The Western Canary Islands, Spain: tourism and sightseeing

Photo of Canary Islands - The Western Isles

Visit Canary Islands - The Western Isles

The Canary Islands with their winter sunshine, beautiful beaches and scenery ranging from desert to lush green forests are one of the main tourist destinations in the world. Tenerife in the Western Isles is the most popular of the islands.


The Western Canary Islands are made up of four islands; Tenerife, La Palma, El Hierro and La Gomera. All three are mountainous islands.

(For more information about the Eastern Isles of Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura visit The Canary Islands - The Eastern Isles)

La Palma, El Hierro and La Gomera are tiny islands without much tourist activity but they are being discovered by people who like walking, mountains and being away from it all. Tenerife is the most popular of the Western Islands.

Below are highlights and favourite places for each of the islands to enable you to plan your trip to the Western Canary Islands


Tenerife is a very mountainous island,  sunny and dry in the south and lush and wet in the north offering a great choice for holidaymakers.

Mount Teide, a dormant volcano dominates the scenery of Tenerife. Be sure to visit Teide National Park where you can visit the crater by foot or by cable car.

Playa de las AmericasIn the south of the island the main resorts are Playa-de-las-Americas with its reputation for a buzzing night-life, close by is Los Cristianos, another popular choice. Don't miss Tenerife's fabulous water parks, especially if you are travelling with children. These are close to Playa de las Americas.

El Medano has a more relaxed, laid-back feel and is great for water-sports and Costa Adeje will appeal to those looking for a stylish resort with great beaches.

In the north of the island Santa Cruz de Tenerife is the capital and a must if you are in Tenerife for carnival in Feb/March. Inland nearby is La Laguna with a historic UNESCO listed centre.

La Orotava offers relatively quiet beaches and an attractive town and Garachico is a beautiful seaside town with elegant streets. About 11km inland from Garachico is the beautiful village of Masca.

Also on the coast is Puerto de la Cruz, a charming harbour town.

La Palma

Santa Cruz de la PalmaThe 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. Most visitors come for the excellent walking and other sporting activities.

The capital Santa Cruz de la Palma has elegant buildings and life size copy of Columbus' ship the Santa Maria.

El Hierro

A tiny, hilly island perfect for quiet holidays surrounded by nature.

La Gomera

La Gomera

It is possible to get to La Gomera for a day trip from Tenerife which makes it the most visited of the three small Western Islands.

The scenery is beautiful with lovely terraced hillsides and deep ravines. It is great for walking holidays and the centre of the island, the Parque Nacional de Garajonay (the Garajonay National Park), is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The main town is San Sebastian de la Gomera

More Information

Places to Visit : Towns and Villages

Places to visit on the island of Tenerife

Dominated by Mount Teide, a dormant volcano and the highest peak in Spain, Tenerife is another mountainous island. Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands and is sunny and dry in the south and lush and wet in the north offering a great variety.

Garachico - lovely jewel of a town, tiny but very elegant with colourful stucco buildings, elegant plazas, convents and mansions.

La Laguna - (San Cristobal de La Laguna) originally the capital of Tenerife this inland town remains the cultural capital of Tenerife. There are several good museums and the historic centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

La Orotava - wide streets, handsome squares and lovely churches and like Puerto de la Cruz beautifully situated at the foot of Mount Teide.

Masca - the most beautiful village on Tenerife.

Montes de Anaga- a lush green though rugged mountain range popular with walkers.

Playa de las Americas - Tenerife's biggest resort and well-known for its night-life.

Puerto de la Cruz - a lovely little harbour town situated at the foot of Mount Teide. Colourful stucco buildings, tropical gardens of Loro Parque and the beautiful Lago Martianez designed by Cesar Manrique.

Santa Cruz de Tenerife - plenty to see in this the capital of Tenerife. Local beaches are black sand but the most popular is Las Teresitas made by importing tones of Saharan sand. One of the biggest carnivals in Europe takes place here each year in Feb/March.

Teide National Park - Mount Tiede rises out of an enormous volcanic crater and is surrounded by an eerie volcanic landscape. The crater can be visited by foot or by cable-car. If you can, stay at the Parador de Canadas del Teide. Teide National Park is one of the most visited National Parks in the World.

Tenerife's Aqua Parks - Tenerife has two great aqua parks which are great for a family day out.

Places to Visit on the island of La Palma

Santa Cruz de la Palma - the main town on the island has many elegent buildings and a life size replica of Columbus's flagship the Santa Maria

Places to Visit on the island of El Hierro

Valverde - the island's capital is a small town though quite attractive.

La Restinga is a small fishing village which has grown into a small resort very popular with scuba divers.

Places to visit on the island of La Gomera

San Sebastian de la Gomera - the main town of La Gomera


UNESCO World Heritage Sights

Garajonay National Park, La Gomera - humid sub-tropical forest

San Cristobal de la Laguna, Tenerife - historic old town

Teide National Park - volcanic landscape

National Parks

Teide National Park - Tenerife

Corona Foresta Natural Park  - eastern Tenerife

Garajonay National Park - La Gomera

Cumbre Vieja Natural Park - La Palma

Gardens in the Western Canary Islands

Jardín de Aclimatación de La Orotava - a botanic garden in Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife

Vallehermoso Botanical Garden - La Gomera

Maroparque botanical and animal park - Breña Alta, La Palma

Paradors in the Canary Islands

Parador de Canadas del Teide - Teide, Tenerife

Parador de la Gomera - La Gomera

Parador de la Palma - La Palma

Parador de El Hierro - El Hierro

See also:

Map of Canary Islands - The Western Isles and places to visit