Canary Islands holiday guide

Canary Islands sunshine holidays

The Canary Islands located 80 miles off the north coast of Africa in the Atlantic Ocean share what many claim to be the best climate in the world with over 3,000 hours of sunshine a year. It’s no surprise that the Canary Islands of Gran Canaria, Tenerife, La Palma, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura and La Gomera are among the most popular Spanish sunshine holiday island destinations.

1. Tenerife, Canary Islands

Las Teresitas Beach and coastline Tenerife
Las Teresitas Beach and coastline Tenerife

Tenerife is the largest of the main seven islands in the Canary Islands, It is a well developed tourist destination with very popular sandy beaches with all year round sunshine on an island that may offer visitors a thousand experiences.

It is renowned for it exciting nightlife, excellent dive sites and many watersports such as surfing, wind surfing, parascending and jet-skiing along with boat trips and dolphin spotting. It is also well known for the pre-lent Carnaval de Santa Cruz with festive parades, music, dancing and colourful costumes. The island is dominated by Mount Teide a dormant volcano that is Spain’s tallest peak and a protected national park with many scenic trails offering visitors stunning panoramas.

Tenerife offers travellers anything from luxury resorts with golf courses and spas to low-cost holiday apartments to suit travellers on a budget. There are also many self catering holiday homes and villas in Tenerife offering space for family and friends.

2. Gran Canaria, Canary Islands

Puerto de Mogan on the coast of Gran Canaria

Gran Canaria is the third largest Island but most populated Canary Island. It has a climate that is warm, sunny and dry all year round with mild nights and is a very popular destination for beach holidays with many miles of sandy beaches and over 200 miles of coastline Inland you will find lush pine forests, picturesque villages and paths around the mountainous centre of island. In Maspalomas in the south you will be able to see the famous sand dunes. The capital city is Las Palmas in the North and has the main port and cultural attractions including museums and cobblestone streets that lead to the Cathedral of Santa Ana. The island has a wildlife park a botanical garden and some fantastic Golf courses including the Salobre golf resort. Being able to enjoy a holiday villa rental in Gran Canaria with a private pool to use at anytime you like may make the whole holiday experience a lot better.

3. La Palma, Canary Islands

Santa Cruz de La Palma
Santa Cruz de La Palma

La Palma is the most north westerly island of the Canary Islands from the west coast of Africa. Its rugged, forested terrain is dotted with volcanoes like Teneguía and Cumbre Vieja and is currently the most volcanically active of the Canary Islands. The Cumbre Vieja volcano erupted spectacularly on September 19th 2021 with devastating red hot molten lava flows reaching the sea. The Caldera de Taburiente National Park has a huge crater-shaped formation in the centre of the island with paths leading to stunning volcanic scenery, pine forests and waterfalls. The island’s capital Santa Cruz de la Palma is a port town with cobbled streets and houses with wooden balconies.

4. Lanzarote, Canary Islands

Lanzarote Canary Island with volcanic vineyards
Lanzarote Canary Island with volcanic vineyards

Lanzarote is located 125 kilometres from the northern coast of Africa and is the 4th largest Island in the archipelago. The island has a dramatic volcanic landscape with geology spectacularly showcased at the Timanfaya National Park that has many hiking trails, old lava flows, hot springs and geysers to see around the volcanic hills. The December and January temperature and warm seas make it an ideal place to enjoy a bit of winter sun or a place where it rarely rains in summer months. Other attractions are the sandy beaches of Playa Blanca, the surfing beach at Famara or the calm waters of Pagayo for swimming and watersports. Puerto del Carmen is the most popular tourist resort on the island of Lanzorote that offers plenty of short and long stay accommodation and self contained holiday homes and Villas.

5. Fuerteventurta, Canary Islands

Beach of Morro Jable, Fuerteventura, Canary Islands, Spain

Fuerteventura is a very popular place for wind surfing especially on the west and north coast that has larger waves. With over 150 beaches to choose from the island is well developed for beach holidays and has some of the best beaches in Europe. The bays of Costa Calma is ideal for families and the sands of Cofete is considered to be the Crown Jewel of the canaries. The town of Corralejo in the north is considered to have some of the best beaches and is also known for it’s nightlife. In fact Fuerteventura caters for practically everybody and has some stunning holiday rentals to choose from where you can savour the history, culture, festivities, local cuisine and natural beauty of Fuerteventura.

