We asked Natalia Villendrup, from Vdrup – Real Estate Personal Shopper Canary Islands for her answer to this commonly asked question.
No doubt about it, the Canary Islands rank high among Spain’s most visited destinations with 12m visitors per annum. It is not surprising when the climate, considered among the best in the world, is a constant warm ranging from an average 19C in winter to a pleasant 23C in summer.
The Canary Islands are made up of eight islands: Tenerife, the largest in terms of size (2,034 sq km) and population (906,850), Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Fuertaventura, La Palma, La Gomera, El Hierro and La Graciosa with an overall population of 2.1m. They are located off the coast of northwestern Africa, and part of the autonomous community of Spain.
Getting to the Canary Islands is simple and relatively cost efficient given the number of charter and scheduled flights flying from major UK destinations to Tenerife and Gran Canaria. British Airways this winter launches new routes to Tenerife from Heathrow, to add to its six-weekly flights from Gatwick.
The Canary Islands are the perfect place for any type of person: singles, couples, families.
In terms of property, the market is most active between €200,000 and €300,000.
In Gran Canaria this buys a two- or three-bedroom bungalow in a residential complex, or a highly specified apartment.
On Fuerteventura this buys a detached villa.
On La Palma this would buy a ‘Canarian’ villa for renovation.
Generally, if you are looking for a high quality detached house, three or more bedrooms, on a 1,000m2 plot with pool, expect to pay over €400,000 across any island.
The general Canarian architectural style is of stone buildings but Lanzarote lays claim to a Cubist whitewashed style with green paintwork and
onion-domed chimney pots, thanks to its famous resident architect, Cesar Manrique.
The question is, which island is right for me?
All round action
The largest of the islands, Tenerife seems to have it all: 15 Blue Flag beaches and marinas, two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Mount Teide National Park which is also an active volcano (last eruption 1909) and the islands’ highest peak, as well as the 15th century San Cristobal de la Laguna, whose colonial buildings are seen as an architectural link between Europe and the Americas. The capital Santa Cruz is a year-round bustle and hosts one of the world’s largest street festivals, second to Rio.
Film sets and botany
Gran Canaria has been been the backdrop for Moby Dick, Fistful of Dollars, Clash of the Titans and Wild Oats among others. 40% is a dedicated UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, and nurtures about 100 plant species that don’t grow anywhere else in the world. Head to the north of the island for the cooler mountainous region, while warm beaches are on the south and east.
Back to nature
For those wanting a less touristy and unspoilt idyll, head to La Gomera, La Palma, and El Hierro.
La Gomera’s national park, Garajonay covers 11% of the island and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its luscious rainforest, the only tertiary ecosystem remaining in Europe. Uniquely La Gomera has a special whistling language, also UNESCO-protected, and is hailed as a stopover point for Columbus en route to the Americas.
La Palma is known locally as La Isla Bonita. The island’s clear skies coupled with 2,267-metre peak has made it home to the Great Canary Telescope which has been hosting scientific observations for nearly a decade. Its crystal clear waters, fine black sand, and volcanic seabed make it a heaven for scuba diving while above ground is a 1000 km network of paths for cycling and hiking. It is also home to theatre, opera, art and culture and has long shipbuilding legacy.
All of El Hierro, the westernmost Canary, is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and was the first island to produce 100% of its energy from renewables. It was once home to the smallest hotel on Earth. Accessible only by ferry or small connecting plane from one of the islands, El Hierro is the youngest of the Canaries formed 1m years ago rather than 12-20mya. It is a walkers’ paradise with ancient tracks through lava fields.
For those seeking remote privacy, La Graciosa is the smallest with only 700 residents and all vehicles banned except those used for essential services. It is accessibly by ferry from Lanzarote, only 2km away to the south.
Fuerteventura has among some of the best beaches in Europe, six of them Blue Flag, with turquoise waters and sand dunes. Often referred to as Europe’s Caribbean island, it is excellent for various watersports and diving, and hard-ground activities such as horse-riding, golf, tennis and mountain biking. Keep a watchful eye for Star Wars’ cast, which is being filmed on the island this summer.
The rain in Spain does not fall on Lanzarote:
Since modern records began no rainfall in July has ever been recorded on Lanzarote. It is the Canaries lunar landscape, with black volcanic rock and cones contrasting with white sand and clear water. Its Timanfaya National Park was home to the largest and longest-lasting (six months) volcanic eruption in 1730 but there have been no eruptions since 1824.
Excellent for water sports and cycling thanks to its quiet roads, it also hosts the annual Iron Man endurance test.
Text supplied by Natalia.