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Sights, Canary Islands

Some of the best sightseeing wonders in the Canary Islands can be found amongst its incredible natural landscapes. Visit the La Peña viewpoint in Guarazoca to gaze upon breathtaking scenery. Then, soak up the delightful culture in the old towns of Teguise and La Orotava.

Alternatively, reach the summit of Roque de los Muchachos at the top of La Palma. Or, experience horizontal rain in the Garajonay National Park in the heart of La Gomera.

Caldera de Taburiente National Park

If you’re looking to explore the great outdoors, travel to Caldera de Taburiente National Park, where you’ll be greeted by a rugged mountainous landscape.

The park receives its name from the Caldera de Taburiente – an immense volcanic crater surrounded by a number of jagged summits. This includes the highest peak on the island: the Roque de los Muchachos. It reaches a huge 2,423 metres above sea level and lies close to an astronomical observatory.

The park is formed mostly of vast pine forests and deep ravines, which are even home to some endangered species. This stunning scenery has made it a popular site for hiking (so remember to pack your walking boots)! Several trails guide you past natural baths, glorious streams and picturesque waterfalls. Or, you can simply enjoy a lazy afternoon at the remote beach here.

Visitors can also camp and try their hand at stargazing under the clear skies. Alternatively, head to La Cumbrecita – a viewpoint with spectacular panoramic views of the park. 

Situated in the middle of the island, Caldera de Taburiente National Park is easily accessible by both car and bus, and definitely should be on your to-do list for your next trip to La Palma.

Cueva de los Verdes

Cueva de los Verdes, or “the Green Caves”, is an impressively long volcanic tunnel which formed from a lava flow when the (now extinct) Monte Corona erupted.

It stretches for six kilometres above sea level and another 1.5 kilometres below the sea. This section below the sea is known as Túnel de la Atlántida (which means “the tunnel of Atlantis”).

It is thought that in earlier centuries, locals used the caves to hide from raiders and pirates. Now, a portion of the cave is used as a concert hall, which can seat 500 people at once – how cool is that? This plays host to classical music concerts through the year but remains one of Lanzarote’s best-kept secrets. 

When entering into the caves, you’ll find that lighting has also been fitted throughout so that visitors can experience the unique shapes, textures and colours of the impressive cave walls. Take one of the regular guided tours here to see all the highlights of this amazing attraction.

La Orotava

Sitting on the north-west coast of Tenerife is the old town of La Orotava. It was once home to some of the island’s wealthiest residents, which is reflected by the picturesque architecture of the town’s buildings (some of which date back to the 16th century!)

Wandering around the town, you’ll find Renaissance mansions, intricately carved wooden balconies and stunning churches. The 18th century Liceo de Taoro building can’t be missed due to its lively pink colour and lush gardens.

La Orotava has also been declared a site of National Historic and Artistic Interest, and is filled with cobbled streets and colourful houses; you’ll feel truly Canarian here. Nature lovers will adore the Hijuela del Botanico gardens: a peaceful public green with various species of tropical vegetation.

When you’ve finished strolling through the town, consider exploring more of the valley. The area contains plenty of hiking routes through the woodland, boasting impressive views out towards the coastline.

La Peña

Perched in the municipality of Valverde on the island of El Hierro, the magnificent La Peña viewpoint is not to be missed. It’s located at one of the highest points on the island and presents visitors with spectacular views over the rest of El Hierro.

The vantage point looks out onto El Golfo Valley, which was created by an enormous landslide that occurred millions of years ago.

At the foot of the cliffs, onlookers can see vineyards and orchards hidden amongst the volcanic plain and out towards the coastline. You can also spot the Roques de Salmor offshore, home to important nesting spots for seabirds and the island’s primeval giant lizard (Lagarto del Salmor).

The building at this site, Mirador de la Peña, now boasts a restaurant where diners can enjoy a Canarian style meal while admiring the breathtaking view.

The architecture is the work of César Manrique, who is known for having dedicated his life to creating organic open spaces. This truly is a must-visit attraction.

Parque Nacional de Garajonay

Parque Nacional de Garajonay is located on the island of La Gomera; this incredible green jungle covers around 10% of the island’s surface. It became a national park in 1981 and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Here, a cloud of mist (known as horizontal rain) runs through the immense forest, which is created by the cool Atlantic winds mixing with the warmer climate. This makes for some truly remarkable photos!