6. La Gomera, Canary Islands

San Sebastian de la Gomera, Canary Islands
San Sebastian de la Gomera, Canary Islands, Spain

La Gomera is one of the quietest and smallest of the Canary Islands with a diameter of just 25 kilometres. La Gomera was the place from which Christopher Columbus started his voyages of discovery. The island is a haven for those wanting to escape the crowds of other islands but is a short ferry ride from Tenerife and is an ideal place for those who enjoy hiking. It a forested area and some unique vegetation, ferns and waterfalls in the Garajonay National Park. It may also offer views of the huge dormant volcano on the neighbouring island of Tenerife. The island has not been fully developed for tourism like the other islands but you can still find good holiday home rentals or self catering accommodation on Gomera in the Canary Islands.

Map of the Canary Islands
Map of the Canary Islands, Spain. Tenerife, Gran Canaria, La Palma, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, La Gomera



Travel with Kids

Traveling with kids, vacation with kids

5 Tips to Make Traveling with Kids More Fun for Everyone

You’re dedicated to sharing your love of travel with your children, but with every delayed flight and unplanned pitstop, you find yourself questioning that conviction. Because while traveling with kids can be incredibly rewarding, it can also be incredibly stressful. It’s not easy to plan a vacation the whole family will enjoy, let alone keep the peace when everyone’s jet-lagged and stressed out.

That doesn’t mean it’s not worth it, however. There’s nothing quite like seeing your kids experience a new culture for the first time or watching them excitedly recount their adventures to friends. Instead of scrapping the whole family vacation idea the next time you’re stressed out and far from home, use these tips to make family travel easier on everyone.

Involve kids in planning

If kids feel like they’re just tagging along on Mom and Dad’s holiday, they’re less likely to be excited for the trip. Engage your kids in the holiday planning process in age-appropriate ways. Preschoolers and elementary schoolers may help pack for holiday and pick out toys to take, while middle and high school-aged kids can research the destination and maybe even choose an activity or two of their own.

Stave off travel boredom

Focusing on the road keeps your mind busy while driving, but for kids in the back seat, long miles on the road can feel endless. Cut down on complaints of boredom by setting up in-car wifi. With an in-car hotspot, your kids can stay busy watching videos and playing games on their tablets. Just remember to set everyone up with headphones so you can keep listening to your own music and podcasts in the front seat.

Pay extra for an easier flight

Flying instead? Spare yourself a stressful travel experience by booking an early morning flight and paying extra to fly direct. Early flights are less likely to be crowded or face delays than flights later in the day, and any parent who has missed a connecting flight with a gaggle of kids in tow can tell you why direct flights are worth it. Other tips for a low-stress flight include wearing clothes that come on and off easily — so no buttons, zippers, or laces — and packing plenty of snacks and water to keep kids content during the flight.

Travel light

It’s tempting to take everything but the kitchen sink when traveling with kids, but hauling all that luggage is likely to be more trouble than it’s worth. Pack the necessities like car seats and travel strollers, but avoid filling luggage with clothing and bulky entertainment items. You can always do laundry and buy small items while traveling to avoid overloading your luggage.

Book a holiday rental

Don’t stay in a hotel room where you’ll have to be quiet as a mouse after the kids go to bed and supervise your children wherever they go. Holiday home rentals are far more family-friendly than hotels, with separate bedrooms, multiple bathrooms, and the ability to cook your own meals. Instead of living out of suitcases for a week, you can feel like you’re at home — only better.

The worst thing you can do when traveling with kids? Expecting it to be just like the vacations you took before becoming parents. While traveling as a family is special in its own right, it’s not the same as traveling kid-free. Instead of trying to pack everything into one trip and getting frustrated when your itinerary doesn’t go as planned, go into family travel with a relaxed schedule and an open mind. While you might not hit every attraction or avoid every backseat squabble, the memories you create together make the little stresses more than worth it.

Image via Unsplash

Portugal Tourist info

Portugal holiday info and destination guide  
Portugal is situated in south-western Europe, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the west and south and sharing the Iberian peninsula with Spain to the north and east. The Azores and Madeira in the Atlantic Ocean are also a part of Portugal. The climate is Mediterranean and it is one of the warmest European countries. In mainland Portugal, yearly temperature averages are about 15°C (55°F) in the north and 18°C (64°F) in the south.
Portugal has lately seen a  an increase in popularity as a tourist destination and also a significant increase in prosperity.

Portugal has everything to offer the visitor, a rich, unique culture, lively cities and beautiful countryside with outstanding landscape diversity. It is possible to travel from green mountains in the North, covered with vines and all varieties of trees to rocky mountains, with spectacular slopes and falls in the Central Portugal, to a near-desert landscape in the Alentejo region and finally to the glamorous beach holidays destination of the Algarve – and all this in a single day. For those who like to combine their holiday with leisure and sport, Portugal is a golfing haven with an excellent golfing infrastructure. Fourteen of Portugal’s golf courses are rated in the top 100 best in Europe.

