Scenic Landscapes

Gran Canaria The fabulous interior feels a little like the Rockies, especially around the Cruz de Tejeda and Artenara.

El Teide No hiking boots necessary to reach Spain's highest peak, accessible by cable car and offering heady views.

Parque Nacional de Timanfaya For a moonscape of extraordinary rock formations, colours and atmosphere, explore Lanzarote's national park.

La Gomera The whole island is mountainscape heaven; one of the finest lookout spots is the national park's Alto de Garajonay.

Mirador del Río The Manrique masterpiece hanging off a Lanzarote cliff offers sweeping views of the Chinijo Archipelago.

El Hierro Viewpoints gaze out over tumbling panoramas all over the Canaries' second-smallest island.

Beaches

The southern resorts have magnificent but crowded beaches, while the black-sand gems of El Hierro, La Palma and La Gomera are often deserted.

Playa de Cofete, Fuerteventura Quite possibly the most adorable, unspoilt stretch of golden sand on the entire archipelago.

Playa de las Teresitas, Tenerife Powder-soft sands, good seafood restaurants and a re­assuringly Spanish vibe.

Endless dunes, Gran Canaria Clamber across the extraordinary dunes in Maspalomas.

Playa del Papagayo, Lanzarote Drive along dirt track to this pale-sand nature-reserve beach, then hit its neighbour Playa Mujeres.

Playa de las Conchas, Isla Graciosa You're likely to have this gorgeous stretch of blonde sand all to yourself, but take care in the water.

Natural pools, El Hierro Not exactly the beach, but El Hierro's seawater pools are a Canaries highlight.

Water Sports

Fuerteventura and Lanzarote are known for wind and waves, while diving is best on El Hierro.

El Cotillo At the heart of Fuerteventura’s surfing scene, surrounded by unspoilt windswept beaches.

La Caleta de Famara Lanzarote’s hottest surf spot: kiteboarding, windsurfing, bodyboarding, yoga…

La Restinga Warm, clear waters make this coastal El Hierro village a diver's dream.

Playa de Sotavento de Jandía Kitesurfers and windsurfers flock to this golden Fuerteventura beach that hosts the Windsurfing World Cup.

Pozo Izquierdo A quieter place to windsurf with a handful of well-trusted agencies, on Gran Canaria.

Southern resorts At Tenerife's Los Cristianos, and Gran Canaria's Puerto de Mogán, Maspalomas and Playa del Inglés.

Hiking

Aside from July and August, when the weather is at its hottest and dustiest, the climate is sufficiently mild to enjoy spectacular walks across all islands.

Parque Nacional del Teide, Tenerife Tackle the summit or base for some of Tenerife's top hikes, through lunar landscapes.

Ruta de los Volcanes, La Palma This 19km trek shuffles over volcanic ash towards the site of the Canaries' latest eruption.

Parque Nacional de Garajonay, La Gomera Shady walks of all difficulty levels criss-cross La Gomera's enchanting laurisilva forest.

Parque Nacional de Timanfaya, Lanzarote Book ahead to walk through silent lava fields, or hike the park-bordering Caldera Blanca.

Parque Nacional de la Caldera de Taburiente, La Palma Climb the path to Pico Bejenado for stunning views or opt for any other viewpoint trail.

Roque Nublo, Gran Canaria It takes just 30 minutes to reach Gran Canaria's iconic monolith from the roadside car park.

Barranco de Masca, Tenerife A demanding and dramatic descent through a ravine to the ocean (due to reopen in summer 2019).

El Hierro Follow the 27km Camino de la Virgen pilgrimage or tackle the cliffside Camino de Jinama.

Isla de Lobos You'll feel entirely alone as you skirt the edge of this uninhabited island off Fuerteventura.

Wine & Cheese

La Geria Lanzarote’s most famous volcanic-vine region, with bodegas for buying, touring and tasting (local goat's cheese included!).

Queso Majorero Buy your Fuerteventura cheese at a local quesería where you can taste it first.

Malvasía wine The malvasía grape produces a sweet dessert wine – taste at bodegas in Tenerife and La Palma.

Casa del Vino La Baranda, Tenerife Taste the region's robust red wines at this museum with attached restaurant.

Queso de Flor, Gran Canaria Sample creamy cheese blended with thistle flowers at the source in pretty Santa María de Guía.

