The Canary Islands are exceptional islands with unique landscapes located near the Moroccan coast. So which is the best Canary Island to visit?
There are seven islands in the Canaries: Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro. They all have something very special to offer.
Thanks to its eternal mild climate, these islands can be visited all year round. When it’s snowing in the rest of Europe, you can be swimming in one the amazing beaches in the Canary Islands.
The Canary archipelago is often associated with a relaxing stay on superb beaches, but you will be surprised by the variety of landscapes found there.
READ: 10 MOST INCREDIBLE BEACHES IN THE CANARY ISLANDS
Which island to choose for your stay in the Canary Islands?
On Lanzarote, lunar landscapes await you in the middle of immense fields of volcanoes. If what you want is to relax on deserted beaches, then Fuerteventura will be the best fit. Tenerife, the most touristic one, offers a wide range of activities with its beaches, its lively nightlife and Mount Teide, the highest peak in Spain. Sand dunes, volcanoes, ravines or wild beaches is what you will find in Gran Canaria.
The other 3 islands, La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro, are much smaller in size and much less visited, but still very interesting. Some of them can be visited on a day trip.
We spent almost 3 months exploring the Canary Islands. Follow our guide to find out which Canary Island you should travel next.
1. IS LANZAROTE THE BEST CANARY ISLAND TO VISIT?
When you discover Lanzarote for the first time, you may feel that you landed on the Moon or on Mars. The landscapes in Lanzarote are incomparable to any other places we visited in the world.
A black and red arid land covered with dried lava flows dotted with volcanoes where nothing grows except cactus… a real lunar landscape. You can get closer to the volcanoes by visiting the Timanfaya National Park. This one of the main attractions on the island, not to be missed!
Lanzarote is less touristy than Gran Canaria or Tenerife. The island has kept all its authenticity with its harmonious and charming villages all with white houses. Teguise, the ancient capital of Lanzarote is a good example which represent the architecture of Lanzarote.
Lanzarote is also the island where you can discover the work of César Manrique, a famous architect native of the island, who left his mark on all the architecture in Lanzarote. César Manrique was a real genius. We wrote a full post about his heritage here. Make sure to visit his main works at Mirador del Rio, Jameos del Agua, Jardin de Cactus or one of his houses transformed into a museum at Casa Museo César Manrique.
In Lanzarote you can also visit the stunning and famous Papagayo Beach, the best beach on the island.
OUR OPINION ABOUT LANZAROTE
Lanzarote is one of the most surprising island in the Canaries and probably the most unique one. It is often ranked one of the best places to visit in Europe. Without a doubt, Lanzarote is one of the best islands to visit in the Canaries. At least make sure to visit this place once in your life!
We absolutely fell in love with this magical island. We would even consider moving there somedays. Why not?! It’s warm all year round, we can surf, do plenty of yoga, go hiking. It’s perfect for our lifestyle. If you are still not convinced, you can click here to check the 10 best reasons why you should visit Lanzarote at least once in your life!
If you are traveling to Lanzarote for the first time, we recommend at least 1 week. There are so much to see, that it’s really hard to squeeze everything in just a few days…
RELATED POSTS ABOUT LANZAROTE
25 BEST THINGS TO SEE in Lanzarote: here
TIMANFAYA NATIONAL PARK, the unmissable things to see in Lanzarote: here
PLAYA BLANCA, our favorite area to stay in Lanzarote: here
PAPAGAYO, the most beautiful beach in Lanzarote: here
TEGUISE, the most charming town in Lanzarote: here
CÉSAR MANRIQUE: his heritage in the Canary Islands: here
CACTUS GARDEN a must see in Lanzarote: here
FAMARA, a charming village and surf paradise: here
BEST AREAS to stay in Lanzarote: here
BEST TIME of the year to visit Lanzarote: here
10 REASONS why you should visit Lanzarote: here
JAMEOS DEL AGUA, our favorite sight in Lanzarote: here
2. IS FUERTEVENTURA THE BEST CANARY ISLAND TO VISIT?
Fuerteventura is the second of the Canary Islands which we visited. From Lanzarote you can simply take a 30min ride with a ferry. Note that the islands in the Canaries are all connected with ferries. During our 3 months in the Canary Islands we never had to take a single flight. It was perfect! We booked our ferry rides via Direct Ferry, it was super smooth. You can check it out here.
By the way, we recommend Skyscanner to book your flights at the cheapest price. Check it out here.
