Wondering which Canary Island is best for your trip? This guide will help you to decide which Canary Island is best for you, based on your vacation style and personal preferences.

Contents show

I may earn a commission at no extra cost to you if you make a purchase through my affiliate links.

Which Canary Island is best for your trip?

There are four main Canary Islands, followed by four much smaller ones. This list shows the Canary Islands in order of popularity. You will find accommodation suggestions within each section, a map of the islands, ferry booking links and faqs at the bottom of the post.

Note: You may have read elsewhere that there are seven Canary Islands, but I’m here to tell you there are actually eight islands to choose from! There is also a bonus island at the end, which is too small to be called a Canary Island, but still an excellent place to visit.

Before I delve into each island in detail, here are some quick links to take your straight to each section:

My most recent visit to the Canary Islands was in December 2022, but I have visited several times prior to that, and I plan to visit again in 2024 as well. This post has been updated to keep it relevant for 2024.

If you are interested in the Canary Islands, you may also be interested in nearby Madeira island too.

Which Canary Island is best?

1. Gran Canaria

Best for: Sand dunes, beautiful landscapes, LGBTQ+ community.

Gran Canaria is the most popular island in the Canary Islands, known for its sandy beaches, lively atmosphere and nature parks. Many people consider Gran Canaria the best Canary Island.

Landscape view of yellow rolling sand dunes with a white/grey sky. From a post about which Canary Island is the best.
Gran Canaria

Families will be drawn to the beautiful Maspalomas beach with its long stretch of golden sands, vast sand dunes and restaurants and amenities nearby. Kids will love playing in the dunes whilst parents relax in tranquillity beside a sparkling sea.

There are varying types of nightlife available. Take a stroll along the cobblestone streets in Las Palmas to discover majestic historical buildings amongst the bars and cafes.

For the LGBTQ+ community wondering which Canary Island is best, you will find Gran Canaria a very welcoming place with fun nightlife too.

You can book various Gran Canaria tours and excursions by clicking this link.

Where to Stay in Gran Canaria

For those looking for budget accommodation, Gran Canaria offers a variety of hostels, campsites and apartments. Las Palmas is home to many budget-friendly options such as Jacarandas Beach Hotel in Playa del Inglés and Hotel Avenida de Canarias in Vecindario.

For those seeking something a little more luxurious, Gran Canaria offers many five-star resorts and hotels. The Gloria Palace Royal Hotel & Spa is one of the most popular luxury resorts on the island. This hotel features an outdoor pool, spa, fitness centre and several restaurants. Other popular upscale accommodations on the island include the Club Maspalomas Suites & Spa and the Seaside Palm Beach Hotel.

You can view the best hotel deals in Gran Canaria on Booking.com here.

2. Tenerife

Best for: varied adventures, hikes & the great outdoors.

Tenerife is the largest Canary Island. The island’s capital, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, offers plenty of entertainment and sightseeing opportunities, while its sunny southern coast boasts some of Europe’s best beaches. At Teide National Park, you can explore the volcanic landscape and take in views of the surrounding islands.

Snow capped cone shaped mountain in the clouds with a blue sky, white wispy clouds and brown volcanic foreground
Tenerife – Mount Teide

You might have been surprised to see snow in my photo above. Mount Teide is one of Europe’s grandest volcanoes, and although the weather may be hot and sunny at sea level, there is often snow at its peak. You can hike (or take a cable car) almost to the summit without a permit, but you’ll need permission to get to the top. The night sky from here is incredible – you can book a stargazing tour here. Mount Teide is the highest peak in the Canary Islands, at 3715 metres.

You can book various Tenerife excursions (hiking, sailing, food tours) by clicking this link.

Where to stay in Tenerife

The capital city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife has some great hotels in the city centre, including five-star resorts with stunning views over the Atlantic Ocean. A popular choice is the Gran Hotel Bahia del Duque, which has a range of rooms and suites with balconies for enjoying the views.

For something more budget-friendly, there is the Hotel Vista Bonita, just outside Santa Cruz. This hotel offers comfortable rooms at affordable prices and is also close to cafes, restaurants and attractions.

If you are looking for a more rural experience, the El Médano area on the south coast of Tenerife is a great choice. The village has some beautiful vacation homes that can be rented, and it is also close to some of the best beaches in the island.

