Top tips for visiting the Canary Islands

3 November 2016 0 Comments Category: Living in Spain, Matthew Hirtes

Ah, the magnificient seven. El Hierro, Fuenteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Gomera, La Palma, and Tenerife. Through a combination of work and pleasure I’ve had the good fortune to visit them all. Here are my top tips if you want to follow in my footsteps with a recommendation for things to do on each island.

Everything on El Hierro looks like it got shrunk in the wash. The tiniest of all of the Canary Islands, small really is beautiful here. Including the island’s Hotel Punta Grande, which made it into the Guinness Book of Records in 1989 as the world’s titchiest hotel with a mere four bedrooms.

Fuerteventura’s home to most of the best beaches in the whole of Spain, let alone the Canaries. These include the ones at Corralejo in the north of the island. Travelling along the motorway is a magical experience as you approach the resort, with white sand to the right and left of you.

There are beautiful beaches aplenty on Gran Canaria too. But what lies between the coasts is just an exciting as the shoreline. As you’ll discover if you rise to the three-day challenge of walking 75km along the island’s very own Camino de Santiago, from Playa de Inglés in the south of the island to Gáldar in the north west.

There’s a world waiting to be explored beyond the resorts on neighbouring Lanzarote too. Wine lovers should travel to the heart of the island and La Geria. The wines produced here truly are hot stuff, considering the grapes are grown on volcanic vineyards.

La Gomera is one of the most popular hiking destinations on the Canary Islands. After all that walking, you’ll need refuelling. One of my favourite spots on the island for some sustenance is Chipude’s Bar Sonia. Spread the local fiery almogrote paste on bread for an instant fill-up.

Stellar La Palma’s nightlife is truly magical. Because of the low levels of air pollution, you can make out stars in the evening sky with your naked eye that you can’t even see with a telescope in your home country. DIY or sign up for a tour if you want to learn more about what you’re looking up at.

Tenerife is dominated by Teide. You can take a cablecar to near the top but bear in mind the air’s thinner given you’re close to the summit of Spain’s highest mountain, so you’ll freeze in T-shirt, shorts, and flip-flops.  Another thing to take into account is that if you want to continue to the uppermost peak, you’ll need to secure a permit in advance.

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