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 Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife, Canary Islands

Lanzarote or fuerteventura in november: Tenerife, Lanzarote or Fuerteventura? How to find the best Canary Islands holiday for you this winter

Опубликовано: January 25, 2023 в 3:01 am


Категории: November

Tenerife, Lanzarote or Fuerteventura? How to find the best Canary Islands holiday for you this winter

You’ve probably seen footage of the volcano on La Palma, but the eruptions have only – briefly – closed its airport, with the seven other Canary Islands very much open.

With no need for the double vaccinated, or under-12s, to test on the way out the Canaries are an enticing prospect for a winter sun escape, whether you seek a beach break, adventure or art.

Fuerteventura – the best beaches

This sinewy isle is draped with a beach at every turn and they’re the stuff of glossy brochures. The Corralejo Dunes look more Caribbean than Canarian. Corralejo is the pick of the resorts too, as it’s still a Canarian village with a more authentic vibe than Caleta de Fuste or Morro Jable. It’s home to a string of white sand wonders, but for sands entirely to yourself hike west towards the fishing village of El Cotillo. Numerous white sand coves are punctuated by craggy volcanic rocks and views to Lanzarote.

After a £1m revamp, Corralejo’s Bahiazul Villas & Club offers the best of both worlds: luxury self-catering with the services of a hotel. Villas sleeping six from €232.

Tenerife – the all-rounder

The largest Canary isle has it all – the Unesco World Heritage town of La Laguna, the world’s second biggest carnival after Rio, a mountain (Teide) almost three times higher than Ben Nevis and world-class seafood.

A string of sultry southern beach resorts in the south caters to more than six million sun-seeking Europeans a year, leaving the rest of the island blissfully untouched. In Siam Park and Loro Parque you also have two of Europe’s top family attractions.

Hotel Botanico offers old-world luxury in the quieter northern resort town of Puerto de la Cruz. It reopened in August after renovations and has a great spa and Thai restaurant. Doubles from €220 (£188).

Gran Canaria – the adventure playground

With its remarkable scenic diversity, from the sweeping sand dunes of Maspalomas, through to thick laurel forests and rugged, bare mountains, the Canarios hail Gran Canaria as the “Continent in Miniature”; the whole island is a Unesco Biosphere Reserve.

The capital, Las Palmas, is a vibrant port city with hints of Rio in its carnival, sandy beach boulevard and laid-back vibe.

The most popular resorts are in the south, with hikers drawn inland to the Tamadaba Natural Park. The isle is great for road cycling and mountain biking; professional teams train here. As do football teams. In the water, it’s surfing, windsurfing and kiteboarding alongside stand up paddleboarding.

Seaside Hotels operates the family-friendly Hotel Palm Beach (doubles from €217) and the even more luxurious Grand Hotel Residencia, both by the Maspalomomas dunes (doubles from €355).

Guatiza cactus garden designed by Cesar Manrique in Lanzarote (Photo: Marc Dozier/Getty Images)

Lanzarote – the chic choice

This is the most chic of the Canaries, thanks to visionary local architect César Manrique – the Canarian Gaudí – who conjured up waves of striking buildings and viewpoints, while preventing high-rise hotels. Whitewashed villages such as Teguise and Haria still feel timeless, as do the vineyards where Malvasia vines have been grown since the days when Shakespeare eulogised “Malmsey”.

The h20 Rubicon Palace is the best hotel in the relaxed southern resort of Playa Blanca; doubles from €132.

La Gomera – the hiker’s haven

Stick on your boots and catch the ferry from Tenerife. The capital of San Sebastian de la Gomera’s claim to fame is that it was the last place Columbus stopped en route to the Americas.

The real treasures lie inland as Garajonay National Park spreads its beautifully bucolic tentacles, including some of the best-preserved laurel forests: more Jurassic Park than theme park. A gruelling, but deeply rewarding option is a village-to-village self-guided hike with Macs Adventure (eight days from £755pp excluding flights).

Parador de la Gomera is a stately wooden dame with epic views out over the Atlantic and back to Tenerife’s Teide. Doubles from €130.