El Hierro Unravel the westernmost isle's slowly growing wine scene, with its unusual grapes and enterprising bodegas.

Archaeology

The islands' pre-Hispanic culture was virtually wiped out during the Spanish conquest, but a few fascinating Guanche sites remain.

Cueva Pintada, Gran Canaria The geometric designs at this cave are thought to be some sort of calendar.

Cenobio de Valerón, Gran Canaria An impressive set of caves and grain stores clinging to a cliffside.

Cuatro Puertas, Gran Canaria A human-made cave with four entrances sits atop a hill just outside Telde.

La Zarza, La Palma A small visitor centre close to ancient swirling rock engravings.

Museo de la Naturaleza y el Hombre, Tenerife This Santa Cruz de Tenerife museum has superb exhibits on pre-Hispanic culture.

Museo Arqueológico de Lanzarote Arrecife's excellent 2018-opened archaeology gallery highlights the island's turbulent history.

Art & Architecture

Hot spots for art lovers include Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Santa Cruz de Tenerife and the entire island of Lanzarote.

César Manrique's designs Sprinkled all over Lanzarote, the artist's modern sculptures and buildings blend beautifully with its stark landscapes.

Tenerife Espacio de las Artes A breathtakingly modern architectural marvel housing exhibitions with an emphasis on socially conscious pieces.

Santa Cruz de la Palma Probably the best-looking town in the archipelago, with a surfeit of ancient churches and heritage architecture.

Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno, Gran Canaria Along with its two satellite museums, Las Palma's CAAM showcases superb contemporary exhibitions.

La Laguna, Tenerife Ancient town stuffed to the gills with charm and traditional architecture at every turn.

San Sebastián de la Gomera Wander pastel-hued alleys past ancient homes and churches, on an island with a boho artist scene.

Teguise Lanzarote's original capital dates back to at least the 15th century.

Off the Beaten Track

In addition to these recommendations, heading out hiking will get your right off the beaten track on pretty much every island.

Cofete, Fuerteventura A vertiginous dirt road leads to a minuscule hamlet, spectacular surf beach and mysterious mansion…

Anaga Mountains, Tenerife Hike in verdant pine forests and discover bucolic hamlets untouched by time.

Isla Graciosa, Lanzarote Camp on the beach and cycle a circuit of the tiny eighth Canary Island.

Cala de Tacorón, El Hierro Kick back at idyllic rocky coves with crystal-clear waters – though the entire island is OTBT!

Charco Azul, La Palma Dine on the day’s catch then take a dip in saltwater pools carved from volcanic rock.

Fortaleza de Ansite, Gran Canaria Hike to this spectacularly positioned Guanche site, where a tunnel is hollowed out through the mountainside.

Playa del Risco, Lanzarote Trek for an hour to reach a pristine pale-gold beach in the island's northwest.

Spas

The Canaries host some superb spas, including seawater-based thalassotherapy centres, and most independent hotels arrange massages, yoga and/or meditation.

Aqua Club Termal, Tenerife This Costa Adeje complex is the island's most impressive place to relax, with a thalassotherapy circuit.

Barceló Thalasso, Fuerteventura Visit Caleta de Fuste’s glass cube of a beachside thalassotherapy centre.

San Agustín, Gran Canaria Reputedly the largest thalassotherapy centre in Europe.

Hotel Balneario Pozo de la Salud, El Hierro The spring next to this (spa) hotel has been touted for its health benefits since the 1800s.

La Isla y El Mar, Lanzarote A boutique spa hidden away in an eco-conscious designer resort in Puerto del Carmen.

Finca Argayall, La Gomera There's a chilled-out vibe at this communal living space with yoga classes, meditation and health therapies.

History

La Laguna, Tenerife A Unesco World Heritage site and veritable open-air museum of heritage architecture.

Santa Cruz de la Palma Possibly the best looking and most charming historic town centre of them all.

San Sebastián de la Gomera The colourful capital where Columbus made his final pre-Americas stop.

Betancuria, Fuerteventura Oodles of history up in the hills of Fuerteventura.

Teguise Lanzarote's long history unravels across the scenic streets of its former capital.

Teror, Gran Canaria Picturesque hill town on Gran Canaria, with history at every good-looking turn.