Fuerteventura is the closest island to the African coast, a hundred kilometers from Morocco. Fuerteventura will certainly impress you with its incredible beaches. Most tourists come to Fuerteventura to enjoy its immense beaches with white sand and turquoise waters. We couldn’t believe our eyes when we visited these magnificent beaches (top beaches in Fuerteventura here).
Fuerteventura is also famous for the practice of water spots. You will find many spots where you can surf, windsurf, kitesurf etc; the conditions there are often very favorable because the wind blows almost constantly on the island.
Make sure to also visit Corralejo Natural Park, the most beautiful natural site on the island with its dunes and beaches, hike the volcano Calderón Hondo, check the most amazing beaches at Cofete, admire the rugged coastline in El Cotillo and visit the cute fishing village of Puertito de los Molinos. For more information on Fuerteventura, read the 25 BEST THINGS TO SEE IN FUERTEVENTURA.
OUR OPINION ABOUT FUERTEVENTURA
Fuerteventura is the best island in the Canary if you enjoy water sports, beaches and wild places in the nature.
Fuerteventura is considered one of the best places to surf in Europe during the winter. It is even nicknamed the Hawaii of Europe, and for good reasons!
So if you are the adventurous type, of if you want to enjoy amazing and wild beaches all by yourself, then consider Fuerteventura as your next destination.
Perhaps the only things you need to consider before going to Fuerteventura is the strong wind.
RELATED POSTS ABOUT FUERTEVENTURA
25 BEST THINGS TO SEE in Fuerteventura: here
10 BEST BEACHES in Fuerteventura: here
CORRALEJO DUNES NATURAL PARK, full guide: here
BEST HIKES in Fuerteventura: here
EL COTILLO, a charming village near Corralejo in Fuerteventura: here
COFETE, the best beach in Fuerteventura: here
HIKING CALDERON HONDO in Fuerteventura: here
BEST PLACES to stay in Fuerteventura: here
8 BEST THINGS TO DO IN CORRALEJO, Fuerteventura: here
OASIS PARK in Fuerteventura: here
8 BEST ACTIVITES in Fuerteventura: here
BEST TIME to travel to Fuerteventura: here
10 REASONS, why you should visit Fuerteventura: here
3. IS GRAN CANARIA THE BEST CANARY ISLAND TO VISIT?
Gran Canaria is certainly the most diverse island in the Canaries. There you will find a desert, mountains, canyon, tropical forest, beaches, huge cliffs, amazing beaches and interesting cultural sights in Las Palmas its capital. No wonder why people say Gran Canaria is a continent in itself.
We spent nearly 1 month in Gran Canaria. We enjoyed the capital Las Palmas as it has one of the best surf spot on the island in Las Canteras beach. They also have many yoga studios. In the recent years Las Palmas started to attract many digital nomads (Read: 15 best cities for Digital Nomads). From Las Palmas it is easy to explore the rest of the island with a rental cars.
READ: BEST SURF SPOTS IN THE CANARY ISLANDS
Make sure to visit the dunes of Maspalomas, undeniably the highlight of Gran Canaria. We also enjoyed visiting Puerto de Mogán, a charming village often called the “little Venice” of Europe due to its water canal. Finally make sure to check Tejeda, a traditional village nestled in the mountains.
There are so much to do in Gran Canaria, you will never feel bored. Read the 20 BEST THINGS TO SEE IN GRAN CANARIA.
OUR OPINION ABOUT GRAN CANARIA
Gran Canaria is perhaps the most complete destination, as the island is so diverse. Whether you like beaches, the adventure, hiking, or the mountain, there is something for everyone.
If you like partying and you are more into the nightlife, then head to Playa del Inglés. It is one of the hot spot to party in Europe!
If you want to visit Gran Canaria with kids, you can choose one of the many resorts which offer full amenities. More info here on the best places to stay in Gran Canaria.
RELATED POSTS ABOUT GRAN CANARIA
20 BEST THINGS TO SEE in Gran Canaria: here
VISITING LAS PALMAS, full guide: here
TEROR, one of the most charming towns in Gran Canaria: here
MASPALOMAS a unique place in Gran Canaria: here
BEST PLACES TO STAY in Gran Canaria: here
PUERTO DE MOGÁN, our favorite place in Gran Canaria: here
10 BEST BEACHES in Gran Canaria: here
AGÜIMES, a fantastic historical town in Gran Canaria: here
AGAETE, a gorgeous coastal town in Gran Canaria: here
8 REASONS WHY TO VISIT Gran Canaria: here
TEJEDA, visit one of the prettiest village in Gran Canaria: here
BEST TIME OF THE YEAR to visit Gran Canaria: here
4. IS TENERIFE THE BEST CANARY ISLAND TO VISIT?
Tenerife is the largest island of the Canaries and probably the most visited. Its main attraction is Mount Teide reaching over 3700 meters high. It is also the highest peak in Spain! Its ascent can be done on foot for hikers or by cable car to enjoy exceptional views (full guide here).
