For decades, Brits have been flocking to Spain with the promise of sun, sea, sand and Sangria. But let’s step away from the mainland for a moment, and focus on some of the beautiful islands that are part of this magnificent country.
Located about 62 miles off the coast of Morocco, the Canaries are made up of seven main islands. Although it is possible to visit all seven of these, just four of them are tourist-heavy: Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura.
The four islands of the Balearics are Majorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera. Located just off the eastern coast of mainland Spain, this collection of islands feature two of the world’s party hotspots - but there’s so much more to them than just nights out and drinks promotions.
In this blog post, we’ll look at these archipelagos and discover which is the best choice for your holiday.
I think we can all agree that one of the main reasons that holidaymakers want to jet off somewhere abroad is the weather. We want to escape the grey drizzle of the UK and be greeted by bright sunshine as soon as we step off the plane.
The Canary Islands are much closer to the equator than the Balearics, but the overall climate is very similar during the summer months. Let’s take Majorca in the Balearics. Visitors here enjoy an average high temperature of around the mid to high twenties from June through to August. During the winter time, the average temperature is much milder, ranging from around 11°C to 15°C.
Let’s use Santa Cruz de Tenerife as our reference point for the Canaries. Each year, millions of tourists from across the globe visit the Canary Islands for guaranteed sunshine, and with an average high temperature of the low to high twenties throughout the year, we can’t say we blame them!
Verdict: The summer months in the Balearics are just as hot as the Canaries, but as winter draws in it does get much milder. If you’re looking for a winter break, we recommend heading to one of the Canary Islands.
Both the Canaries and the Balearics have their fair share of breathtaking natural scenery. The largest Canary Island, Tenerife, is home to the awe-inspiring Mount Teide, the highest point in Spain.
Teide National Park has been named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and is visited by around four millions visitors annually. Tourists here can travel up to the summit of the volcano by cable car and marvel at the magnificent views below.
Lanzarote also has its fair share of wondrous scenery, with the Timanfaya National Park at the top of any nature-lover’s list. Here you can see the skeletons of hundreds of eruptions centuries ago - they don’t call it the ‘Road to Hell’ for nothing!
Over to the Balearics, and Majorca has some wonderful nature spots to marvel at. The Drach Caves extend for 1200 metres and feature an underground lake, Lake Martel. Catch a boat tour across the lake, and enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime experience - a classical concert as you sail across the sapphire waters.
Ibiza isn’t just party animals and drink promotions - travel to Las Salinas and discover a national park and one of the most beautiful beaches on the island.
Verdict: both the Canaries and the Balearics have a huge amount of natural scenery to explore - it’s just a case of deciding which you’d like to see first!
The average flight times for getting to the Balearics from the UK are as follows:
These short and sweet flight times make the Balearics an attractive destination for holidaymakers looking for somewhere that’s not too far away, but that still want guaranteed warm weather.
Here are the average flight times for the Canary Islands:
Verdict: Although still not technically classed as a long-haul flight, it does take around twice as long to reach the Canaries as it does to reach the Balearics. Maybe stick to the Balearics if you’re travelling with someone who isn’t a good flyer.
When it comes to waterparks, you’ll be spoilt for choice whether you choose to go to the Canaries or the Balearics.
Costa Adeje in Tenerife is home to the fabulous Siam Park, which, according to Tripadvisor is the best water park in the world. Oasis Park in Fuerteventura is a Spanish animal park with an African flavour. Take a camel safari ride through the zoo, swim with sea lions or feed the lemurs - one thing’s for sure, the kids will love it and you will too!
Cabrera Island is a tiny Islet just off the coast of Majorca. Get a boat across the water and check out the fascinating wildlife that calls this place home. The whole island is now a national park - take a hike up to the ancient castle and view breathtaking views of Majorca and the rest of the island.
Over to Ibiza now. Kids will love discovering some unusual underwater life at the Cap Blanc Aquarium - just outside San Antonio. The aquarium itself is located in a huge natural cave - making this the perfect place for young adventurers to explore.
Verdict: there are so many wonderful activities and places to visit with your kids in both the Canaries and the Balearics, it would be impossible to list them all here!
If you’re planning to jet off on a week with your other half or group of friends, chances are one of your main priorities will be the amazing nightlife that both the Canaries and the Balearics have to offer.
Ibiza is classed as the party capital of the world, with nightclubs and boat parties regularly featuring world class DJs, such as Calvin Harris, Deadmau5 and Annie Mac. Majorca is the site of Magaluf, another nightlife hotspot. Here you’ll find bars open until dawn - serving cheap drinks and playing some of the hottest tunes around.
The Canaries are a much quieter affair. Playa de las Americas in Tenerife is a site of many cheap bars and nightclubs, with foam parties and DJs galore! Gran Canaria and the rest of the Canaries, although quieter, also have a wide variety of bars and clubs to choose from.
Verdict: if you’re looking for an unforgettable nightlife experience - think world-class DJs, beach parties and dancing until dawn, it has to be the Balearics.
And the winner is…
As you can see, each archipelago has its own list of benefits, so it really depends on the sort of holiday that you’re looking for.
If you’re struggling to choose between the two, one of our travel experts will be delighted to help you decide. Call us on 0871 943 1300 and book your dream getaway today.
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