Let's be honest. The sensational climate of the Canary Islands is a big part of their allure for a villa holiday, particularly in winter. Thanks to their prime position just off the east African coast, the islands enjoy warm, sunny days all year. It is never too hot but a pitch perfect 19ºC to 24ºC. While the relentless grey, northern European winter closes in, simple summer pleasures are just part of your daily routine in the Canary Islands. On hand is your private pool or an inviting beach for a refreshing swim. Relax on a sun lounger for an afternoon siesta. Stroll out to your terrace or a beach bar for a cool evening drink at sunset. It is a tempting prospect.
Happily there is more to the Canary Islands than sunshine. Scenic, welcoming and family friendly, the Canary Islands boast a wealth of attractions to suit all ages, abilities and preferences. From hiking volcanoes to water sports, art museums, nightlife and delicious cuisine, the Canary Islands hold an undeniable appeal for a villa holiday with family or friends.
How to get to the Canary Islands
Many airlines operate regular international flights direct to the Canary Islands. Tenerife, Lanzarote, Gran Canaria and Fuerteventura all have their own airport. The flight time is around four and a half hours from the UK so be sure to pack your hand luggage with plenty of options to entertain your kids! Boats and ferries also connect the islands to each other and the Spanish mainland.
Which Canary Island is best?
Our villas with pools are nestled in four of the islands we know and love - Tenerife, Lanzarote, Gran Canaria, and Fuerteventura. Each has its own unique personality and charm. Which is best for you and why? Read on to find out.
Tenerife is not just an island of holiday resorts and tourists. The largest of the Canaries, Tenerife is home to a population of locals living in its vibrant cities, towns and villages. Compared to smaller islands, the difference is tangible. In Tenerife you easily escape the tourist trail for off grid experiences and mingle with locals if you choose. With more diversity comes a delicious range of eating out options. Here you find a good choice of styles from traditional easy going tavernas to sophisticated Michelin star restaurants. Boutiques and bars are plentiful too.
Tenerife is also perfect for those who love trying different activities every day on holiday. From cycling and hiking to surfing and caving, there is a great choice. For adrenaline fuelled family fun, head to Tenerife's excellent water parks - Siam Park and Aqualand. Alternatively explore on foot and discover interesting trails through tropical forest or across stretches of national parkland. You can even climb up to impressive Mount Teide, the highest mountain in Spain. Discover the coast via sea kayak or canoe. The all time family hit has to be dolphin and whale spotting by boat, a truly memorable experience and easily arranged.
Where to stay in Tenerife
Choose a villa with a private pool in Costa Adeje in the south west for easy access to everything. Known as a more upmarket resort, Costa Adeje caters for families and couples in style. Here you will find two of Tenerife's most impressive golden beaches, Playa del Duque and Playa Fañabé. In addition, there are water parks, fantastic restaurants, bars and shops. If you are a golfer, then try a round at Costa Adeje's excellent 27-hole course.
Clubs, bars and restaurants are plentiful along the coast. If you love to party, book your stay to coincide with the biggest party of all - Carnival. Lasting a good 15 days in February, the streets of Santa Cruz come alive with a colourful Rio style fiesta. It is not to be missed.
Smaller than Tenerife and bursting with rugged beauty, the island of Lanzarote has a style of its own. Dramatic volcanic landscapes, glorious beaches and fascinating artistic heritage are its stand-out features. It's a great place for cycling, hiking and water sports too. You are never more than a 40 minute drive from anywhere in Lanzarote, so easy to explore by car.
The late artist and architect, César Manrique, infused Lanzarote with his distinctive designs and they remain as a fabulous testament to his work. Firstly, we recommend visiting his unique home built into a lava field, now a foundation and an excellent place for lunch. Secondly, head to Manrique's Mirador del Rio for the most dramatic views on the island and another venue to dine in style. Thirdly, Timanfaya National Park is a must see for its volcanic rocks, thermal heat and lunch at ‘El Diablo’ restaurant. Lastly Santa Barbara castle with its pirate museum is a firm family favourite.
