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Warmed by the currents of the Gulf Stream, the Canaries benefit from year-round sunshine

The Canary Islands are a diverse little archipelago with two things in common: great weather year-round and some of the best beaches in Europe. They are Spain's most far-flung territory, sitting just off of the coast of northwest Africa. Tenerife, the largest of the islands, is renowned for its diverse landscape of lush forests, mountains and dark volcanic beaches. Or perhaps you'll plump for Gran Canaria, best known for its stunning swathe of sand dunes. Lanzarote has a distinctive lunar-like landscape and nowhere are the Canaries' volcanic origins more evident than here. Then there's Fuerteventura, whose seemingly never-ending beaches are gloriously uncrowded. Oh, decisions, decisions . . .

Things to do

If you'd like to put your feet up and completely unwind, choose a stay and relax holiday to the Canaries in one of our lovely coastal hotels. However, if you just can't choose between them, how about opting for an escorted tour that island-hops between them, or maybe join a cruise? That way you'll be able to discover the unique highlights of each of the islands - even little La Gomera, the smallest and most untouched of the islands. Those with green fingers (or admirers of others' work) might like to try one of our special interest garden tours in Tenerife or Gran Canaria, or you could perhaps step it up with a walking tour of Lanzarote.

See All Holidays to Canary Islands

Enjoy a stay at the modern 3-key Apartamentos Aguamarina Golf which is ideally located close to the shops, restaurants and bars of Golf del Sur

This 4-star hotel is situated between two excellent golf courses in the sunny southern part of Tenerife.

For the ultimate, great-value holiday, choose an Essential stay at the 4-star Olé Olivina Lanzarote.

For the ultimate, great-value holiday, choose an Essential stay at the H10 Rubicón Palace.

Soak up the spectacular views at this seafront hotel during a relaxing stay in popular Playa Blanca.

Enjoy a great value half-board stay at this relaxing 4-star hotel.

Staying at this locally rated 4-star hotel you can enjoy all the attractions of the charming town of Puerto de la Cruz and northern Tenerife.

Enjoy fabulous views as you relax at this contemporary hilltop hotel in the small resort of Playa de Taurito.

The modern 4-star Hotel Elba Carlota boasts a superb level seafront location with a golden sandy beach and is ideally situated for exploring Fuerteventura.

Hotel Reina Isabel QQQQ+

Stay and Relax Premium

A stylish beachfront hotel in the island’s vibrant capital

With three pools, live entertainment and great, all-inclusive value, it's time to relax at the 4-star Olé Olivina Lanzarote.

This 4-star hotel is situated between two excellent golf courses in the sunny southern part of Tenerife.

Riu Palmeras QQQQ

Stay and Relax

Set in the popular resort of Playa del Ingles, The 4Q Riu Palmeras is located just 350m from the seafront and 250m from the city centre.

For the ultimate, great-value holiday, choose an Essential stay at this welcoming hotel beside Tenerife's best beach.

Enjoy a great seafront location and panoramic ocean views at the Hotel Dunas Don Gregory in Gran Canaria.

The H10 Rubicón Palace, with its five swimming pools, is the perfect place to relax and unwind amidst stunning surroundings.

Relax at the 4-star Hotel Costa Calero Talaso&SPA located in peaceful Puerto Calero, one of Lanzarote’s premier resorts.

For the ultimate, great-value holiday, choose the beachside H10 Costa Adeje Palace which reveals Tenerife's sophisticated side.

This relaxing 4-star hotel is popular with adults and being all-inclusive is great value for money.

Enjoy spectacular ocean views from this welcoming hotel.

The locally rated 4-star Costa Canaria enjoys a superb seafront location in Playa de San Agustin on Gran Canaria’s south coast.

Relax amid elegant surroundings at this peaceful resort.

Relaxation is a given at this locally rated 5-star, 5Q hotel.

Get away from it all and escape to idyllic Morro Jable beach, located on the southernmost tip of Fuerteventura.

Soak up the spectacular views at this seafront hotel during a relaxing stay in popular Playa Blanca.

Part of the popular IBEROSTAR chain of hotels, IBEROSTAR Bouganville Playa in Costa Adeje sits on the coast of subtropical Tenerife.

For the ultimate relaxing break, opt for a special upgraded stay at Mogan Princess & Beach Club in the small resort of Playa de Taurito.

For the ultimate relaxing break, opt for a special upgraded stay at the locally-rated 4-star Olé Olivina Lanzarote.

For the ultimate relaxing break, opt for a special upgraded stay at this 4-star hotel situated between two excellent golf courses.

This 4-star hotel is situated between two excellent golf courses in the sunny southern part of Tenerife.

Opt for a special upgraded stay at the Hotel Dunas Don Gregory which has a great seafront location in Gran Canaria.

Opt for a special upgraded stay at the H10 Rubicón Palace, where you can relax and unwind amidst stunning surroundings.

