Are you visiting the Canary Islands soon? You need some help to plan your trip? We spent 3 months traveling through the Canary Islands and we prepared this comprehensive travel guide for you!
With its stunning beaches, incredible landscapes, fantastic traditions and delicious food, the Canary Islands is a dream destination in Europe. In this post we will share useful tips for traveling to the Canary Islands.
The Canary Islands are composed of 7 unique islands. The best known and most visited are Lanzarote (our favorite one…) and Tenerife. However each island has something special to offer. To know more about each island you can read this post.
1. Why traveling to the the Canary Islands?
When we started our trip to the Canary Islands, we didn’t know what to expect. However, during our journey we were amazed by the beauty and diversity of landscapes in the Canary Islands.
Just to give you some examples, you can see a desert in Maspalomas in Gran Canaria, you can reach the highest mountain in Spain at Mount Teide, Tenerife. You can also visit amazing beaches which will make you feel at the end of the world such as Cofete in Fuerteventura. And of course Lanzarote will make feel that you landed on the moon. Make sure to visit Timanfaya National Park in Lanzarote, one of the most incredible things to see in the Canary Islands!
The Canary Islands is a destination for everyone. So if you are more of a night owl, there is a vibrant nightlife in the Canary Islands! The best places to party are Playa del Inglés in Gran Canaria, or Corralejo in Fuerteventura.
2. Which island to visit in the Canary Islands?
Whether you want to enjoy the beach, or need some adventures, or want some great food there is something for everyone in the Canary Islands.
If you like to party, prioritise Gran Canaria. On top of having a great nightlife, Gran Canaria is also one of the most diverse islands in the Canary. Hence, you will be able to combine excursion during the day and partying at night! Here are the 20 best things to visit in Gran Canaria.
If you like hiking, then without a doubt Tenerife will be the best island to visit. Indeed, Tenerife is home to mount Teide the highest mountain in Spain! It is one of the most visited natural park in the whole of Europe! Full guide here to climb to the summit (it’s not as hard as you would imagine…)
If you want a complete change of landscape, then Lanzarote is the one! Lanzarote is a perfect place to feel the volcanic power of the Canary Islands, some places will make you feel on the moon.
For those you like water-sports such as surfing or kitesurfing, then the best island for that would be Fuerteventura! Here we listed the best outdoor activities in Fuerteventura and here the best spots for surfing in the Canary Islands.
If you want something more calm and off the beaten track, head to La Gomera, La Palma or El Hierro. Those 3 islands are the wildest amongst all of the Canary Islands.
3. When is the best time to visit the Canary Islands?
The Canary Islands benefit from a very unique climate which makes some say that is an eternal spring. Indeed the climate is good all year round and doesn’t change much throughout the year.
However some months are a bit more rainy than others… To visit the Canary Islands in the most optimal conditions, it is generally preferable to travel during the months of May to November. Most likely you will never have to deal with rain…
In the middle of winter, the Canary Islands will be a popular refuge for Europeans escaping cold temperature in the mainland. During this period, some rainfall can be observed, but the temperature rarely drops below 20°C. In terms of crowds, the most popular periods are therefore the months of July and August, but also the winter months and January in particular.
4. What budget should you plan to visit the Canary Islands?
To visit the Canary Islands without too much compromise, it is important to talk about the budget. This essential point of travel guides is always a sensitive aspect due to the volatility of prices and the countless parameters that influence them.
With regard to the Canary Islands, you must first know that the notions of high, low and medium season are essential. If you are traveling during the Christmas holidays or the months of July and August, expect to see prices skyrocket. So book well in advance!
You should also know that at the same time, the islands of El Hierro or La Gomera are much cheaper than Tenerife and Gran Canaria, for example.
In terms of accommodation and in general, you can find everything. From the small youth hostel at 20 euros per night to the most luxury hotels at 200 euros per night. What we found very expensive is eating in restaurants. A paella for 2 with 2 glasses of Sangria, would easily cost us 50 EUR… As we were traveling for 3 months, we decided to eat most of the time in our apartment. This helped our budget considerably!
Also remember to include car rental, which will amount to around 30 or 40 euros per day with decreasing rates if you opt for longer rental periods and of course depending on the type of car you rent. As for us we always rented a Fiat 500, which is generally the cheapest model. We loved it, except in Fuerteventura where the roads can be very bumpy. More on that here.
5. How to get to the Canary Islands from the rest of Europe?
By plane is obviously the fastest and cheapest way to get to the Canary Islands. There are many connections from the major cities in Europe. The best company to get to the Canary Islands, is Easy Jet. Remember that the earlier you book, the better fares you will get, which is absolutely essential if you choose to travel during the busy periods mentioned above.
