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Spain is the most popular destination for holidaymakers from Ireland and the UK, which means that those seeking sunshine and sand will have considered visiting the Canary Islands at some point.

Gran Canaria, Tenerife, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura and La Palma are the most popular islands for families to visit, so here’s a brief overview of each island to help you to decide which one is the right destination for your next family holiday.

Tenerife

Tenerife is the biggest island of them all, so there’s plenty going on to keep you and the kids entertained. And you can easily book a taxi in Tenerife to get around.

The top half of the island is great for trekking if you want to show the kids some scenery, whereas the south has all the amenities a family could need on holiday, such as shops, restaurants and bars. And, because it’s the biggest island, it also has the highest number of beaches to chose from.

Book a holiday to Tenerife and you could sprawl out on golden sand shipped in from the Sahara at Playa de las Americas, or experience the black sand in Puerto de la Cruz. You could even take the kids to Siam Park for fun on the waterslides if you fancy getting off the beach for a bit.

The top half of the island is great for trekking with spectacular scenery.

Because it’s the biggest island, it also has the highest number of beaches to chose from.

Gran Canaria

Gran Canaria is a lot like Tenerife, but it’s much smaller. However, some families think the beaches are better in Gran Canaria, and there’s great scenery too if you fancy heading out into the countryside for a drive: it can get a bit Arizona-like in places!

Playas de Ingles is perfect for families who want lots of shops, bars and restaurants (with menus catering for kids who prefer British food, as well as Spanish cuisine), whereas Maspalomas (just next door) is much quieter and features a string of sand dunes… the perfect place for a family walk as the sun sets after dinner.

Take the kids to Palmitos Park if you want to give them a chance to see exotic birds, monkeys, fish and even dolphins.

Lanzarote

There’s not much in the way of high rise developments in Lanzarote, so it’s a fantastic place to see the landscape. In fact, Lanzarote is a popular choice for families who like being outdoorsy and sporty.

The island attracts cyclists and runners to its cliffs and volcanic peaks, and there are lots of golden beaches too with 30 kilometres of beaches to enjoy. Take the kids to Aquapark if they fancy a day hurtling down waterslides.

There’s not much in the way of high rise developments in Lanzarote, so it’s a fantastic place to see the landscape.

Waterslide family kids

Fuerteventura

Fuerteventura is the windiest island in the Canary Islands. The breeze means it’s an incredibly place for windsurfers and kiteboarders, which is fantastic if your family like to do something rather than just sunbathe while you’re on holiday! The sand dunes are great fun to run up and down if you still need to wear the kids out after they’ve spent the day learning how ride the waves.

Jandia is set on Fuerteventura’s southern tip – a small resort that borders onto Morro Jable, and with some restaurants and shops, it’s perfect for families who want to be close to amenities but away from anywhere too busy.

Fuerteventura is the island that’s closest to Africa, and the landscape is ‘softer’ than Lanzarote – you’ll see lots of goats wandering over the hills, and looking for them out the window is a great game to play with the kids to and from the airport. However, you can take the kids to Oasis Park to check out the wildlife if goats aren’t quite exciting enough.

Spain is the most popular destination for holidaymakers from Ireland and the UK, which means that those seeking sunshine and sand will have considered visiting the Canary Islands at some point.

La Palma

Finally, La Palma is beautiful island, rich in history and culture. In years gone by, the island was a stopping-off point by pirates when roaming the oceans, making it somewhere your kids’ imaginations will run wild!

There are plenty of things to do in La Palma, and the bigger towns offer great shopping opportunities, restaurants and choices of entertainment. Walk around cobbled towns, check out the old architecture and pay a visit to the Blue Flag beaches if you fancy a picturesque family holiday.

Time to Make Your Choice

So, now that you know a little more about each island, which one do you think you’d like to head to with your family? Will you and the kids try windsurfing in Fuerteventura, check out the history in La Palma, or benefit from a little bit of everything in Tenerife? Whatever the case, you’re bound to enjoy your time away together!

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Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; a website dedicated to opening your eyes to the wild & natural world.

Committed to bringing you the best in adventure travel from all around the globe, there is no mountain too high, and no fete too extreme! They haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on their list.

Follow their journey on Facebook, TwitterYouTube, Pinterest and Instagram.

Photo credits: Tenerife mountain scenery by ::Lenz. Black beach by Iain Cameron. Lanzarote by IGEO.

    26 Comments

  1. I don’t have a family (yet), but I would pick Lanzarote. I love seeing and taking photos of beautiful landscapes. I hope I can visit here one day soon 🙂

    • Definitely some of the most incredible landscapes in Lanzarote … with or without a family in tow 😀

  2. Wow, Tenerife looks incredibly beautiful. There’s something I love about black sand beaches and the landscape of those mountains are drool worthy. I hadn’t even heard of Tenerife before this post! Thanks for introducing me to another place I have to visit with or without family!

