The Canary Islands have become a popular tourist destination thanks to their good weather, beaches, landscapes and small villages. But the best way to enjoy this stunning archipelago is to explore a little further from resorts.
The three smaller, lesser-visited Canary Islands are perfect for hikers, nature lovers and rural tourism enthusiasts. These are destinations where you can unwind and relax in a truly untouched landscape.
La Gomera is the second smallest of the Canary Islands and is the most unspoiled, making it perfect for nature lovers. With rugged mountains, deep ravines and a unique UNESCO World Heritage forest at Garajonay Park, it is a walkers paradise with a plethora of trails to discover.
There are also some fantastic activities and attractions to try, whether you are a fan of hiking or cycling. For example, you can take a half-day hiking tour around La Gomera’s dramatic volcanic landscape and enjoy stunning views of the surrounding areas.
Another popular activity is a guided herb-picking hike with a local expert guide. On this three-hour tour, you’ll learn how to forage for medicinal plants and then sample a delicious vegetarian meal at a mountain restaurant.
It’s also possible to watch whales in their natural habitat on a boat trip from Valle Gran Rey. This is a great way to see the marine life of the Canary Islands and can also be accompanied by a wine tasting session on the ship.
The Canary Islands have some of the most diverse ecosystems on earth and are a real treat for wildlife lovers. This is particularly true on La Gomera, where the mountainous terrain and volcanic landscape makes it one of the most biodiverse islands in the archipelago.
There are a number of different hiking tours in La Gomera, most of which are guided and include transport. The most popular is a 7-night circular walk including the Garajonay National Park, but there are plenty of other options on offer if you don’t have enough time to do all the walking.
You can also hire a car and drive yourself to explore the island. There are hundreds of trails to explore and the views are spectacular.
Alternatively, you can do a guided mountain bike tour. There are several operators offering these tours in the village of Valle Gran Rey, as well as a few bike rentals.
If you’re an aspiring golfer, La Gomera has a top-notch golf course to play on, with the Hotel Jardin Tecina offering a high-quality course. There’s also a sports and wellness centre in Valle Gran Rey where you can get involved in various fitness classes.
Fuerteventura is home to stunning beaches, a variety of hiking trails and plenty of action-packed activities. It also boasts a unique culture and history that is unlike any other in the Canary Islands. It is a great choice for those who enjoy a relaxed beach holiday but also want to explore the natural beauty of these beautiful islands.
The island is also known for its cheese, so if you’re a fan of the product, it’s worth visiting the Museo del Queso Majorero. The museum has a wide range of artifacts that tell the story of this delicious product.
There are a number of different activities to do on the island, including snorkeling and diving. You can even visit Lobos, an island off the coast of Fuerteventura that is rich in marine life. The rocky coastline and dramatic cliffs are ideal for taking stunning photographs, as is the turquoise water.
One of the best ways to see the island’s incredible volcanic landscape is by visiting Teide National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is home to the third-highest volcano in the world, which erupted three million years ago and left a massive crater.
The crater floor is 19 kilometers in diameter and you can get an excellent view of the area from El Portillo Visitor Center, which has a small museum that explains how the crater formed. You can also ride the Teleferico cable car to get the most out of your trip and enjoy sweeping views across the crater.
Another popular attraction is the Museo de las Canarias, which showcases a wealth of cultural treasures from prehispanic times to modern art. The museum also features an impressive collection of artifacts from the island’s history, including a large collection of gold and silver.
Visitors to Fuerteventura will also be able to enjoy a number of amazing attractions, including the botanical garden Jardin Botanico Viera y Clavijo. This garden is home to a number of different plant species from the Canary Islands and features a gorgeous valley.
The island also offers a number of charming colonial towns that are well worth exploring. These towns are often referred to as “the Canary Islands’ capitals.” They are filled with impressive mansions, churches and other landmarks, many of which date back to the 16th and 17th centuries. In addition, they are full of traditional Canarian architecture, with ornately carved wooden balconies and patios.
El Hierro is the smallest and most remote of the Canary Islands, and its otherworldly landscapes offer a respite for nature enthusiasts who want to connect with nature in the wildest way possible. Book ferry tickets to this UNESCO biosphere reserve to discover an island where simple life flourishes and where awe-inspiring landscapes foster intimate connections with Mother Nature.
Hiking and cycling are a great way to explore El Hierro’s incredible terrain. You’ll find trails winding through forests, lava fields and shady juniper groves. The best thing about hiking on this island is that you can see the dramatic contrast between awe-inspiring scenery and quiet villages – all while still enjoying spectacular views and fresh air!
Other activities to consider include mountain biking, scuba diving, and snorkeling. These activities can be done year-round, and the island’s natural swimming pools provide crystal clear waters for swimmers to enjoy.
You can also try your hand at fishing if you like the idea of exploring a new and uncharted ocean. There are many boating companies on the island that can help you charter a vessel for the day or even for a week.
Alternatively, you could take a hike through a unique landscape called Frontera Rural Park, which is home to forest, shady areas and a variety of volcanic cones. This area is a great place to experience nature in its wildest form, and you’ll also find plenty of opportunities to enjoy a picnic.
Finally, don’t forget to taste a few of the island’s famous tropical fruits. Pineapples, bananas, mangoes and papayas are all plentiful on El Hierro.
A visit to the Cultural Park El Julan is a must-do in El Hierro, where you can learn about the island’s past and its connection with Bimbache tribes that lived on the island before the Spanish conquest. It’s also possible to see the remains of Tagoror, a meeting point for Bimbache, and to walk through petroglyphs carved by these tribes.
El Hierro’s gastronomy is equally delicious, with a range of traditional dishes and seafood on offer. Cheese soup, for example, is a favorite dish and can be enjoyed at many restaurants across the island.
Lanzarote is the easternmost of the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean and is approximately 125 kilometres off the northern coast of Africa and 1000 kilometres from the Iberian Peninsula. It is the fourth-largest of the islands in the archipelago with 152,289 inhabitants and is the third most populous Canary Island, after Tenerife and Gran Canaria. Located in the centre-west of the island is Timanfaya National Park, one of its main attractions. The island was declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 1993. The island’s capital is Arrecife.
Tenerife is the largest and most populous island of the Canary Islands and even of Spain. Approximately five million tourists visit Tenerife each year making it the most visited island in the archipelago and home to the the Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Teide National Park, located in the center of the island, is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It includes Mount Teide, which has the highest elevation in Spain, and the highest among all the islands in the Atlantic Ocean. It is the third-largest volcano in the world, when measured from its base making it one of the best declared locations in the world for stargazing. Tenerife also has the largest number of endemic species in Europe.