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Canary Island hopping on a cruise

Think you know the Canary Islands? Think again! A cruise around the archipelago is proof that there’s so much more to enjoy than your standard beachside break.

You may well have visited one or more of the Canary Islands before. Since the big holiday boom in the 1960s, these welcoming little islands, scattered just 60 miles from the west coast of Africa, soon developed into tourist hotspots.

And with their beaches of gold and black sand, traditional villages and endless sunshine, it’s not too hard to work out why.

But joining a cruise offers something refreshingly different. As you sail around the archipelago, you can discover a new island every day.

It really highlights just how distinct they are, each one having a unique character.

Continue reading to get inspired by some of the experiences we’ve prepared for our 2023 cruises to the Canaries.


Mount Teide on Tenerife is famous for its striking landscapes

On the largest Canary Island, Tenerife, you’re never far from the shadow of Mount Teide.

Rising up 12,000 feet, it’s the highest peak in Spanish territory and has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Santa Cruz, the island’s busting capital, has grown substantially from a small fishing village into a modern city offering a mix of old and new sights to explore.

A stroll around the city will reveal plenty of ornate private mansions, not to mention some 16th-century colonial buildings too.

Gran Canaria

The famous Sahara-like sand dunes of Gran Canaria

And while neighbouring Gran Canaria may be famed for its beaches, beyond its shores lies a land of forests and deserts.

You’ll have a chance to set off into the Sand Dunes of Maspalomas - a protected area covering over five square kilometers. The view of the dunes is different every day and that’s where their name “mobile dunes” came from.


El Golfo, Lanzarote

For an insight into the Canaries’ volcanic origins, Lanzarote is difficult to beat. Here, the stark lunar-like landscape is pockmarked by 300 volcanic cones.

If you visit, don’t miss a trip to Fire Mountain, where you can learn how heat from the earth is hot enough to cook food. Then enjoy a unique barbecue lunch cooked using the heat from the volcano, accompanied by a salad and desert.

Other Canary Islands

A waterfall at Los Tilos, La Palma

Some of our cruises offer the chance to visit a couple of the smaller isles such as La Palma and La Gomera – ones that are off the standard tourist trail. They have a much more unspoilt feel, with forests of pine, laurel and fern, deep valleys and ravines.

The real treasure to be found in La Gomera is its dense, intense green laurel forests, which crown the centre rim of the island. The Garajonay National Park is a place where nature continues to reign. If you visit, make sure to put on your walking boots and get out there for yourself to discover this forest.

Similarly, La Palma is perfect for enjoying relaxing nature walks – such as the stunning misty ‘cloud forest’ of Los Tilos. You can also enjoy the hustle and bustle of towns, explore Santa Cruz de la Palma, a colourful colonial town offering centuries-old architecture and cobbled streets.

An extra highlight on some cruises is a day ashore on the Portuguese Madeira, a mountainous island formed from a volcanic eruption and known for its namesake wine. Some itineraries also include stops just across the ocean to nearby Morocco, where a treasure trove of cities lie, including Casablanca with its heady, fragrant markets and old-world charm.

When it comes to the best time of year to plan your Canary Island escape, the truth is, every month is good! The isles tend to have fine weather all year round, although a great choice is to visit when the British winter arrives. 

Tempted by an all-inclusive boutique cruise around the Canary Islands?

Browse our cruise holidays

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.