The sun-drenched Canary Islands, an Atlantic Ocean archipelago off North Africa, are encircled by beautiful beaches.
Tenerife, Lanzarote, Gran Canaria, and Fuerteventura—the four largest Canary Islands—offer a beach for style. Among the best beaches in the Canary Islands are swathes of white sand, dramatic volcanic coves, and golden shores backed by rolling dunes.
Some Canary Island beaches are wild and off-the-beaten path, while others are buzzing, filled with amenities, and close to natural landmarks and historical sights.
Here is a selection of 16 Canary Island beaches to inspire your next getaway.
Las Teresitas, Tenerife
Canary Islands beaches are superb. A case in point is Tenerife’s Las Teresitas, one of the best beaches in Tenerife, which is a 15-minute drive north of the island’s capital, Santa Cruz.
Las Teresitas is almost one mile long, consisting of fine, golden sand and flanked by cacti, palm trees, and olive-hued hills.
The shore here is gently sloping, so perfect for paddlers of all ages. There are kayaks and paddle boats for hire if you want more aquatic fun. Soak up the sun on a sun lounger, build castles in the sand, and enjoy a refreshing drink and ice cream at one of the casual beach bars.
On a visit to Las Teresitas, you may want to save time for a wander around the neighboring village of San Andres. Here, you’ll be met with rows of colorful houses, a handful of restaurants, and fabulous ocean views.
Playa del Bajo de la Burra, Fuerteventura
Playa del Bajo de la Burra lies on the northern shore of Fuerteventura. This popular spot also goes by the name of Popcorn Beach because of the tiny white coral (resembling popcorn) that carpets the beach.
Officially called rhodoliths, these marine formations grow one millimeter underwater each year, with some pieces thought to be around 4,000 years old.
Enjoy a walk on this deserted beach and dip your toes in the ocean. There are no facilities directly on the beach but the nearby resort of Corralejo is just a 15-minute drive east, with shops and restaurants.
Playa Jardín, Tenerife
Playa Jardín in Puerto de la Cruz is one of the best beaches in the Canary Islands, thanks to the glorious gardens that line the waterfront.
The tranquil space in Tenerife was designed by famed Canarian artist César Manrique in the 1990s, adding a splash of color to the already-attractive volcanic shorefront.
Stroll through the palm groves to arrive at one of Playa Jardín’s three seafronts, Castillo, Charcón, and Punta Brava beaches.
A breakwater creates a safe swimming area, protected from north Tenerife’s impressive swells. There’s an area for surfers, too, plus a children’s playground, cafés, sunbeds and parasols. Andana Beach Club is a lovely spot for lunch or drinks.
Don’t forget to look back at the spectacular views of Mount Teide from the beach.
Playa de Las Canteras, Gran Canaria
One of Gran Canaria’s long, golden shores, Playa de Las Canteras lies on the island’s north coast, right in the capital.
This is one of the best urban beaches in the Canary Islands, moments from the attractions of Las Palmas, including the large-scale aquarium and the city’s Mercado del Puerto.
Playa de Las Canteras has some of the best beach facilities in Gran Canaria, too, including watersports, beach bars, volleyball, and a restaurant-lined promenade.
You could wander the length of Playa de Las Canteras—just under two miles—to the southern end of the sandy strip. Here, the Alfredo Kraus Auditorium, is the city’s center of performing arts, home of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Gran Canaria.
Playa del Matorral, Fuerteventura
Playa del Matorral in Morro Jable is among the best beaches in Fuerteventura. This eye-popping stretch is around seven miles long, sweeping around the island’s southern tip.
The water is calm, clear, and perfect for swimming. There are sunbeds for lounging and parasols for seeking shade. Surfing and windsurfing equipment, canoes, and paddleboards can also be rented.
Make your way to the western tip of Playa del Matorral, nearest the Morro Jable viewpoint, for more scenic views and restaurants offering tropical cocktails and tasty tapas.
Playa de la Tejita, Tenerife
On Tenerife’s south coast on the edge of the Montaña Roja Nature Reserve, La Tejita is one of the best beaches in the Canary Islands for its unspoiled ambiance.
