Each of the three main Canary islands – Tenerife, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote – offer a thrilling selection of activities for children. The only tricky part is choosing which island – and which activities.
All three islands benefit from year-round warm temperatures and all are located in the Spanish time-zone – so no jet-lag to worry about! Read our guide on the various child-friendly draws of these astonishing islands…
Most Canary-bound flights arrive at Tenerife, the archipelago’s biggest and most developed island. But while the south is indeed a resort-land of hotels, restaurants and theme parks, there are still large protected swathes, covering no less than six vegetation zones including UNESCO-listed Teide National Park, where you’ll find Spain’s loftiest mountain. The amazing outdoors, combined with reliable sunshine, means there’s lots to do.
Aside from trekking Teide National Park, you can go whale and dolphin watching, try caving in Cueva del Viento, and visit the strange stone pyramids at Pirámides de Güímar Ethnographic Park. There are also some top-notch theme parks, such as Park Siam, a Thai-themed water park, and Aqualand – you can guess what happens here! Both of which provide hours of amusement to smaller visitors. And of course, if ‘doing’ gets a bit much, you can try ‘being’ for a while – on one of the island’s lovely golden beaches.
Top tip: While it’s sunny year-round, the island does have annual rains, which affect parts of the island at different times.
Stunning sandy beaches are the main draw of Fuerteventura, where older kids – and adults, of course – can try their hand at various water sports, including paddle boarding and windsurfing. Hopping in a pedalo is great fun for younger children. Inland, you can go off-road in a 4×4 and explore the rugged hills of the island’s interior, stopping for a dip in one of the beautiful natural lagoons.
Back by the sea, consider taking a boat trip to Los Lobos, a lush green island where hundreds of smiling seals have made the pretty beaches their home. Other animal-based draws include horseback riding – and even camel riding. Fuerteventura is also home to Acua Water Park, offering huge water slides along with crazy golf and go-karting.
Top Tip: You can rent a car on Fuerteventura, but the island has a good, low-cost public bus system, which reaches most parts of the island.
Lanzarote’s largely volcanic landscape stands in contrast to its greener neighbours. The dramatic, rippled-lack lava fields are a sight to behold – but there’s plenty of traditional fun-time draws here too. For kids and grown-ups the fantastic beaches are a winner, with windier stretches for water sports, such as Costa Teguise, and calmer spots perfect for younger children, like Puerto del Carmen.
For attractions, the Rancho Texas animal park is a fun day out, while the Pirate Museum captures the imagination with its depictions of the Canaries’ pirate-ravaged past. And then there’s the water parks – Aquapark Costa Teguise and Aqualava Waterpark in Playa Blanca, the latter of which is best for smaller children and toddlers. For older kids and teens, there’s paint ball and plenty of teen-focussed parties in the resorts.
Top tip: It’s easy to spend your entire break in one of the very well developed resort areas – see Puerto del Carmen, Costa Teguise and Playa Blanca, but do explore the island’s many other draws, not least its mesmerising volcanic vistas!
Best for kids…
Of course, all three islands offer a wealth of activities for smaller travellers. But if you’re planning a longer trip you might consider hopping on a ferry – or even taking a flight – to one of the other islands. But, chances are, one island will be more than enough for a fun-packed family holiday!