Bask in the Sunny Canaries this Winter

Ellie Swain

Senior Contributor

As winter's icy grip takes hold of much of Europe, sun-seekers should consider a trip to the Canary Islands. This enchanting archipelago, nestled in the Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of Africa, has long been a haven for Europeans dreaming of a dose of sunshine during the colder months without venturing too far. The islands offer an enticing mix of golden beaches, glimmering blue waters, dramatic nature, hiking opportunities and a rich blend of cultures. Thanks to their proximity to Africa, the islands have a subtropical climate with mild temperatures year-round, making them a favourite wintersun destination. The daily highs during the winter months hover around a pleasant 20°C - perfect for chilled beachside lounging and alfresco lunches.

Tenerife: The all-rounder

Tenerife is the largest and most visited Canary Island, packed with various attractions and things to do. From the lunar landscapes of Teide National Park — with Spain’s highest peak, Mount Teide — to the lively resorts of Playa de las Américas and Los Cristianos, there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re travelling with family and friends, or embarking on a solo trip, Tenerife will surely keep you occupied.

Hikers may enjoy the challenge of roaming to the peak of the almighty Mount Teide via the Montaña Blanca peak. Alternatively, hop in a cable car to reach the volcano. On clear days, you can gaze across all the Canary Islands from its summit. And those who’d like to immerse themselves in the local culture shouldn’t miss the annual Carnival of Santa Cruz. This colourful, glittery spectacle can be compared to Rio's extravagant festival.

Nestled in Costa Adeje, the Gran Hotel Bahia Del Duque, reminiscent of a 19th-century Canarian villa, promises a lavish retreat with sunlit rooms, gourmet dining, and stunning Atlantic views. With its harmonious blend of old-world charm and modern luxury, look forward to beachfront mornings that effortlessly transition into evenings of decadent dinners.

Gran Canaria: The miniature continent

Gran Canaria offers spectacular nature and varied terrains, from its desert-like golden dunes in Maspalomas to the green ravines in the north. The island's cosmopolitan capital, Las Palmas, has a rich history, lively nightlife, and the famed Playa de Las Canteras, the main urban beach of the city.

Be sure to roam the historic district of Vegueta in Las Palmas to explore centuries-old architecture and visit the Columbus House, where Christopher Columbus reportedly stayed. Hikers should make their way to the grand Roque Nublo, a 67M tall volcanic rock that stands as the third highest point of the island.

Lanzarote: The moon-like marvel

As a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve (a learning place for sustainable development), Lanzarote's landscape feels almost otherworldly. With its raw volcanic scenery, the Timanfaya National Park is a must-visit.

Alongside its natural wonders, Lanzarote is dotted with works by the artist César Manrique, which beautifully blend art and nature. The El Jardín de Cactus is one of César’s main creations, a fascinating garden housing about 4,500 specimens of cactus of around 500 species from five continents.

If you’re more of a beach lover then you should head to the golden caster sugar sand Playa Blanca or Costa Teguise to get your sunshine fix. 

Fuerteventura: The windswept wonder

Fuerteventura is the second-largest of the Canary Islands but arguably the least commercialised. It’s a nature lover’s haven, with its vast dunes, empty, sparkling beaches, and windswept landscapes that seem to stretch endlessly.

Corralejo, a town in the north of Fuerteventura, is known for its national park filled with rolling dunes leading to a series of pristine beaches. Further south, the shores of the Jandía peninsula are a paradise for windsurfers and kitesurfers, thanks to the constant breeze.

For a break from the beaches, visit the traditional villages such as Betancuria or the eerie, empty village of Cofete and its deserted beaches hidden behind the Jandía mountains.

Tip: The local cheese majorero, also known as queso Fuerteventura, is a must-try on the island. Visit a local farm, such as Finca Pepe, for a taste paired with regional wines.

La Palma, La Gomera, and El Hierro: The lesser-known jewels

The smaller and less frequented islands of La Palma, La Gomera, and El Hierro each hold a special charm.

Often referred to as the ‘green island’, La Palma is home to verdant forests, volcanic landscapes, and sublime conditions for star-gazing. In fact, La Palma offers some of Europe's clearest skies. Consider an evening at one of the island's observatories or sightseeing agencies, such as Astro La Palma. Roque de los Muchachos, the highest mountain on the island, offers an incredible view of the Caldera de Taburiente, a massive erosion crater.

With its deep ravines, misty forests, and ancient whistling language, La Gomera feels like a land from a bygone era. The thick forests of Garajonay National Park offer numerous trails and are a UNESCO World Heritage site. Aside from hiking, be sure to try the ‘almogrote’, a local delicacy of a spicy cheese paste that’s perfect with fresh bread.

Often overlooked, El Hierro is home to dramatic cliffs, lush meadows, and clear waters. If you’re a solitude seeker, El Hierro is a sanctuary for those seeking peace and tranquillity.

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