Relax on a special upgraded stay at the 4-star Hotel Costa Calero Talaso&SPA located in Puerto Calero, one of Lanzarote’s premier resorts.

Part of the popular H10 chain of hotels, beachside H10 Costa Adeje Palace reveals Tenerife's sophisticated side.

Opt for a special upgraded stay at the locally rated 4-star Costa Canaria which enjoys a superb seafront location in Playa de San Agustin.

For the ultimate relaxing break, opt for a special upgraded stay at this elegant 5-star hotel.

For the ultimate relaxing break, opt for a special upgraded stay at this relaxing 4-star hotel

For the ultimate relaxing break, opt for a special upgraded stay at this welcoming hotel which offers spectacular ocean views.

Discover the rich botanical beauty of Tenerife, including exotic blooms, ancient dragon trees, wild flowers and more...

For the ultimate relaxing break, opt for a special upgraded stay at this welcoming hotel beside Tenerife's best beach.

For the ultimate relaxing break, opt for a special upgraded stay at IBEROSTAR Fuerteventura Palace which is set beside idyllic Morro Jable beach on the southernmost tip of Fuerteventura.

Explore the volcanic landscape of the Timanfaya Coastal Path, follow donkey trails through lush meadows and take a short inland walk through wine fields.

Expand your botanical repertoire, search for rare wild flowers and make forays into seven stunning gardens, including the Jardín de la Marquesa.

Escape the chill winds of autumn on this balmy cruise to North Africa and the Canary Islands.

For the ultimate relaxing break, opt for a special upgraded stay at the beachside H10 Costa Adeje Palace which reveals Tenerife's sophisticated side.

Explore Spain via its historic mainland ports and the sunny Canary Island archipelago.

Combine your holiday at the 4Q Riu Palmeras on the southern tip of Gran Canaria, with a stay at the 4Q+ Hotel Reina Isabel on the island's northern coast.

Contrast the largest of the Canaries, which is home to Spain's highest Mountain, with the soft golden peaks of Maspalomas' sand dunes for which Gran Canaria is most famed, on this two-centre holiday celebrating the best of both islands.

Smell the flowers of Funchal, sunbathe on the beaches of Arrecife and admire the bridges of Lisbon.

Join this island-hopping adventure encompassing from Lanzarote's volcanic landscapes, the beautiful beaches of Fuerteventura and the carnival atmosphere of Gran Canaria.

Canary Island Hopping

Escorted Tour Pace 2

A fresh look at the Canary Islands starting with a stay in Tenerife, then exploring unspoilt La Gomera and beautiful La Palma.

Contrast the largest of the Canaries, which is home to Spain's highest Mountain, with the soft golden peaks of Maspalomas' sand dunes for which Gran Canaria is most famed, on this special upgraded two-centre holiday celebrating the best of both islands.

Follow the winter sun south to Morocco and a trio of the Atlantic's subtropical islands.

Call at a trio of Canary Islands on this springtime cruise that hops between Lanzarote, Tenerife and Gran Canaria. Then experience the colourful blossoms of Madeira and get a taste of Portugal in Lisbon.

Join Balmoral as she sails to Agadir in Morocco and Lisbon in Portugal, via beautiful Madeira and the sunny Canaries.

Head to the sun-drenched Canary Islands on this relaxing 15-night cruise that visits vibrant ports in Spain and Portugal too.

Exchange the chilling winter weather in the UK for a warm, relaxing cruise around these volcanic islands and enjoy visits to Madeira and Spain too.

Ride a vintage tram in Lisbon, relax on the beaches of Arrecife, see Mount Teide in Tenerife then inhale the floral scent of Funchal before winding down with a glass of port in Oporto's vineyards.

Soak up some sunshine as the nights begin to draw in back home. Discover the floral delights of Madeira before contrasting a trio of Canary Islands. Finish your cruise aboard Saga Sapphire by stopping on Spain's north west coast from where you can visit the historic city of Santiago de Compostela.

Contrast quaint Spanish colonial capitals and beautiful volcanic beaches on this wonderful cruise around the subtropical Canary Islands.

Cruise all inclusive and contrast the wildly diverse scenery of the Canary Islands with the Moorish vibe of Morocco in the cities of Agadir and Casablanca. You'll also have the chance to visit Santiago de Compostela from the Spanish port of Ferrol.

Cruise to the winter sun on this Canary Island voyage which also visits Madeira and Portugal's mainland.

Discover the unusual landscapes of the Canaries as you island hop to Tenerife and Lanzarote, El Hierro and La Gomera.

Island hop from Madeira to Cape Verde and back via the sunny Canaries on this three-week winter warmer.

Enjoy a magical Christmas aboard Balmoral en route to the sun-blessed Canary Islands…

Visit alluring Casablanca and the beaches of Arrecife, then see fireworks in Tenerife and the flowers of Funchal, before experiencing the best of Lisbon.

