14 January 2019
Quick and easy to reach, with a balmy year-round climate that makes them great for summer holidays and also during June July school holidays, Easter and even Christmas if you choose a resort with an indoor pool, the Canary Islands are a firm family favourite for their combination of lively beach resorts and compelling (often volcanic) landscapes. But which to choose? We’ve pooled our experience to bring you the best of the Canaries when visiting with kids.
This long-standing favourite combines year-round sunshine, great beaches and a huge array of family-friendly accommodation with a whole host of things to do including cable-car rides up Mount Teide (Spain's highest peak, with volcanic terrain) and the family attractions of Loro Parque and Siam Park.
“Finding somewhere hot enough for the parents but not so hot that the children can't enjoy it can be hard. As a family we took our first visit to Tenerife this May. With temperatures of about 23/24°C daily, it was perfect. There was also a lovely breeze most of the time.
“Would we go back to Tenerife? Absolutely – it was an ideal place for some long-haul sun. We could sit back and enjoy it as there was lilttle time difference at all, which meant no jet-lag or shifting sleep patterns for children.”
Jade, Travel Counsellor
The third-largest of the islands has been described as a 'continent in miniature’ for its blending of beaches, verdant landscapes and inland lunar mountainscapes. Though a very peaceful island, it offers a fantastic choice of outdoor activities, especially water sports.
“I've just returned from a fun-packed seven days in Gran Canaria with the family. Our favourite beaches: Maspalomas for the stunning sand dunes and Anfi del Mar for its smaller, gorgeous white sandy bay, cafés and greenery.”
Kate, Travel Counsellor
The second-largest of the Canaries, but also one of the least-populated, offers near-desert landscapes ringed by mile upon mile of white sandy beaches and a fairly constant wind that make it a hotspot for surfing and windsurfing.
“Most of our days we spent at the beach. The children had bodyboards and had a great time riding the waves. The beaches are beautiful and the waters are crystal-clear, and there’s plenty going on. Fuerteventura is ideal for families looking for tranquillity and relaxation.”
Carolyn, Travel Counsellor
A choice of more than 90 white- and black-sand beaches and an astonishing volcanic interior make this island – a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve – a brilliant place to explore with children. Don’t miss Timanfaya Park, where you’ll find more than 100 craters (the Montañas del Fuego or ‘Fire Mountains’) and a restaurant using geo-thermal heat for cooking.
“A favourite of mine has got to be the Timanfaya National Park, where you get to go around the volcano rim on a bus tour. My kids thought this was fantastic and can’t wait to tell all of their friends that they have seen a volcano now.”
Alison, Travel Counsellor
One of the lesser-known Canaries is home to the UNESCO-listed Garajonay National Park – one of Spain’s most child-friendly major nature reserves due to the way it allows you to get up close to a variety of reptiles and interesting plantlife.
“We ate in a couple of very good restaurants, La Salamandra, and, just opposite it, La Forastera. We found, unlike Tenerife, it does help if you know a bit of Spanish as the tourists don’t yet outnumber the locals. It was a brilliant week and I would definitely go back to La Gomera.”
Sue, Travel Counsellor
Dubbed La Isla Bonita (‘the beautiful island’) for its spectacular landscapes of rugged forests, waterfalls and volcanoes, La Palma is brilliant for outdoorsy families who love walking and hiking together. There’s also plenty of wild nature to escape into on El Hierro, the smallest of the Canaries and a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
“The tourist office had an excellent map and guide to the many senderos (footpaths) of the island. On such a mountainous landscape, it’s clear these footpaths have been vital links for the communities living here – there are 1,200km of road on the island and almost 1,000km of footpaths.
“Another major attraction of La Palma is that it has very little light pollution and is an official Dark Sky location, making it perfect for anyone with an interest in astronomy. You can visit the observatory during the day to get an idea of the sheer scale of the projects going on here. If you fancy a go yourself, you can do a star-gazing tour with experts with slightly smaller telescopes to make sense of the night sky for you.”
Liz, Travel Counsellor
To find out more and book your Canary Islands family holiday, benefitting from our unique financial protection and our 24-hour duty office, contact your Travel Counsellor today.