The Canary Islands are a diverse Spanish archipelago located just off Africa’s north-western coast, about 60 miles from Morocco. The islands feature wild, volcanic landscapes, quaint white villages and picturesque coves so peaceful that seem to have stayed the same since Prehistoric times. Nevertheless, the larger islands of Tenerife and Gran Canaria are home to lively cityscapes, and a vibrant night-time atmosphere, which still feels Spanish, despite the large number of foreign visitors to the islands.

In this guide, we outline the top 10 places to visit in the Canary Islands, to provide an unbeatable holiday experience.

1. El Teide National Park

Views over Teide National Park

cortto – Flickr CC

At the centre of this untamed, wild paradise and UNESCO World Heritage Site is Mount Teide, Spain’s highest point, and a dormant volcano. It is Spain’s most popular national park and the ninth most visited in the world. The park is located in the centre of Tenerife, and features wild volcanic terrain, geologically similar to that of Mars. The park’s dramatic and unique landscape has made it a popular filming location, and can be seen in films such as The Fast and the Furious and Clash of the Titans.

2. Playa del Bollulo

Playa del Bollullo

Dani Latorre – Flickr CC

Situated just east of Puerto de la Cruz, in the north of Tenerife, and a 25 minute drive from Tenerife North Airport is Playa del Bollullo, a beach with the unique feature of having black volcanic sand. The beach is located away from the tourist resorts of the town, and is therefore an ideal place to escape the holiday crowds.

3. Timanfaya National Park

Timanfaya National Park

blinking idiot – Flickr CC

Perhaps the most volcanic landscape of the Canaries, Timanfaya National Park, on Lanzarote was created relatively recently, in the 18th century, when the island’s volcano erupted and covered a third of the island. As a consequence, the park has a mysterious, barren landscape, reminiscent of that of the moon. Guided tours by coach are available from the park’s restaurant, El Diablo; here you can sample some of the island’s cuisine, cooked on a volcanic grill! Another great way to tour the park is by camel, allowing you to be closer to nature and fully experience the wild beauty of the park.

4. Isla de Lobos

A beach on the northern side of Isla de Lobos.

Ina Widegren – Flickr CC

This small island located just off the coast of Fuerteventura is designated as a national park, owing to its wide ecological diversity. You’ll marvel at the natural and untamed nature of the island; with no permanent residents, it is the perfect natural retreat. You can request a permit from the Fuerteventura government to camp on the island for up to three nights, or better yet, why not charter one of our yachts and drop anchor in El Puertito, a small cove to the south of the island.

Office where you can obtain a camping permit:

Oficina de Medio Ambiente del Cabildo de Fuerteventura Medio Ambiente
Address: Calle Lucha Canaria 112, 35600 Puerto del Rosario, Fuerteventura
Telephone: +34 928 861 115

5. Maspalomas Dunes

The sand dunes at Maspalomas, Gran Canaria.

Thomas Tolkien – Flickr CC

Gran Canaria is nicknamed “the miniature continent”, due to its contrasting landscapes, such as deserts to the south and forests to the north. Maspalomas Dunes are a prime example of this, forming a 400 hectare area on the island’s southern coast. The dunes are completely off limits to vehicular traffic, but don’t despair; if you don’t wish to walk across them, camel rides are available!

6. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

Playa de las Canteras in Las Palmas

El Coleccionista de Instantes – Flickr CC

The capital of Gran Canaria, Las Palmas is the largest city in the Canaries, and boasts a vibrant city atmosphere. Some of the most popular attractions include Playa de las Canteras, a 2 mile long urban beach, popular throughout the year due to Gran Canaria’s favourable climate. Another popular location is the historic district of Vegueta, the oldest of Las Palmas, which is home to a lively evening atmosphere, with a wide range of bars and clubs available.

7. El Hierro

Views from the Mirador de la Peña over the Gulf of El Hierro

El Coleccionista de Instant… – Flickr CC

The island of El Hierro is the smallest of the Canary Islands, and also the least populated, with just over 10,000 inhabitants. As a result of the prevailing winds, El Hierro receives more rain than the eastern Canaries such as Fuerteventura and Lanzarote, causing it to have a lush forest cover in the interior of the island. A favourite spot is the Mirador de la Peña, where you can take in spectacular views over the Gulf of El Hierro. As accommodation can be limited on the island, why not charter a boat and sail to the island.

8. Corralejo

Kite surfing on Flag Beach

Andy Mitchell – Flickr CC

A small port town located on the northern coast of Fuerteventura, Corralejo is the perfect location for those who wish to experience watersports such as surfing and windsurfing, due to its strong wave currents. If you’re not an experienced surfer, there are a number of surfing schools to cater to your needs, such as the Flag Beach watersports centre, located on the town’s south-eastern fringe.

9. Caldera de Taburiente National Park

The Caldera de Taburiente National Park

Eladio Anxo Fernández Manso – Flickr CC

Located on the lesser known island of La Palma, in contrast to El Teide National Park, there is no volcanic peak here, rather a very large mountain arch, shaped like a crater. Places such as the Mirador de los Andenes, provide awe-inspiring views of the lush green landscape and even the clouds below. The park is also ideal for stargazing, due to its high altitude; the Astro La Palma, located in the park, is an ideal place to experience this.

10. Loro Parque

Dolphin show at Loro Parque

MarinoCarlos – Flickr CC

Loro Parque is a large zoo located in Puerto de la Cruz, on Tenerife. The park also features a variety of animals, including parrots, dolphins and sea lions, which are featured in shows each day. The park features the world’s largest collection of parrots, with over 4000 individuals and 350 species. An ideal location for family entertainment.

With so many amazing sights to be seen, the Canary Islands are a must see. Book your yacht charter now, and discover these fantastic locations and more.