Lisbon 
Lisbon is the capital of Portugal, its contemporary culture is alive and thriving, making it one of the most ‘happening’ places in Europe today.
Stretching along the northern bank of the river Tejo and perched on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, Lisbon is a city that uses water as a defining element where as the land rises away from the water, steep streets and stairways form the old tangled neighbourhoods or give way to squares and green parks. It is an enchanting city with its white bleached limestone buildings, intimate alleyways and an easy going charm mixed with a nostalgia reflected in the traditional music of the fado performed in cafes and small night clubs in the old quarter of the city, the Alfama district.
Still bearing signs of  a long ago Moorish presence in the city, the buildings are very close to each other with irregular streets, winding alleys and the azulejo-covered crumbling walls of ancient buildings. It is a great place in which to wander around.
For people watching the Rossio, the main square in Lisbon, and the equivalent of London’s Trafalgar Square is the meeting place for locals and a great way to experience the lively city life of Lisbon.

Other ‘must-sees’ in any visit to Lisbon are the Belem Tower, the Jerónimos Monastery, the Monument to the Discoveries and the  Cristo Rei, which is similar to the Christ statue in Rio de Janeiro, standing over 100 meters tall on the opposite bank of the Tejo from downtown Lisbon.

Estoril
Further afield but within an easy day trip from Lisbon is Estoril.  Here you will  find a coastline with fabulous beaches interspersed with impressive cliffs overlooking the Atlantic. It used to be the playground of European royalty and this glamorous past is reflected in its many gardens, villas and palaces. Estoril is renowned nowadays for its fresh fish and seafood restaurants, the Estoril Spa, renowned for its regenerative therapies, the Casino Estoril, the largest in Europe, and its golf courses where it is considered one of the top destinations.

Porto
Porto is the second largest city, the capital of the historic region of northern Portugal. Porto is above all renowned for the production of port wine but it is also a busy industrial and commercial centre. It has a semi-Mediterranean climate, but it can be cooler than other cities with this climate because it is strongly affected by the Atlantic Ocean. The city is built along hills that overlook the Douro river estuary. It has a historical centre whose buildings are granite and monumental unlike other major Portuguese cities which tend towards the baroque. It has UNESCO World Heritage status.

Coimbra
Coimbra is a small university city full of interesting places. The medieval centre of Coimbra is wonderful for just wandering around in and getting lost there is a pleasure.  It is unusual in still having a number of independent bookshops, boutiques, toy shops, galleries, antique shops, restaurants and interesting museums.

Evora
Evora is the largest city in the central Alentejo region. It has a magnificent cathedral and cloisters and its historic centre also has UNESCO World Heritage listing.


Algarve

The Algarve is the southernmost region of Portugal, on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. It has stunning coastlines, wonderful beaches and excellent golf courses. The water along its coastline tends to be warmer and calmer than the water along the west coast. In winter, it is a beautiful, peaceful corner of southern Europe with plenty of sun bleaching its white-washed towns with their Iberian and Moorish-influenced architecture.

Faro is the regional capital and main airport for the Algarve but it is popular destination in it’s own right. There is an impressive beach party and night life scene but many visitors might prefer to use Faro as a base to explore other more remote areas of the Algarve in the off-season.

Albufeira, once a small fishing village has now developed into being a very popular tourist area with lovely beaches, a very good climate, and many restaurants, bars and pubs. Algarve holiday homes and villas can be found near some of the most popular beaches and may offer access to some of the finest golf courses in the region. There is a diverse range of luxury holiday home lets and fabulous villas for rent in the Algarve to choose from.

Madeira
Madeira is 310 miles from the African coast and 620 miles from the European continent. It is known worldwide as the island of eternal spring, or the Garden Island. It has a mild if rather wet climate throughout the year.

Funchal, the island’s capital is home to resorts, gorgeous panoramas and lots of local colour. ‘Must-sees’ with any visit to Madeira are the levadas, an impressive system of aqueducts started in the 15th century to bring water from the mountains to farmlands, Cabo Girão, one of the world’s highest ocean cliffs, the magnificent gardens of the Jardim do Monte Palace and the Jardim Orquídea orchid gardens, for which Madeira is justly renowned.

A holiday home or villa in Madeira would be the perfect base for a holiday on the Portuguese island of Madeira.

For info on accommodation in Portugal visit: Portugal Holiday Homes and Villas to let