You can view the best hotel deals in Tenerife on Booking.com here.

3. Lanzarote

Best for: wine, culture, art & cool things to do.

Lanzarote is renowned for its striking black-sand beaches, which are perfect for swimming and sunbathing. When considering which Canary Island island is best, you might want to consider the cultural attractions to explore in Lanzarote, including incredible caves, artworks by César Manrique, museums and castles. I last visited Lanzarote in December 2022.

Timanfaya National Park is the star attraction, and I cannot recommend it enough. Read more about it in my post 14 Amazing Things to do in Lanzarote or go ahead and book my favourite Timanfaya tour.

Huge red and brown volcanic mountains rising up into a bright blue sky. Two tiny buses can be seen in the foreground driving along the road to the crater of Mount Timanfaya in Lanzarote.
Martian landscapes of Mount Timanfaya, Lanzarote

Lanzarote’s capital Arrecife offers plenty of shopping, restaurants and bars while nearby El Golfo beach is a great spot to watch the sunset over an unforgettable landscape. There is also a stunning green lagoon which simply has to be seen to be believed. You can book tickets here.

If you never imagined vines could grow out of volcanic ash (same here) then you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find acres of vineyards and great tasting wines to boot. More details can be found in my Lanzarote post or go ahead and book yourself a Lanzarote wine tour – you won’t regret it.

Where to stay in Lanzarote

For something with a bit of class, there’s Hotel Volcán Lanzarote, a five-star resort located near the Timanfaya National Park. This hotel has an outdoor pool and restaurant, and rooms with terraces for enjoying views of the sea or volcano.

For more affordable accommodation, try Apartamentos Jable Bermudas in Puerto del Carmen, 200 yards from the beachfront. The hotel offers comfortable rooms at reasonable prices and is within walking distance of restaurants, shops and attractions.

If you are looking for a more homely atmosphere, there are plenty of private villas available to rent in the countryside. The village of Los Valles has some great vacation homes with stunning views of the volcano and sea, with many cultural attractions (like the cactus gardens) nearby.

You can view all the best hotel deals in Lanzarote on Booking.com here.

4. Fuerteventura

Best for: beautiful beaches, water sports & chilling out.

Fuerteventura is known as one of the quieter Canary Islands but has plenty to offer those looking for some rest and relaxation. As well as its sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters, the island is dotted with volcanic craters. The north of the island is home to some of Fuerteventura’s best beaches and resorts, while the south has a more laid-back atmosphere. I last visited Fuerteventura in December 2022.

Aerial View Of Coast Glass Beach Fuerteventura Canary Islands
Glass Beach, Fuerteventura, Canary Islands

Fuerteventura is known as the best Canary Island for beaches. It has some of the wildest beaches you will have ever seen, both black sand and white sand. It also has the amazing Las Dunas Natural Park in Corralejo, where the sand dunes seem to go on and on forever.

The annual Windsurfing & Kiteboarding World Cup is held on the south of the island – always a great spectacle if you are around in the summer. Corralejo in the North is an excellent place to stay with friendly local nightlife and a quick ferry ride to Lanzarote and the other-wordly Lobos Island (see Bonus Island below). Book your Fuerteventura excursions here.

Where to stay in Fuerteventura

For something luxurious, there’s Sheraton Fuerteventura Beach, Golf & Spa Resort, a five star resort on the beachfront. This hotel has a range of rooms and suites with balconies overlooking the ocean, as well as an outdoor pool and spa.

For more budget-friendly accommodation, there is Las Gaviotas Apartments in El Cotillo. The apartments are near the beach and offer comfortable rooms at reasonable prices.

If you are looking for a more homely atmosphere, there are plenty of private villas and vacation homes available to rent. These can be found in country towns like La Oliva, which has some great houses with beautiful gardens and stunning views of the sea.

You can view all the best hotel deals in Fuerteventura here.

5. La Gomera

Best for: unparalleled hiking, nature & wildlife.

La Gomera is a largely undeveloped and unspoilt island, declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 2012 and popular with eco-tourists. The rugged terrain and lush vegetation make La Gomera perfect for trekking, while its black sand beaches are ideal for sunbathing and swimming.

