With temperatures ranging from about 18°C in winter to 24°C in summer, you’re almost guaranteed the perfect weather for whatever activity suits your taste. The amazing variety of landscapes from La Palma’s humid and verdant hills to the vast lunar landscapes of Lanzarote – means that the same activity will be different on each island.
Most trekkers and adventure seekers flock to the smaller islands, especially, La Palma and Lanzarote, for water sports but it’s possible to get away from the crowds and test your adventuresome spirit on any of the Canary Islands. All of them display excellent hiking and biking trails and the abundance of water sports is obvious.
Walking & Hiking
Thousands of historic paths and trails used before the days of cars crisscross the islands. A good place to start is the Parque Nacional del Teide on Tenerife. It offers a variety of walks and hikes, ranging from easy strolls ending at lookout points to multi-day treks crossing mountains and gorges.
National parks aren’t the only spots with good hiking trails. Among our other favorites are the Ruta de los Volcanes on La Palma. Also highly recommended are the dunes of Maspalomas on Gran Canaria. For a truly spectacular walk, sign up for a guided hike in the Parque Nacional de Timanfaya; you’ll have to plan in advance, but the effort will be well rewarded.
Diving & Snorkeling
The variety of marine life and the warm, calm waters of the Canary Islands make them a great place for scuba diving or snorkeling. The volcanic coast is made up of beautiful rock formations and caves and you can spot around 350 species of fish and 600 different kinds of algae.
Scuba schools are scattered across the islands, so you won’t have trouble finding someone willing to take you out. Lanzarote offers enviable diving conditions as well, with visibility up to 20m and especially warm waters. On Tenerife, most diving centers are concentrated around the southern resorts, though the area around Los Gigantes has the reputation of having the best diving conditions. It’s possible to do wreck dives, cave dives and boat dives.
On Gran Canaria Puerto de Mogán is the main dive centre, and there are plenty of boats heading out to dive in and around the caves and wrecks that lie not far from the shore. Diving in Canary Islands.
Surfing & Windsurfing
Surfing and windsurfing are popular water sports on most of the islands. Schools offering classes and equipment rental are scattered around the windier coasts and there are a variety of spots to choose from, ranging from the beginner-friendly sandy beaches of Fuerteventura to the wilder waves of eastern Tenerife. La Caleta de Famara and Isla Graciosa on Lanzarote offer world-class surf breaks. There’s great windsurfing around the Pozo Izquierdo beach and Playa de Las Canteras in Las Palmas on Gran Canaria.
On Fuerteventura, you should head to the area around El Cotillo Corralejo and the Isla de Lobos, where waves really start pumping around late September and continue throughout the winter. The southern coast of Fuerteventura in particular Playa de Sotavento de Jandía is also a great windsurfing spot.
On Tenerife, Las Galletas and nearby El Médano is considered one of the best places in the world for windsurfing. International competitions are held here every year, and enthusiasts from all over the globe gather on the long, sandy beaches to test the waters.
In the past decade, southern Tenerife has become the Canary Islands’ golf hot spot. Golfers who love the balmy temperatures that let them play year-round have generated the creation of a half-dozen courses in and around the Playa de las Americas alone. The courses are aimed at holiday golfers and are not known for being particularly challenging.
You’ll also find a few courses around Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, and a course or two dotted around Lanzarote and Fuerteventura. Many of the clubs have prestigious golf schools where you can sign up for classes either at beginner’s level or merely to improve your play and your swing.
If you’ve got strong body and legs, cycling may be the perfect way to see the Canary Islands. Bike rental is available across the islands, and several companies offer guided excursions of a day or even longer. If you think you’re in very good shape, try the climb up to El Teide. If constantly heading uphill on a bicycle isn’t your idea of a good time, sign up with a guided excursion; they’ll often cart your bike up to the top of the hill then turn you loose to zip down.
Less-extreme routes can be found on the eastern islands, especially Gran Canaria, which has a strong cycling community. Outside Maspalomas on Gran Canaria there are a few excellent bike trails, and Fuerteventura also has decent cycling areas. Popular freetime activity is also motorcycle rental and Trike in Spain.