Some years it’s hard to say goodbye to summer. This is something some members of my immediate family really struggle with, even with SAD lights in every room, people still claim that Seasonal Affective Disorder is making them sluggish and they need to top up their levels of vitamin D. Easily said and done if your sufferer believes in taking supplements, but if not the only thing for it is an ‘emergency medicinal trip’ to a sunnier clime. So we’ve taken quite a few desperate trips to the perennially sunny Canary Islands over the years, and this year I’m beginning to sense the early signs of an impending SAD request, so I’ve asked the Hotel Guru for some recommendations on where to stay on our favourite islands in the group.
Fuerteventura: For Windswept Beaches and a Stunning Landscape
Fuerteventura is the closest Canary to Africa, and when you look at the landscape with its volcanic peaks and jagged edges, and at the colourful towns and villages, you can really tell. Its beaches are some of the best in the Canaries (and it’s a very strong field!), but as well as being long and pristine, they can also be blustery, so they’re loved by anyone who likes their waters wind-whipped. Fuerteventura is also known for its national parks and biospheres — while some of this island is very developed, some of it is untouched. And it’s got a good collection of museums and galleries.
Fuerteventura is sunny all year round, and you can still expect around seven hours a day in October and November. There’s a bit of rain in autumn, but the sea is still very warm and the average daily maximum temperatures for October is 25°C, and for November it’s 23°C – positively balmy!
Where to Stay?
The Gran Hotel Atlantis Bahia Real is right on the beach in Corralejo, beside the Parque Natural de las Dunes de Corralejo, 11kms of desert-like sand dunes that roll down towards some exceptional beaches. So there’s plenty of space for this big hotel with its 3000 square metres spa and six restaurants. The Gran Hotel Atlantis matches the five-star standards of the best resorts in the Canaries, with opulent decor and amazing views. It’s romantic and private too, if you want it to be, but also fun and friendly, with numerous facilities laid on — including dolphin spotting. Rooms start from €216 per night B&B.
Practical Information: Fuerteventura Airport is about an hour away from Corralejo if you’re catching public transport, but the hotel offers transfers.
La Palma: For Rural Charm
La Palma is the largest and greenest Canary Island, and, unlike its neighbours, its fertile lands are more lucrative than its tourism, so you won’t find the same sort of high-rise resort towns. What you will find are lush, dense forests in the north and a dry, volcanic, lunar-like landscape in the south. And sunshine. And peace! La Palma has almost no flat land. Its banana plantations slip down black rock hillsides, and roads offer one hairpin bend after another. While this may not create a beautiful picture in your mind’s eye, it really is quite something, and exploring this landscape, on foot or on wheels, is one of the main reasons people visit La Palma. But it has a couple of lovely centres too.
La Palma gets a bit of rain in October, and a bit more in November, so if you can book for October, when the sea will be warm and you can expect six hours a day of sunshine and maximum daily average temperatures of 26°C, then it will definitely feel like summer is still going strong.
Where to Stay?
The Hotel Olio is a three room B&B in rural La Palma, charmingly converted from the village music school, with lovely traditional features but all the contemporary comforts you need. Inside expect four-poster beds and beautiful, traditional tiled floors, and outside there’s a breakfast terrace overlooking a pretty, tropical garden with a heated pool. Children 12 and over are welcome, but they idea is that this is a peaceful, intimate stay. It’s also extremely good value, with rooms only €90 per night including breakfast.
Practical Information: The Hotel Olio is in El Paso La Palma, and to get there you need to fly into Santa Cruz la Palma Airport then catch two buses changing at Parada Norte. It takes about an hour and a quarter by public transport, but of course less in a taxi.
La Gomera: For Relaxation against an Ocean Backdrop
La Gomera is the tiny Canary, with a shape that was once cleverly described as a Terry’s Chocolate Orange that has been tapped half open and is now gently melting into the beautiful sea surrounding it. Here, instead of resort-lined beaches and beach-lined resorts, those alighting from the hydrofoil find themselves amongst banana plantations and ancient laurel forests, and in the centre of the island is a volcano surrounded by gorges like said chocolate orange cracks. La Gomera’s beaches are black and volcanic, another big difference from its neighbours, and the volcanic soil grows distinctive fruit and wine grapes. This is a fantastic island for explorers, and walkers, and for divers too.