When considering which Canary Island is best, wildlife lovers may find La Gomera is the favourite. You can find wonderful wildlife watching opportunities here – including whales, dolphins and sea turtles. La Gomera is undeveloped and unspoilt.

Green verdant mountainside with succulent plants in the foreground, slight valley in the green mountains with a blue sky, blue sea and a mountanous land mass in the distance.
La Gomera

For hikers of all levels, the island’s 400 miles of trails provide a delight for any nature-lover. From intense climbs to leisurely strolls, there is something here to suit everyone. You can’t miss Garajonay National Park – an ancient forest teeming with laurel trees at over 3200 feet above sea level, also declared a Unesco World Heritage Site. You can book your La Gomera excursions here.

Also not to be missed, the awe-inspiring Organos Monument is a breathtaking sight to behold. It’s an immense cliff fashioned from columns of basalt cascading down towards the sea.

Where to Stay in La Gomera

There are no 5 star hotels in La Gomera, but for luxury the Hotel Gran Rey is a great option in San Sebastián. This four-star hotel has an outdoor pool and a range of rooms with balconies overlooking the ocean.

For something more affordable, there’s Hotel Jardín Tecina, which offers comfortable rooms at reasonable prices in Valle Gran Rey. It is also close to restaurants, cafes and shops, making it a great option for those looking to explore the island.

If you are looking for a more rural experience, there are plenty of private villas and vacation homes available to rent in La Gomera. These can be found in beautiful towns like Hermigua, which is known for its lush green valleys and stunning views.

You can view all the best hotel deals in La Gomera here.

6. La Palma

Best for: Unbelievable stargazing, black sand & dramatic landscapes.

La Palma is known as the ‘Beautiful Island’ and is renowned for its diverse landscape of lush forests, gorgeous black sand beaches, volcanic craters and dramatic cliffs. Another UNESCO World Biosphere reserve, the island is perfect for those looking to get away from it all – offering a tranquil atmosphere with plenty of walking trails and secluded coves. Don’t miss the caldera at Caldera de Taburiente National Park.

Which Canary Island Is the Best: Sunset view over lush green mountains and palm trees, with white clouds in the disitance and a setting sun.
La Palma

The whole island of La Palma is dedicated to preserving its night sky. There is almost zero light pollution, and consequently this is one of the best places in the world to indulge in a spot of star gazing. There are many astro-tourism tours you can try, or you can just venture out on your own.

I was limiting myself to one photo per island, but I couldn’t not include this photo to show you the night sky at La Palma:

Stargazing night sky view of the milky way over a mountainous landscape.
Night Sky at La Palma

NOTE: Don’t get confused by the name! ‘La Palma’ is a Canary Island, ‘Las Palmas’ is the main city of Gran Canaria, and ‘Palma’ is the capital city of Palma de Mallorca (another Spanish island).

Where to Stay in La Palma

There are no 5 star hotels in La Palma. At the top end, the Hotel Hacienda de Abajo is a blend of classic elegance and chic modernity. This four-star hotel has an outdoor pool and terraces with views of the sea, and boasts a wide array of art objects from the 1st to 20th century.

For more affordable accommodation, there’s Finca Valentina in Tigalate. The hotel offers comfortable rooms at reasonable prices, with mountain views and free WiFi.

If you are looking for a more rural experience, there are plenty of private villas and vacation homes available to rent in La Palma. These can be found in towns like El Paso, which is known for its lush green valleys and stunning views of the sea.

You can view all the best hotel deals in La Palma here. Book La Palma excursions (including stargazing) here.

7. El Hierro

Best for: Peaceful tranquillity, unspoilt landscapes & eco-travel

El Hierro is the smallest of the Canary Islands but offers an abundance of unique experiences. The island’s capital Valverde is home to some spectacular colonial architecture and its rugged cliffs are perfect for hiking. On top of that, El Hierro also boasts a number of other attractions – including lagoons, natural hot springs and even its own volcano.

Green verdant mountainside with succulent plants in the foreground, slight valley in the green mountains with a blue sky, blue sea, white clouds low down and a mountanous land mass in the distance.
The smallest Canary island: El Hierro

El Hierro is the smallest of the Canary Islands, and the least touristy, with a rugged coastline and lush forests. This island is also perfect for sustainable travel – not only is it a UNESCO World Biosphere site, but a significant amount of its energy comes from its own renewable sources.