Escape on an autumnal cruise to the far-flung Atlantic archipelagos of Madeira, the Canary Islands and Cape Verde…

Take to the seas and sail south to the Canaries, the Cape Verde islands and Portugal.

Cruise to a trio of the sun-kissed Canary Islands, as well as Cadiz and Avilés – a first for Saga.

Escape the chill and cruise to the Canaries with this fantastic Christmas cruise aboard Saga Pearl II

Discover the beautiful islands of the Azores and Canaries in spring, when their colourful flowers are in full bloom. Contrast the sand dunes of Fuerteventura with the laurel forests of La Gomera and admire the dramatic coastline of Brittany.

Bid farewell to the cold British weather on this cruise bound for the sunny Canary Islands and Cape Verde.

Enjoy the Caribbean sunshine while visiting a string of paradisiacal islands on this epic 42-night cruise

Board Fred. Olsen's Boudicca for this thrilling cruise exploring South America.

Language

Spanish; Castilian -

Castillian Spanish is the official language, with other Spanish languages and dialects varying in different regions.

English isn’t widely used outside of the main coastal resorts, so you may find it very handy to learn a few words before you travel.

Tipping

Tipping is similar to the UK: the typical amount in restaurants is 10% (most establishments don’t add a service charge to the bill). Taxi drivers and porters expect a small tip too.

Population and size

Spain has a population of 47.4 million, which is relatively low in comparison to other European countries such as France and Italy.

At 505,988 square kilometers, Spain is more than twice the size of the UK.

Currency

Euro - The currency is the euro, divided into 100 cents.

Culture

The main religion in Spain is Roman Catholic, which accounts for around two-thirds of the country, along with a small minority of Muslims.

When meeting new people, a handshake is the common greeting among men, and a kiss on the cheek between women - the number of kisses can vary, so prepare yourself for two or even three!

You'll also find that the Spanish eat much later than we do in the UK, with lunch between 2-3.30pm and dinner between 9-11pm, so don't be alarmed if you find yourself in a relatively quiet restaurant. Oh, and the Spanish love to party - depending on when you visit you might find yourself embroiled in one of their many annual celebrations, including one that involves a battle with tomatoes!

Pablo Picasso is among Spain's most celebrated sons, along with Antoni Gaudi, whose eccentric architecture enlivens the Barcelona cityscape. More recent times saw Spanish cinema come into its own with directors like Pedro Almodovar breaking into the English-speaking world. And films like Guillermo del Toro's darkly fantastic masterpiece, Pan's Labyrinth, a Spanish-Mexican venture, solidified Spain as a big player in the film industry.

History-wise there has been a lot going on, from its dominating position when the Spanish Empire set out to discover the New World in the 16th and 17th centuries, to its catastrophic civil war in the 1930s and radical change following the death of dictator Franco in 1975. For an insight into the country's most recent history and the Spanish psyche, Giles Tremlett's Ghosts of Spain is well worth a read.

Phrases

A few basic words of Spanish to get you started…

Hola – hello

Adios – goodbye

Por favor – please

Gracias – thank you

Si – yes

No – no

Perdon – excuse me

No hablo espanol – I don’t speak Spanish

Timezone

Spain is one hour ahead of GMT, two in British summertime.

Electricity

Mains voltage is 220-240 volts AC (50 cycles) and all sockets take small round two-pin plugs. You’ll need an adaptor for your British appliances, so remember to bring one with you as you probably won’t be able to find one in Spain.

Climate

The climate varies depending on the region, but generally the further south you go, the warmer it will be. The weather on the south and east coast is fairly reliable all year round, enjoying a balmy Mediterranean climate, while the interior tends to stay hot and dry as it’s located on a plateau.

Health

As health information can change at any time, we’d advise you to consult your GP at least 12 weeks before departure.

Country-specific information and advice on possible health risks is also published by the National Travel Health Network and Centre – see www.nathnac.org, and The British Foreign and Commonwealth Travel Advice Unit provides important health and safety information for British nationals travelling abroad at www.fco.gov.uk/travel.

Passports and visas

You’ll need a current passport valid for the duration of your stay. British citizens don’t require a visa.

Smoking

Smoking is banned in enclosed public areas and is not allowed on public transport, in bars or restaurants, except in designated areas. Be sure to remember this or you may be stuck with a hefty fine.

Flight time

London to Madrid and Barcelona – from 2 hours

London to Seville – from 2.5 hours


Places in the Canary Islands

Fuerteventura

A remarkable island with a character all of its own

Gran Canaria

A continent in miniature, protected as a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve

Lanzarote

Black-sand beaches and dramatic luna landscapes…

Tenerife

Tenerife is a lively, typically Spanish island with an interesting history…


Climate

A tour manager's account of a Canary Island Adventure

A tour manager's account of a Canary Island Adventure

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A tour manager's account of a Canary Island Adventure - part III

A tour manager's account of a Canary Island Adventure - part III

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