The Canary Islands are mostly known as a tropical vacation getaway. This archipelago of seven main islands and several smaller ones, owned by Spain but lying off the coast of West Africa, attracts European travelers looking for sun, sand, and, of course, an epic party scene. Many travelers, however, miss out on what makes the islands truly unique. Unlike most Caribbean islands, the Canaries are rugged and volcanic, with black sand beaches and even desert-like landscapes.
Sure, you could book a resort in Playa de las Americas, the biggest resort town on the most popular island, Tenerife. There, you could spend your week lounging on the beach, buying expensive souvenirs, and clubbing until 6:00 AM. But without venturing off the beaten path, you’d miss out on an authentic Canary Islands experience. From exploring Tenerife’s active volcano to surfing epic waves, there are more thrills and adventures on this archipelago than meet the eye. Here’s what to do.