    • Glad we could introduce you to Tenerife – it’s stunningly beautiful indeed! I’m with you on black sand beaches – there’s something mystical and alluring about them which always pulls me in!

  3. Lanzarote or Fuerteventura as Tenerife and Gran Canaria are too commercial for me. I like to get away from it all and that includes my fellow countrymen! No offence

    • No offence taken, it’s always a personal preference as to what kind of travel style you like, which is why we like to provide an overview of all options so people can decide what they would personally enjoy 🙂

      Happy travels!

  4. I’ve made a short documentation about the Tenerife a while back, but didn’t know there are so many options in the nearby area. Lanzarote seems great for me, I don’t know why, but I would definitely go there too.

    • So glad to hear you enjoyed your time in Tenerife – hope you have the chance to explore Lanzarote too 🙂

  5. La Palma sounds like it would be right for me. I like anything to do with history or pirates. But Gran Canaria also sounds lovely because I like the beach. I hope I get to visit some day!

    • Why not make it an island hopping adventure and visit them both 😀

  6. My choice would definitely be Lanzarote, but I’d love to check out every single one. Do most people travel by boat to get from one island to the next? Would it make sense to visit more than one island in a single vacation? You’ve got me kind of excited to check it out!

    • Glad we could get you excited about the islands Tara! There are a bunch of options for traveling between the islands, and they’re all quite close so it’s quick and easy whether or not you choose to go by boat or plane. They all have airports and ports.

      There are 8 airports which connect the islands, and in all cases the flying time is less than an hour with departures all day every day. You can fly with either Binter or Canary Fly.

      Travelling by boat is usually cheaper and you can spot marine mammals along the way. You can book with Armas, Fred Olsen, Líneas Romero or Biosfera Express.

      You can definitely visit more than one island in a single vacation – one option if you don’t have a great deal of time is basing yourself in one spot and then organizing excursions; organised tours run between the islands by boat or sailing boat, departing and returning on the same day. You can see new places without having to stay overnight 🙂

      Let us know if you have any other Q’s – happy holidays!

  7. Have been hearing great things about canary islands. I wish I could’ve made it there where I was in Spain but only managed Barcelona and Ibiza. So little time so much to see. Lanzarote sounds like my kind of place with spectacular landscapes.

    • Though that said, Barcelona and Ibiza are fabulous locations too 🙂 Just means you have an excuse for a return trip! Totally agree that there is so much to see! Lanzarote is a great choice 🙂

  8. Thanks for this summary. We are stopping on 3 Canary Islands on our coming cruise – Lanzarote, La Palma and Tenerife. Still haven’t decided on excursions for our day stops. Maybe we will just wander.

    • Glad we could help Linda 🙂 Sounds like an amazing cruise – yes, I would say that re excursions and day stops, unless something really jumps out at you that you’re dying to do, like trekking, or water activities, wandering at your own pace is a great way to immerse yourself and explore.

      Have a wonderful trip!

    • Meg We had the most amazing stops in the Canary Islands. It was so much more spectacular than we expected. We saw Lanzarote, La Palma and Tenerife. We didn’t get into the water. That will be a next trip! Linda

    • Awesome Linda! (welcome back!) So glad to hear that you had a fab trip – it’s always the sign of a good time when you know there’ll be a next time!

  9. Great read! I would love to go underwater in Gran Canaria, especially after having heard diving reviews from friends. Really liked your post…!

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful piece of information.

    • Glad you enjoyed the post! Hope you have the chance to spend some time underwater when you get there 🙂

  10. This is nice. My wife and I are excited for the vacation we’ve booked in Europe to Spain and definitely we will go to the Canary. Fuerteventura is one of our eyeing place for our 1st stop 🙂 There so many thing we want to do from a page we’ve read on Canary Islands Info.

    • Glad you enjoyed the post Cameron – hope you have an amazing trip to the Islands! You’ll love Fuerteventura – happy travels & have a great time!

  11. I had already been to Gran Canaria and experience the perfect blend of relaxation, sightseeing and a party atmosphere. The glorious year round sunshine, volcanic landscape and beautiful beaches of gran Canaria are woaho!. I really enjoyed my family vacation in Gran Canaria and surely now for next I would like to go on Tenerife as it looks pretty beautiful.
    Gran Canaria Holidays offers lots of fun like you can enjoy Elvis Presley´s live show or explore underwater. Best for Family Holidays!!

    • So glad to hear that your family had a fabulous time in Gran Canaria Jessica! Tenerife is a great choice for your next trip 🙂

      Definitely the perfect combination of holiday fun!

  12. Lots of wonderful things to do in all of them, but I think I would like Gran Canaria the best. Smaller, but scenic with a few amenities. Thanks for sharing this list and adding another place on our ever growing bucket list, lol.

    • Absolutely Samantha, glad our info was useful in helping you decide 🙂 Hope you have the chance to travel soon! Lol I have the same problem with my bucketlist – it grows at a rate faster than I can finish it :D!

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