Squeeze the most out of your holiday by visiting more than one place – island-hopping around the Canary Islands is one of the best ways to do it. In one fell swoop, you can tick off seven dreamy destinations.
It’s a lot easier than you might think to experience all the islands at once – locals regularly travel around the archipelago with ease. Flight times between islands is less than an hour, while the ferry can take as little as 20 minutes between the nearest neighbours.
Base yourself in either Tenerife or Gran Canaria, as these two larger islands have the best transport connections, then plot your adventure from there. Both planes and ferries go to the other islands on a daily basis.
The seven Canary Islands
From Spain’s tallest mountain to great shopping at Calle Castillo, there’s so much more to Tenerife than beaches, bars and hotels. While relaxation is often the order of the day, spend your time exploring the volcanic terrain instead.
Pull on your walking shoes and make for Parque Nacional del Teide. Hiking the trails through the peaks and craters is a highlight for many travellers who visit this island.
Getting there: The largest and most populated of the Canary Islands, Tenerife has two airports – Los Rodeos in the north and Reina Sofia in the south. Ferries go from the capital Santa Cruz de Tenerife and the southern resort of Los Cristianos.
The second largest Canary Island is a beach lover’s paradise. It boasts more than 150 beaches along its coastline and they’re all amazing.
The Parque Natural del Corralejo is a stunner, with rolling sand dunes leading down to clear blue waters. Sink your toes into the soft sand and take a refreshing dip in the sea.
Getting there: You can catch a ferry to Fuerteventura from Gran Canaria, Lanzarote or Tenerife.
With its rugged coastline and white sandy beaches, it’s not surprising that the dramatic landscape of Gran Canaria has provided the backdrop to many a movie.
Beyond the amazing scenery, you can explore the rich history of its capital city Las Palmas and tour Cocodrilo Park, home to Europe’s largest collection of crocodiles.
Getting there: Ferries sail regularly to Gran Canaria from neighbouring islands, including Tenerife and Fuerteventura.
Outdoor lovers should make for Lanzarote. The lunar landscape of Timanfaya National Park gives you some idea of how Neil Armstrong must have felt when he set foot on the moon.
You can also see influences of Cesar Manrique, the island's answer to Picasso, everywhere – not least the stunning volcanic cave at Jameos del Agua he designed.
Getting there: The port of Arrecife offers ferry services to the other Canary Islands.
Experience a slice of heaven on earth when you hop across to La Palma. Swathed in dense pine forest and punctuated with volcanic cones, this island is simply gorgeous.
Stargazing is a real highlight here. During the day, visit the famous Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos, then take an astronomy tour at night. On a clear evening, around 3,000 stars are visible above you.
Getting there: Journey to the island by boat from Tenerife, Lanzarote and Gran Canaria.
It’s no wonder La Gomera has earned the nickname ‘The Pretty Island’ – its lush landscape will take your breath away. Think black sand beaches, dramatic ravines and bewitching coastline speckled with green.
Spend your time at Garajonay National Park, a stunning pocket of ancient rainforest and dense vegetation in the centre of the island. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to trees that have stood for more than 11 million years. Hiking trails wind through the area, offering breathtaking views along the way.
Getting there: It’s easy to reach La Gomera from Tenerife, either by plane or ferry.
Far-flung in the middle of the Atlantic, this tiny island is the place to go to get away from it all. Its unspoilt nature and ruggedness gives it a unique appeal that’s unmatched in other parts of the archipelago.
Visit vineyards, hike along the coast and enjoy the serene atmosphere of the villages. Do it all at a slow pace – that’s the El Hierro way.
Getting there: As the most westerly of the Canary Islands it’s also the least accessible. It’s a lot quicker to reach it by plane than ferry, with a flight time from Tenerife North of just 40 minutes.
Whether you choose to visit all seven islands or just a handful, hopping around the Canary Islands is a memorable experience.
Posted: 5th Sep 2019.