, volcanoes and mountains. Laurel and light pine forests grow here. Coarse-grained sandy, pebbly and stone beaches prevail on La Palma. Black sandy beaches can be found in the Santa Cruz marina and on Los Cancajos beach in the east of the island.
La Gomera: Valle Gran Rey
The municipality of Valle Gran Rey became the destination of many hippies in the 1970s and 1980s who settled in the valley with palm trees and banana plantations. Valle Gran Rey is now the most popular holiday area on La Gomera.
La Gomera: Vallehermoso
Vallehermoso (“the beautiful valley”) is the largest municipality in La Gomera. The well-known palm honey (Miel de Palma) is produced here. Nearby are the bizarre rock formations Los Organos (»the organ pipes«), which can only be seen from the sea. On the road towards Vallehermoso is the Chorros de Epina spring, whose water is said to have magical properties.
Lanzarote: Timanfaya National Park
The Timanfaya National Park is located in the west of the island and has an area of 51 km 2. The park consists of a bizarrely beautiful volcanic landscape where only a few species of plants and animals survive. Horn clover and saltweed dot the lava sea and volcanic craters here and there. Camel rides to the volcanoes are particularly popular. The most notable volcanic cones are Mount Timanfaya, Volcan Nuevo del Fuego o del Chinero, Calderas Quemadas, Caldera del Corazoncillo and Montana Rajada. If you arrive by rental car, you should not arrive at lunchtime, because at this time there are usually long queues of cars on the way to the visitor center. It is best to join a guided bus tour, because these buses are allowed to simply drive past traffic jams.
This island, the third largest of the Canary Islands, is often referred to as a “miniature continent” as plants from Europe, America and Africa thrive here. Rocky massifs, desert-like areas and tropical vegetation contribute to the unmistakable landscape of Gran Canaria. Fine golden beaches are found all over the island. In addition, there are also black sand beaches, red pebble beaches and rocky beaches. The longest beach on the island (6.5 km) with beautiful dunes and in parts a nudist beach is the fine sandy beach between Playa del Inglés and Maspalomas. Along the Maspalomas beach there are magnificent palm oases and a freshwater lake.
Gran Canaria: Maspalomas
In the island’s oldest holiday resort, Maspalomas, on the southern tip of Gran Canaria is the island’s most important sports port. The dunes in the south-east of Maspalomas, which are under nature protection, are beautiful and are up to 2 km wide and 6 km long.
This island is the easternmost of the Canary Islands. The landscape on Lanzarote is reminiscent of a lunar landscape. In the 18th and 19th centuries there were many volcanic eruptions that covered a large part of the island with lava and ash. The volcanic ash and the numerous craters are now used by the islanders for growing grapes. In 1993 the entire island of Lanzarote was declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. There are long beaches of black or white sand, some of the most beautiful being those of Puerto del Carmen, Playa Blanca and Famara.
One of the most attractive regions is the Jandía peninsula in the south of Fuerteventura. Here is the largest tourist center on the island. The area is also very popular with divers, just a few minutes by boat from the coast there are wonderful underwater landscapes with mussel beds and caves. On the peninsula rises the Pico de Jandía, at 807 m the highest mountain on the island. The shopping possibilities are very good and evening entertainment is also provided.
Lanzarote: Jameos del Agua
At the foot of the volcano Monte de la Corona in the north of Lanzarote, which erupted 3000 years ago, are the Jameos del Agua, a cave system almost 6 km long. The jameos (literally: lava bubbles) are cavities of lava formed by an explosion of volcanic gases. The lava caves are connected by tunnels. The cave system was expanded in 1968 by the artist César Manrique. In the Jameos live some species of animals only found in such caves, such as the blind albino crab, which is one of the rarest animal species. The crab has been made the symbol of the Jameos del Agua. Another part of the Jameos are the Cueva de los Verdos, the longest volcanic vein system in the world. The caves are a popular tourist attraction.
Tenerife: Playa de las Americas
The largest tourist resort in Tenerife – and one of the largest in Spain – is Playa de las Américas with the neighboring towns of Los Cristianos, Costa Adeje Torviscas, Playa de Fañabé and La Caleta. There are many large hotels, a wide variety of shops of all kinds, bars and restaurants for every taste, discos and a casino for evening entertainment, and beautiful beaches with black-brown sand. If you like partying, this is the place to be. If you want, you can listen to loud music almost around the clock: during the day at the hotel pool and on the beach, at night in the bar or in the disco. Those who prefer peace and quiet are in better hands in the north of Tenerife, a little away from the tourist hotspots.
Playa de las Américas is an Eldorado, especially for surfers. From sunrise to sunset you can see hundreds of surfers along the coast in their wetsuits floating in the water next to their surfboards like many black or colored dots, waiting for the perfect wave. With the mostly optimal conditions here, this is not long in coming. In the many small bays, on the other hand, bathers of all ages cavort in the water and in the waves, which are weakened directly on the beach.
Gran Canaria’s destinations
Eight kilometers outside of Las Palmas near Tafira Alta is the botanical garden Jardín Canario, which shows the diversity of the flora on the Canary Islands. In the southwestern part of the island is Mogan, a picturesque fishing village with romantic streets and houses. There are ethnological museums in Villa des Agüimes and San Mateo. A nice excursion is a drive to the mountain villages of Fataga and Santa Lucia. A detour to the volcanic crater in the Bandama Nature Park is also recommended. Handicraft centers are particularly present in Villa des Agüimes, Moya and Artenara.
In the north of Fuerteventura lies Corralejo, after Jandía the second largest tourist center on the island. The El Río strait between Corralejo and the small uninhabited neighboring island of Lobos is particularly popular with divers and surfers. Equally famous is the shifting dune area El Jable, which is located on the coastal road to Puerto del Rosaria and is a nature reserve. The best shopping and nightly entertainment facilities are found in the tourist centers.
Betancuria, the former island capital of Fuerteventura, lies at an altitude of almost 400 m in a narrow valley overgrown with palm trees, tamarisk trees, agaves and prickly pear cactus. In 1593 Betancuria almost completely burned down. On Calle Roberto Roldáu there are still a few houses from the early days that survived the fire. Because the medieval townscape has been largely preserved, the site has been listed as a historical monument. The ruins of the former Franciscan monastery Convento de San Buenaventura and the parish church Iglesia Nuestra Señora de la Concepción are particularly worth seeing. Worth seeing is the church of Santa Maria de Betancuria, which was rebuilt after the fire.