The Canary Islands have been a tourist hotspot for many decades. But where sun, sand and sea lovers tend to divide their time between the beach and the nearest pub, travelers like you like to experience a destination like the locals do. Well, have we got news for you: there is so much more to the Canary Islands than its popular image suggests
With a stunning variety of landscapes and enough off-the-beaten-track charm left to last you a lifetime, these seven islands are a hard-to-beat destination. If you’re in the luxury position to be location-independent, you may as well put this archipelago on your itinerary. But be warned – you might just stay forever. Here are some reasons why.
7 islands and 7 reasons to visit
1. Be inspired to create
The deep blue Atlantic, red volcanoes, green lakes, and houses that may only be painted white: Lanzarote may look inhospitable at first glance, but more than makes up for it in color and style. The easternmost of the Canary Islands awakens an almost mystical sense of well-being in visitors. No wonder so many writers and painters have chosen to make this island their creative headquarters.
2. Soak up the sun, play with the wind
If the short days and long nights of Northern-Europe (which, to us, is anywhere beyond the Pyrenees) have you sun-starved, head to Fuerteventura. Its endless, white beaches and turquoise waters are perfect for either bumming around, or trying your hand at kitesurfing. Move around in style by renting a campervan; on Fuerteventura, you can set up camp right by the beach.
3. Enjoy the perfect work-life balance
Gran Canaria is home to the biggest city on the islands, Las Palmas. While it has the trappings you would expect of any big city –hipsters, crazy traffic, and a thriving nightlife– Las Palmas sets itself apart with what is one of the world’s best city beaches. Playa de las Canteras is 3 kilometers long and caters to anyone, from surfers to card-playing seniors.
With its year-round spring weather and fiber-optic internet connections, Las Palmas has become a favorite for conferences and business trips, too. Shared offices like Coworking Canary Islands have helped put Las Palmas on the digital nomad radar, right between hubs like Chiang Mai (Thailand) and Ubud (Bali).
4. Eat, drink and be merry
Canarian cuisine is not only simple and tasty, but happens to be very affordable, too. Things don’t get any better than on Tenerife, where world-class seafood and lip-smacking meat dishes are washed down with wine from the foothills of Spain’s highest mountain, El Teide. Culinary highlights include wrinkled potatoes in mojo sauce, potaje (a vegetable soup), and carne de cabra (slow-cooked goat meat) for carnivores.
5. Escape the crowds
La Gomera is home to a subtropical rainforest that covers a large part of the island. But not only on the trails of Garajonay National Park does it feel like T-Rex might come charging at you. With only a handful of villages sprinkled over its steep mountains and deep valleys, this is the least developed of the Canary Islands. If you need some alone time after a big project, La Gomera is sure to recharge your batteries.
6. Hike through forests and volcanic craters
Majestic pine forests, clean air, and a volcanic crater or caldera that is 9 kilometers across: La Palma invites you to put on your hiking boots and explore the island on foot. With mountains high enough to pierce the cloud cover, La Palma also hosts one of the world’s most important space observatories. After a long day on the trails, enjoy the sunset in the company of an ice-cold Dorada beer.
7. Dive in Europe’s clearest waters
The westernmost of the Canary Islands is El Hierro. While it stopped being the end of the world in 1492, when Columbus discovered America, El Hierro has never ceased to feel remote. The only way to get to the island is on a ferry from Tenerife or a flight from either Gran Canaria or Tenerife.
Off the coast of fishing village La Restinga are some of Europe’s premium dive sites. The waters are protected from the prevailing winds, and underwater visibility is 20 meters at the very minimum. The many diving schools in the village are happy to take you to spectacular drop-offs, pinnacles, and tunnels, allowing you to spot lobsters, octopus, moray eels, parrotfish, tuna, and angel sharks. Seasonal visitors include turtles, manta rays, dolphins, and even whale sharks.
When will you be here?
With so many reasons to visit and so many islands to choose from, the question isn’t if, but rather when you will visit. Perhaps Nomad City Las Palmas which is happening between the 5 and 9th of December is the answer to that question. And if you need to get some work done in between all the scheduled fun, Coworking Canary Islands is your base.
*Photography acknowledgment : CJSS Fotografía, José Novelle, Promotur Brand Center.