The park is also home to various plant species, and represents a lost ecosystem no longer found in many parts of the world – it’s like stepping back in time!

Other attractions situated in this ancient landscape include the numerous, huge rock formations, such as the Garajonay, from which the park gets its name. These are former volcanoes which have eroded into different shapes over time.

A great way to explore the area is by hiking or cycling its large network of paths. Along the way, be sure to take in the scale of this unique paradise at one of the park’s nine viewpoints.

Roque de Los Muchachos

Sitting within the spectacular Caldera de Taburiente National Park is the Roque de los Muchachos. It’s the highest peak on La Palma, stretching a massive 2,423 metres above sea level, and can be reached by travelling up winding roads. Along the way, you’ll pass some simply amazing scenery, as well as several stunning sights.

Roque de los Muchachos is known for being one of the best places in the world for stargazing, thanks to its clear skies. The location of the island and the climatic conditions cause clouds to block out any light pollution from nearby towns, creating a remarkably pristine view!

The route to the summit makes for a fantastic hiking trail, too, so this is something not to be missed if you’re making the journey to the area. You can also visit the close by observatory of the same name, home to some of the greatest telescopes on the planet.

Santa Cruz de la Palma

Santa Cruz de la Palma is the capital city of the island of La Palma and some say it is one of the prettiest places in the whole of the Canary Islands.

This historic location is known for its ancient architecture, picturesque city centre and idyllic harbour, so take your time to soak up the culture while strolling down the cobbled streets.

Be sure to call at the magnificent town hall and the church of El Salvador, before browsing the array of shopping outlets here. The city’s colourful houses boast beautiful old balconies with gorgeous hanging plants and flowers, giving off a typically Canarian but also Caribbean feeling.

In the distance, visitors might spot a ship run aground, but it is actually a replica of Christopher Columbus’ Santa María and home to the local naval museum.

If you wander further out of the centre, you’ll find Santa Cruz de la Palma also has a serene beach and a long promenade. What’s not to love about this place?

Teguise’s Old Town

Until 1852, Teguise was the capital of Lanzarote. Sitting in the centre of the island, it has now become a popular destination for sightseers.

This old town houses many of the features we associate so well with Lanzarote, such as the brilliant white low-rise buildings and cobbled streets. Its appearance truly is a stark contrast to the volcanic landscape which surrounds it.

Some of the most beautiful attractions include Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe – a church that has stayed standing even through a fire in 1909. Another must-see structure is Palacio Spínola, which is a luxurious palace that’s home to the president of the Canarian Government.

All of this is overlooked by the Castillo de Santa Bárbara (a castle built to help protect the settlement from invasion over several centuries).

Teguise’s old town also hosts one of the biggest markets on the island, drawing in a wave of visitors weekly. This charming village is perfect for a peaceful break away from the busier neighbouring cities.

Teide National Park

Situated in Tenerife, Teide National Park is the biggest national park in the Canary Islands, and is home to Mount Teide, the highest mountain in Spain! This dramatic volcano dominates its surroundings, standing at 3,718 metres above sea level.

The Mount Teide Cable Car takes visitors close to the summit and gives spectacular views of the area. From here, you can venture on one of the various trails that are available.

When visiting the park, holidaymakers can expect to see a unique and diverse landscape – from craters and rivers of petrified lava to colourful flora and pine forests.

Look out for the Roques de García lava rocks that have been eroded into unusual shapes, too. For something a little different, try your hand at paragliding (which is very popular here), or for a more relaxing activity, spend an evening stargazing under the remarkably clear skies.

Several significant archaeological sites are also located in the park, and it’s thought that it was used as a place of worship by the Guanches (the aboriginal inhabitants of the Canary Islands). The park was even named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2007.

Timanfaya National Park

The Timanfaya National Park lies in the southwestern section of Lanzarote and is home to the famous Montanas del Fuego (Fire Mountains). This immense landscape was created from over six years of volcanic eruptions between 1730 and 1736, so the parkland is full of uniquely coloured soil.

The only volcano currently active here is Timanfaya (after which the park is named), but volcanic activity can still be witnessed.

Watch geysers of steam explode up from the ground as a result of cold water being poured into the hot earth. Or, observe how quickly hay can be set alight when exposed to the heat under the surface.

The complete lack of vegetation at this incredible setting just adds to its unusual beauty. To protect the park’s slim number of flora and fauna, access here is regulated, although there are one or two footpaths available to use. Alternatively, another route allows you to explore the area by camel.