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Canary Islands - Ever been? Itinerary?

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Dec 1st, 2012, 05:59 PM
  #1
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Canary Islands - Ever been? Itinerary?

Thinking of going for a week in May. Would like to swim at some nice beaches, although I'm not sure if it would be warm enough. I believe we would fly into Tenerife, but wondering about seeing other islands and what they have to offer. Like beaches, mountains, villages. Could rent a car. Thinking of doing a few days in a resort to treat ourselves - something we never do. But don't want a big party scene. The National Park in the center of Tenerife (volcano) looks like something we'd like as well.

How difficult is it to go to other islands from Tenerife? Or from Gran Canaria?

Any suggestions would be appreciated.
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Dec 2nd, 2012, 12:52 AM
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Several planes and ferries between all the seven islands every day.

Perfectly warm enough for beach time in May (it is almost all year round). Fine beaches especially in the South of Tenerife (but very touristy), but the best beaches you'll find in Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote: http://www.turismodecanarias.com/can...-travel/beach/
http://www.turismodecanarias.com/can...yas_index.html

I have a special soft spot for small, very volcanic and beautiful Lanzarote: http://www.turismodecanarias.com/can...zarote-island/

I can highly recommend a lunch in one of the several local restaurants in small beachfront village La Caleta next to the spectacular (and often dangerous) Famara beach in Lanzarote. Several other, nice small villages as well (Teguise is a must).

La Caleta/Famara: http://www.lanzaroteguidebook.com/de...leta-de-famara

Lanzarote beaches: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/de...e-beaches.html

Much of Pedro Almodóvar's movie Broken Embraces was shot in Lanzarote in the Famara area: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bN0SlBE8yGQ
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Dec 2nd, 2012, 01:14 AM
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For some odd reason Fodor's classes the Canaries as Africa, not Spain, so you may find more information on the Africa forum.

I have only ever been to La Palma, one of the smaller, and less touristy islands. No lovely beaches there I'm afraid, though there are a couple of nice ones, with black sand. Plenty of mountains, an active volcano, good walking, Unesco listed laurel woods, interesting villages. I'm going again in February .

The weather will be lovely in May no matter which island you choose. With only one week I'd opt for just one island to be honest. There is easily enough to see and do on each island, and they are very different to each other.
Gran Canaria is described as a mini continent as it offers so much variation in one island.

I suggest you look up on Google the different islands and decide which appeals the most. You will need to be fairly quick deciding and booking, as many European countries have a school holiday in May and the Canaries are a popular destination then.
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Dec 2nd, 2012, 03:35 AM
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If Tenerife or Gran Canaria are set and you wanted something different to spice your trip (even though one week in total is not that much to play around with), I would also suggest Lanzarote. Inter-island flights are frequent and not that expensive.

Lanzarote is so unique and different with its volcanos and square kilometers of vineyards in the ash fields (I think the latter is also on display as Land Art in many museums) that you easily get an out of this world feeling. It's hard to describe but you will find many photos of the sites kimhe mentioned to get an idea of this island where mass tourism was more contained to smaller resort towns than elsewhere.

Especially when you get away from the resort towns or villages - which is very easy with cheap rental cars. For example to the rugged northern beaches and massive cliffs at Famara which kimhe already mentioned. The villages with all houses in cubicle form and bright white paint make you feel as if you were somewhere lost in Northern Africa (where geographically you are)...
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Dec 2nd, 2012, 04:18 AM
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There are plenty of vineyards in ash fields in most of the Canaries, these are not unique to Lanzagrotty . They are, after all volcanic islands.
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Dec 2nd, 2012, 04:25 AM
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True
La Palma also features some at its Southern tip.
But nowhere you find them as widespread and huge as on Lanzarote, and in ashfields that look as if the volcanoes erupted just yesterday.
http://www.amusingplanet.com/2011/12...ote-spain.html
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Dec 2nd, 2012, 04:53 AM
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I've suggested Tenerife as a base as I can get flights from JFK there with FF miles on AA.

Do ferries take cars? If not, how would wee get around on other islands besides Tenerife? If we do stay on Tenerife, what part of the island would be best - convenient to get to other parts by car, and best beaches?
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Dec 2nd, 2012, 05:07 AM
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Just checked to see if AA flies to Gran Canaria and it does. So that's a possibility as well, although it's a bit more complicated for us getting home from there.

Any opinion on Tenerife vs Gran Canaria as a base?
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Dec 2nd, 2012, 05:16 AM
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Some ferries do take cars but it's not worth the hassle as you can rent cars at any airport for little money if booked in advance. Even if not booked in advance, they won't break the bank.

Even though some islands get less tourism than others, you must not forget that you will be going to a huge hotspot of (mostly) European tourism with any kind of services or ameneties available which you would also expect in places like Florida's vacation areas.

Tenerife's North is lush green (cause it gets the most rain).
Swimming is usually in man- or nature-made pools. It also is home to the most interesting towns to visit, La Laguna and the capital Sta. Cruz.

The South got the big sandy beaches and more spread out tourist resorts, but much less vegetation as the mountains of the North hardly let any rain clouds through.

Driving is dead easy. You can take the motorways along the Eastern coast for a quick dash from North to South or v.v. when in a hurry.
Or take the winding, scenic moutain route thru the center of the island or same along the Western coast for spectacular vistas.
The road network in total is very well maintained as anywhere in Spain.
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Dec 3rd, 2012, 06:14 AM
  #10
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Thanks Cowboy, and everyone.