Atlantic Divers will also love El Hierro, which is a celebrated diving location with over 50 dive sites and remarkable visibility. Book tickets for hiking, diving and excursions in El Hierro here.

Where to stay on El Hierro

There aren’t many hotels on el Hierro. The top end is the Parador de El Hierro in Las Casas, a secluded spot between a volcanic mountain and the ocean. This four-star hotel has an outdoor pool and a range of rooms with balconies overlooking the sea.

A cheaper option is the Sur Restinga in La Restinga. The hotel offers comfortable rooms at reasonable prices with direct access to the ocean.

If you are looking for a more rural experience, there are plenty of private villas and vacation homes available to rent in El Hierro. These can be found in towns like La Caleta, which is known for its stunning views and incredible hiking trails.

You can view all the best accommodation deals in El Hierro here.

8. La Graciosa

Best for: off the beaten track, remote adventures & tranquillity.

La Graciosa became the eighth official Canary Island in 2018. It is a tiny but beautiful slip of land, accessible from Lanzarote by ferry only (there is no airport). Caleta de Sobo is the main settlement here with a few hundred residents. There are some roads, but very few cars, and it is best to get around by bicycle.

The island offers stunning scenery with its blue-green waters, white sand beaches and volcanic landscapes, like Las Conchas beach and La Francesca beach below. In addition, the calm waters provide excellent opportunities for snorkelling and diving, while the charming villages offer plenty of local culture to explore.

Landscape beach scene with yellow side to the right, clear green sea to the left and a small brown volcano in the distance. Bright blue sky with white fast moving clouds.
La Graciosa – Playa Francesa

The most sought after adventure on La Graciosa Island is a hike up Montaña Bermeja for its grand views of Las Conchas beach. You can book excursion tickets here.

La Graciosa is a fishing village, so there are plenty of restaurants serving fresh fish dishes. There is also a surprising number of bars and the locals are very welcoming.

Where to stay in La Graciosa

There aren’t really any hotels on La Graciosa. Accommodation options are mainly apartments or villas, and most of them are individual properties managed by private hosts.

I won’t recommend individual properties, since they might be sold out when you try to book. But for managed apartments, a good option is the Evita Beach Suites Exclusivas in Caleta de Soba. These are stylishly designed apartments with sea or mountain views.

You can view all the private villas and holiday rentals in La Graciosa here. There aren’t many of them, so you’ll need to be quick! Remember you can reserve your place immediately without paying, and cancel for free later on if you need to (the reason I love Booking.com).

Bonus Island: Isla Lobos

Hopefully the above information has helped you decide which Canary Island is best for your trip. Lobos Island is a tiny island off Fuerteventura, and it isn’t officially a ‘Canary Island’ as such. I’m just including it here because I love it and want to tell you about it. It is pretty much uninhabited (ok there are 4 residents) and whilst you cannot actually stay overnight on this island, I certainly recommend a visit.

Wooden Pier stretches out into crystal clear blue and green waters, with black volcanic rocks around the edges and a blue sky
Wooden pier at El Puertito beach, Lobos Island

You can stay in nearby Corralejo (Fuerteventura) and take a 15 minute ferry for a day trip. This island is a sight to behold – honestly not one to be missed! Find out more in my post Lobos Island Fuerteventura: The Ultimate Guide.

Map of the Canary Islands

The map below shows all of the Canary Islands in numbered order, as listed in this post. Click the blue icons to see more information about each place. Click the star to add to your own Google Maps.

Ferry Services Between the islands

Some (but not all) of the islands can be visited by ferry. Most of the ferries take cars as well as foot passengers. Here are some links for you to book your ferry tickets in the Canary Islands.

Large beach, aerial view, turquoise sea with orange sands and tall mountains and dunes.
Playa de Cofete, Fuerteventura

So, which Canary Island is best for you?

As you have probably realised, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. All eight islands (or nine – but definitely not seven) have something unique and special to offer.

I recommend using Booking.com to book your accommodation in the Canary Islands. You can reserve your room for free, and you can also cancel for free, so there is nothing to lose. These link sbelow will take you straight to Booking.com.

