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 tourist sites and places to visit
For a summary of the most popular sights in the region see also The Western Canary Islands places to visit.
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. Mount Tiede rises out of an enormous volcanic crater and is surrounded by an eerie volcanic landscape. If you can, stay at the lovely Parador de Canadas del Teide. Teide National Park is one of the most visited National Parks in the World.
In 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. Siam Park is one of the worlds top water parks.
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. The lovely Las Teresitas beach has golden yellow sand unlike the black sand of most of the local beaches. Inland nearby is La Laguna with a historic UNESCO listed centre.
Walkers will enjoy the Montes de Anaga mountain range and the Anaga Rural Park in the north which is a lush green though rugged range of mountains.
La Orotava is an attractive town with elegant houses and near here on the coast Puerto de la Cruz, is a charming harbour town. Loro Park is a large zoo on the edge of Puerto de la Cruz and is one of the top attractions in Tenerife.
Garachico is a beautiful seaside town with elegant streets and close to Garachico is Icod de los Vinos which is home to the oldest dragon tree on the Canary Islands. About 11 km inland from Garachico is the beautiful hilltop village of Masca.
South of Masca on the west coast are the impressive cliffs and resort of Los Gigantes. These are one of the top natural sights of Tenerife.
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. 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. For great views over the island take the short hike to the Shrine of the Vigin of las Nieves.
Ancient rock carvings can be found at various locations on the island including the Parc Ecologico de Belmaco and the Cultural Park of La Zarza.
Los Llarnos de Aridane has an attractive main square and the surrounding streets still have a traditional Canary feel to them.
A tiny, hilly island perfect for quiet holidays surrounded by nature. Valverde is the island's capital and 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.
La Gomera is tiny but its scenery is magical and the whole island is a World Biosphere. It is circled by rugged cliffs and inland are ancient forests and lush valleys with terraced slopes.
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
The Western Canary Islands tourism and sightseeing
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
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 Western 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