Surely more than one person asked themselves this question when they chose the Canary Islands as their destination. And this is not an easy question, since the entire archipelago consists of 7 main islands, which differ, and quite a lot among themselves, and each is attractive in its own way.
We have been to 4 of them, Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote, by far the most popular ones. In this post we will try to outline for you in brief points the main differences, pros and cons of each island separately, so that you can more easily decide which island to go to.
Table of contents
Without hiding it, it is definitely our number 1 when it comes to the Canary Islands. Let me emphasize right away that this is our choice, for you this island does not have to be so great at all ;) Why?
First of all, the climate, views, fauna and flora :) Tenerife in every part of the island manages to surprise us, offering views ranging from lunar, almost desert and black sand beaches to beautiful green areas.
Unlike other islands, Tenerife is not strong when it comes to beaches. Here it definitely loses out to Fuerteventura or even Lanzarote. Although you can’t forget Las Teresitas, which is the prettiest beach in Tenerife. However, Tenerife has much more to offer.
The Teide volcano is an unquestionable plus of this island. The highest point in Spain and the most important point in the Canary Islands in our opinion. Overnight by the ocean, you practically soar to nearly 4,000 meters above sea level. Mega impression! Plus those lunar views :) We recommend our coverage of the ascent of Teide on foot.
Tenerife also offers Loro Park (one of the world’s best zoos according to TripAdvisor), or Siam Park (Europe’s largest water park). So we have plenty of activities for at least two full days of your stay, and if you are traveling with children they are sure to be delighted. Although you could spend several days in Siam Park as well ;)
Adding to the pluses are the mountainous areas, full of beautiful views like Masca and the surrounding area, or Anaga Mountains (omitting, of course, the already mentioned Teide).
Like any island, both Tenerife and Tenerife can be driven around in one day (preferably in a rented car – you can read how to drive a car around Tenerife in this post). However, in our opinion, it is this island that offers the greatest number of places “to see”. :)
All the well-known stores are available locally, lots of larger and smaller markets, and even Primark;) There are also two airports on the island, so we have many options for travel both between the islands and to/from Poland (Wizz Air, Ryanair, charters, or even Air Berlin via Germany).
The downside? If you are looking for a strong water experience (surfing, etc.), or intend to spend most of your time on the beach, this will not be the ideal place for you. There are, of course, places where you can both beach and go wild on the water, but this is not Tenerife’s strong point.
However, it is worth coming here for a minimum of two days to see Teide and to go to Siam Park or Loro Park. Although you won’t be bored here for 2 weeks either :)
Bottom line: we recommend it! :)
You can see all the posts about Tenerife here.
Here, without hiding it, we liked Gran Canaria the least of all the islands. This is, of course, our subtle feeling. We were only on the island for one day, however, we drove the length and breadth of the island, which you can read about in our post about Gran Canaria.
To answer your question right away: no, a one-day stay is unlikely to have affected our feelings. Why? Because the first time we were also in Fuerteventura we were only in Fuerteventura for one day and we had completely different impressions and feelings about the island ;)
In stark contrast to Tenerife, Gran Canaria was for us a mostly empty island with no greenery. In addition, without super views. Fact, you’ll find some interesting towns here, such as the capital Las Palmas, or Agaete, Arucas or Maspalomas. However, if we were to be here for a week, we would definitely get bored.
The beaches also did not impress us, but it may be a matter of the weather we were in, because it was not a pleasure for us to lie on the sand and only wonder how to protect ourselves from the wind and sand here (we did not behave like typical Poles and did not take a screen with us…. ;-)).
In our opinion, Gran Canaria is such an island for a day ;)
Fuerteventura is beating Tenerife for the number 1 position on our list ;) Although even for us it is better than Tenerife in several respects. If we wanted to return to the Canaries for more relaxation than off-roading, but at the same time not to be bored in one place, we would definitely choose Fuerteventura.
The biggest plus point of this island is its beaches. All of them! With Corralejo Natural Park at the forefront. Large selection, considerable space, beautiful weather, clean and warm water. Fuertea can safely be considered the beach island of Europe :)
In addition, water sports enthusiasts will find plenty of places to surf and learn it (numerous schools).
Interesting and nice views can be found practically in every corner of the island, so it’s worth renting a car to take a leisurely tour of the entire island, while testing every beach you come across :)
Lanzarote is our biggest (positive) surprise when it comes to the Canaries. Already familiar with Tenerife and Fuerteventura, we didn’t expect that little Lanzarote would be able to offer us something super. Oh how wrong we were! :)
It is both a place for water sports (excellent surfing conditions), cycling, sightseeing as well as beachcombing. On top of that, Lanzarote offers pretty decent beaches, post-volcanic areas and accommodation bases. There is an equally surprising amount of greenery on it (especially compared to Fuerteventura).
When you add the ferry connection to Fuertea (the trip takes about 30 minutes), you have another island on the podium ;)
Traveling between islands
How to travel between islands? We have two options: by ferry or by plane. We’ve already written a bit about inter-island flights. We recommend you the excellent Binter Canarias airline, where by buying a ticket well in advance, their travel between the islands will be cheaper than by ferry.
Aside from the travel time :) By plane, the trip takes from half an hour (Tenerife-Gran Canaria) to an hour (Tenerife-Fuerteventura). By ferry, the trip can take over 8 hours! The exception here, of course, is the connection between Fuerteventura and Lanzarote, where ferries run frequently and the trip takes about 30 minutes.
Is it worth traveling between islands? Yes! To see as much as possible while in the area (if you have the time and money to do so, of course). However, it is worth considering staying on several islands. For example, a week in Tenerife and a week in Fuerteventura, or a week in Fuerteventura and a week in Lanzarote. The cost of the trip will not increase so much, and you can see much more :)
Tenerife or Fuerteventura combined with Lanzarote :) Tenerife is a definite number one for those who do not like to be bored. However, Fuerteventura combined with Lanzarote also offers quite a bit. Although the choice is yours anyway ;-)
What about you, which Canary Island do you like best and why?
Be sure to let us know in the comments :)