El Hierro coastline (Photo: Daniel Gonzalez/Getty)

El Hierro – the final frontier

You have to really want to get to El Hierro, the western Canarian outlier. It’s almost three hours by ferry from Tenerife, or a flight from Tenerife’s less used northern airport. The effort is repaid with an island different to the rest of the archipelago.

Valverde is the only inland capital, and at 600m it is often referred to as “The Village Above the Clouds”. The fishing village of La Restinga offers boat-fresh seafood and a nearby interpretation centre, which investigates the 2011 eruption that came within metres of creating another Canary Isle.

Parador de El Hierro is fittingly for El Hierro, at the end of one-way road to the end of the world. Great sea views and doubles from €115 .

La Graciosa – the Crusoe isle

The “newest” Canary Island was designated in 2018. This is proper holiday adventure as you bash across the Atlantic from Lanzarote. Tarmac roads are replaced by sandy tracks on La Graciosa, 4x4s eking around the “streets” of the only village, Caleta de Sebo.

Breaking off into the wilds, cycle to the northern volcanoes. Real Robinson Crusoes will spy the distant rough necklace of islets just to the north, accessible on private boat trips if you want to sail even further off the tourist map.

Should You Visit Fuerteventura or Lanzarote?

I have a confession to make: when I was invited to explore the islands of Fuerteventura and Lanzarote, I had to go straight to Google Maps to find out where these destinations were. In case you’re also wondering, they’re in the Canary Islands which, although owned by Spain, are situated off the coast of Morocco.

Geography aside, I still wasn’t sure what to expect when I arrived on the islands of Fuerteventura and Lanzarote, and whether there would even be a difference between the two.

Although the two do have some things in common (similar climates, culture and food, for example), there are many differences as well. Knowing what to expect in each destination will help you choose which one is right for you, or whether to visit both. So without further ado, let me answer the question I was asked most about my trip – Fuerteventura or Lanzarote: which island in the Canaries should you visit?

Fuerteventura: the essentials

The tiny island of Fuerteventura is 1,660 square kilometres of fascinating scenery and pristine beaches. Hugging the edge of this volcanic piece of land is a shoreline that sun seekers flock to. The resort towns of Correlejo in the north and Playa del Matorral in the south are some of the most popular beach destinations, but a short drive in any direction will reveal plenty more unbelievable stretches of coast on which to relax.

Some beaches are rocky, some sandy, and many black from volcanic grains, but the water is a brilliant blue and the sun shines for 320 days of the year so it’s no surprise that so many people come here for all-inclusive breaks without ever leaving the confines of their resort.

It would be a mistake not to explore though, if only because there are few places in the world that are so unique. Fuerteventura was formed some twenty million years ago when volcanic activity under the ocean caused molten magma to rise to the surface. There it cooled, birthing the Canary Islands, on which you often feel like you’re on another planet entirely.

Not much grows in the arid interior of this island. Some muted green bushes can be spotted at intervals and the odd palm tree stands in solitude against an ochre backdrop. But on the whole, time feels like it’s been left behind in a destination where traffic lights are a novelty and conservation is prioritised over development.

What to see and do in Fuerteventura

To make the most of your visit, rent a car at the airport and start with the big picture by heading up Tegu Mountain to Morro Velosa, where you can enjoy a sweeping panorama over the mountains to the brilliant blue waters across the island. The museum inside offers an insight into how the island was formed, how the locals survive and the ecological challenges faced by Fuerteventura.

From here, stop in the quaint town of Betancuria to admire the cathedral and enjoy a tasty lunch at Casa Santa Maria.

The old fishing harbour of El Cotillo is well worth a visit to wander among its blue and white houses that make you feel like you’ve stepped into a traditional Greek town. There’s no longer a fishing trade, but the restaurants still serve the daily catch straight from the ocean, and it’s the perfect location to watch the sun set with an icy cold drink in hand.

Nearby is the towering red and white lighthouse of Tostón, standing sentry on its black rocky beach, now a conservation park.

