Canary Island Beaches

Canary Island beaches front the Atlantic Ocean and welcome visitors all year. Because of the wonderful Canary Islands weather, often called eternal spring, frequent flights from the mainland, cruise ship ports, and a vast network of hotels, island holidays are easy to enjoy. On the seven major Canary Islands, you'll find a wide variety of beaches, including family-friendly stretches of sand and surf, secluded coves, an abundance of watersports, private stretches exclusive to resort guests, and rocky outcroppings created by volcanic activity.

Even though the islands share the same perfect weather, there are some other striking differences between them. Along the various islands, the landscape includes salt-water ponds, volcanic coves, towering cliffs, smooth beaches, and soaring sand dunes. The Tenerife beaches are a small snapshot of what you'd find on the Canary Islands as a whole; the mix includes black-sand volcanic beaches, long stretches of golden sand, remote beaches in small fishing villages, tourist favorites, and even a few nude beaches.

The white-sand beaches in Lanzarote also are known for variety. In the capital city of Arrecife, the beaches are quiet, complete with gentle waves and excellent conditions for sandcastle building. The fine sands of Papagayo Beach are more remote, accessible by Jeep tour or a long hike. Once you arrive, you'll be rewarded with amazing views and a quiet atmosphere. Sports enthusiasts tend to favor Playa Blanca and Playa Grande.

The Gran Canaria beaches cover a quarter of the 145-mile coastlines, and they too offer a wide variety of choices. You'll find plenty of beaches primed for fun, lined by endless rows of beach chairs, restaurants, and Grand Canaria hotels such as Playa del Ingles. San Austin is a little quieter, known for its gently sloping sands and abundance of seafood restaurants along the promenade. Those who want to use Gran Canaria beaches as the launching point for adventure flock to Puerto Rico, where windsurfing, shopping, and spots to suntan are in plentiful supply.

Stepping off Grand Canaria beaches, or any of the others, you'll find a wide array of fun things to do. The long list ranges from mild to wild, from swimming and whale-watching cruises to body boarding and aquatic parachuting. Local outfitters equip visitors with all of the equipment they need as well as lessons, safety training, guide service, and the knowledge of some of the best places to go. So if you have a favorite beach activity or want to try something new, it won't be difficult to find what you'd like to do.

The best windsurfing is often enjoyed at El Medano, one of the Tenerife beaches. Tazacorte on the western coast of La Palma is also a favorite for its wind and favorable waves. Windsurfers also make their way to Las Cucharas on Lanzarote. Thanks to the conditions, surfers also flock to various Canary Island beaches on those three islands as well as Fuerteventura.

Serious anglers report that the waters off the Canary Island beaches are excellent places for sport fishing. With year-round availability, deep-sea fishing is easy to locate and enjoy. Several knowledgeable local guides are on hand to lead excursions and share their knowledge of the best places to fish.

The conditions on the south side coast of the islands are almost always ideal for diving, sheltered from harsh weather thanks to the course of the trade winds. The clear waters, home to a rainbow of marine life, are well suited to underwater photography. And because of the volcanic formations, divers will find an assortment of interesting places to explore. Challenges await with the vertical walls, but new divers can stick to the caves where it is not as difficult to navigate the underwater landscape.

The Gran Canaria beaches and Tenerife beaches are a fantastic place to watch for dolphins and whales; in fact, the Canary Islands are the only places in Europe where pilot and beaked whales are regularly spotted.

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