85 Best Sights in Canary Islands, Spain

Bodegas El Grifo – Museo del Vino

Fodor's choice
Established in 1775, El Grifo is the Canaries' first winery and one of the oldest in Spain. Tour the grounds, which include a serene cactus garden and wine museum, before ponying up for a tasting. El Grifo's wines are fruity and crowd-pleasing—and slightly less complex than those produced at neighboring Los Bermejos. Guided museum tours, which include a glass of wine, cost €9 and take place Monday–Sunday at 11, 1, and 4:30.

Caldera de Taburiente National Park

Fodor's choice

What strikes you first about Caldera de Taburiente National Park is its sheer verticality, jutting over 3,000 feet (900 meters) above sea level, which feels dramatic considering that the ocean is only a couple of miles away as the crow flies. Trails here take you through dense Canarian pine forests, meadows of wildflowers, dramatic gorges, and burbling streams. All around you are even higher, jagged cliff tops whose peaks are often hidden above the cloud line. There are essentially two routes: one uphill and one downhill. The latter is far and away more enjoyable, but you'll have to hire a taxi (approximately €55; try to split the fee with other hikers) at the Barranco de las Angustias (aka Parking de la Villa) to drop you at the trailhead at Mirador Los Brecitos. You then walk the scenic route from Los Brecitos back down to the taxi stand, 4–7 hours depending on how pokey you are. The hike is steep with lots of uneven surfaces and not suited to all travelers. Bring plenty of water and snacks. If you visit in spring or early summer, you'll be treated to jaw-dropping indigo tajinaste flowers in bloom. Islabonitatours ( www.islabonitatours.com) is an outstanding English-speaking tour company that can make all transportation arrangements and provide knowledgeable mountain guides.

Casa del Vino

Fodor's choice

Wine and food lovers shouldn't miss this wine museum and tasting room, opened by the Canary Islands' government to promote local vintners. The surprisingly well-appointed museum, which describes local grapes, viticultural methods, and history, has English-language placards; reasonably priced tastings in various formats are held in the abutting bar area, and you can buy your favorite bottle in the shop. The complex also has a tapas bar and a restaurant with creative Canarian fare and a curious little honey museum with exhibits and tastings. Casa del Vino lies about halfway between Puerto de la Cruz and Tenerife North Airport, at the El Sauzal exit on the main highway.

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Casa Museo Colón

Vegueta Fodor's choice

In a palace where Christopher Columbus may have stayed when he stopped to repair the Pinta's rudder, nautical instruments, copies of early navigational maps, and models of Columbus's three ships are on display in addition to interactive exhibits. The palace, which retains many original features, has two rooms holding pre-Columbian artifacts and one floor dedicated to paintings from the 16th to the 19th century. There's a glaring absence of criticism of Columbus's complicated legacy.

César Manrique House Museum

Fodor's choice

On a hillock overlooking the sleepy town of Haría you'll find César Manrique's final home, preserved as if in amber. The artist lived in this architecturally stunning estate, which he built for himself, until his untimely death by auto accident in 1992. Plant-filled courtyards lead into bohemian living areas brimming with sculptures, paintings, and iconic furniture; the bathroom, with a floor-to-ceiling window into a leafy garden, is a highlight, as is the outdoor pool area and art studio, kept precisely how it was left on the day he died.

Fundación César Manrique

Fodor's choice

César Manrique (1919–92) made this high-design bachelor pad called Taro de Tahíche for himself in 1968 upon returning from New York City, where he'd been living and working thanks to a grant from Nelson Rockefeller. The artist managed to turn a barren lava field into an inviting and architecturally stunning abode—the first of its kind in the Canaries—that would play host to international celebrities and become the islands' most emblematic residence. The artist called Taro home for 20 years and created some of his most celebrated works while residing here; his studio now displays original paintings. The real attraction is the house itself with its cave dwellings outfitted with splashy furniture, crystalline pools tucked between boulders, and palms shooting up through holes between floors.

