The Canary Islands are known for their mild climate, which makes them a great holiday destination year round. And after almost a year of COVID-19-related restrictions, it’s understandable that many travellers are looking for a quieter version of their normal beach holidays, with more space, fewer crowds and just as much sunshine. We hope that these secret recommendations will give you the peace of mind you need to plan Canary Islands travel in 2021.
Disclaimer: at the moment, non-essential travel to the Canary Islands is advised against and it’s been removed from the UK’s travel corridors list. This list is for inspiration only – check the latest government guidelines before booking travel.
Beat the crowds at Güi Güi beach, Gran Canaria
If you’re dreaming of Canary Islands travel, you might have already checked out the best beaches that should be on your must-visit list. This island has a whopping 60 kilometres of them. But a lesser-known beach is Güi Güi beach at La Aldea. It’s a 2.5-hour hike to get there, but the fine sands, turquoise Atlantic Ocean and views of the Teide volcano are worth it. Not a fan of blisters? Take a boat from Mogán or La Aldea’s harbour.
Go back in time in Masca Village, Tenerife
Ready to meet the real Tenerife? The hamlet of Masca in Teno, in the north-west of Tenerife, is as far away from the island’s resorts (and crowds) as you can go. A prime example of the island’s culture and rural architecture, Masca is actually an Ethnographic Historic Place of Interest. One of the highest villages on Tenerife, with the jutting rock behind it as a natural backdrop, here you’ll find colourful stone houses, craft shops and cobblestone streets. The hike to the village can take three to five hours, between impressive ravines and hillsides dotted with local flora and fauna. Canary Islands travel just got more interesting.
Bathe at Charco Azul, El Hierro
El Hierro, also known as The Meridian Isle (as it marked the Zero Meridian until 1885), is the smallest of the Canary Islands, and one that the crowds neglect to visit. But apart from its 46 dive sites, steep cliffs and black sanded beaches, El Hierro is home to Charco Azul.
The natural pool in El Golfo valley is easy enough to access on foot and surrounded by wooden sun decks. But that takes away nothing of its wild beauty. Created by flowing lava, Charco Azul’s turquoise salt waters are protected from the open sea by a basalt arch. That, combined with the magnificent colours on the walls of the cave as the sun set, might make this place your favourite solitary refuge.
Explore an ancient forest in La Gomera
La Gomera is known for its hiking trails – there are over 600 kilometres of them. But this unique destination for Canary Islands travel is also home to some prehistoric plants that give off major Jurassic Park vibes (minus the scary T-Rex). Within the Garajonay National Park, you’ll discover the ancient green laurel forests that millions of years ago covered this entire part of the world, but now are only found in a few places in the Canary Islands. No wonder this park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Wear comfortable shoes and have your phone or camera charged.
Find paradise at Cofete beach, Fuerteventura
Fuerteventura has over 150 kilometres of beaches – but Cofete, in the south of the island, is special. With over 12km of golden sand, Cofete is one of the wildest beaches in all of the Canary Islands and well off the beaten track – you might well be the only one there. You’ll need a 4×4 to get to Cofete beach, as there are no paved roads. But the 8.5-km ride through the mountainous areas of the Jandia peninsula is impressive in itself. Just make sure to bring water, snacks and an umbrella for the sun, as there’s only one restaurant at a nearby village. It’s Canary Islands travel for your inner hippy.
Discover a Canary Islands tradition at the Fuencaliente Salt Pans, La Palma
Most Canary Islands travel incorporates La Palma thanks to its stargazing, but on this island, the earth is as impressive as the skies above. The Fuencaliente Salt Pans is the kind of place you’ll want to come back to. Think pyramids of white salt; black, volcanic soil; waters coloured in terracotta hues as the seawater evaporates; the deep blue of the sea. Now add to that the sound of waves and the flocks of seabirds, and you have a picture-perfect image.
Then comes the fun part. At the nearby El Jardín de la Sal Thematic Restaurant, the local salt is the hero ingredient and you’ll have the opportunity to savour it in a variety of ways.
Get lost at La Francesa Beach, La Graciosa
La Graciosa could be considered an endless beach. The Chinijo Archipelago islet is ony inhabited by 700 people and there are no tarmac roads – just sand, encircling it from all sides. But La Francesa beach is special. About an hour’s walk from Caleta de Sebo, La Graciosa’s capital, La Francesa welcomes you with pale sands and turquoise waters. It’s divided in two by a small strip of land. But if you go there during the tide, you’ll witness the bay filled with water, looking like a serene lagoon.
Immerse yourself in nature at Teno Rural Park, Tenerife
When in one of the Canary Islands’ most-visited parts, Tenerife, most visit the impressive Teide National Park. Of course, visiting the world’s third-highest volcano should at least be on your Canary Islands travel list. But to truly go off the beaten track you should head to Teno, on the eastern part of the island. At 1,300 metres above sea level, Teno Rural Park is a smorgasbord of volcanic terrain, leafy laurel forests and narrow ravines. To make the most of it, start at the visitors centre in El Palmar village. You can pick up a map to the 13 different trails available to you, or follow the yellow signposts.
Discover where you can go
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Want to read more?
- Coronavirus travel advice
- Can I travel to Spain, the Canary and Balearic Islands?
- Island hopping in the Canary Islands
Canary Islands travel FAQs
Each of the Canary Islands has its own airport but the most popular one is the at Gran Canaria. From there you can book flights to all seven main islands.
The Canary Islands enjoy a mild climate all year long, with temperatures averaging 20 degrees Celsius in January and 28 degrees Celsius in August.
There are seven main islands: Tenerife, Lanzarote, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro. There are however several more smaller islets in the Chinijo Archipelago, with La Graciosa being the most prominent among them, that are also technically part of the Canary Islands.