La Gomera is rainier than the other Canaries, but expect regular short, light showers rather than downpours. During October and November La Gomera still expects around seven hours of sunshine a day, the seas are very warm and the maximum daily average for October is 26°C and for November 24°C.
Where to Stay?
Perched on a cliff-top, the Jardin Tecina is a large, elegant resort with all the facilities you could imagine you might need and incredible ocean views. This is an ideal place for golfers, tennis players and anyone into watersports or volleyball, or anyone just looking for a resort with so much on offer that you don’t need to leave it. This is a great place for families too, with numerous room configurations available and lots on for kids. Rooms start from €145 B&B per night.
Practical Information: The Jardin Tecina is just outside Playa Santiago, on La Gomera’s south coast. It’s possible to fly La Gomera Airport from the several UK airports, but you do have to go via Spain, so many visitors opt to fly into Tenerife-South Airport and take the ferry across to Los Cristianos.
Tenerife: For Year Round Sunshine
Sunny and warm for almost 365 days of each year, Tenerife’s subtropical climate is one of the reasons it’s such a popular year round destination. You can still swim in the ocean during December and January, below blue skies and mild weather. It used to be just the sun, sea and sand drawing people to Tenerife, but these days many people are wise to the charms of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, and Puerto de la Cruz, and to the dramatic volcanic landscape of the interior. Try to make time to visit the island’s dramatic volcanic heart, El Teide. You can climb it, but you need special permission, or visit the top via cable car. The view is spectacular.
During October and November you can expect seven hours of sunshine a day, though come November there are more rainy days than usual. The maximum daily average temperatures are 25°C in October and 23°C in November.
Where to Stay?
La Bodega is a charming collection of self-catering cottages in the pretty town of San Miguel. The cottages are arranged around a communal saltwater pool and barbecue area, and there’s a lovely shared sun terrace. The name comes from this building’s previous life as a wine bodega and farmhouse – the owners now have a family home in the farmhouse and the guest cottages were outbuildings associated with the bodega, and retain a traditional feel. The cottages are great value too, starting from only €89 per night, and come complete with a kitchen the owners are happy to stock for you before you arrive.
Practical Information: Tenerife is large enough, and popular enough, to warrant two airports, Tenerife North, formerly Los Rodeos, in the north and Tenerife South, formerly Reina Sofia, in the south, and it’s the southern airport that’s closest to La Bodega. Unfortunately it’s three buses from the airport if you want to travel by public transport, but it will still probably take you under an hour.
Lanzarote: For Canary Culture and Beautiful Beaches
If you’re of a certain age you might not think Lanzarote is quite your cup of tea, and that’s a fair thought because its beautiful, sunny beaches once graced the cover of every package tour operator brochure in town. Lanzarote certainly still gets its fair share of people just looking for cheap sunshine, but there’s a lot more for the sophisticated traveller besides — that’s how I see you, dear reader! Yes, its circa 300 volcanoes, its lunar lava landscapes, romantic vineyards, wonderful seafood restaurants, world-class surfing breaks, and beautiful whitewashed villages complete with obligatory old men with donkeys – are all relatively unspoiled. And on top of the spectacular landscape and beautiful beaches, Lanzarote is culturally rich, with a number of museums and galleries of note, excellent marketplaces and lively local traditions.
Even in autumn Lanzarote still gets more than eight hours of sunshine a day, and there aren’t too many days of rain on the horizon either. The sea temperature is still in the low 20s, and the maximum daily average temperature for October is 27°C, and for November it’s 24°C. Which is a pretty good maximum daily average temperature for the peak of summer in many places.
Where to Stay?
Originally built in the 18th Century, the Casa de Hilario has been beautifully restored into a contemporary seven room guesthouse, arranged around a serene courtyard and a small pool. The property is in a fantastic, scenic spot between the peaceful village of Yaiza and the mountains of the Fire National Park. Inside each of the rooms has been individually decorated, and they’re quite different, both in size and design. Rooms start from €135 per night including breakfast.
Practical Information: Yaiza’s closest airport is Arrecife airport, and it’s about a 30minute bus ride from there to the Casa de Hilario.
Plenty more travel inspiration from The Hotel Guru HERE