Looking for European sun destinations? The Canary Islands are one of the best winter sun destinations in Europe and a great choice for a Christmas getaway! In this post, I will be outlining all the reasons why the Canary Islands are your best choice for a European winter sun beach break, including a few of my favourite things to do!
Christmas in the Canary Islands – Choosing Europe Winter Sun over a Europe Winter Wonderland Trip
When you think about a winter trip to Europe, you can be forgiven for thinking of ski destinations, the best Christmas markets in Europe located on quaint cobbled streets, adorned with fairy lights, sweet treats and Christmas souvenirs. Ski destinations and European Christmas markets are a must-visit for tourists and I have to admit there are a few on my bucket list for 2020, after enjoying festive shopping in Den Bosch (The Netherlands). However, ideas for winter holiday destinations in Europe needn’t stop there!
The Best Winter Sun Destinations in Europe
If you are anything like me, you’ll already be craving a sunny winter holiday and a well-needed boost of vitamin D! Though, sourcing warm winter sun in Europe may not be as hard to come by as perhaps you may have thought.
The Canary Islands are a Spanish group of islands located off the coast of North-western Africa, making them one of the best European winter sun destinations. The Canary Islands boast over 300 days of sunshine a year, meaning you are almost guaranteed winter sun! This makes the Canary Islands a top choice for a Christmas sun getaway too!
If you are flying from Europe, you will also find short-haul flights to the Canary Islands with low-cost carriers Easyjet, Ryanair and affordable package holidays from Tui, Icelolly.com, Love Holidays and Jet2. The Canary Islands offer affordable warm winter holidays in Europe, making them a popular choice for families and couples.
Christmas in The Canary Islands
If you are seeking the warmest places in Europe in December for a potential Christmas sun getaway, the Canary Islands are your best bet in terms of affordability, guaranteed winter sun and are one of the best places to spend Christmas in Europe, whether you will be in the Canary Islands on Christmas Day or flying out just after Christmas.
Overall, Christmas in Spain is a great option for those looking to fly out after Christmas Day as the festivities last much longer in Spain than some of the other European countries. Unlike in the UK, where children go to bed on Christmas Eve awaiting the arrival of their Christmas presents from Father Christmas on Christmas Day, in Spain, children do not receive their presents until Three Kings Day on 6th January. This means the Christmas holiday spirit lasts much longer all over Spain, which gives tourists the best of both worlds to still enable a festive Christmas-on-a-beach break.
You will still be able to find hotels and restaurants serving a traditional Christmas dinner in the Canary Islands, but one of my favourite Canary Island food dishes seafood soup is also a popular menu choice for Christmas, which is a bonus if you enjoy Canarian seafood soup as much as I do!
It is not unusual to see small Christmas markets where local and independent traders sell trinkets, jewellery and other great gifts to pick up for loved ones during your trip.
Best Canary Island Beaches
The Canary Islands are known for their contrasting black and white sand beaches, depending on which Canary Island you visit. The black sand beaches you will see in Lanzarote as a result of the island’s volcanic landscape are quite a contrast to the pure white sand of Fuerteventura.
Whichever island you visit, you will not be disappointed by the number of spacious beaches in the Canary Islands as they have beaches to cater for all tastes, whether you are looking for thrilling watersports, beaches for families or to seek out the nudist beaches on the Canary Islands; there is a beach for everyone!
After my various trips to Lanzarote, Fuerteventura and Gran Canaria, I can make an informed decision when it comes to the best beach in the Canary Islands. My favourite beaches in the Canary Islands are in Corralejo, Fuerteventura and I’ve shared more about them below…
Canary Island Destinations – Which is the best Canary Island?
If you are planning a visit to the Canary Islands, you may be thinking which is the best Canary Island to visit. Honestly, the answer to this all depends on you and your own holiday preferences. Tenerife is known for having the best night-life and along with Lanzarote, is one of the best Canary Islands for families. Gran Canaria is a particularly popular choice for the gay and LGBTQ+ community and as I mentioned above, Fuerteventura arguably has the best for beaches in the Canary Islands.
If you really want to know which is the best Canary Island for you, take the Canary Island’s Beach-Goers Test!
Christmas on a beach in Fuerteventura
If the Christmas on a beach image is one that you can’t get off your mind, you will surely find the best beaches in the Canary Islands in Fuerteventura. I have enjoyed two holidays in Fuerteventura and both times I have stayed in Corralejo.
Fuerteventura is most likely the best Canary Island for couples as it offers quiet tranquillity to enjoy a romantic break.
My first experience of Fuerteventura came from a day boat trip from Lanzarote with Cesar Dos II, where Adam and I enjoyed snorkelling in the turquoise waters near Isla de Lobos; a natural uninhabited island adorned with flora and fauna, located just north of Fuerteventura. This initial visit inspired us to revisit Fuerteventura for holidays each year after.
On arrival by boat to Corralejo, I was instantly blown away by the beauty of the white sand beaches, which reminded me of the beaches in the Caribbean. The beaches in Corralejo are vast and pristine, the ideal place to while away the hours reading a good book.
For the more adventurous, watersports activities such as surfing and kite-surfing are fun and popular things to do in Fuerteventura. Fuerteventura is commonly known as the windy Canary Island, so it is a great place for watersports of this kind with people travelling from all over the world to enjoy the surf and take part in competitions.
A must visit is Parquet natural de las Dunas de Corralejo, natural sand dunes spanning 10.5KM, which Adam found are also a great spot for a morning run.
