Lanzarote and the Canary Island for the Independent Traveller

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Lanzarote and the Canary Island for the Independent Traveller

The beautiful Canary Islands have been attracting people for years and while every year it seems more and more people come as part of packaged holidays, the islands are actually a great place for independent travelers as well.  The long line of beach front hotels and all-inclusive resorts is hard not to spot but beyond these dense tourist corridors, the Canary Islands are more about local culture and friendly people, without the huge crowds.  Below is a short guide to the islands, from Lanzarote to Tenerife and beyond, that will show you how to take full advantage of your independent island holiday.


Starting in Lanzarote, you will quickly see how easy it is to get beyond the resort hotels and out into the “real” Lanzarote.  This beautifully barren island might attract thousands of packaged tourists each week, but drive a few miles from the main hotel sections and you will think you have suddenly been dropped on a remote, deserted island.  The best unspoiled areas lie in the north, where you can get away from the crowds and experience simple local Canarian life.

Consider staying in casas rurales, locally run Bed & Breakfasts, rather than the big touristy hotels.  Also consider renting a car to explore the island independently.  The old capital, Teguise, is a great place to wander and enjoy the architecture and markets.  This is a volcanic island and there isn’t much in the way of trees or even grass but independent travelers should definitely do some hiking through the colorful volcanic landscapes where it is the soil that adds the color, ranging from bright reds to yellow to black.


On Tenerife, once again, the best unspoiled and untouristy areas of the island are found in the north.  As the largest of the Canary Islands, there is plenty of space on Tenerife to get lost and get away from the packaged tourists.

There are a number of small towns worth exploring on Tenerife, where you can slow down, relax, and experience a bit of the local culture.  La Laguna is a small town just a short drive from Santa Cruz and surrounded by the Aguere Valley.  It is the picture of Spanish island paradise with small winding streets, flower filled courtyards, traditional tapas restaurants, and a unique historic center.  La Orotava is another great small town with nice examples of classic Spanish architecture and beautiful gardens.  No trip to Tenerife, independent or not, is complete without a visit to Mt. Teide, the island’s large volcano, watching over the island and easily spotted from all over the island.  You can hike the volcano or take a cable car up to the top for great views.

The Other Islands

As an independent traveler, you will definitely want to give yourself some time for a bit of island hopping.  The smaller Canary Islands, like La Palma and El Hierro, are not only beautiful but also incredibly untouristy.  While the big hotels and resorts of Tenerife and Lanzarote attract millions of package tourists each year, the rest of the Canary Islands are largely left for only the more adventurous, independent travelers.  Island hopping is most easily done through the islands’ ferry system but there are also limited inter-island flights.

Photo Credit: marcp_dmoz via photopin cc

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