Canary Islands Travel Guide
The Canary Islands, a Spanish archipelago off the coast of north west Africa, are rugged volcanic isles known for their black and white sand beaches. Drive your Canary Islands rental car over soaring hills, volcanic landscapes, and through gorgeous canyons; discover beautiful quaint little towns, eat your weight in wonderful Spanish cuisine while marveling at wonderful views.
Dining in the Canary Islands
The cuisine of the Canary Islands has much in common with that of the Spanish mainland, but there are differences that distinguish the islands from the rest of the country. Influences from the islands’ original inhabitants, nearby Africa and Latin America can be seen in dishes such as Papas, thought to have been brought over from South America by the conquistadors. Mashed with a special sauce called mojo picon, this potato dish is served with almost every meal.
Attractions in the Canary Islands
While it’s tempting to kick back on the sunny beaches occasionally dragging yourself down to the ocean to cool off, for those who haven’t just come to the Canaries for the sun sea and sand, there is a plethora of exciting things to do and places to explore. The archipelago is of volcanic origin and offers strikingly diverse landscapes including sub-tropical flora, lush pine forests, giant sand dunes and soaring mountains.
Tenerife is a year-round holiday destination thanks to its warm climate, natural surroundings and excellent tourist infrastructure. Get lost in nature, relax on the beach, climb mountains, go shopping, see a show, explore the old town cobbled streets, go golfing, lose yourself in a theme park – the possibilities are endless!
Above all, make sure your Tenerife experience involves the wonderful local food. Relax on a restaurant terrace with sea views and taste the local shrimps; unmissable.
The south west coast of Tenerife is a spectacular spot for watching whales. Up to 26 species are found just off the coast, including baleen whales, killer whales, dolphins, pilot whales and even blue whales. Tenerife also boasts World Heritage Centres which are well worth a visit; the Teide National Park which houses Spain's highest mountain, and La Laguna's old town with its colonial architecture.
On Gran Canaria you will be sure to find plenty of experiences that make every day of your trip special; golden beaches, stunning landscapes, and a big city full of fun things to do. Sail out to watch whales, walk in the Canary pine forests, have fun at a water park, wander quaint shopping streets, visit museums, or just relax on a beautiful beach!
Discover almost 60 kilometres of beach on 236 kilometres of coastline, all bathed in gentle sunshine. Grand Canaria’s UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve features volcanic landscapes, unique Macaronesian flora and extensive pine forests.
The Maspalomas is a surprising mix of desert and oasis in south Gran Canaria. A unique and beautiful natural area with a huge range of ecosystems. The dunes, constantly molded by the wind, change their appearance every day and are one of the main attractions in the area.
Lanzarote is an island of extraordinary beauty. Its iconic volcanic black sand desert contrast with white sand beaches. With 300 days of sunshine a year Lanzarote is a firm favourite with sun-seeking tourists, but there is much more to this island than just its beaches.
Lanzarote has retained its authentic charm and traditional aesthetic that is perhaps not as easily found on the other Canary Islands. This is mainly due to the influence of renowned artist and architect Cesar Manrique, whose impact can be seen in many of the island’s famous attractions from urban murals and art installations to cave bars and cactus gardens.
Canary Islands driving routes
Hiring a car really gives you the freedom to explore the picturesque Canary Islands at your own pace. Each island has its own unique characteristics which bring tourists back year after year. Renting a car in the Canary Islands gives you the opportunity to discover scenic driving routes such as the road through the Corralejo Dunes in Fuerteventura.
Canary Islands car rental
You may be on holiday, but it’s worth remembering that Spain has strict driving rules. Swap out those beach flip-flops for proper shoes when driving and be careful with your drinking – in Spain you’re allowed just 0.5 milligrams of alcohol per millilitre of blood.
As in Spain, driving in the Canary Islands is on the right. Speed limits range from 120kmh on motorways to 90kmh on other roads and 50kmh in urban areas. Main roads on the islands are prefixed by letters denoting the island they’re located on – FV- Fuerteventura, GC- Gran Canaria, LZ- Lanzarote, TF -Tenerife.