Of course, with such a vast landscape, Fuerteventura is also the perfect place to go off-roading. either by jeep or in the dune buggies. The dune buggy experience is such a fun thing to do in Fuerteventura, and do be prepared to be caked in sand after!
Fuerteventura is one of the quieter islands of the Canary Islands, a place where you can truly relax and enjoy the best of the Canary Islands, from delicious seafood to the rugged natural landscape. Visiting Fuerteventura is the perfect holiday retreat as it has such a chilled vibe, but it’s a fantastic place to let loose and enjoy sports activities too.
Sunny Winter Holiday in Lanzarote
Lanzarote is another Canary Island close to my heart as it a place I visited yearly with my family growing up.
When I think of Lanzarote, I think of the penpal friend I made, a German boy called Marcus (whom I exchanged letters and toys with for many years), I picture the beach stretch along Puerto Del Carmen where I would hear the daily calls of “ice-lolly-ice, Magnum-ice…”, tucking into Canarian potatoes with mojo sauce for the first time and, I recall endless days splashing around in the pool.
Lanzarote is the perfect family holiday destination and I enjoyed my holidays there so much, it was also the first holiday abroad I shared with my fiancé Adam.
I always felt a sense of coming home as I flew over the vast and dramatic landscape of Lanzarote. On arrival at Arrecife airport, the surrounding landscape looks barren, dry and has deep red shades from the island’s volcanic history. But, don’t be fooled by the landscape, there is so much to discover in Lanzarote!
A must-visit is Timanfaya National Park to see the volcanic landscape that covers almost a quarter of the island from above. The winding roads of Timanfaya are not for the faint-hearted and are expertly driven by tour buses who arm you with plenty of information about the history of the island’s volcanic activity and the camels.
To see the rocks formed by the volcanoes up close, visiting the Cueva de Los Verdes (otherwise known as Green Caves) is also a popular tourist attraction in Lanzarote. The caves are a lava tunnel formed by La Corona Volcano and were once used by pirates. Inside the caves, the water is so still that it reflects the perfect mirror symmetry from the ceiling above. It really is a fantastic natural tour in Lanzarote.
I love discovering more about celebrated artists and culture on my travels, and similarly to my trips to The Netherlands, where artists Van Gogh, Rembrandt and others are recognisable figures in Dutch history, Lanzarote has its own celebrated artist. César Manrique was a celebrated artist, sculptor, architect and activist from Lanzarote and his artworks can be found all around Lanzarote. A César Manrique Foundation, a private non-profit organisation honours the artistic work of the Lanzarote resident and allows tourists to visit his former home and iconic works such as Jameos del Agua and Mirador del Rio – be sure to see the white crabs!
I have visited Lanzarote all year round and whilst I have experienced rain in Lanzarote, you are almost guaranteed winter sun for the majority of your holiday. One of my most memorable holidays to Lanzarote was in January during a festival when all the local residents were wearing fancy dress for a parade. Therefore, if you are wondering if it is worth visiting Lanzarote in January; It’s a very fun time to visit indeed!
Lanzarote is full of Canary Island life and has activities for all the family. Though, as the activities above prove, there is so much more to be discovered in Lanzarote than just a family beach break!
Christmas Sun in Gran Canaria
As I mentioned earlier in this post, the Canary Islands are ideal for a Christmas getaway as the festivities last longer than some other European countries. Adam and I flew out on Boxing Day one year to enjoy some Christmas sun and spend New Year’s Eve in Gran Canaria.
It was a well-needed break for us. We both enjoyed reading and sleeping on the sun loungers, if we weren’t lulling around in the lazy river at the Lopesan Baobab Resort.
The Moonlight Open Air Cinema in Maspalomas Gran Canaria was the perfect place to catch a flick during our holiday – Adam and I loved watching The Hunger Games with popcorn and a few cocktails!
One of the most picturesque places you can visit in Gran Canaria is Puerto de Mogán, a pretty fishing village with a network of canals and bridges, which gives the area the nickname “Little Venice”.
Gran Canaria is easily the best Canary Island for gay couples, with its vibrant atmosphere and popular Pride events! Whilst not for everyone, The Yumbo Centre in Playa del Inglés is full of drag shows and karaoke bars, targeted for gay tourism in Gran Canaria.
I soon discovered Gran Canaria is a shoppers paradise after picking up a variety of clothes from childhood favourite C&A at El Corte Inglés. The variety of both Spanish and international branded stores are ideal for picking up some last-minute Christmas gifts too!
Hot winter holiday destinations in Europe
For those seeking warm winter breaks in Europe, there really is no better choice than the Canary Islands. The fresh seafood dishes, variety of tapas and paella dishes are firm favourites of mine. Did I mention, the tomato-based seafood soups taste better than I’ve tasted anywhere else! Even if you are staying at an all-inclusive resort in the Canary Islands, be sure to check out the local restaurants for these food specialities!
If you are wondering where to spend Christmas Day in Europe and are seeking some Christmas sun, the Canary Islands are without a doubt one of the best places to spend Christmas in Europe.
Of course, there are eight islands in the Canary Islands to choose from and I’ve only visited three of them, therefore I need to explore the other five myself!
If you are seeking Europe winter sun, I hope you found this post about my favourite things to do in the Canary Islands useful. If you did, please use the sharing icons to share the Canary Islands Christmas spirit with others!
I sign off this post, on the hunt for my own Christmas in the Canary Islands deals! I can already taste the Canarian potatoes with mojo sauce!