Where to stay in Lanzarote
The villas we love are in Costa Teguise on the east coast. Here you experience the best of both worlds. Cool off in your private pool and enjoy the space of your home from home with easy access to amazing beaches, windsurfing and fun. In addition, a long promenade with a colourful collection of shops and restaurants connects five incredible beaches here. The Costa Teguise Aquapark is an exciting family day out while keen golfers should seize the opportunity for a round or two on an 18-hole golf course here. For old world Spanish charm, have a cooling drink and stroll through the streets of Teguise, the oldest town in the Canaries, dating back to the fifteenth century.
Choose a villa in the resort of Puerto del Carmen and you are at the centre of the action. On hand is a sandy beach, shops, bars and lively nightlife buzz at Avenida de las Playas. A quieter and more upscale option is a villa by the stunning white beach of Playa Blanca with its smart marina, boutiques and bars.
Why Gran Canaria?
The third largest island in the archipelago, Gran Canaria is a fantastic mix of beautiful landscapes, sporting highlights and vibrant holiday resorts. Go hiking or biking in the lush, volcanic mountains or snorkelling in the blue sea. In addition, explore endless desert like sand dunes and beautiful beaches. Soak up the cosmopolitan vibes of vibrant Las Palmas, the capital city, with its flamboyant mix of boutiques, beach, bars and buzz. There is something for everyone to enjoy on the island.
Where to stay in Gran Canaria?
Our villas with pools in Gran Canaria are geared for easy summer living and experiencing a range of local highlights. Choose a holiday home with a pool for your stay and you not only have space and privacy but easy access to the spectacular southern coast of Maspalomas. Home to an extensive nature reserve with its lagoon and palm grove, it is a lush oasis for exploring the natural habitats of its flourishing wildlife. A vast expanse of sand dunes here makes a dreamy backdrop for lazy days on the golden beaches. When you are in a more active mood, head to waterparks and excellent golf courses. Have a drink or two in the many bars clustered along the coast before sharing a sizzling seafood platter or tempting tapas together at one of the many restaurants.
If you love white sandy beaches and azure blue sea for your villa holiday, then Fuerteventura may be the island for you. The least populated of the four islands, Fuerteventura has arguably the best beaches of the archipelago, pretty white villages and dramatic volcanic landscapes. It is not just about lazy beach days though. Apart from the marinas, golf courses and water park, active visitors have surfing, windsurfing and kitesurfing to enjoy here. Make your stay truly memorable and take a boat trip out to the little island of Lobos for snorkelling or to the open sea for whale watching or diving.
Where to stay in Fuerteventura?
Our villas with pools are mostly nestled around the town of Corralejo on the north coast of Fuerteventura. Bathed in sunshine and breezes, it feels incredibly family friendly with its vast sandy beaches, tall palm trees and nature reserve. The island's only waterpark is located here for family fun. Although you may prefer to cook at your villa, eating out is an easy-going affair in Fuerteventura with plenty of mouth-watering options on offer. Choose from a colourful collection of cafes, bars and restaurants dotted along the harbour and marina.
How is the Food and Wine in the Canary Islands?
Whether you decide to cook for yourself in your villa kitchen or head out to sample the local cuisine, you are in for a treat. Fresh from the sea and fertile volcanic slopes, the food in the Canary Islands is an absolutely delicious combination of flavours.
Traditional dishes are undeniably Spanish with a blend of tasty twists from Africa and Latin America. From tapas and grilled fish to octopus and spicy 'mojo' sauce, it is all to die for. You must try the local wine too. Vineyards thrive in the volcanic hills, producing distinctive flavours.
Familiar British tastes are catered for in supermarkets and restaurants, but do try more local options for a more authentic experience. Cautious eaters cannot resist the colourful seasonal fruit on offer. From juicy mangoes and bananas to papayas, it is all fresh and tasty. Lashings of ice cream and traditional chocolate dipped 'churros' may end up being a regular family treat too.