The 25+ Best Canary Islands Beaches

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The Canary Islands are technically part of Spain, although geographically they are much closer to North Africa. Made up of seven islands, the Canaries benefit from great weather all year round and are a particularly popular winter destination for Northern Europeans.

Whilst all the Canary Islands are volcanic in origin they are each surprisingly different and together contain a massive variety of environments. From the arid "lunar landscapes" of Fuerteventura and Lanzarote to the lush, verdant hillsides of Tenerife there are four national parks across the islands. So unique and exceptional are these reserves that tow are UNESCO World Heritage Sites and a World Biosphere Reserves.

A little known fact about the archipelago is it is home to Spain's highest mountain, Mount Teide (Tenerife), which is snow capped year round. Something of a contrast to the banana plantations a few miles away! It is the mountainous terrain of the more westerly islands that allows rain to form and create lush landscapes. This is not the case on Fuertaventura and Lanzarote which, with the exception of a few isolated patches of green, are virtually barren.

Much of this will come as a surprise to those who thought of the Canaries as just a cheap package holiday destination. The resorts are still as popular and the nightlife as vibrant as ever, but tourism on the islands has expanded to suit a much wider range of traveller. However, there is one common theme that draws visitors to the Canary Islands and that is the fantastic beaches. These too are as varied as the landscapes throughout the islands and there really is a beach to suit everyone.

  • 1. El Papagayo Beach // Lanzarote

    El Papagayo Beach
    © Tono Balaguer / 123RF

    Set in Los Ajaches Nature Reserve near the southern tip of Lanzarote is El Papagayo beach. Actually there are four beaches collectively termed the Coasta de Papagayo but it is Playa de la Cera that is the best known. Frequently described as the most beautiful beach on Lanzarote Papagayo comprises a small crescent of white sand protected by cliffs to either side. Unlike many of the islands beaches Playa de… read more »

  • 2. Las Teresitas // Tenerife

    Las Teresitas
    © Victor Pelaez Torres
    Great for:
    • Swimming

    Sitting at the foot of the Anaga mountains in the north west of Tenerife is Las Teresitas beach. Despite the mile long sweeping curve of golden sand Las Teresitas manages to just slip under the tourist radar - strange when it has probably featured on more postcards than any other beach on the island! 

    That isn't to say it doesn't get busy; it is popular with locals and plenty of visitors… read more »

  • 3. Playa de Anfi del Mar // Gran Canaria

    Playa de Anfi del Mar
    © FrodeCJ
    Great for:
    • Swimming

    This cosy little bay is nestled snugly along Gran Canaria's south coast.

    The beach is an ice white sandy strip that draws families in, partly due to the calm and clear water, which is ideal for young children taking a paddle, and partly due to the family-friendly atmosphere here.

    Sunbeds and parasols can be rented on the sands, and there's a watersports centre on the beach too, where you can hire jet-skis,… read more »

  • 4. Playa de Fañabé // Tenerife

    Playa de Fañabé
    Falco Ermert
    Great for:
    • Swimming

    A long ribbon of dark sand on the Costa Adeje of Tenerife's southwest coast, Playa Fanabe is one of the best all-round beaches on this side of the island. Calm waters make paddling with little ones a joy, while a lifeguard presence provides an extra feeling of security.

    Another of Tenerife's Blue Flag beaches, Playa Fanabe is also one of its more upmarket options, meaning it generally has a quieter vibe… read more »

  • 5. Playa Meloneras // Gran Canaria

    Playa Meloneras
    Great for:
    • Swimming

    Tucked away in Gran Canaria's southwestern corner, just a short way up the coast from Maspalomas' sand dunes, you'll find the soft golden sands at Playa de Meloneras.

    This 500-metre stretch of family-friendly beach rarely gets too crowded, with most tourists opting for the larger, busier spots along the coast, so it's ideal if you like plenty of wriggle room while you're catching the rays.

    The waters are warm and calm,… read more »

  • 6. El Bollullo Beach // Tenerife

    El Bollullo Beach
    © Tono Balaguer / 123RF

    El Bollullo beach is located on Tenerife's north coast, a world away from the package-tours and resorts the island is often associated with. This small cove has a wild, natural feel right down to the black volcanic sand - there's no sprinkling golden sand imported from the Sahara here like on some of Tenerife's beaches.

