10 reasons for visiting the Canary islands

6 months ago I spent an awesome week at two of the Canary islands. Many people asked me what the Canaries look like and what’s to be done there. So, before I start my series of posts on the two islands I visited – Lanzarote and Fuerteventura – let me give my 10 reasons for visiting the Canary islands.

1. The weather is always good

The temperatures on the Canaries rarely drop below 20 degrees, so you can escape there for a vacation anytime. The temperature is highest (around 30 degrees Celsius) during the summer months and this is when most people come over. For me though the off-peak season (we visited in November), with its mild weather and less crowds, is simply perfect.

2. Easy to reach

Being part of Spain, the Canaries are served by many flights from low-cost airlines like Ryanair and EasyJet. You can conveniently connect in cities like Milan and London.

3. Pretty inexpensive

Despite being in the European Union, the Canaries benefit from a special tax status – the local tax (similar to VAT) is only 7%, and there’s an even lower tax rate on fuel, alcoholic drinks, etc. That was why the price of fuel was approx 20% cheaper than elsewhere in the EU. You can eat out within a very modest budget, shopping in the supermarkets is pretty cheap too (especially the fresh fish).

Jameo del Agua in Lanzarote. You absolutely need a car to visit the many attractions on Lanzarote island, and the cheap fuel price was a nice surprise

4. Surf surf surf!

This was my top reason to head for the canaries. The 7 islands from this spanish archipelago offer hundreds of spots both for hawaiian surf and windsurf, thanks to the year-round waves and constant north-eastern Trade Winds. You can book a camp package (includes lessons, accommodation and rent of full equipment, usually for a week) or individual lessons. We took individual lessons and then, renting surfboards and wet suits, headed for the spots we liked.

First surf lesson with what seemed giant surf boards (only at first :))

5. There’s so much you can do!

Even if you aren’t a fan of surf, there’s still so much you can do! Hiking, diving, biking, camel and horse riding are just a few. And of course number one – swimming and sunbathing!

If you get sick travelling by bus through Timanfaya national park – there’s always the camel alternative 🙂

6. There’s tons of things to see

Both Lanzarote and Fuerteventura had numerous must-see natural sites, including national parks, caves, dunes, cliffs, white-sand beaches, etc. But there are also man-made attractions like the Cactus garden, museums, fortresses, botanical gardens and others. With an absolutely full program, 7 days were completely insufficient to visit even 2 of the Canary islands.

The Green Lagoon on Lanzarote

Timanfaya national park in Lanzarote. A demonstration of the high temperature just 40 cm below surface – proof that there’s a lot boiling beneath us..

7. Get a feel of the desert

On Fuerteventura I was amazed to see what seemed like a small desert – sandy dunes spanning over an area of 11 km, close to the city of Corralejo.

The dunes close to Corralejo, Fuerteventura

I was thinking these sands had been brought by the winds from nearby Sahara, but turns out that the composition of the sands here is much different from Sahara sands. There are theories that these sands had been blown here from a place between Lanzarote and Fuerteventura that now is a seabed but during the recent glaciation had been dry.

8. Enjoy completely secluded beaches

There are more than 80 beaches on all 7 Canary islands, some of them accessible via small roads and completely desolate. Learning to surf on a completely empty beach is invaluable!

A huge stripe of fine sandy beach .. completely empty!

9. See an impressive variety of cactus

Cactus plants were all over Lanzarote and Fuerteventura islands, we were actually greeted by at least 50 types of cactus right from Lanzarote airport. If you are a true fan of this vegetation though, head for the town of Guatiza on Lanzarote island – the Cactus garden there has over 100,000 species of cactus, some of them coming from beyond the Canaries of course.

10. Try delicious seafood

We did try a number of seafood dishes, including many types of seafood paella. The supermarkets were also full of fresh and very cheap fish, for those who’d spend the time to cook it (most accommodations have small kitchens and the utensils to cook)

These are just the top of the many reasons to visit this amazing Spanish archipelago. What were some of the best sights we visited on Lanzarote and Fuerteventura? Find out in my next blog post!

Looking to travel the Canaries on a budget? Here’s a site with good tips for budget travel, accommodation and activities in the Canaries.

One Response to 10 reasons for visiting the Canary islands

  1. Great tips. You nailed it. I agree for all of the stuff you said. You can also try, hiking, biking, sailing and enjoy more water sports there.

    Thanks for sharing this.

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