Secret Canaries

Mark and David's verdict
Not all the Canaries have been over-developed. On La Palma you’ll find soaring volcanic peaks, wild forests and few other tourists. Its capital Santa Cruz is a cobbled colonial outpost with great charm. The barely known and tiny La Graciosa could pass as a desert island with tranquil beaches and crashing surf.

Recommended tour operator: Cachet Travel

Cachet Travel says

As the UK’s most popular winter-sun destinations, the Canary Islands are often tarnished with a typical Brits-Abroad image, but with four of Spain’s 14 National Parks found here, this stunningly diverse archipelago has plenty to offer those seeking natural beauty and local charm.

  • Hidden islands
  • Hotels with character
  • Year-round sun

With only two direct flights a week from the UK, La Palma is one island where British tourists are still rare. Its dramatic landscapes make it an ideal choice for walkers; scenic highlights include the pine-clad Taburiente Caldera in the mountainous centre, rainforests in the north, and stark lava plains in the south. Accommodation ranges from simple studios in Santa Cruz, La Palma’s historic capital, to cottages with private pools in the countryside.

To the south, the even smaller island of La Gomera requires a ferry crossing from Tenerife – enough to deter the bucket-and-spade brigade, so that nature-lovers have the place to themselves. Most visitors come here for the excellent walking through deep ravines and lush valleys, but those simply wishing to relax in authentic surroundings will love the island’s swish Parador.

For an unspoilt beach holiday, the tiny isle of La Graciosa just north of Lanzarote would be hard to beat. With no tarmac roads on the island, the most common mode of transport here is the wheelbarrow!

And even the main islands boast a range of rural retreats – try the pretty Hotel Las Longueras in Gran Canaria’s Agaete Valley, or the charming Casonas de Marengo, set in glorious countryside.

See our our full selection of holidays in the Canary Islands. Also see where to go in the Canaries and which is the hottest island.

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Before you book

Travel restrictions have been lifted by the UK, but some other countries still have measures in place. Check the latest government travel advice.