The Canary Islands are a melting pot in every sense of the word, and the best part is it always feels like summer, with long daylight hours and no extreme cold or heat. Here are some of our favorite island outdoor activities no matter the time of year.
Cruises and Boat Trips
A visit to the archipelago off the coast of Africa wouldn’t be complete without spending some time on the water, and there are plenty of options to do so. Hop aboard a traditional Canarian fishing boat or a luxury yacht for a morning or afternoon of dolphin and whale watching in the seas around Tenerife (it’s common to spot whale mothers with their babies) while learning about these majestic mammals. Sun-seekers can opt for a catamaran cruise from Corralejo to the beaches of Papagayo in Lanzarote for a day of swimming, snorkeling, jet skiing, or simply relaxing in the sun.
Guided Hikes and Volcano Walks
Rightfully famous for hiking, the Canary Islands have something for just about everyone. Led by a local guide, make your way through Corona Forestal Natural Park and into the red rock-strewn landscape of UNESCO World Heritage-listed Teide National Park on Tenerife, home of Spain’s tallest volcano. A cable car ride to the 11,663-foot (3,555-meter) lookout point on Mt. Teide offers an ideal vantage point for sunset watching or stargazing, and marks the start of a more challenging 30-minute hike to the volcano’s summit. On the island of Lanzarote, head into Timanfaya National Park for a walk into the crater of Volcán del Cuervo, where you might spot a rare barbary falcon.
The varied landscapes of the Canary Islands make them a popular spot for alternative modes of transportation. On Lanzarote, get behind the wheel of a buggy for an off-road adventure past whitewashed villages, beautiful beaches, and volcanic landscapes. On Gran Canaria, the rolling Maspalomas Dunes (Dunas de Maspalomas) and lunar landscapes are best explored the traditional way, from the saddle of a camel.
Snorkeling and Diving
The waters off Tenerife’s Costa Adeje provide a critical habitat for sea turtles, and mild weather and excellent visibility make the area a prime spot for snorkeling, where it’s possible to see not only Canary turtles but also many other colorful marine plants and animals in their natural habitats. Those who want dive deeper into the marine ecology of Tenerife can opt for a specialty scuba diving course in fish identification, led by a certified PADI instructor.