Tenerife is a paradise for hikers who can also walk on the many trails in the various national parks on the island. People also come to the island to relax on its beautiful sandy beaches in the seaside resorts or enjoy the small coves and wild beaches.
For the cultural aspect head to La Laguna, the ancient capital of Tenerife. There you can admire the traditional Canarian architectures as well as visit museums and a cathedral.
Other great places to visit in Tenerife are the charming coastal town of Puerto de La Cruz and the beautiful village of Garachico.
For more information about Tenerife, we invite you to read the 25 BEST THINGS TO SEE IN TENERIFE.
OUR OPINION ABOUT TENERIFE
For us, Tenerife is a very special place, where we could come back again and again. The surf culture is everywhere in the south of the island, which gives it a great atmosphere and immediately makes you feel on vacation.
There are so many ways to experience this island. You can explore the north through many hikes, visit the impressive Mount Teide with its snowy peak during winter. On the west, there are many beautiful places to visit such as Garachico or Puerto de la Cruz. Tenerife is also a great place to go diving or snorkeling.
We definitely got a crush on Tenerife.
Tenerife is a great destination to travel to. No wonder, why it is one of the most popular islands in the Canary!
RELATED POSTS ABOUT TENERIFE
25 BEST THINGS to see in Tenerife: here
AWESOME THINGS to do in Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife: here
MASCA, the most remote village in Tenerife: here
MOUNT TEIDE, your full guide: here
SAN CRISTÓBAL DE LA LAGUNA in Tenerife: here
COSTA ADEJE, one of the best places to stay in Tenerife: here
LOS GIGANTES, most impressive landscape in Tenerife: here
10 BEST BEACHES in Tenerife: here
GARACHICO, one of the prettiest towns in Tenerife: here
TOP 8 REASONS why you should visit Tenerife: here
BEST PLACES TO STAY in Tenerife: here
5. ARE EL HIERRO, LA GOMERA OR LA PALMA THE BEST CANARY ISLANDS TO VISIT?
Without hesitation the wildest of the archipelago, El Hierro is a 100% volcanic island. No sandy beach, to the great despair of some! This is what explains the lack of tourist enthusiasm for this small plot of land that looks like the end of the world… Instead, fields of volcanic lava, which contrast with the laurel forests.
In the same day, you can walk in the high forests of the pine forest of El Pinar and snorkel in the calm waters of La Restinga. If you want to visit something off the beaten track in the Canary Islands, then El Hierro is for you!
What to do in the Canary Islands if you love nature? Visit La Gomera of course! La Gomera is one of the smallest, but also one of the best preserved islands of the Canaries. The richness of its national park makes it a paradise for hikers and nature lovers in general.
Preserved from mass tourism, the island remained wild: it is a real pleasure to walk in the shade of the luxuriant vegetation, or to rest on its calm beaches. You can also visit during a day trip from Tenerife (more info here).
Its heart shape is already a good sign to visit La Palma. Its vegetation reminded us a bit of Madeira, while its volcanic sites are ideal for a few hikes. Stop at random authentic villages to get a taste of local life and enjoy a glass of local wine.
CONCLUSION: WHICH ONE IS THE BEST CANARY ISLAND TO VISIT?
We hope that we have succeeded in showing you that the Canary Islands are really unique. Visiting the Canary Islands goes far beyond its seaside resorts. On the contrary, the archipelago is full of small paradises that will fill your head with wonderful memories.
When it comes to choosing which of the Canary Islands is best or better than the other, it is however very hard to decide. Each of them has something incredible to offer.
But if we were to choose only 1, then our heart will go to Lanzarote. First of all we’ve never seen such landscapes anywhere else in the world, and we travel extensively. Besides the moon-like terrain, Lanzarote also offers beautiful beaches such as Papagayo. Finally, Cesar Manrique, the famous artist native of Lanzarote, ensured that the island remains protected from huge resorts built without respecting the nature and its surrounded. As a results the entire island feels harmonious and pleasant to visit wherever you go.
You can also check the top 10 reasons why you should visit the Canary Islands here.
We hope that this post was useful to help you choose which island to visit in the Canaries. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below.
You can also check our full guide for visiting the Canary Islands: here