Year-round sun, warm, clear water and consistent year-round waves draw tourists to the Canary Islands. Affectionately named “The Fortunate Islands” due to the subtropical climate and sandy beaches, the islands of this Spanish archipelago lie at the eastern edge of the Atlantic Ocean, off the northwest coast of Africa. Canary Islands are renowned for shallow, heavy and hollow waves, breaking over reefs. However, there are also mellow beach breaks great learners and surf camps everywhere that cater for surfers of all levels. The main surf islands of Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, Tenerife and Gran Canaria, whilst very different, each has dramatic scenery and fantastic waves. Those who come can pick their spot and choose from bustling cities with great nightlife or sleepy little villages where stress just rolls away.

Where to surf

Lanzarote has the best quality waves in the Canaries, perfect for surf holidays, while Tenerife has a south and north shore meaning that it captures all swells and handle all winds. Winds predominantly blow from the northeast and are occasionally very strong sometimes making surfing conditions difficult. However spots like Famara or La Santa right are well-protected. Spots on the East coast are more inconsistent. Fuerteventura island has the longest beaches of all the islands. It has the advantage of being the biggest island – it’s deserted and windy….a surfer’s paradise! It’s never too crowded, even when the hordes of tourists rush here in the middle of winter. The duneside of Corralejo is especially spectacular. West and east swells hit a number of reefs on the north coast. Beachbreaks on the west side of the island are well protected from the northeast winds. The winter months are the best time to go, winds are not as strong and come more from the east than the north.

When to go

The autumn, winter and springtime bring powerful waves giving the islands their nickname of “The Hawaii of Europe”. Also the predominant NE wind is offshore at the best breaks. The summertime means smaller, less consistent waves, stronger winds and very warm weather. You can wear a shortie wetsuit for most of the year with the water temperature bottoming out around 18° in winter.


Hire a mountain bike and go and check out the volcanoes in Lanzarote. Use the winds and learn to kitesurf or chill out and take a yoga class. Hike (or drive) up to Tenerife’s Mt Teide, which rises 4,000 metres above sea level or hit the world-renowned free diving centre on the West Coast. From octopi to timid rays, you will see an exceptional amount of marine life whilst snorkeling, freediving or scuba diving the Canary Islands. Gran Canaria is considered one of the top dives in the region due to the unusual and impressive volcanic formations. Off the coast of La Isleta, just north of Las Palmas, is a morass of lava tubes, caves, arches and crevices.

The Country

Though the Canary Islands are officially a part of Spain, they are actually closer to Africa than they are to Europe. About 100 kilometres from the southern coast of Morocco, the islands are volcanic, and are quite active. Subtropical and arid, the majority of the Canary Islands have a desert climate. The trade winds blowing in from the ocean greatly influence the terrain, which is rich and forested in some regions, and sparse and barren in others. Colonial cities dot the landscape, surrounded by an endless expanse of blue. Offshore are incredible volcanic rock formations, making the vistas that much more spectacular.

Getting There

Flying into the islands is the most direct, and admittedly the simplest way to get to paradise. The three islands of Gran Canaria (CPA), Tenerife (TFS), and Lanzarote (ACE) have airports.

Travel Information

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Calling code


Electric volt

230 V – Plug type: C, E and F.