Jardín de Cactus

Fodor's choice

North of Costa Teguise between Guatiza and Mala, this cactus garden with 10,000 specimens of more than 1,500 varieties was César Manrique's last creation for Lanzarote. Look beyond the park and you'll see prickly pear fields: for centuries locals have cultivated these plants for their cochineal, an insect living on the cacti from which scarlet carmine dye is extracted.

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Las Canteras

Fodor's choice

One of the best urban beaches in Spain is found at the northwest end of the city. Its yellow sands are flanked by a pleasant promenade that stretches more than 3 km (nearly 2 miles) from the Alfredo Kraus Auditorium, in the south, where surfers congregate, to the Playa del Confital, in the north. The beach is protected by a natural volcanic reef, La Barra, which runs parallel to the shore and makes for safe swimming. Lounge chairs and sunshades can be rented year-round. Amenities: food and drink; lifeguards; showers; toilets; water sports. Best for: sunset; surfing; swimming; walking.


Fodor's choice

Approximately 16 km (10 miles) north of Guía de Isora, tucked deep in the Macizo de Teno mountains, lies Masca, colloquially known as the Macchu Picchu of the Canaries. If you squint, you can see the resemblance—the huddle of houses is perched on a misty ridge beneath a massive, pyramid-shape rock. Descend the cobblestone steps into the town center, grab a quick coffee or sandwich, and, if you're feeling adventurous, embark on the three-hour (each way) hike down to the beach.


Fodor's choice

The island's most emblematic beach and one of the most beautiful, Maspalomas has golden sand that stretches for 2¾ km (1¾ miles) along the southern tip of Gran Canaria. Behind this beach are the famous Maspalomas dunes as well as palm groves and a saltwater lagoon, which lend an air of isolation and refuge to the beach. Bathing is safe everywhere except at La Punta de Maspalomas, where currents converge. Topless bathing is acceptable, and there's a nudist area at La Cañada de la Penca. This beach is busy year-round. Amenities: food and drink; lifeguards; showers; toilets. Best for: nudists; sunrise; sunset; walking.

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Parque Nacional de Timanfaya

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Popularly known as the "Fire Mountains," this national park of barren volcanic landscapes takes up much of southern Lanzarote. The terrain is a violent jumble of exploded craters, cinder cones, lava formations, and heat fissures. The park is protected, and you can't drive or hike through it yourself (leave your car in the lot beside the middling, overhyped volcano-top restaurant, El Diablo); the only way to see the central volcanic area is on a 14-km (9-mile) bus circuit called the Ruta de los Volcanes, designed to have minimal environmental impact. (Photographers will be bummed that the only pics you can take on tour are through smudged windows.)

A taped English commentary explains how the parish priest of Yaiza took notes during the 1730 eruption that buried two villages. He had plenty of time—the eruption lasted six years, making it the longest known eruption in volcanic history. By the time it was over, more than 75% of Lanzarote was covered in lava. Throughout the park, on signs and road markers, you'll see a little devil with a pitchfork; this diablito was designed by Manrique.  As you enter, you'll see the staging area for camel rides, which we recommend skipping due to recent animal cruelty complaints.

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Parque Nacional del Teide

Fodor's choice

This park includes the volcano itself and the Cañadas del Teide, a violent jumble of volcanic leftovers from El Teide and the neighboring Pico Viejo. The last eruption here was in 1909. Within the park you can find blue-tinged hills (the result of a process called hydrothermal alteration); spiky, knobby rock protrusions; and lava in varied colors and textures. The bizarre, photogenic rock formations known as Los Roques de García are especially memorable; a two-hour trail around these rocks—one of 30 well-marked hikes inside the park—is a highlight. Visit in late May or early June to see the crimson, horn-shaped tajinaste flowers in bloom, a dramatic sight.

You enter the Parque Nacional del Teide at El Portillo. Exhibits at the visitor center explain the region's natural history; a garden outside labels the flora found within the park. The center also offers trail maps, video presentations, guided hikes, and bus tours. A second park information center is located near Los Roques de García beside the Parador Nacional Cañadas del Teide.

