When searching for the best towns and resorts in the Canary Islands, visitors are faced with an abundance of choices thanks to the distinct delights offered by the islands. From stunning dunes to fun-filled waterparks, black sand beaches to picturesque villages, each of the islands presents tempting choices for a memorable getaway.

    Whether you're looking for turbo-charged hedonism or laidback relaxation, the islands of Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote and La Palma boast an array of attractions to suit even the most discerning of tastes. With year-round sunshine, tantalising cuisine and some of the most striking natural landscapes you're likely to find, it's no wonder the Canaries prove such a popular destination.

    1

    Costa Adeje, Tenerife

    Live the high life in this stylish beachside getaway

    Costa Adeje is a resort area in southwest Tenerife that's popular for its upscale hotels and chic nightlife. Developed around a broad beach with sparkling blue waters, many of the area's hotels cater for well-heeled international guests. The beachfront boasts a delightful promenade lined with alluring shops and classy restaurants, and plenty of water sports are available from the beach.

    The Thai-themed Siam Park waterpark is a big draw for families, while the pristine greens at Golf Costa Adeje are great for golfers to practice their swing. Though laidback and sleepy during the day, Costa Adeje bursts into life at night, thanks in no small part to its many glamorous cocktail bars and elegant nightclubs.

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    2

    Maspalomas, Gran Canaria

    Explore the dunes and breathtaking landscape of this unique destination

    Maspalomas is a resort area famed for its stunning dunes and outstanding natural beauty. Perched alongside the Dunes of Maspalomas nature reserve, the area's otherworldly landscape attracts visitors looking for a unique nature escape. The vast Playa Del Ingles offers well-spaced sun lounging and water sports. It's also one of the most popular nudist beaches on the island.

    The kitsch surroundings of the Yumbo Centre provide plenty of dining and nightlife options, with the 1980s-built complex a popular draw for the LGTBQ+ community. The long promenade that stretches between Maspalomas and Meloneras is great for an evening stroll, with a good selection of restaurants, shops, and drinking holes dotted along the route.

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    3

    Costa Teguise, Lanzarote

    Seaside fun and all imaginable amenities

    Costa Teguise is a colourful resort boasting near-endless beaches and abundant family fun. Located on the eastern side of Lanzarote, the purpose-built holiday destination offers a wide range of accommodation and facilities to cater for all budgets.

    Costa Teguise is home to an array of restaurants, bars, cafes and shops. The area's biggest draw is undoubtedly its gloriously sun-kissed beaches. Families tend to favour the cosy environs of Bastian Beach, while windsurfing and watersports lovers head to the windswept Cucharas – it also hosts annual music festivals in June and September. The nearby fishing village of Pueblo Marinero is a good option for a picturesque day trip. The slides, zip-lines and pools at Aquapark are great for a fun-packed family excursion.

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    4

    Betancuria, Fuerteventura

    Unwind in this quintessential Canarian town

    Betancuria is a charming town that attracts scores of visitors with its unique landscape and delicious local cuisine. The pint-sized town may not be famed for jaw-dropping architecture, but the stunning Macizo de Betancuria valley (in which it's situated) more than makes up for its modest manmade attractions. The local population of approximately 800 residents are known to be warmly welcoming of visitors. The town regularly hosts markets, festivals and tourist-friendly events.

    The Betancuria Rural Park is a popular spot for nature lovers, while the Guise viewpoint offers impressive panoramic views of the desert landscape. Betancuria's archaeology museum – housed in a gorgeous Canarian-style house – is a great place to learn about the islands' fascinating history.

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    5

    Los Llanos, La Palma

    Sun, sea, and a jaw-dropping national park

    Los Llanos is a popular municipality in La Palma offering sandy beaches, cultural attractions, and a scenic national park. Home to 2 Blue Flag beaches – Puerto Naos and Charco Verde – Los Llanos regularly attracts throngs of sunseekers looking for year-round fine weather.

