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Which Spanish holiday island should I visit this year? Canaries vs Balearics

From Lanzarote, Gran Canaria, Tenerife and Fuerteventura, to Ibiza, Menorca and Mallorca, it can be a tough choice picking a Spanish holiday island.

All of the above destinations are top choices for UK holidaymakers and are among the most popular flights you’ll see at any local airport. Luckily World Travel Toucan are here to help you make your decision easier.

There are a number of things to consider:

Weather

The Balearics offer a temperate summer climate, perfect for relaxation between the months of April and September, with cooler Autumn and Winter months.

On the other hand, as the Canaries are closer to the equator they have warmer temperatures all year round, reaching upwards of 30 degrees in August.

If you’re travelling in the quieter months of September – December and early New Year, good weather is more guaranteed on the Canary Islands, however both groups of Spanish holiday islands are an excellent choice throughout spring and summer.

Family holiday or couples retreat?

Without a doubt, there are some Spanish holiday islands which stand out as being better catered to a family holiday. Family friendly resorts and kid’s clubs, plenty of family activities, a choice of dining options and an excellent pool are all top considerations when it comes to making your decision. The Canary Islands of Lanzarote and Gran Canaria or Balearic islands of Menorca and Mallorca are the obvious choices for a family getaway. They have an abundance of resorts with large pools, kid’s clubs and plenty of activities to keep the whole family entertained for a week or two. In our opinion, top family resorts in Mallorca are Puerto Pollensa, Palma Nova and Son Bou are the recommended options in Menorca. Alcudia, whilst Cala n Bosch Nightlife is on the quieter side (outside of the main party resorts, i.e Magaluf) and prices can be very affordable.

Alternatively, quiet couple’s retreats with a good nightlife may be more relevant to your interests. Tenerife is the winner in the Canaries for its vast choice of resorts and things to do, whilst Ibiza is the king of adult escapes, offering both luxury relaxation and un-paralleled partying. Both islands have a vibrant nightlife, lots of luxury adults only hotels and activities such as scuba diving, hiking, cycling and historic towns and villages. For things to do in Ibiza when you’re not partying, check out our recommendations here.

Spanish islands comparison - family or couples holiday

Are you looking for good nightlife?

Almost all of the Spanish holiday islands on our list are developed destinations that cater to tourists and offer a host of bars, restaurants and nightly entertainment. Ibiza is the ultimate party island if you want to enjoy nightly clubbing and top beach bars, but notable mentions also go to Tenerife and the Palma/Magaluf area of Mallorca.

The top party hotspots across all islands are as follows:

Ibiza – San Antonio

Mallorca – Palma and Magaluf

Tenerife – Playa de las Americas

Gran Canaria – Las Palmas

Excursions

Topping the list for things to do are Mallorca and Ibiza. From watersports, markets, traditional small towns, water parks and family attractions, these islands have enough going on to keep you entertained for 2 weeks. Even if you want a relaxing beach holiday, it’s always good to have something else to do if the weather isn’t great or you fancy releasing some energy.

Although all of the Spanish holiday islands are catered to tourists and have enough to keep you entertained for a short break, Ibiza and Mallorca are the kings of holiday activities. Use Tripadvisor to research top attractions when picking your resort, although most will be within a short drive due to the small size of the islands.

Spanish holiday island excursions - Couple paragliding

The best beaches

Beaches are a big sway when picking a holiday destination. Luscious white sands, picturesque views are common place on the 5 beaches we’ve handpicked below. See for yourself how fantastic they are – they may even sway your island choice.

  • Playa de Las Canteras – Grand Canaria
  • Calo des Moro – Mallorca
  • Cala Macarella – Menorca
  • Playa Barca – Fuerteventura

These are the top rated beaches on the islands according to Tripadvisor’s Traveller’s Choice Awards.

Shows a turquoise lagoon

Flight availability and costs

Easily accessible destinations and affordable flights/accommodation should definitely be top of your considerations list when it comes to picking a Spanish holiday island. The good news is that many UK airports fly to most if not all of the islands, with regular flights throughout their respective peak seasons.

We’d recommend picking a few islands that interest you the most and checking out flight frequency alongside hotel and flight costs. It makes sense to get the best value for money that you can for your trip.

View our guides on finding the best UK flight prices here and our hotel booking guide here.

Highlights and descriptions of the most popular Spanish holiday islands:

Lanzarote

Spanish holiday island comparison - Lanzarote

Lanzarote is a fairly quiet island, great for couples, friends or families who want to relax by the pool or beach, whilst also enjoying the occasional excursion. Its allure is the unique black sand beaches and guaranteed hot weather.

