A Canary Islands guide to the best of Spain’s sunniest islands always comes in handy at this time of year. Here’s our take on where’s perfect for October half term getaways, winter sun and easy family trips any time of year.
Try Tenerife for half term getaways and winter sun
Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands and a great all-rounder for multi-gen family holidays.
Kids love the beaches and theme parks, especially in the sunny south. But the balance of lively resorts and more authentic towns and villages, goes a long way to keeping everyone happy, even on the busiest coasts. Plus, you’re never far from dramatically beautiful landscapes anywhere in Tenerife, most of them very accessible.
Why take a family trip to Tenerife?
- Two airports: Tenerife South and North. Direct UK flights, from 4 hours, year round.
- Sunny south coast for golden beaches, watersports, lively resorts towns.
- North west coast for volcanic beaches, lush countryside, and Puerto de la Cruz.
- Walking, hiking and stargazing in Teide National Park.
- The historic and cultured capital, Santa Cruz.
- Traditional towns and villages like Masca and Garachico.
- Authentic local culture, mountain village markets, artisan workshops and artist’s studios.
Gran Canaria is good for adventurous families
Gran Canaria is often called, ‘a continent in miniature’ and it’s not too much of an exaggeration. The next up in our Canary Islands guide has over 70km of beaches. It’s also home to the Maspalomas Dunes – a contender for the ‘New Seven Wonders of the World’. And the interior is like an enormous mountainous playground for climbing and hiking and mountain biking.
Why take a family trip to Gran Canaria?
- Direct UK flights to Las Palmas, year round, from 4 hours, 25 minutes.
- Over one third of the island is a UNESCO Biosphere, and it has 32 protected areas including the Maspalomas Dunes and Doramas Jungle.
- Summer temperatures average 32˚ and seldom drop below 22˚ in winter.
- Good for guided hikes, mountain bike tours, and camel trekking.
- Catch and release cruises are a great intro to deep sea fishing for older kids and teens.
- Of the world’s 79 dolphin species, 29 swim off the coast of Gran Canaria.
- Over 70km of beaches, best for water sports and sailing on the south coast.
Lanzarote is our pick for older kids and teens
Lanzarote is known as the ‘island of eternal spring’ because of the amazing weather. It’s closer to North Africa than it is to Spain and temperatures can easily hit 35˚ in July and August. The west coast is a magnet for serious surfers and top spot for surf schools and camps, even in autumn and winter. Cyclists rave about the island’s smooth roads and peaceful rides along car-free coastal paths. And, then there’s immense Timinfaya National Park.
Why take a family trip to Lanzarote?
- Direct UK flights to Arrecife, year round, four hours.
- Costa Teguise is top Canary Island destination for beginner windsurfing.
- Surf School Lanzarote on the north west coast is one of the best in Europe.
- The Risco de Famara range is the island’s highest and criss-crossed with biking and hiking trails.
- Guided eco-treks in volcanic Timinfaya National Park are fun walking adventures for kids (you can camel trek too).
- Enormous Famara Beach is fantastic for kitesurfing (and beginner’s lessons).
- Try unique caving on guided tours of the underground lava tunnels all over Lanzarote.
Choose cool and eco La Palma for younger kids
La Palma is said to be the prettiest of the Canary Islands: the capital, Santa Cruz de la Palma would look perfectly at home in the 18th century. On top of the prettiness, the entire island is also a UNESCO biosphere, as well as one of Europe’s Dark Skies reserves. Plus it keeps up with the rest of the Canaries on the beaches front.
Why take a family trip to La Palma
- The greenest Canary Island, with over 1000km of marked walking and cycling trails.
- Roque de la Muchachos Observatory is one of the best in Europe.
- Hiking in enchanting Los Tilos, the largest laurel forest in the Canaries.
- Exploring the colour-changing, salt flats at Fuencaliente.
- Port Naos beaches and seafood restaurants.
- Colourful Santa Cruz de la Palma, the island’s historic capital.
- Climbing and walking in Caldera de Taburiente National Park.
Fuerteventura has the best beaches in the Canary Islands
Fuerteventura is the oldest of the Canary Islands and home to over 150km of beaches, just don’t expect acres of sun loungers and crowds. The sands here are wildly beautiful and often practically deserted so you can give kids a lot more freedom here than on the busier Canaries. Sporty teenagers will love the windsurfing, kitesurfing and plain old surfing here. And soulful types have quaint villages and the charming little city of Betancuria to fall in love with.
Why take a family trip to Feurteventura?
- Direct UK flights to Fuerteventura take from 4 hours, 20 minutes.
- Only an hour by ferry, it’s also a popular day out from Lanzarote.
- La Concha Beach is one of the loveliest in Europe.
- Lobos Islet Natural Park is a haven for monk seals and sea lions.
- Costa Calma golden sand beaches on the south of the island stretch, unbroken, for 10km.
- The entire island was designated a UNESCO biosphere in 2009.
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