In rare positive news, Spain’s Canary Islands have been added to the UK’s quarantine-free travel list.
The Canaries have long been a favourite among sun worshippers thanks to sizzling year-round temperatures.
Don’t be put off by “Brits abroad” associations and boring golfing holidays, the islands have undergone a reinvention in recent years and if you like the sound of hiking trails, eco-retreats and thalassotherapy wellness rituals, it’s time to give them a second chance.
With temperatures sitting comfortably in the 20°Cs and a flight time of around four hours, this is the most attainable dose of vitamin sea and D you’ll manage this winter.
Here’s where to sleep, eat and what to do on some of the main islands.
For hikers and budding astronomers – Tenerife
Stay: Set in a stunning burnt terracotta 18th-century manor house on the north of the island, minutes from the striking black sands of Garachico Beach, is Hotel San Roque (doubles from £160/a night). It’s a 20-bedroom boutique hotel with bags of Canarian charm blended effortlessly with contemporary art and design furniture. Laze away by the pool in the quaint open-air courtyard by day and enjoy sea and mountain views over sundowners on the roof terrace by night. It’s adults-only so ideal for a romantic escape.
Eat: With five Michelin-starred restaurants, foodies can rest assured there are plenty of culinary delights to be discovered on this island, beyond the also readily available British comfort food – should you find yourself with a hankering for Shepherd’s Pie. Opt for the tasting menu at family-owned El Rincón de Juan Carlos in Los Gigantes, or saunter over to Japanese restaurant Kazan for show-stopping sashimi (both have earned a star). M.B, meanwhile, located at the Ritz-Carlton Abama, delivers fine Basque cuisine under the command of head chef Martín Berasategui and is the island’s only two Michelin-starred restaurant.
Do & See: Keen hikers should get stuck into the island’s endless scenic footpaths. The Anaga Rural Park, a mountain range and UNESCO world heritage site, is a rewarding choice, as is the Teide National Park, a dramatic landscape centred around the Teide Volcano (Spain’s highest peak), which is also considered one of the best locations in the world for stargazing due to its high altitude and low light pollution.
For cyclists and wellness seekers – Gran Canaria
Stay: Those with a penchant for palatial should check in to 5-star Lopesan Villa del Conde Hotel in Meloneras (doubles from £115/a night), right next to the Maspalomas sand dune nature reserve. The sprawling oceanfront resort, which resembles a traditional Canarian village and boasts five pools, is a sure fire way to chill.
Eat: Head to El Churrasco, also in Meloneras, for melt-in-your mouth steak cooked on Argentine grills.
Do & See: The incredible Maspalomas sand dunes and its five-mile long golden beach are a must, as is a spot of pampering at one of Gran Canaria’s now renowned thalasso spas. The island is fast becoming a wellness destination in its own right for harnessing the healing and restorative powers of seawater. Gran Canaria’s diverse terrain is a big draw for cyclists, too. Take a ride or guided hike through the island’s rugged centre to Roque Nublo, one of the largest natural crags in the world, for insane views and beautiful weather year-round.
For endless beach frolicking – Fuerteventura
Stay: The turquoise and blue exterior of the adults-only Avanti Lifestyle Hotel (from £105/a night for a double) in the old town of Corralejo offers a slice of traditional Mediterranean style, with an ocean-facing roof terrace complete with hot tub and day beds.
Eat: Locals flock to Restaurante Avenida in Corralejo for good value, generous portions and ultra fresh local produce.
Do & See: Fuerteventura boasts some of the best beaches in the Canaries, including Corralejo overlooking the Isla de Lobos tropical islands, which is ideal for long walks and water sports, and Caleta du Fuste, a newer resort and lively spot popular with families. Climb up to the Mirador Astronómico de Sicasumbre viewpoint for incredible views of Fuerteventura’s inland desert landscape – be sure to make it up in time for golden hour to show your efforts off all over the ‘gram.
For eco-warriors and surfers – Lanzarote
Stay: Check into one of Lanzarote’s off-grid eco retreats, like Finca de Arrieta which offers a selection of yurts, villas and cottages all powered by solar and wind energy. The Eco Tower offers exceptional 360º views of the surrounding sea and mountains (from 120 euros a night for up to three guests).
Eat: Combine a trip to the famous Los Hervidores, to admire the powerful Atlantic waves crashing against the rocky coastline, with lunch at one of the rustic seafood restaurants in the tiny fishing village of El Golfo, famed for its semi-submerged volcano and emerald-green lagoon. Restaurante Costa Azul is a sound choice.
Do & See: Lanzarote is often dubbed the “European Hawaii.” Surfers must hit up Farmara on the north of the island, a long stretch of beachfront with a backdrop of volcanic sea cliffs and a cool, laidback vibe, or for something a little calmer, Playas de Papagayo in the south of the island offers a collection of five pristine beaches. Don’t miss the quirky Jardín de Cactus (cactus garden) for more ‘gram opportunities.