We have all heard about Ibiza, Mallorca and the Canary Islands but did you know that Spain has more than 60 islands dotted around its coastline? Many of course, are uninhabited nature reserves while others offer northern Europeans warm weather beach escapes and are perfect for honeymoons, couples trips and family holidays. Rather than go into some of the places you have never heard of, let’s stick with the top 10 intriguing Spanish Islands you are most likely to ever visit.
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Here are the 10 Spanish Islands that must be on your travel list
Number one on our list has to be the all-encompassing island of Mallorca where nature and history combine to make the complete holiday package. In the capital Palma, you have a magnificent cathedral and designer shopping as good as anything you can find in Barcelona or Madrid. Add to this a plethora of Michelin star restaurants, trendy bars and clubs and you will begin to understand the allure of this beautiful island.
The landscape, wildlife and scenery on the island is to die for. Thousands of cycling enthusiasts head to the island each year to enjoy coasting down the picturesque mountain roads, where you could imagine James Bond ‘parading’ in his Aston Martin.
Mallorca is also a magnet for scuba divers and snorkeling, and no wonder with its abundant sea life that resides in its almost surreal looking turquoise waters. Once known only for Magaluf and its package holiday crowd, Mallorca has turned away from mass tourism and is now looking to attract more discerning holidaymakers.
Where to stay in Mallorca
Originally built in the 1950s and renovated in the early 2000’s the elegant Hospes Maricel Hotel and Spa is no stranger to celebrity guests that have included film stars Errol Flynn, Montgomery Clift and a who’s who of European aristocracy. Located on Palma Bay just a few kilometers from the capital, the Hospes Maricel Hotel and Spa is the place to stay if you want to feel pampered.
Getting to Mallorca
The islands main airport is located just 8 kilometers east of the capital and has flights from nearly all UK airports and mainland Spain. You can also take a ferry to Mallorca from Ibiza, Menorca, Barcelona and Valencia. Upon arrival, if you are staying in one location, then a local taxi or a company offering Palma airport transfers, may be the most convenient option. However, as the island has so many diverse areas to discover, you may prefer to get a car from the airport.
Summer party central for Europe’s young, hip crowd, Ibiza is still the place to go if you want to party the night away and then sleep it off on a beautiful white beach. Each summer the world’s top DJ’s arrive in Ibiza to perform in clubs along Playa d’en Bossa swelling the island’s modest population with party-goers.
Originally discovered by hippies back in the ’60s and 70’s the other side of the island away from the rave scene is as peaceful and quiet as it has ever been and despite Ibiza’s reputation is ideally suited for couples and families looking for a summer beach holiday.
Where to stay in Ibiza
If you are into the partying you won’t find a better hotel than 415-room Ushuaïa Hotel located right next to the same name club on Playa d’en Bossa. Rooms don’t come cheap though, so prepare yourself to spend some serious cash. On the other end of the scale, families looking for peace and relaxation will love the Sol Beach House 4-star resort located in Santa Eulalia.
Getting to Ibiza
Just like is bigger sister Mallorca, Ibiza has regular flights from the UK and the rest of Europe throughout the summer and is connected to the other Islands by Ferry. There is also starting in 2019 a high-speed ferry from the Costa Blanca town of Dénia that does the crossing to Ibiza in just 2-hours. Getting around Ibiza is now made easier than ever with a good network of public buses.
Wild, beautiful and unspoilt is the best way to describe Menorca. After having escaped the building boom of the 1960s Menorca is today the place to go if you want a quiet beach holiday that involves riding a bike and early nights.
The Capital Mahón is home to the biggest natural harbor in the Mediterranean and has a distinctly British feel, thanks to the many Georgian style houses that the British navy built during their occupation. Many visitors enjoy complete serenity whilst exploring the island’s coastline with a nice leisurely walk along the Cami de Cavalls.
Probably Menorca’s most beautiful walk, this fascinating and historic trail was created centuries ago to defend the islands from invasions. Today, Menorca is slowly growing in popularity as a destination for those looking for of a spot to unwind without compromise.
