Posted 3rd Nov 2016
Inntravel invite you to boldly go where most others don’t. Leave the tourist trail behind as you discover the real Canary Islands, exploring the ‘hidden’ side to this popular archipelago
Less than 143 miles separates the seven main Canary Islands, and daily interconnecting flights or ferries mean they’re just a short stepping stone away from each other. Inntravel now offer walking holidays to all seven, and their carefully constructed, self-guided itineraries – from a hotel-to-hotel journey To the Top of Spain (a rewarding, seven-day hike to Mount Teide, Tenerife’s iconic mountain), to a week in one of La Palma’s charming Casas Canarias (selfcatering cottages) and a two-week, islandhopping adventure – reveal the quieter and more traditional aspects of this beguilingly sun-soaked destination.
Here we take a look at each island in turn, revealing through a bite-size overview – and a few extra tasty morsels – what makes them so unique. Just one archipelago but seven very different personalities...
Biggest and brashest of the family, Tenerife lords it over all with its iconic profile of Mount Teide. Possibly the island you would least expect to find good walking on, far from the tanning crowds it has superb trails and the greatest variety of terrain in the archipelago.
1 The Art of Barraquito
Every day, a man walks into The Imperial bar in Santa Cruz and asks the bar man to prepare him a coffee with condensed milk; piping hot espresso; hot milk; a shot of Licor 43; a small piece of lemon skin and freshly grated cinnamon. Beginning with the condensed milk on the bottom, the final creation is a layered work of art. After a while, the bar man starts to prepare the coffee the minute he sees the guy walking through the doors and, as the guy's nickname is Barraco, christens the coffee barraquito. Thus, one of Tenerife\'s secret specialities is born.
That was more than 40 years ago.
Nowadays you can now order a barraquito in all the Canary Islands. If you want the shot of alcohol (highly recommended), ask for a barraquito completo or con todo; drink it right away as many of the ingredients are cold; and stir well before drinking.
Coffee will never taste this good again.
La Palma’s ‘secret’ capital
Most picturesque town in the Canary Islands, the cobbled streets of Santa Cruz de La Palma are a joy to explore, their 16thcentury Renaissance façades concealing trendy boutiques and souvenir shops, and harbouring a landlocked, full-sized replica of the Santa Maria, one of the fleet in which Columbus sailed on his historic voyage. Dotted within the streets are picturepostcard- pretty plazas with pavement cafés, while along the seafront you’ll find those flower-bedecked balconied houses.
But on the other side of the island lies Los Llanos de Aridane, a bigger, more sophisticated and cosmopolitan town set alongside the avocado and banana plantations of the Aridane plains with its own picturesque historic quarter, quality restaurants and bars, and an outdoor gallery of artwork and sculptures. This is La Palma’s ‘secret’ capital, the one the Palmeros keep for themselves and many visitors to the island never see.
Gran Canaria has a more laid back, bohemian nature and an interior that conceals glistening reservoirs hemmed by emerald pine forests. Without a dominant peak, its spectacular mountainous skyline unfolds in multi-layered beauty before you.
Greenest of the gang, and famed for its challenging walks and unspoilt scenery, La Gomera has a rugged and handsome profile. Sparsely populated and predominantly agricultural, its proximity to Tenerife belies the remoteness of its feel.
Beneath the radar of mass tourism and known as ‘La Isla Bonita’, La Palma is Mother Nature’s child, the most water-rich of the islands. Soft and feminine in aspect, in her verdant and primeval volcanic centre she conceals some of the most spectacular walks in the whole of the Canary Islands.
Born of fire and fashioned by Manrique, its most famous son, Lanzarote’s landscape has a strangely barren beauty. Friendly and welcoming, Lanzarote is the sporty one in the Canary Island family and is a magnet for the lycra-clad brigade.
Quiet and shy El Hierro is the baby of the Canaries, both in age and size. Untouched by the hand of tourism, its dramatic landscape is mystical and compelling. Walk its empty trails and you’ll be completely seduced by its famed tranquilidad (serenity).
Fuerteventura is the oldest and original member of the archipelago. Most African in nature, its stark, amber landscape conceals the family secrets, hidden deep in subterranean caves. Biblical and epic, Fuerteventura’s wealth of walking is perhaps the most surprising of all.
The Big Cheese on Fuerteventura
On an island where there are far more goats than people, it’s hardly surprising to learn that goat’s cheese on Fuerteventura is rather flavoursome. In fact queso Majorero, as it’s known, is renowned throughout the Canary Islands and beyond, regularly picking up international awards. Although you can pick some up in most supermarkets on the island, it’s not quite the same as purchasing a round of sublimely smoked cheese directly from one of the island’s queserías.
There are two good goat farms, with shops open to the public, located on the same country road just outside the former capital of Betancuria. Choose whichever you like to stock up on your queso Majorero, but the local postman seems to prefer La Villa, where he arrives with letters and invariably leaves with a chunky wedge of savoury semi-cured cheese coated with paprika. For anyone feeling particularly adventurous, La Villa is also the place to try an unusual local speciality, Bernado’s licor leche de cabra (goat milk liqueur).
See all this and more...
To find out more, visit Inntravel’s website or call 01653 617000. These holidays are available right through the autumn, winter and spring, and Inntravel’s friendly team of experts will be delighted to help you decide which island is the right one for you.