Parque Rural de Anaga

Fodor's choice

Thanks to its ornery terrain, Anaga Nature Park has managed to keep the tour-bus crowd (mostly) at bay—their loss. This magical oasis takes in misty laurel forests (aka laurisilva) with numerous endemic species, bizarre rock formations that jut above the trees, and hidden mountain villages like Taganana, founded in 1501. Explore the area by car, stopping to take a dip at Playa de Benijo, where you can catch a hiking trail into the surrounding countryside, and to snap a few postcard-worthy pics at the Pico de Inglés viewpoint.

Playa de Famara

Fodor's choice

Directly opposite Costa Teguise on the north coast of Lanzarote is perhaps the island's most breathtaking beach. Set in a natural cove, its 6 km (4 miles) of sand are flanked by spectacularly high cliffs. The riptide here makes for excellent surfing and windsurfing, and Playa de Famara is regularly used for world championships for those sports. That said, the strong currents mean swimming can be dangerous (a surfer died here in 2022). Amenities: food and drink; lifeguards; showers; toilets; water sports. Best for: sunset; surfing; walking; windsurfing.

Playa de los Guíos

Fodor's choice

This small, placid cove situated 12 km (7 miles) from Playa de las Américas is dwarfed by Los Gigantes, the towering cliffs nearby. Its natural black sand, striking in appearance, can be hot on the toes, so be sure to strap on some sandals. A nearby marina provides boat trips along the coast to take in the full beauty of the cliffs. Amenities: food and drink; lifeguards; showers; toilets; water sports. Best for: sunset; swimming.

Playa de Papagayo

Fodor's choice

The rugged coastline east of Playa Blanca has several stunning beaches, but Playa de Papagayo is considered to be the area's—if not the island's—most picturesque. This small bay with fine white sand is perfect for sunbathing as it's protected from the wind by cliffs at both ends. You have to walk along a dirt path to get here, so take suitable footwear and bottled water. Despite its remoteness, Papagayo is a busy beach, particularly in summer. Amenities: none. Best for: snorkeling; sunrise; swimming.

Playa de Sotavento

Fodor's choice

This famous stretch of pure white sand rivals Corralejo for the title of best Fuerteventura beach. It extends for 6½ glorious km (4 miles)—at low tide you can walk over to neighboring beaches for 9 km (5½ miles). A sandbank that runs parallel to the beach creates a shallow lagoon that's perfect for swimming and for getting down the basics of windsurfing. Nude sunning is favored here, except directly in front of hotels—these areas are also the only place where amenities are available. Amenities: food and drink; water sports. Best for: nudists; solitude; sunrise; windsurfing.

Tenerife Espacio de las Artes

Fodor's choice

This museum is the leader in contemporary art on the islands due to its sleek low-rise design and avant-garde exhibitions. Designed by the Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron, it's next to the Museo de la Naturaleza. Expect 20th- and 21st-century art with a political or sociological bent. TEA's crown jewel is the hall dedicated to Tinerfeño surrealist artist Óscar Domínguez.

Aqualand Maspalomas

The largest water park in the Canary Islands has wave pools, slides, and just about everything else splash-related.

Auditorio de Tenerife Adán Martín

A magnificent avant-garde auditorium designed by Santiago Calatrava dominates the west end of the city. To keep its pearly white trencadís (broken tile mosaics) exterior clear of pooping pigeons, a falconer visits regularly with his raptors. The auditorium has a year-round program of concerts and opera, though you can sometimes catch impromptu music acts rehearsing or performing in the adjacent square overlooking the sea. Guided tours are given in English and Spanish; book ahead by phone or email ( [email protected]).

Cable Car

On its way to the top of El Teide, the cable car soars over sulfur steam vents. You can get a good view of southern Tenerife and Gran Canaria from the top, although you'll be confined to the tiny terrace of a bar. The station also has a basic restaurant. Online booking is a must, though it's important to note that there are no ticket refunds should the cable car be closed due to wind.