Where to stay in Menorca
Forgo the allure of Mahón and its waterfront bars and restaurants in favor of the pristine unspoilt beaches in the north. Rather than book a hotel, rent a villa and holiday as families did of old before package deals and all-inclusive holidays became the flavour du jour. You chose from a selection of villas by visiting home-sharing website Airbnb.
Getting to Menorca
During the summer, several low-cost airlines and tour operators fly to Menorca from the UK, alternatively, you can fly to Mallorca and catch the ferry.
Mostly visited by day-trippers from the adjacent island of Ibiza, Formentera is a quiet island where nothing unexpected appears to happen. The region is summarized as simply relaxing and refreshing. That is precisely why it attracts the clientele that it gets.
If enjoying dazzling white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters while watching the world go by, sounds like the ideal place for you to escape the busy office, then you may have found your paradise. With only 17 kilometers from one end of the island to the other, you will be excited to explore its complete circumference, whilst absorbing the stunning views across to Ibiza.
Where to stay in Formentera
The Hotel Cala Soana & Spa is perched on top of a small hill that is connected by a wooden pathway to the island’s loveliest hidden cove. Ask for a room with a sea view to experience one of the best sunsets in Spain as the hot summer sun sinks into the blue Mediterranean Sea.
Getting to Formentera
With no airport on the island, the only way to get to Formentera is by boat. Regular ferries make the 35-minute minute crossing from Ibiza or during the summer you can take a ferry from Denia on the mainland. Getting around Formentera’s little island by bicycle, is the perfect escapism for some and a great way of staying in shape.
Tenerife is the most populated Spanish island and the largest of Spain’s Canary Islands. Tenerife is also where you will find Spain’s highest mountain the 3,718-metre snow-capped Pico del Teide. Attracting as many as six million tourists a year, the Islands, British-flavored southern resorts offer year-round good weather, sandy beaches and all-inclusive resort-hotels.
Tenerife is also famous for its tasty fruit and vegetation, and it offers visitors a fascinating tour to explore its traditional banana plantations that all began 100 years ago. Finally, no trip to Tenerife would be complete without a trip to the island’s amazing water park which boasts an appealing Siamese theme. It is noted as being one of the most spectacular family water attractions in Europe.
Where to stay in Tenerife
If you want to be in the center of all the action, but also able to go on excursions and explore the island, consider making the adults only, Tui H10 Gran Tinerfe on Playa de las Américas your base. The hotel features several swimming pools, numerous restaurants and is on the beach and a stone’s throw from all the area’s nightlife.
Getting to Tenerife
There are two airports in Tenerife, one in the North and one further South. Just about all low-cost airlines now fly to Tenerife throughout the year. Yet as prices fluctuate so much, be sure to check with individual travel companies, such as TUI and Thompson as you may be able to get a better deal combining your flight with a hotel.
6. Gran Canaria
Often described as being a mini-continent, Gran Canaria has everything from a mountainous interior to a desert in the south of the island. In contrast to its green lofty interior, Gran Canaria’s rugged coastline is comprised of white sandy beaches and garish purposely built holiday resorts.
Don’t let this put you off though, as there are plenty of things to keep you occupied, while a trip to the capital Las Palmas gives you the chance to enjoy culture while you shop till you drop with duty free bargains. As one could imagine being so near to the north western tip of Africa, the climate is very appealing too inciting a surplus of thrilling water sports.
Where to stay in Gran Canaria
If you had to choose a place to stay on Gran Canaria it would have to be in Maspalomas near the island’s famous sand dunes and Aqualand Water Park. The 3-star Palm Oasis Maspalomas has an unrivaled pool area that includes waterfalls, hot tubs and a slide. Only 5-minutes from the beach the Palm Oasis Maspalomas represents good value in this popular area.
Getting to Gran Canaria
Nearly every UK based airline flies to Gran Canaria as well as, the island being connected to the other islands and mainland Spain by daily scheduled flights.
Our favorite Canary Island due to its otherworldly landscape of volcano cones and black beaches, Lanzarote is also Europe’s Hawaii when it comes to surfing with massive Atlantic swells rolling in during the winter months. Despite an overbuilding, during the ’60s in some coastal areas, Lanzarote is now trying to cater to the independent traveler looking for fun and adventure.
