If you’re looking for somewhere to go on a bank holiday weekend, your next holiday or just to escape the cold, the best place we can think of is the Canary Islands!
Each one of the Canary Islands is magical, and they all have plenty of attractions so you can enjoy a winter break, as the climate is exceptionally mild all year round. What’s more, the Canary Islands offer an attractive combination of architecture, culture, beaches, charming towns, wonderful places to go hiking, fairy-tale forests, and beautiful terraces overlooking the ocean where you can enjoy fresh fish and “papas arrugadas”. There’s only one downside... you’ll have to dig out your summer clothes!
If you’re thinking of booking a flight to any of the islands –Tenerife, Lanzarote, La Palma, Gran Canaria or Fuerteventura– to immerse yourself in the slow pace of life and the pleasant atmosphere of the islands, mingle with the locals and stay away from tourist hotspots, here you can find out what not to miss.
Sun, sea, sand... naturally!
The average temperature in the Canary Islands in winter is around 20º Celsius, which means that they are the perfect destination for sports lovers. Could there be anything better than feeling warm as you surf in December at, for example, the popular beach of La Cantería, in Lanzarote? Or hopping on a boat and watching whales just off the coast of Tenerife? Taking a dip in one of the spectacular natural pools of El Hierro? Not to mention the simple pleasure of lying on the sand and soaking up the sun at beautiful spots like Corralejo Dunes in Fuerteventura or Güi Güi Beach in Gran Canaria.
The Canary Islands is a treasure trove of architectural heritage that you can’t afford to miss. The greatest exponent of Canarian architecture is Lanzarote-born César Manrique, who left his imprint the islands (especially Lanzarote). His style is very particular and organic, and blends in with the environment to create fascinating art. Jameos del Agua is one of such works: it’s a spectacular construction built inside a lava tube; as well as Mirador del Río viewpoint and the Cactus Garden, all of which are in Lanzarote. Lake Martiánez, in Tenerife, and Mirador de la Peña viewpoint, in El Hierro, are another two of the amazing works by this prolific artist.
But there is more to the islands than just Manrique. There are other iconic buildings such as Pérez Galdós Theatre and Alfredo Kraus Auditorium in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria; Buenavista Lighthouse and the beautiful colourful houses of La Laguna, both in Tenerife; as well as Casa de los Coroneles and Entallada Lighthouse, in Fuerteventura.
Nature at its finest
How does an outing through the laurel forests in Garajonay National Park, in La Gomera, sound? And you won’t have to bring a coat! And what about a morning playing golf at one of the many courses we find across Gran Canaria? Or a bike ride round the beautiful island of La Graciosa, which is a short ferry ride from Lanzarote? But the islands have many more natural wonders to offer: volcanic landscape, cliffs, rolling hills, lush forests full of enchanting corners, dunes, coves, natural pools, gorgeous unspoilt beaches and stunning viewpoints. Enjoying all aspects of nature while the temperature is perfect is a real treat, a breath of fresh for all those who need a break (and we know there are many who do!).
Gastronomy to suit all tastes
A trip to the Canary Islands must inevitably include a break between activities to enjoy the best of Canarian cuisine, which tastes even better when it is savoured in the fresh air, with an ocean view. There are numerous affordable restaurants to choose from, where typical fish (like parrotfish, wreckfish, red drum or amberjack, for example) are usually served with a seasonal salad and a good portion of papas arrugadas (wrinkled potatoes) with mojo picón sauce, washed down with a glass of excellent Lanzarote wine.
We shouldn’t forget about Canarian cheese, which is usually breaded and fried, or starters like gofio, typical of the island since time immemorial. If you fancy something a bit more fancy, you will find several restaurants with one Michelin star, and one with two in Tenerife, as well as other places inspired by traditional Canarian cuisine but with an avant-garde touch.
We want to learn!
If you’re one of those who love learning new things, the Canary Islands is definitely the place for you. In El Hierro you’ll be able to discover the peculiar features of an island that is completely sustainable thanks to the use of wind and hydraulic power. At Gorona del Viento Wind-Pumped Hydro Power Station, you’ll be able to find out how this small island has become the first fully self-sufficient island using sustainable energy sources. The Atlantic Modern Art Centre (CAAM), in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria; the International Contemporary Art Museum (MIAC), in Lanzarote; the Tenerife Space of Arts (TEA) and the Contemporary Art Museum of La Palma, for example, offer interesting permanent and temporary exhibitions where you can discover the best of Canarian art. Literary routes in honour of Benito Pérez Galdós, or Miguel de Unamuno, who spent some time in the Canary Islands, are also good options for those who love literature and want to explore the islands from a different point of view.
The islands are dotted with beautiful villages that are well worth a visit. As the weather is fine most of the time, any time is a good time to explore the small villages and towns that will tell us more about the way of life in the islands. From Los Cristianos to Puerto de La Cruz, in Tenerife; or little villages such as Betancuria or El Cotillo in Fuerteventura; Agulo, El Cedro or Las Hayas in La Gomera... these are just a few examples of charming villages that you have to visit if you come to the islands.
There are plenty of reasons to travel to the Canary Islands, aren’t there? Grab your diary and set a date now!