Montaña Roja, or Red Mountain, dominates the skyline to the southeast of the beach. You could hike through the ochre-hued nature reserve, climbing to the volcanic crater for magnificent views of La Tejita. There’s also a school for beachgoers wanting to polish up their kite-surfing skills.
Stop by Cafetería Montaña Roja after a soothing swim or a rewarding hike for a glass of Canary Islands wine and rustic dishes such as stews, grilled, locally-caught fish, and island-grown vegetables.
Playa de Sardina del Norte, Gran Canaria
Gran Canaria’s Playa de Sardina del Norte is small but characterful. Flanked by the northwest’s craggy cliffs, Playa de Sardina del Norte is accessed via steps from the roadside. This postcard-worthy strip is framed by watercolor houses, seemingly carved into the rocks.
Enjoy a wander around Sardina’s sleepy streets. There’s a pretty blue-and-white church, and a couple of quaint restaurants. Try the local dish of boiled potatoes drizzled in homemade mojo, a mildly spicy pepper, and paprika sauce that’s served across the Canary Islands.
While you’re in the area, consider tagging on a visit to Gáldar. A 10-minute drive inland, Gáldar is one of the former historic centers of Gran Canaria, home to ancient cave paintings at the Archaeological Park of la Cueva Pintada.
Janubio Beach, Lanzarote
If your idea of a handsome Canary Islands beach is deserted sand and roaring waves, Lanzarote’s Janubio Beach near Playa Blanca is just the ticket.
This extraordinary patch features a large natural lagoon, created by lava flow following volcanic eruptions in 1730.
Salinas de Janubio, Lanzarote’s salt flats, were established here in 1895, using water evaporated from the lagoon to create salt. Joining a guided tour to see the salt flats up close is one of the best things to do in Lanzarote. You can even pick up jars of sea salt as a souvenir.
The white-cubed Mirador de las Salinas restaurant is perched above the salt flats and offers a seasonal menu of Canarian dishes, such as smoked, grilled, and fried fish dishes and seasonal salads.
Playa de Mógan, Gran Canaria
The crescent-shaped Playa de Mogán is an enchanting beach next to Mógan’s bustling marina.
There’s plenty to see and do in this southwest slither of Gran Canaria.
The Canary Islands is known as one of the best places to go whale-watching, and Playa de Mogán is a popular spot for marine tours with operators offering the opportunity to spot humpback whales and bottlenose dolphins splashing in the ocean.
Snorkeling and submarine tours are also available, while you can swim in the tranquil aquamarine water off the beach.
Culture-seeking travelers will want to visit Mogán’s old quarter and its early 19th-century church, too.
Going further back in time, part way up the hillside, the Archaeological site of Cañada de los Gatos is an aboriginal site containing the remains of a stone village and two cemeteries featuring tombs, graves, and crypts.
This ancient town is thought to have been established around 1,600 years ago, long predating the island’s Hispanic period.
Playa de Cofete, Fuerteventura
Canary Island beaches don’t get more remote than the faraway Playa de Cofete in Fuerteventura.
From the island’s capital, Puerto del Rosario, it takes just over two hours to reach Playa de Cofete.
But it’s worth it. This seven-and-a-half-mile powdery beach is found on the edge of Parque Natural Jandía, a nature reserve filled with dunes, kestrels, broad-winged hawks, and lizards, on the island’s southern fringes.
A big part of Cofete’s allure is its seclusion. There are no amenities, so pack your camera and everything you might need for a successful day at the seaside.
From the roadside track, high above the beach, stop to take photos of the sparkling blue ocean and pristine shoreline.
Playa Bollullo, Tenerife
The Canary Islands are entirely volcanic and part of that appeal is the novelty of beaches with black sand. One of these is the bewitching Playa El Bollullo, near Puerto de la Cruz in northern Tenerife.
Sunbathing on fine sand is one of the best things to do in Tenerife, and El Bollullo is among the most beautiful spots on the island. North Atlantic waves crash onto the shore, which means it’s not always suitable for swimming, but the views are wonderful.