While there don’t miss the chance to visit the 51-sq-km Parque Nacional de Timanfaya an area of the island devastated by volcanic eruptions between 1730 and 1736. The parque also has a popular restaurant and has an ‘oven’ that benefits from the natural volcanic heat. Right on the top of the volcano is the very spot where its mouthwatering dishes are cooked!
Where to stay in Lanzarote
Despite the appeal of Lanzarote’s interior towns and villages the only place to really stay and experience all the island has to offer is in either Puerto del Carmen, Playa Blanca, or Costa Teguise. Built directly on Playa Blanca beach just 700 meters from the center of town the 5-star Princesa Yaiza Suite Hotel Resort offers 6 outdoor swimming pools, a spa center, sports facilities and 8 restaurants.
Getting to Lanzarote
Flying time to Lanzarote is around 4 hours and 40 minutes from the UK with regularly scheduled flights throughout the year. There are also daily inter-island flights and service to Barcelona and Madrid. For getting around the island, it’s advisable to hire a car with good miles to the gallon as petrol prices here can be a little high. Along with being the ideal location to pick up your rental vehicle, the airport itself is the place to get the cheapest car hire Lanzarote has to offer.
8. La Palma
Northernmost of the Canary Islands and a part of the province of Tenerife, La Palma, is 706 square kilometers of diverse spectacular scenery that has people calling La Palma. “La Isla Bonita.” The island’s capital Santa Cruz de La Palma will escort you back to Colonial Spain and a time when Columbus stopped in the Canaries to take on food and water before heading off in search of the “New World.”
La Palmas is, of course, famous for its clear night skies and the distinction of being the world’s first Starlight Reserve. Take a night-time tour of the Roque de Los Muchachos Observatory and stare in wonder at distant galaxies.
Where to stay in La Palma
Skip the beachfront modern hotels and stay in the restored 17th century Hotel San Telmo in Santa Cruz de la Palma. The hotel is located in a quiet urban area close to shopping and restaurants and is only 6.3 kilometers from the airport and a short stroll to the beach.
Getting to La Palma
Several UK air charters and low-cost carrier EasyJet fly to La Palma as well as regular daily flights from the Spanish capital Madrid. You can also get to La Palma by taking a fast-ferry from Tenerife.
Rising out of the Atlantic Ocean just 100 kilometers off the coast of Africa the island of Fuerteventura, resembles a sun-baked Martian landscape battered by constant winds. Declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 2009, Fuerteventura is home to the biggest and best beaches and receives more hours of sunshine per year than any other island in the archipelago. Fuerteventura offers each visitor a unique blend of incredible scenery, stunning white sand, culture and affordable family fun.
Where to stay in Fuerteventura
If you are looking for more than just a beach, stay at Corralejo in the north of the island. The nightlife is good with plenty of bars and restaurants to help you enjoy your Canary Island holiday. Stay at the 3-star Hesperia Bristol Playa Apartments right on the beach surrounded by extensive gardens.
Getting to Fuerteventura
The airport on Fuerteventura is located in Puerto del Rosario and has regularly scheduled, charter and low-cost services connecting with the airports in the UK. Alternatively, you can get a ferry at Playa Blanco on Lanzarote for the 25-minute sea journey.
10. La Gomera
Looking like a peeled orange with all its segments neatly laid out from the core, La Gomera is usually only visited by day-trippers from Tenerife and people looking to hike its rich, lush, interior. One thing that is a bit of a well-kept secret is the fact that it is probably the best place in all of Spain to go deep sea fishing and have the chance to catch a rare Blue Marlin. Whether you’re hiking La Gomera with its wild landscapes or whale watching at sunset, this little island will leave a beautiful memory in your heart.
Where to stay on La Gomera
The Parador La Gomera is a traditional 4-star hotel overlooking the port of San Sebastián with panoramic views of Tenerife in the distance. A low-key old worldly hotel, the Parador la Gomera is just another example of Spain’s ability to transform castles, palaces and stately homes into unique hotels.
Getting to la Gomera
With only an airport large enough to accommodate small planes, La Gomera has just two daily scheduled flights to Tenerife. Most visitors to la Gomera arrive from Tenerife by ferry which takes just over 5 hours.
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