The Canary Islands is a common stopover on your way to the Caribbean and the season has only just begun on the mythical Spanish islands.
Exposed to winds, tides and ocean currents in an area characterised by its numerous volcanic underwater reefs and steep coasts, sailing and anchoring in the archipelago is no easy task. This is the price to pay in order to appreciate the many wonders that the Canaries have in store for you. It would be fair to say that the archipelago is unique in the world and its extraordinary biodiversity is cherished by UNESCO and the many visitors who roam its islands each year.
Island by Island we take you on a tour of this heavenly paradise. Take note of where to stop to make the most of your cruise in the Canaries!
The Canary Islands best destinations
La Graciosa: Natural haven of peace
One of the northernmost islands of the archipelago, it is a first stop of choice for an introduction to the atmosphere of the Canaries. Although inhabited, the island remains a wild spot where a sprinkling of mountains enhance the arid and almost desert setting of its lands. Its coasts have various beaches mixing white sand with black, typical of these volcanic islands. These unique landscapes are a protected biosphere reserve under the regulations of the Chinijo Archipelago National Park.
That is why, even if the checks are not very frequent, it is important to obtain an authorisation before your arrival on the anchorages of the island.
You must complete and send an application form to Cabildo de Lanzarote at the following email address:
Playa Francesca is certainly the most popular destination in La Graciosa and offers the perfect setting for a first enjoyable stopover. This quality anchorage on the island is devoid of creeks and ports and in addition, it offers good protection against the trade winds that blow in the region.
In this idyllic natural setting you will enjoy the beach and the impressive panorama of the anchorage overlooked by the ‘’ Montaña Amarilla ’’. The sight constitutes in itself a real journey in time.
Stopovers in La Graciosa
Lanzarote: Cactii protected by UNESCO
Crossing the thin sea arm that separates La Graciosa from its neighbour, you will reach the coast of Lanzarote.
A multitude of discoveries await you in this protected nature reserve classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From the cactus gardens to the black and reddish beaches of these thousand-year-old volcanic lands (the oldest in the archipelago), you will not fall short of activities to undertake…
Go for a hike in the natural park of the famous Timanfaya volcano, stop at the Saltworks of Janubio or take an extraordinary geological journey in the setting of solidified lava of the “bubbling springs” of El Hervideros.
Much larger than its neighbour, the island has many amenities and more stopover possibilities on its east coast. From classic anchorages to the comfort of the docks of its few marinas, several options are available to you. In contrast, the west coast exposed to swells and windswept offers no protection to enjoy its landscapes.
Stopovers in Lanzarote
Fuerteventura: natural parks and heavenly beaches
One of the largest islands in the archipelago, Fuerteventura is a popular destination for the diversity of its activities, its many amenities and its airport, which attracts thousands of tourists every year. Its wilderness is not completely untouched but the natural beauty of its coastline is sure to win you over, despite the crowds.
Again, there are plenty of natural parks to be discovered along the east coast of the island, including the famous Corralejo Park. In contrast, the wild and unspoiled west coast is much less sheltered. The Jandia Natural Park in the south and its many valleys is a must see, as well as Betancuria, a park home to the famous playa de los Muertos and its characteristic black sand. What more does the island have? Heavenly beaches worthy of the most beautiful postcards that you can enjoy in particular from the famous Morro Jable anchorage.
Finally, for culinary adventurers, Fuerteventura is known for its exceptional cheeses – a great pride of the island that you can discover in the museum dedicated to the dairy product.
Lovers of cheeses and wild landscapes will meet in Fuerteventura.
Stopovers in Fuerteventura
Gran Canaria: The heart and soul of the Canary Islands
Gran Canaria, even if very urbanised, remains a natural paradise with breathtaking panoramas. Indeed, the thousand-year-old volcanoes of the island have shaped many atypical landscapes. Lava caves, ravines and volcanic landscapes are to be discovered in the island’s many natural parks such as Tamadaba on the west coast.
