Photo of Canary Islands

Visit Canary Islands

With their winter sunshine, beaches, diverse scenery, volcanic landscapes and charming colonial towns there is no wonder the Canary Islands are one of the top holiday destinations in the world.

The Canary Islands are made up of seven islands. Each one is the tip of hundreds of volcanoes which erupted from the sea millions of years ago and created the dramatic scenery that these islands are famous for.

The Canary Islands are divided into two groups, the Western Canary Isles and the Eastern Canary Isles.

The Western Isles include Tenerife, La Palma, El Hierro and La Gomera. The Eastern Isles are Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura.

Below is an overwiew of the Western and Eastern Islands to help you pick the best Canary Islands destination for you.

Visit The Western Canary Islands

Park TeideThe Western Islands are made up of Tenerife, La Palma, El Hierro and La Gomera.

Tenerife is the largest and most popular of the Western Islands and has a number of beach resorts and some elegant towns.  If you are travelling with children it also has a couple of excellent water parks. Visits inland to explore Mount Teide, a dormant volcano are also popular.

La Palma is the worlds steepest island and worth visiting because of the lush vegetation and massive volcano crater, La Caldera de Tabureient. This area is a national park and is truly beautiful.

El Hierro is a small, hilly island perfect if you like a quiet holiday surrounded by nature and La Gomera has beautiful scenery with terraced hills interspersed with steep ravines. It is a favourite for walking holidays.

La Palma, El Hierro and La Gomera are all tiny islands without much tourist activity but they are being discovered by people who like walking, mountains and being away from it all.

For more information see our Western Canary Islands Guide

Visit The Eastern Canary Islands

MaspalomasThe Eastern Islands of Gran Canaria, Guerteventura and Lanzarote each have spectacular and very different scenery.

Gran Canaria is the most popular of all the Canary Islands and has a diverse range of stunning scenery including volcanos, sand dunes and mountains. It has many popular beach resorts.

Lanzarote is the island to visit if you like volcanos. It has around three hundred of them making its scenery particularly fascinating and unusual.

Fuerteventura has good beaches and a quieter pace than Gran Canaria and Lanzarote.

For more information see our Eastern Canary Islands Guide

More information

Places to Visit: Towns and Villages

Tenerife Highlights

Garachico - charming town with elegant squares, stately mansions and colourful buildings.

La Laguna - originally the capital of Tenerife this inland town remains the cultural capital of Tenerife. There are several good museums and the historic old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

La Orotova - an attractive town with large sunny squares and some pretty churches.

Masca - a charming mountain village.

Montes de Anaga - the mountains of Anaga are popular with hikers.

Playa de las Americas - a large and lively seaside resorts.

Puerto de la Cruz - attractive harbour town situated at the foot of Mount Teide. See the tropical gardens of Loro Parque and the elegant Lago Martianez designed by Cesar Manrique.

Santa Cruz de Tenerife - the capital of Tenerife. Imported golden Saharan sand makes the Las Teresitas beach a favourite. Carnival is a huge event each year in Feb/March.

Teide National Park - Mount Tiede is at the centre of the park surrounded by a moon-like volcanic scenery. You can visit the crater by foot or by cable-car. On the edge of the crater is the Parador de Canadas del Teide

Tenerife's Aqua Parks - Tenerife has two great aqua parks: Siam Park and Aqualand.

La Palma Highlights

Santa Cruz de la Palma - an elegant town containing life size copy of Columbus's flagship the Santa Maria

El Hierro Highlights

Valverde - the attractive capital of El Hierro

La Restinga - a popular resort especially with scuba divers because of the 'Sea of Calm' - the calm waters that surround the south-western part of El Hierro.

La Gomera Highlights

San Sebastian de la Gomera - La Gomera's main town

Lanzarote Highlights

Costa Teguise - a popular resort.

Haria - a pretty village surrounded by palm trees and  with views of Monte Corona.

Parque Nacional de Timanfaya - the 'Fire Mountain's are stunning.

Playa Blanca - a growing resort.

Puerto del Carmen - the most popular resort on Lanzarote.

Teguise - the original capital.

Yaiza - a very pretty village.

Gran Canaria Highlights

Agaete - a resort surrounded by banana plantations

Maspalomas - a fabulous desert-like area of sand dunes with beaches and resorts and also with a protected area which you can cross by camel!

Playa del Ingles - the liveliest resort on the island, next to the Maspalomas dunes.

Puerto de Mogan - A pretty resort grown from a small fishing village.

Puerto Rico - A popular resort with a cresent-shaped golden sandy beach. Lots of watersports available.

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria - with a historic old centre which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Fuerteventura Attractions

Betancuia - a pretty village built on the edge of a volcano.

Corralejo - a seaside resort built up from a fishing village. It has lots of sand dunes.

Peninsula de Jandia - Lots of good beaches and modern tourist resorts on the peninsula.

Puerto del Rosario - the biggest town on Fuerteventura.

See also: 

Map of Canary Islands and places to visit