Highlights:

  • Guaranteed warm weather year round
  • Unique geology, with over 300 volcanic cones and captivating black sand beaches
  • Great for walking trails and hiking

Recommended resort for families: Playa Blanca

Recommended resort for adults: Puerto Del Carmen

Gran Canaria

Spanish holiday island comparison - Gran Canaria marina

Gran Canaria is a mountainous and well-developed island, hosting over half of the population of all Canary Islands. It has no shortage of beach resorts and tourist activities and is highly popular for families wanting a traditional beach holiday with plenty to do.

  • An endless choice of hotels and apartment accommodation – it caters to a wide range of budgets and can be one of the cheaper islands
  • Plenty of activities, including a water park, boat tours, markets, caves and more
  • An interesting collection of old churches, museums and historical sites to visit

Recommended resort for families: Puerto Rico

Recommended resort for adults: Playa del Ingles

Fuerteventura

Spanish islands comparison - Fuerteventura

Fuerteventura is the closest Spanish holiday island to the African coast and inherits a good deal of African culture. The island is a blend of volcanic scenery that you’d see on Lanzarote but with brighter colours. In our opinion, Fuerteventira has the best beaches on the Canary Islands and is the prettiest to look at. Visit if you want quiet relaxation with excellent scenery.

  • The amazing scenery of Corralejo is a must see
  • A quiet retreat with nice hotels and hot weather – the slight sea breeze is great for cooling you down in the hot sun but remember to wear sun cream!
  • Great for water sports and boat trip excursions around the coastline and to other islands

Recommended resort for families: Corralejo

Recommended resort for adults: Caleta de Fuste

Tenerife

Spanish islands comparison - Tenerife

Tenerife is the liveliest island in the Canaries but also has a quieter family side depending on the resort you choose. Playa de las Americas offers lively partying every night of the week, boutique shopping and lots of restaurants, whilst other resorts are quieter for families and offer beach activities and kids club. Tenerife is one of the most developed and tourist populated islands.

  • A diverse mixing pot of tourists across it’s many resorts, it attracts crowds of all ages and interests
  • A collection of stunning National Parks and mountain scenery to hike in-land from the coast
  • A vibrant nightlife which attracts both 18-30’s and an older crowd

Recommended resort for families: Torviscas

Recommended resort for adults: Playa de las Americas

Ibiza

Spanish holiday island comparison - Ibiza

Ibiza may be famous for its nightlife and this is definitely the number one reason to visit for most holiday-seekers, however this Spanish holiday island is stunningly beautiful and has a host of beaches and activities to check out if you’re looking for a quieter holiday. San Antonio is the main party resort whilst other resorts attract a wider crowd of families and retirees.

  • Superb nightlife for young and old, from world famous DJ’s to lively 80’s bars
  • Some of the best white sand beaches in the med and infamous sunsets
  • An ideal holiday spot for singles, couples, families and all walks of life

Recommended resort for families: Santa Eulalia

Recommended resort for adults: San Antonio (if you want to party)

Menorca

Spanish islands comparison - Menorca

Menorca is the quietest and smallest Spanish island in the Mediterranean, ideal for families who enjoy beach holidays or couples who want peace and quiet by the pool. The island is a lovely beach escape of tranquillity but also has the usual selection of restaurants, shops and tours to check out.

  • The ultimate Spanish island for family holidays
  • Nice beaches and lots of family activities – quieter than other islands
  • Two beautiful and historic Spanish towns to visit during your stay – Maó and Ciutadella

Recommended resort for families: Cala en Bosch

Recommended resort for adults: Mao

Mallorca

Mallorca - Spanish holiday island

Mallorca is the most frequented Spanish holiday island for UK tourists and is a relatively short flight from all UK airports. It’s another all-rounder, appealing to adults wanting to relax on white sand beaches during the day and enjoy an eventful nightlife. It also appeals to families and is arguably one of the most popular family holiday destinations in the world during summer for Brits.

  • A long-standing beach holiday destination that has never lost its appeal. It has a well maintained coastline and lots of top rated hotels
  • It features a classy club nightlife in Palma and wild 24/7 party nightlife in Magaluf
  • A diverse Mediterranean island which has kept its traditional Mediterranean appeal, from the food to the terracotta roofed houses

Recommended resort for families: Puerto Pollensa

Recommended resort for adults: Palma

We hope we’ve given you a good idea of what to find on each of the main Spanish holiday islands and you have a better idea of where you’re flying to this year. Remember to do your research on areas to stay as this can also have a big impact on your holiday enjoyment. Vamos!


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