If you’ve time to spare, there’s a lovely coastal walk along Camino el Bollullo, leading to Puerto de la Cruz, taking around 30 to 35 minutes.
Playa Chica, Lanzarote
Stop at Playa Chica on the trail of spectacular Canary Islands beaches in Lanzarote. This small cove in Puerto del Carmen offers a contrast to the resort’s livelier beaches of Playa Blanca and Playa Grande.
Playa Chica is home to a dive center offering courses and excursions for all levels, from beginners to licensed divers. You could even join a beginner dive to Lanzarote’s Museo Atlántico, a wonderful museum featuring a series of underwater statues by artist Jason deCaires Taylor.
Pack a towel for relaxing on the soft sand. You could also don a snorkel to explore the shallows of the cove at your own leisure. A beach bar and watersports hire are available, too.
Corralejo Beach, Fuerteventura
Corralejo, actually a series of beaches, delivers scenes of paradise in the northeast of Fuerteventura.
This heavenly, five-and-a-half-mile coastline features white sand and crystal-clear water. It’s part of the Corralejo Natural Park, where Fuerteventura’s desert dunes merge with the coastline. This dune system is the largest in the Canary Islands.
Sink your feet into the exceptionally soft sand and swim in the turquoise water. You could also gaze across to the islands of Los Lobos and Lanzarote in the distance.
If you’re traveling from Puerto del Rosario, you’ll first pass through the southern section of Corralejo Natural Park to reach Corralejo Beach. Notice how the red-tinged volcanic landscape, dominated by Montaña Roja, slowly changes to creamy-hued dunes.
Travelers will find the nearest amenities in the town of Corralejo, just to the north of the beach. Here there are restaurants, a water park, watersports, and a regular boat service to Los Lobos.
Playa de San Agustín, Gran Canaria
Playa de San Agustín is a soothing shore in the south of Gran Canaria. Although it’s a naturally formed volcanic beach, Playa de San Agustín is a deep golden shade.
This perfectly-formed beach measures almost 2,000 feet, offering plenty of space for sunbathing and splashing in the water.
For a sophisticated spot for lunch, try Restaurante 928 Aroma Atlántico, where dishes of tangy gazpacho, shrimp ceviche, and tuna tartare are served on the sun-dappled terrace.
After, enjoy the breezy coastline walk from Playa de San Agustín’s promenade to the neighboring beach of Playa de las Burras. The route takes around 15 minutes and offers sublime coastal views.
Playa de Papagayo, Lanzarote
Canary Islands beaches come in all shapes and sizes, from miles-long seafronts to isolated coves away from the crowds. Lanzarote’s Playa de Papagayo falls into the latter category.
A gorgeous amber beach, it lies on the tip of the rugged Los Ajaches National Park, an arid volcanic mountain range that envelops the island’s southwest region.
Playa de Papagayo provides a refreshing lack of amenities, which typically means fewer beachgoers, too. Instead, visitors are met with warm, teal-hued water and a chic beach retreat offering yoga paired with brunch, cool cocktails, and stirring scenery.
A short distance inland is Lanzarote’s famed wine region, La Geria. This bodega-filled region makes for a perfect stop-off point, against a backdrop of the charcoal-black volcanic landscape of Timanfaya National Park, which is one of the best hikes in Spain.
Maspalomas Beach, Gran Canaria
Maspalomas is one of the most iconic Canary Islands beaches for its acres of velvety dunes that sweep around the coastline. The contrast of the glowing dunes against the sapphire-blue ocean is breathtaking.
Stroll through the dune reserve and the palm grove, and around the brackish lagoon, where you might spot resident common egrets and gray herons among the wetland’s birdlife.
Heading for the sun-soaked beach is one of the best things to do in Gran Canaria. The eastern section of Maspalomas meets the energetic resort of Playa del Ingles, while further west is a clothing-optional area, a towering lighthouse, and the option to indulge in watersports.
Canary Islands beaches have been dazzling travelers for decades for their shimmering black, red, and buttery-colored sands. There’s also culture, history, and wine to explore on these beguiling islands. Discover Celebrity Cruises’ Canary Islands cruises and plan your next vacation.