    Set in the island's picturesque La Orotava Valley, the journey to El Bollullo involves navigating… read more »

  • 7. Maspalomas Beach // Gran Canaria

    Maspalomas Beach
    © Tono Balaguer

    Set on the southern tip of the island of Gran Canaria is a little slice of the Sahara Desert. Over the centuries the fine golden sand here has been sculpted into an extensive network of dunes extending several hundred metres back from the beach. With a landscape like this you won't be surprised to know it hardly ever rains and the temperature rarely dips below a balmy 20°C (68°F). And… read more »

  • 8. Playa de Las Conchas // Lanzarote

    Playa de Las Conchas
    Gonzalo Serrano Espada

    Playa de las Conchas lies on the northwest coast of the little island of La Graciosa, five kilometres along a gravel road from the ferry departure point back to Lanzarote. Its almost white sand stretches for 600 metres beside shallows the colour of turquoise. Reaching a maximum width of around 100 metres, Playa de las Conchas is surrounded by the red-tinted foothills of the volcano Montana Bermeja.

    Meaning "mussel beach" because… read more »

  • 9. Playa de Matagorda // Lanzarote

    Playa de Matagorda
    Luis Miguel Bugallo Sánchez
    Great for:
    • Swimming

    Perhaps the first beach anyone sees when arriving into Lanzarote because of its proximity to the island's airport, Playa de Matagorda flies a Blue Flag as it winds along the southeast coast in a tempting string of dark sand.

    Paralleled by the Avenida de las Playas promenade for its entire length of approximately 850 metres, Playa de Matagorda is at the northern end of the resort town of Puerto del Carmen.… read more »

  • 10. Playa de Vueltas // Gomera

    Playa de Vueltas
    Falco Ermert
    Great for:
    • Swimming

    This soft sand beach is tucked into a picturesque corner of La Gomera's south west coastline. 

    As with most of the island's beaches, the sands here are volcanic black, but unlike many of the others, this one's sheltered by a breakwater, so the waves rarely get too choppy. As a result, this spot's a popular choice with families, although that's partly thanks to the nearby facilities too - Valle Gran Rey's… read more »

  • 11. Playa del Reducto // Lanzarote

    Playa del Reducto
    © Alfred Derks
    Great for:
    • Snorkeling
    • Swimming

    Immediately to the west of downtown Arrecife, the beautiful white sands of Playa del Reducto circle around shallows sheltered by a natural reef. Suitable for children to play in the gentle waves as a result, it has a Blue Flag award for its cleanliness and range of facilities.

    The recently-renovated promenade behind the beach is the home of most of these facilities, including changing rooms, showers, bars and restaurants. Its right-hand… read more »

  • 12. Playa del Camisón // Tenerife

    Playa del Camisón
    Iain Cameron
    Great for:
    • Swimming

    Located within an almost entirely closed off bay created by artificial breakwaters, Playa del Camison has some of the calmest waters of any beach in southwest Tenerife. With soft sands that gently slope into warm shallow water, it is a good beach to visit with young children keen on their first beach experiences.

    Although the sand itself is free of stones, large pebbles can be found under the water. However, the… read more »

  • 13. Playa del Médano // Tenerife

    Playa del Médano
    Guillaume Baviere
    Great for:
    • Kitesurfing

    Bisected by the Barranco de los Valos ravine, Playa del Medano offers one of the southeast coast's longest and widest sand beaches. Situated at the heart of a large bay, it shouldn't be mistaken for the much smaller Playa de El Medano closer to the town of the same name.

    Made up of Tenerife's typical dark volcanic sands, Playa del Medano is popular with windsurfers and kite surfers, who use the… read more »

  • 14. Playa del Duque // Tenerife

    Playa del Duque
    Marc Ryckaert
    Great for:
    • Swimming

    Playa del Duque is a Blue Flag beach sitting on the southwest coast of Tenerife. An upmarket option tucked back from the open waves of the Atlantic Ocean, its shallows are protected on one side by a short rocky promontory and on the other by an artificial seawall which separates it from Playa El Beril.

    Part of the Costa Adeje, Playa del Duque is one of the island's busiest beaches,… read more »

  • 15. Playa Jardín // Tenerife

    Playa Jardín
    Gerardo nuñez
    Great for:
    • Swimming
    • Surfing

    Playa Jardin is a city beach on the western flanks of Puerto de la Cruz on the northern coast of Tenerife. Comprising almost black sand, it was created from scratch in the 1990s so that residents and visitors to the city didn't have to travel too far to soak up the island sun or splash about in the shallows while absorbing the panoramic views of Mount Teide, Spain's highest peak.

    Lined… read more »