If this all sounds a bit too tame, head straight for Playa Sotavento, home of the world windsurfing championship, to try your hand at an aquatic sport. Lobos Island, best reached by ferry from Corralejo, is known for its excellent snorkelling, but you can spot marine life wherever you step into the water around Fuerteventura.

If you’re staying in Correlejo, be sure to spend some time sinking your toes into the bright white sands of Parque Natural de Corralejo, a rolling sea of dunes, where you’ll be sure to capture plenty of Instagram-worthy photos. Look out for goats while you’re there!

Best for: Nature lovers and beach seekers
Where to stay: Gran Hotel Atlantis Bahia Real, a 5 star hotel with a stunning private beach
Visit in: October, for perfect temperatures without the summer crowds or springtime winds
Don’t forget to pack: Your swimsuit & sunscreen

Lanzarote: the essentials

Stepping off the ferry, it was immediately apparent that Lanzarote is not just a duplicate of Fuerteventura, which sits just 15 kilometres away. The water is every bit as blue, the mountains just as volcanic and the interior equally arid, but it looks and feels completely different to its neighbour. Lanzarote is jam-packed with changing terrain, picturesque towns, art, museums, the world’s strangest wine region and fascinating reminders of the power of nature.

The volcanic activity here resulted in black, thick lava oozing across the landscape or tumbling in large chunks from the mountains to the sea, creating dramatic black cliffs and moon-like vistas as far as the eye can see.

What to see and do in Lanzarote

Like Fuerteventura, you’ll need a car to explore the best bits of this island. Be sure to make a stop at Los Hervideros – the name translates to ‘boiling pots’, and it’s from here that you can watch waves crash against the black cliffs and listen to the thunderous roaring of the ocean from lava balconies that punctuate the rocks.

Not far from here is Lago Verde, a bright green lake formed in a volcanic crater that extends into the ocean. The surrounding cliffs are black waves of lava and fiery red sand, and the resulting scene is a kaleidoscope of colour and texture that needs to be seen to be believed. Head down the hill to El Golfo for a meal at one of the small fish restaurants perched on the black beach.

A visit to Timanfaya National Park is a must, although to get the most out of it, a walking tour is essential (if you choose a bus tour you won’t be allowed to exit the vehicle). At the visitor centre you can experience a demonstration showing the heat that remains under the island’s surface, with temperatures reaching up to 700 degrees Celsius just 13 metres below your feet.

The influence of Lanzarote’s most famous artist resident, César Manrique, is visible across the island, with plenty of public sculptures and monuments highlighting the natural beauty of this destination. Mirador del Rio, a lookout and cafe designed by Manrique, is well worth a visit for the breathtaking view over the Chinijo Archipelago.

The artist’s style is best discovered at César Manrique Foundation, the house he designed and lived in, located in the heart of a dramatic lava field. Now a museum and art gallery displaying works from Picasso, Miro, Manrique and many more Spanish artists, even the least arty person will enjoy walking through the quirky rooms that make you feel at one with the spectacular landscape of Lanzarote.

Best for: Adventure seekers and culture lovers
Where to stay: The brand new boutique La Isla Y El Mar Hotel or legendary sports hub Club La Santa
When to visit: As with Fuerteventura, October is an ideal time to visit this island
Don’t forget to pack: Trainers and your camera

Lanzarote and Fuerteventura are so different that it’s well worth visiting both. For a seven day break, start in Fuerteventura and stay in Gran Hotel Atlantis Bahia Real, a five star hotel in Correlejo from which you can unwind and take day trips to explore different sights across the island.

Linger for three days and then catch the ferry to Lanzarote for four more days of exploration and adventure. With an abundance of incredible cuisine, otherworldly scenery and beaches begging to be relaxed upon, the only thing you’ll be worried about is catching the flight home at the end of your trip.

Huge thanks to the Spanish Tourist Office, Lanzarote Tourist Board and Fuerteventura Tourist Board for showing me around these two spectacular islands.

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Tours in Lanzarote in November 2022 for 17 days

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  • Costa del Sol
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  • Seville
  • Basque Country
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