Cable Car

On its way to the top of El Teide, the cable car soars over sulfur steam vents. You can get a good view of southern Tenerife and Gran Canaria from the top, although you'll be confined to the tiny terrace of a bar. The station also has a basic restaurant. It's strongly recommended to reserve your spot online, though it's important to note that there are no ticket refunds should the cable car be closed due to wind.

Castillo de Santa Bárbara

For sweeping aerial views of Lanzarote's craggy coast and parched volcanic landscape, climb to the top of this 16th-century fortress that houses the Canaries' Museo de la Piratería (Piracy Museum; closed for renovations at the time of writing). The castillo warded off pirates for centuries from its perch on the Guanapay volcano.

Castillo San Gabriel

This double-wall fortress was once used to keep pirates at bay. You can walk out to the fortress over Puente de las Bolas, with lovely views of the port and city, and then explore the small (Spanish-only) museum inside. There's usually an English-speaking attendant on hand able to provide basic historical info.

Arrecife, 35500, Spain
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Rate Includes: €3

Catedral Santa Ana


It took four centuries to complete St. Anne's Cathedral, so the neoclassical Roman columns of the 19th-century exterior contrast sharply with the Gothic ceiling vaulting of the interior. Baroque statues are displayed in the cathedral's Museo de Arte Sacro (Museum of Religious Art), arranged around a peaceful cloister. Ask the curator to open the sala capitular (chapter house) to see the 16th-century Valencian tile floor. Be sure to check out the black-bronze dog sculptures outside the cathedral's main entrance—these are four examples of the Gran Canaria hounds that gave the island its name.

Pl. Santa Ana 13, Las Palmas, 35001, Spain
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Rate Includes: Cathedral free, museum €3, Closed Sun.

Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno


CAAM has earned a name for curating some of the best avant-garde shows in Spain, with a year-round calendar of exhibitions. The excellent permanent collection includes Canarian art from the 1930s and 1940s and works by the well-known Lanzarote artist César Manrique. The center, open until 9 pm, also has a fine collection of contemporary African art.

Calle los Balcones 11, Las Palmas, 35001, Spain
Sights Details
Rate Includes: Free, Closed Mon.

Cueva de los Verdes

Guided walks take you through this 1-km (½-mile) section of an underground lava tube, said to be the longest in the world. Deep in the volcanic area of Malpaís, it's one of the most stunning natural sights on the island. The entrance is just north of Costa Teguise, beyond Punta Mujeres.

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El Charco Verde

This bizarre green lagoon, which looks like something out of a sci-fi thriller, is situated at the outer limits of Timanfaya National Park just uphill from El Golfo. It gets its radioactive hue from its sulfuric content and Ruppia maritima seagrass. It's forbidden to walk to the lake as it's within the reserve, but there's a viewpoint that's clearly marked at the turnoff to El Golfo where you can snap some excellent photos, especially at sunset.  Wear grippy shoes and watch your step, as there are no guardrails around the viewpoint.

El Cotillo

On Fuerteventura's most northwesterly tip, this fishing village has quaint and colorful houses and a sleepy, lost-in-time feel. Go at sunset, when the surrounding sands take on a red-orange glow, and peek into the 17th-century Castillo de El Tostón (Tostón Tower), which often holds temporary art exhibits.

El Médano

Stretching for more than 2 km (1 mile), this is the longest beach on the island and also one of the most distinctive—the conical top of Montaña Roja (Red Mountain) lies at its southern tip. The golden sands and exemplary facilities earn it the country's "Blue Flag" rating, and the gentle waves make for safe swimming. Strong winds make it a good beach for those who want to try their hand at windsurfing. To get here, drive along the TF1 past Tenerife South Airport and take the TF64 south shortly afterward. Amenities: food and drink; lifeguards; showers; toilets; water sports. Best for: sunset; swimming; walking; windsurfing.

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Arona, 38600, Spain