However, there is a more adventurous way to get to the Canary Islands if you have sufficient time. You can take your car and drive down to the south of Spain. The cities of Cadiz or Huelva allow you to reach the islands of Las Palmas or Gran Canaria by ferry! The crossing lasts between 30 and 40 hours depending on the weather conditions.
We didn’t know about it, until we saw cars with Swiss plates or German plates driving in the Canary Islands. We fell that this was a fantastic way to travel to the Canary Islands. And all islands are connected by ferry which makes it super easy to travel with your own car. Awesome, isn’t it?
If that’s an option for you, check out Direct Ferries to book your ride.
6. How to get around the Canary Islands?
Taking a taxi is also possible, however you will have less freedom to travel or take your time to visit certain sights. Especially for those who want to go hiking… There are also bus lines, but they will be relatively limited once you get off the beaten track. Finally, cycling can also be a good way to discover the Canary Islands.
If you want to visit multiple islands while you are in the Canaries, which we recommend, then using the ferry would be the best way. You can book all your ferry rides here.
7. Best traditional dishes in the Canary Islands?
Visiting the Canary Islands without eating a potato dish is practically impossible! Since its introduction by the Spaniards, potato has been integrated into many typical dishes. Try the Ropa Vieja, a kind of stew made with chickpeas and strips of beef and chicken or Pucherio Canario a stew with chorizo, bacon, cabbage, courgettes or pumpkin. Also taste the Papas Arrugadas, a delicacy of potatoes boiled in salted water and always accompanied by their Mojo sauce, often very spicy and extremely tasty.
The Gofio is a flour of wheat, or corn previously roasted, and which is used with all the sauces in the islands. This traditional food can be used to thicken soups, but can also be eaten with milk or even in the form of ice cream.
Meat lovers will appreciate the Canary Islands for the diversity of their dishes, which include pork and rabbit as well as chicken and goat. Seafood lovers will be served with cod, bass, sardines and of course octopus.
As for desserts, we particularly recommend the Leche Asada, a cinnamon cream caramelized with palm honey.
Finally, to drink, you can try delicious local wines and don’t forget the Barraquito, a multi-layered coffee consisting of an espresso, condensed milk and a touch of Licor 43 which is Spain’s number 1 liqueur. Really delicious!
8. What are the best things to do in the Canary Islands?
If we were to list all the great things to do in the Canary Island, the list would be way too long! We probably have over a 100 recommendations.
So we to make it simple, we prepared some of the highlights on each island such as below.
What to see in Lanzarote?
TIMANFAYA NATIONAL PARK, the unmissable thing to see in Lanzarote: here
PAPAGAYO BEACH, the most beautiful beach in Lanzarote: here
FAMARA, a charming village and surf paradise: here
JAMEOS DEL AGUA, our favorite sight in Lanzarote: here
CACTUS GARDEN in Lanzarote: here
What to see in Tenerife?
PUERTO DE LA CRUZ, one of the best town in Tenerife: here
MASCA, the most remote village in Tenerife: here
MOUNT TEIDE, the highest peak in Spain: here
SAN CRISTÓBAL DE LA LAGUNA, the ancient capital of Tenerife: here
LOS GIGANTES, most impressive cliffs in Tenerife: here
GARACHICO, one of the prettiest towns in Tenerife: here
What to see in Gran Canaria?
VISITING LAS PALMAS, the capital of Gran Canaria: here
TEROR, one of the most charming towns in Gran Canaria: here
MASPALOMAS a desert in Gran Canaria: here
PUERTO DE MOGÁN, our favorite place in Gran Canaria: here
AGÜIMES, a fantastic historical town in Gran Canaria: here
TEJEDA, visit one of the prettiest village in Gran Canaria: here
What to see in Fuerteventura?
CORRALEJO DUNES NATURAL PARK, full guide: here
EL COTILLO, a charming village near Corralejo in Fuerteventura: here
COFETE, the best beach in Fuerteventura: here
HIKING CALDERON HONDO in Fuerteventura: here
OASIS PARK in Fuerteventura: here
9. Useful information
Money: the Canary Islands belong to Spain, so the currency is the euro.
Passport: Spain belongs to the Schengen Convention area, you do not need a passport to go there.
Vaccines: no particular vaccine is necessary.
Language: the official language is Spanish, but all seasonal workers speak English and sometimes even French.
Tipping: It is appreciated if customers leave a tip in taxis, hotels or restaurants to approximately 5 to 10% of the price.
Safety: the Canary Islands are safe but, as with any tourist destination, be careful with your belongings and do not leave anything in sight.
The Canary Islands are a real gems with full of surprise. During our 3 months traveling through the Canary Islands, we realized how beautiful but more importantly how diverse each island is. There are so many things to do and see in the Canary islands. Even during our 3 months we couldn’t see it all. Each island has its own treasures!
So what are you waiting for? Did you book your flight yet? Book here for the best prices.
We hope that this post was useful to prepare for your visit to the Canary Islands. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below.