The Canary Islands have seen loads of tourists visiting the country for the past two decades. They are modern, cosmopolitan, and have Caribbean-like beaches. In other words, by visiting the Spanish Islands, you have diverse options in food, landscape, and entertainment and for reasonable prices. The archipelago of seven main islands is part of Spain. But the feeling you get when you set foot there, it’s completely different. You’ll fall in love with the laid-back style of living and the warm hospitality of the locals. We have the 5 tips you need to plan your vacations in the Canary Islands before you book that flight ticket.
When to Go and What to Pack
The Canary Islands are an all-year-round destination. They have pleasantly warm weather, not extremely hot summers and mild winters. In the summer, the maximum temperature is 30°C and a minimum of 16 – 17 °C, mostly during the early morning. These temperatures remain stable until October. Spring is equally beautiful, with temperatures ranging from 15 – 24 °C. Travelers from north cold countries prefer to visit the Canary Islands in the winter for a nice warm sunny break. In off-peak months, like March, May, and September to November, you can enjoy the lovely weather and the low prices in accommodation. Not that summer is an excessively expensive period to visit the islands, but it’s more crowded at this time. When planning your trip to the Spanish Islands, cοnsider price and weather conditions and decide where the scale tips for you.
At times, it can get a bit cold or humid, so bring a light jacket or sweater. Apart from sandals, also get a pair of sneakers for walking or hiking. Pack a beach tote to always have with you a swimsuit, a hat, and sunscreen. It goes without saying that if you’re visiting during the hot months, you’ll need shorts, t-shirts, and summer clothing in general.
In the current pandemic, it’s important to stay informed about possible travel restrictions to your destination.
How to Get to the Canary Islands
After you decide when to go to the Canary Islands, it’s time to search for flight tickets. There are three main airports: La Palma, Lanzarote, Gran Canaria, and Tenerife Airports. Gran Canaria Airport connects the Islands with the Spanish mainland and the rest of Europe, so it sees the most passenger traffic. Flight tickets are usually cheaper and there are more flights from Gran Canaria than the other airports.
If you’re flying from the US, you’ll need to take a connecting flight from one of the major Spanish Airports and then board on the plane to the Canary Islands. Don’t forget to think about how you want to get to the airport, too. Since you have such a long flight ahead of you, it’s preferable to drive and park your car at the airport rather than dealing with public transportation. You can reserve an airport parking spot online so you don’t risk missing your flight.
Getting Around the Islands
Getting around the island is a cinch if you decide to rent a car. It will give you the freedom to go around and explore the exotic beauty of this place. You’ll be surprised by how cheap a car hire is for a week. An economy car can cost from €60/$70 for seven days, which is even more affordable than public transportation. Past visitors have spent €41/$48 per person, per day, on local transport. To get from one island to another, you’ll have to use the ferry services that interconnect the islands.
Which Island to Visit
The Canary Islands have everything for every kind of visitor. Famous for the miles of deserted white sand and clear blue waters, Fuerteventura is the place to do watersports or just relax on the coast. Sotavento Beach is where all the surfers and kite-surfers frequent. Tenerife beaches are also renowned for many reasons. Unlike Fuerteventura, Tenerife has golden sand and volcanic-black beaches. Some of them are crowded, while others are more secluded. Las Palmas and Gran Canaria will be highly appreciated by nature lovers who like to explore mountains, rainforests, and even beaches. La Gomera and El Hierro are also ideal places to hike and discover remote wild nature. Lanzarote has breathtaking volcano-clad sceneries. It’s also the place to experience the Canarian culture with its world-renowned vineyards, bustling nightlife, and open-air markets.
Local Cuisine and Restaurant Etiquette
No vacation starts without having good food and exquisite flavors in mind. Due to the high tourist traffic, many restaurants serve cuisine from different cultures. But, you didn’t fly all the way to the Canary Islands to eat what you ate back home. Try the local cuisine that includes fresh seafood, like parrotfish and sea bass, soups, and stews with slow-cooked meat, vegetables, and spicy peppers. Pair this delicious food with local wine, cultivated in volcanic mineral-rich soil.
In the Canary Islands, the waiter won’t rush you to finish your meal or ask you every five minutes if you’d like to order anything else. Take as much time as you need to enjoy the food and the paradise you’re surrounded by. The pace here is slower than what you’re used to. Lunch is served from 12:00 to 16:00, and dinner can be around 19:00 or even later, after 21:00. So, spend as many hours as you want on the beach or hiking the mountains, knowing that the restaurants won’t close until late at night. After finishing your meal and paying the bill, although not required, you can leave them a tip.
The Canary Islands are considered a safe travel destination when it comes to the crime rate. Petty thefts can occur in tourist areas where large crowds tend to flock. When going to the beach, it’s best not to bring valuable items with you. Have some cash with you if you’re visiting a restaurant or shops afterward and avoid carrying your credit cards to the beach. If you can’t, make sure to put them in a safe and locked place. Generally, you can consume tap water, but most tourists prefer to buy bottled water just to be sure.