    Apart from seaside delights, Los Llanos is home to the breathtaking Caldera de Taburiente National Park – with its hiking trails, pine-covered peaks and waterfalls. The picturesque old town of Los Llanos de Adriane is well worth exploring, thanks to its colourful buildings, historic churches and excellent restaurants. History buffs should consider visiting the Benahoarita Archaeology Museum, where they'll find all manner of fascinating artefacts and antiquities showcasing the island's heritage, including tools, artworks, and mummies.

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    6

    Teror, Gran Canaria

    Fall in love with this stunningly beautiful town

    Teror is a beautiful town famous for its picturesque architecture and historic religious buildings. Reputed to be one of Gran Canaria's prettiest towns, its cobbled streets and wooden balcony-adorned houses provide a charming backdrop to a late afternoon stroll. The countryside surrounding the town is equally impressive, with hiking, trail running, and mountain biking among its most popular local activities.

    The famous Nuestra Señora del Pino basilica is home to the patron saint of Gran Canaria. Each year, it attracts thousands of pilgrims wishing to pay their respects. A local market takes place every Sunday in Teresa de Bolívar square, where visitors can sample locally produced delicacies like chorizo and Canarian cheese, as well as indulge in a spot of people watching.

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    7

    Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife

    One of the world's oldest tourist destinations

    Puerto de la Cruz is a laidback city in Tenerife with a colourful old town and black-sand beaches. Located on the island's north side, it was one of the world's first tourist destinations/. Thanks to its year-round sunshine and mellow atmosphere, it's easy to see why it continues to attract tourists to this day.

    The old town is a pleasure to explore, with its brightly coloured buildings and quaint local restaurants. Plaza del Charco and the Botanic Garden are great places to soak up the scene. The black sands and blue seas of the local beaches are striking sights, while the saltwater pools of the Lago Martianez waterpark offer plenty of family fun.

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    8

    Playa de la Arena, Tenerife

    Escape the hustle and bustle in this wonderfully peaceful resort

    Playa de la Arena is a laidback resort town in western Tenerife that's popular with visitors looking to indulge in some uninterrupted relaxation. Located close to the bustling resorts of Los Gigantes and Puerto Santiago, the area's chilled-out bars and restaurants offer a measured alternative to the party-fuelled hedonism of some of the island's busier destinations.

    The black-sand beach is the main attraction, with the huge cliffs of Los Gigantes visible in the distance. There's a tidy promenade complete with a sprinkling of restaurants, shops and bars, though many of the local hotels provide all-inclusive stays. Playa de la Arena exudes a family-friendly feel throughout, but it's also a good option for those looking for peace and quiet.

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    9

    Arrieta, Lanzarote

    Experience authentic Lanzarote life in this unspoilt corner

    Arrieta is a quaint village on the northern coast of Lanzarote. It's popular with independent travellers seeking an authentic island experience. The traditional fishing village and surrounding beaches offer little in the way of purpose-built resorts. Local seafood restaurants and laidback Canarian charm are part of the town's appeal.

    The nearby beach of Playa de la Garita boasts unspoilt golden sands, a play park, and restaurants, while tapas at Chiringito proves popular with locals and tourists alike. Great snorkelling can be enjoyed when the seas are calm, while surfers and boogie-boarders take to the water when the waves are up. Friendly locals help make Arrieta a good choice for those wishing to holiday away from the tourist hubbub.

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    10

    Puerto del Rosario, Fuertaventura

    Enjoy the hubbub of this effervescent island capital

    Puerto del Rosario is the capital of Fuerteventura known for its busy harbour, whitewashed houses, and attractive street art. The city offers an alternative to spending endless days lying on the beach, making it a popular choice among day-trippers and sightseers.

    A good place to begin your exploration is in Calle Primero de Mayo, with its restaurants, cafes and shops serving as a hub for both tourists and locals. The nearby Nuestra Señora del Rosario Church is an idyllic spot, while the Unamuno House-Museum offers a glimpse into 1920s Fuertaventura life. If the lure of the beach becomes too strong, the seaside is never too far away. Playas Blanca and Chica are within easy reach of Puerto del Rosario.

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    photo by Frank Vincentz (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    Patrizio Cavaliere | Contributing Writer

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