Despite its circular shape, the island has several sheltered spots which offer comfortable anchorage in exceptional settings. This is especially true on the west and south coast of the island, where many coves and small bays shaped by volcanic activity will warmly welcome you.
Finally, the island has many seaside resorts. Although inhabited and despite its bustling tourism industry, Gran Canaria’s natural beauty remains very well preserved. Indeed, its 60 km of wild beaches, its unique volcanic landscapes amongst a flourishing biodiversity have earned it a logical entry into the UNESCO world heritage.
A setting which, once again, is sure to awaken your adventurous souls from another time.
Stopovers in Gran Canaria
Tenerife: recharge your batteries at the foot of the amazing Teide volcano
Tenerife is one of the most visited islands in the archipelago and offers an extraordinary natural setting for its visitors. Dominated by the famous Teide volcano at an altitude of more than 3700m, it is a natural jewel with flourishing biodiversity.
The island has many unmissable places to visit. The Laguna in the north of the island will satisfy lovers of ancient history while the songs of birds and the lush vegetation of Montes de Anaga will amaze nature lovers. Teide National Park and its raw and varied nature is home to many species of endemic animals and plants unique to the Canaries.
Finally, the famous city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife will offer you comfort and a well-deserved rest. Capital and main port of the island, the city has all the amenities and activities necessary for refueling and entertainment. If you are a fan of local festivities and traditions, its famous Carnival (date of the carnival) seems right on time for an unforgettable stopover on this world-renowned island.
Stopovers in Tenerife
La Palma: primary forest and steep cliffs
This small volcanic island offers two well-defined types of landscapes: steep cliffs on one side and primary forest on the other. The repeated lava flows fertilized the soils of this arid climate island, giving way to lush vegetation.
Stop at the anchorage of Tazacorte Bay or at the port of Puerto Tazacorte to undertake the many hikes that are available to you on the island. The San Juan volcano to the south, the Salinas de Fuencaliente, the Cambre Vieja Natural Park or the Garafia pine forest are all unmissable stops on the island of La Palma.
A hiker’s paradise in a calm and peaceful atmosphere – a true modern sailor’s destination.
Stopovers in La Palma
El Hierro : paradise for divers
A paradise on earth for budding divers. With more than 45 referenced sites, this island cannot be missed by scuba fanatics .
El Hierro is one of the less frequented islands in the archipelago but still offers plenty of activities and wonders to discover.
From La Restinga to Tacoron, the south coast of the island is part of the marine reserve and offers some of the world’s most unique diving spots. We recommend the sites of El Bajon and Roque de Tacoron, recognized as having the most beautiful seabed.
On land, the lava tunnel in Orchilla is an unusual and little-known attraction (check with the locals to find this 300-meter tunnel shaped by lava flows).
You can also enjoy a panoramic view of the west coast of the island from the Pic de Malpaso, the highest peak on the island, culminating at 1,500 metres above sea level and accessible even by car!
Last but not least, the natural pools that dot the rocky coast of the island will offer you an unforgettable moment of relaxation on the wonderous El Hierro.
It is safer to stop in one of the island’s ports to enjoy this little earthly paradise. The anchorages, although offering incredible landscapes, are subject to the untimely whims of winds, swells and tides. Therefore, several anchorages will welcome you on the coasts of the island but do not expect the comfort of the Balearic Islands: the Canaries remain the Canaries.
Stopovers in El Hierro
La Gomera: wild hikes in unknown lands
The last island of the archipelago has as many surprises in store for you as its neighbours. Steep cliffs and white sand beaches characterise the geographical composition of its coasts while an exceptional natural park covers a large part of its interior land. In fact, the Garajonay National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, attracts many experienced hikers every year. Its unique forests are a marvel of biodiversity that will not fail to transport you through time.
In addition, La Gomera is one of the smallest Canary Islands. With fewer inhabitants, it offers exclusive access to its preserved biosphere reserve.
Its wild coasts are dotted with small coves and natural bays where you can anchor with good protection from the winds (especially in the south of the island). Several ports offer you the possibility of a peaceful stopover to appreciate this splendiferous island.