Seems there's really a lot to see. Going from Tenerife to other islands, though, in a week seems cumbersome. Can get to Gran Canaria for a day, but seems impossible to go to Lanzerote.

Still wondering if our base should be Tenerife or Gran Canaria. We DO want some nice beaches, some "down" time for my overworked husband. Would like some swimmable waters, although the water temps seem to be really cold. But also want hiking and small villages.
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Dec 4th, 2012, 04:00 AM
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Kenav are you finding flights direct from JFk to Canarias? Or do you connect in MAD?

I've always discounted the idea of visiting Madeira or Canarias because I thought one had to fly to Europe and back track when traveling from the US. I hope that that notion is incorrect!!
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Dec 4th, 2012, 05:36 AM
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I have left the British Isles 120 times.

Only one trip I can describe as unmitigated hell.

It was a week in Tenerife.

We did little research and basically wanted a week in the sun in March. The weather was lovely and a trip up Mount Teide was interesting. Much of the rest of the island is over developed to a low standard and has few redeeming features.

Put simply we thought it was dreadful.
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Dec 4th, 2012, 05:47 AM
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Going from Gran Canaria to Tenerife or vv I find not too interesting as both islands are not that different from eachother than TF/GC vs. Lanzarote or Fuerteventura (the latter being a giant sandbox).

I find Tenerife the most interesting and diverse as you have anything from sandy beaches, forests, high mountains (Teide is Spain's highest peak at almost 4K meters with a cable car going to the top), calderas, old villages and town, botanical gardens (Orotava valley) and so on.
Gran Canaria would be a close second. It has everything Tenerife got, minus the huge peak in the center. GC's center mountain is only half the size as Teide.

Canary Islands waters are always cooler than you would expect at that latitude. Reason are constant relatively cool water currents which usually keep the sea at 25C or bit less. Swimming is very popular, though.
The islands are nicknamed those of eternal spring, not summer

Hiking is no problem at all on either of the islands.

Another interesting pasttime are high sea fishing trips. Pretty big prey in those waters.. barracudas and such.

If you want to be close to the beaches, you automatically selected the Southern coast.

For enhanced privacy, and if you don't like big hotels and resorts, you can also easily rent one of the many holiday homes. Many a bit away from the coastal hotspots as renovated fincas in rural areas in/near villages.
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Dec 4th, 2012, 05:51 AM
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I'll stand with Dickie on this one, many of these islands are beer, cake and low rise hotels. Think Niagra at the falls.

fuertenventura is the only one that has a hint of old style island left on it, I cycled round it slowly over about 10 days. http://www.fuerteventura.com/index.shtml
The place was introduced to chipmunks by some crazy american in the 1800s and now they struggle with lizards to eak out a small niche. Darn things spring up all over.

If I had to do this thing I'd book a villa with a pool and a view of the sea and chill out.
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Dec 4th, 2012, 06:43 AM
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Wow Dickey - Sounds dreadful. Hmm...maybe i should rethink this.

ekskrunchy - Yes, we have to change planes when coming from JFK. The flights I see that we can take with FF miles from AA (at least on their website) change in Dusseldorf or Berlin (with Air Berlin which is a member of "oneworld" with AA). You can also change in Heathrow, but I wouldn't do that because going with BA, the taxes (which you have to pay even with using FF miles), adds up to hundreds of dollars while with other carriers it may only be about $70.
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Dec 4th, 2012, 07:04 AM
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Kenav

Just do plenty of research.

There is a beautiful island off Tenerife, La Gomera. It hasositioned itself far more up the market than Tenerife. It will be possible to focus in Tenerife and weed out the 10% of the island that we on Fodors probably generally regard as visitable. Puerto de la Cruz is a pretty town and the coast around Masca is stunning.

The rest is simply a rock with villas where young Brits go to get drunk and lose their virginity or retired Brits go to turn into lizards and well .... die. (Nice quote for the next Fodors book).

I can assume from the tone that we don't like Tenerife.
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Dec 4th, 2012, 07:47 AM
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Interesting summary.
As I have actually been on five of the seven islands, I can say that all the tourist activities focus very much on the resort towns. Few tourists even bother to rent a car to explore. As soon as you go 5-10kms inland or away from the resorts you will not see any mass tourism.
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Dec 4th, 2012, 08:11 AM
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Cowboy

I am referring only to Tenerife, it is the only island we have visited.

Once you venture inland there is rock, lots of it and fairly featureless.

Unless you are a 17 year old virgin or 87 year lizard, Tenerife has little attraction.
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Dec 4th, 2012, 09:08 AM
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Go to La Palma from Tenerife, or to La Gomera or el Hierro.
No mass tourism (at least once you go west from Santa Cruz de La Palma). The weather is better on the west side of the island too. Lots of walking, boating, snorkling, interesting villages, cheap car rental.
You can take a ferry or a short flight.

Gran Canaria also offers plenty of alternatives to the tourist areas.
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Dec 4th, 2012, 10:37 AM
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So Dickie - Are you saying that there are no beaches on Tenerife that aren't just for drunken virgins and those about to die?

I looked up some images on Masca and it looks beautiful. Would definitely got there. But it's not a beach.
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