Below is a map of hotels from Booking.com. You can zoom in on the map to see the exact location of each hotel, and you can book the hotels by clicking on the map.

 

Which Canary Island is best: FAQs

Emerald green lagoon in black volcanic background, with volcanic cliffs rising up behind it. Lanazarote, Canary Islands.
El Golfo lagoon, Lanzarote

Q: Which Canary Island is best for a beach vacation?

A: Fuerteventura is renowned for its pristine sandy beaches, making it an excellent choice for beach enthusiasts. Gran Canaria also offers a variety of beautiful coastal areas.

Q: Which Canary Island is best for nightlife? 

A: Tenerife, particularly in areas like Playa de las Américas, is known for its vibrant nightlife. Gran Canaria’s Playa del Inglés is another hotspot with numerous bars and clubs.

Q: Which Canary Island is best for natural landscapes and outdoor activities?

A: Lanzarote stands out for its unique volcanic landscapes, while Tenerife offers the stunning Mount Teide. Both islands provide excellent opportunities for outdoor adventures.

Q: Which Canary Island is best for families? 

A: All the islands cater to families. Tenerife and Gran Canaria, in particular, have family-friendly resorts, theme parks, and activities suitable for all ages.

Q: Which Canary Island has the best weather throughout the year?

A: The climate is generally mild across all the islands, but if you seek consistently warm temperatures, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote are often considered sunnier due to their location.

Q: Can I easily explore multiple islands during one trip?

A: Yes, you can island-hop easily with regular ferry services and flights connecting the islands. This allows you to experience the unique offerings of multiple islands in one vacation.

Q: What time of the year is best to visit the Canary Islands?

A: The Canary Islands enjoy a mild climate year-round. Summer is popular for warm temperatures and lively atmosphere, while the shoulder seasons offer a more relaxed experience with fewer tourists.

Q: Are there specific attractions that make one island stand out from the others?

A: Yes, each island has its unique attractions. For example, Tenerife’s Mount Teide, Gran Canaria’s diverse landscapes, Lanzarote’s volcanic scenery, and Fuerteventura’s pristine beaches are some of the standout features.

Q: Which is the least touristy Canary Island?

A: The smallest, least touristy and most undeveloped island is the island of El Hierro.

Q: Which is the warmest Canary Island?

A: It is loosely agreed that Tenerife is the warmest, although some say Gran Canaria. All of the Canary Islands are warm – it comes down to which ones are the least windy. Tenerife’s mountain gets very cold at the top.

Q: What is the best time of year to visit the Canary Islands?

A: The Canary archipelago is at its warmest (with the longest days) from April through to September.

Q: Which Canary Island is best for the LGBTQ+ community?

A: For LGBTQ+ travellers, Gran Canaria and Tenerife are known to be welcoming places to visit. I also found Corralejo in Fuerteventura very welcoming and accepting of different types of people.

Q: Is there a standout Canary Island that is considered the best overall?

A: There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer, as each Canary Island has its unique charm. Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, and Fuerteventura are popular choices, each offering distinct experiences.

Travel Advice For Your Canaries Trip

Climate: The Canary islands have warm temperatures all year round, with hot summers and mild winters. In hot weather, make sure you have got a decent sunscreen, silicone water bottle and sun hat (I like this one). You may also want a sun umbrella – this is a good one.

Getting Around: For Gran Canaria, Tenerife, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, I recommend renting a car (I use Discover Cars – it’s a brilliant rental car comparison site).

Money: The currency in the Canary Islands is the Euro.

Below are some helpful links for your trip:

Related posts: Which Canary Island is best for your trip?

If you are still deciding which Canary Island is best for your trip, you may find the following posts helpful:

Which Canary Island is best? Pin for later

If you have enjoyed reading this post on which Canary Island is best, or you have found it useful, feel free to use the following images to pin the article to your Pinterest boards.

Related Reading for the Canary Islands

White Sand And Black Lava Rocks At Caleton Blanco Beach. Lava rocks in the shallow water in the shape of a circle, blue sky.
Caleton Blanco Beach, Lanzarote

Found this post helpful? Buy Me a Coffee!

You are reading Hazel’s Travels – an online publication and travel blog which aims to provide advice and inspiration for travel in Europe, the UK and USA.

TripAdvisor Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,