When it comes to choosing a holiday on the any of the Spanish islands, you are truly spoiled for choice. Reading the names of these islands is like a Greatest Hits of holiday destinations, and it can be difficult to decide where to travel. Here are five of the best Spanish Islands, and what makes them so great.
The biggest of the Balearic Islands, Majorca would appear to have risen from the sea as the ultimate, purpose-built holiday destination. Fine sandy beaches line the entire coastline, varying from the huge coastal resorts around Palma to the secluded coves tucked away along the mountain range of the Serra de Tramuntana, which offers hiking and mountain-biking. The city of Palma itself is well worth a visit to soak in the culture and savor the local cuisine. Majorca is also famous for its caves, especially the Dragon Caves, and a visit is a great way to take a break from the sunshine.
The most largest populous of the Spanish Islands, Tenerife has its well-equipped resorts, such as the Playa de las Americas in the south, but thanks to its size it still retains a raw, less developed feel than some of the other islands, and away from the brilliant beaches are incredible vistas of the Teide National Park, and huge stretches of forests teeming with flora and fauna. Tenerife is also home to the legendary Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, second only to Rio de Janeiro for sheer spectacle. The Teide National Park is also the second most visited national park in the world, a position it completely deserves with winding paths around mountain crags, and staggering views. Tenerife is a haven for hikers, and the peak of Teide itself, at a giddy height of 3,718 meters, offers even the most experienced climbers a challenge.
Gran Canaria is affectionately called a “continent in miniature”, owing to the sheer variety of sights and activities on the compact island. Sweeping beaches, countryside villages, jagged mountains, sand dunes and forests are all within reach of each other. To the south, Palmitos Park offers a huge variety of tropical birds. Gran Canaria is also the “Hawaii of the Atlantic,” and is a mecca for surfers. You don’t even need to be able to surf to enjoy a free display at the numerous surfing hotspots, but if you still want to savor the clear waters, scuba diving is available at the dive centers in the main resorts, especially at Maspalomas.
The mere mention of Ibiza, one of the most popular Spanish islands, conjures up images of beach-bound nightlife, clubbing from sunset to sunrise, and revelling in hedonism. There’s no doubting that Ibiza is one of, if not the, place to head for if this sounds like the ideal holiday, but Ibiza holidays offer so much more. The most famous club on the island, for instance, is the Café Del Mar, and is devoted to chilling out and letting the world drift lazily by, and is also the place to see the most iconic sunset in the world. Ibiza Town has an old quarter that is well worth exploring, and a mere bus ride takes you to off the beaten track to the authentic Ibiza, where you are sure to find a bustling market selling local foods and trinkets.
This mysterious volcanic island is refreshingly different from many of the other Spanish islands, with its stark, imposing mountains and old lava fields that speak of its natural history. Nevertheless, the beaches are beautiful, and are overall less crowded than other islands. Water sports are a specialty of Lanzarote, including windsurfing, canoeing and snorkeling. Highly recommended is the Timanfaya National Park, a huge area covering a quarter of the island, and it gives you the best of the volcanic landscape, including the Hacha Grande, the island’s highest mountain. When trying the dishes after a long day, try something with mojo sauce, a local favorite of the Canary Islands. Spain has island holidays covered, whatever the break you’re after there is a Spanish island for you. Everything from action and adventure in the Canaries to rest and relaxation in Majorca or Ibiza can be found among the fabled Spanish islands.