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Best Canary Islands for families: where to book for your next family holiday

For summer holidays and winter sun, the Canary islands are a great choice for a family getaway. Here’s our guide to the best of the islands, according to Mumsnetters.

By Poppy O'Neill | Last updated Feb 15, 2024

a view of a canary island beach, with palm trees

Off the north African coast, the Canary Islands have been a family holiday mainstay for decades thanks to their year-round warm weather and welcoming atmosphere.

Part of Spain, the Canaries is made up of eight islands and several smaller islets. You can fly direct to five of the islands and take connecting flights to La Gomera and El Hierro. Most airlines fly direct from the UK to Tenerife, Lanzarote and Gran Canaria, with La Palma and Fuerteventura flights slightly harder to come by.

While there, you can catch ferries between the islands. Each is unique, with volcanic landscapes, wild countryside and authentic villages to explore. In summer, temperatures often rise above 30 degrees, and in winter you can expect a pleasant 16-21C.

To help you choose the best Canary island for your family holiday, we’ve turned to the Mumsnet Travel Forums to find out what Mumsnetters think of each of the five main islands.

1. Tenerife

a white washed Canary Islands town on a sunny day

Best family hotels in Tenerife at a glance

  • Best overall: Adrián Hoteles Roca Nivaria | Book now 

  • Best budget: Royal Sun Resort Apartments | Book now

  • Best all-inclusive: Tagoro Family & Fun Costa Adeje | Book now

  • Best for luxury: Hotel Baobab Suites | Book now

  • Best villa: Hotel Suite Villa Maria | Book now

Why is Tenerife good for families?

The largest of the Canary Islands, Tenerife is blessed with 250 miles of coastline and offers something for every traveller. From lively all-inclusive beach holidays to lush countryside retreats, families are well catered for on Tenerife. Head to the hotter south coast for watersports and family-friendly resorts like Costa Adeje, Los Cristianos and Playa de las Americas, packed with entertainment the island is famous for. The north west coast offers a quieter kind of holiday, with black sand lava beaches, woodland walks and the historic city of Puerto de la Cruz. Tenerife has two airports, with direct flights widely available from the UK to the south. If you’re flying to Tenerife North, you might need to change once on the way.

Tenerife according to Mumsnetters

"Los Cristianos is lovely - ideal with kids. Nice beaches, loads of restaurants and a lovely walk along the coast right up to Playa de las Americas and Adeje. In fact Adeje is very nice to stay in. We went to Tenerife last year beginning of April for 11 nights... It was very hot and we had just one day of cloud and rain" - youngestisapyscho

"Tenerife is possibly my favourite - I have been quite a few times :) The two most recent times we (just me and DH) went to Puerto de la Cruz - on the north of the island. The weather is sometimes not as hot and sunny as on the south - but IMO the scenery is so much better and the place is just less touristy" -  iwantgin

What are the top family-friendly attractions in Tenerife?

Mumsnetters recommend Siam Park, an epic waterpark with rides to delight older kids and teenagers. If you’re visiting with babies or toddlers, Aqualand is a waterpark geared toward this age group. Head out into the Atlantic on a whale watching trip for an unforgettable family experience.

Flight time from the UK

Approximately 4 hours, 30 minutes

Read next: The best TUI Blue resorts for families

2. Lanzarote

the coast of Lanzarote

Best family hotels in Lanzarote at a glance

  • Best overall: Princess Yaiza Hotel Resort, Playa Blanca | Book now

  • Best budget: Seaside Los Jameos, Puerto del Carmen | Book now

  • Best for activities: TUI Blue Flamingo Beach, Playa Blanca | Book now

  • Best for luxury: Hotel Fariones, Puerto del Carmen | Book now

  • Best apartment: Nautilus Lanzarote Aparthotel, Puerto del Carmen | Book now

Why is Lanzarote good for families?

Lanzarote is great for older kids and teens thanks to the plethora of activities and watersports available on the island. Puerto del Carmen is a great place to stay if you’re going for self-catering accommodation and looking to eat out as it’s packed with great restaurants, bars and cafes. If all-inclusive is more your thing, you’ll be spoiled for choice as the island is very much geared towards this kind of holiday, with lots of British tourists and English is widely spoken.

Read next: The best suitcases to buy for family holidays

Lanzarote according to Mumsnetters

"I’m a Lanzarote fan. Been going there for 20 years and still love it. Great restaurants, clean streets and beaches. Lovely weather. Never seen any trouble as it’s mainly a couples and families resort not a clubbing one" -  CrispbuttyNo1

"I love Puerto del Carmen - it does have tackier bits but it's also got a beautiful harbour area with lovely restaurants and you can walk for miles round to a marina along the coast. It's lovely there - going back there myself later this year too" - Awks

What are the top family-friendly attractions in Lanzarote?

Lanzarote is blessed with over 100 beaches, so building sandcastles and paddling in the sea is a fantastic way to spend your holiday with the kids. There’s also Rancho Texas Park where you can swim with dolphins, scuba diving excursions and the chance to explore Lanzarote’s volcanic landscape at Timanfaya National Park.

Flight time from the UK

Approximately 4 hours, 15 minutes

Read next: The best TUI all-inclusive resorts in Europe

3. Fuerteventura

the coast of fuerteventura

Best family hotels in Fuerteventura at a glance

Why is Fuerteventura good for families?

Wilder and less developed than its neighbours Tenerife and Lanzarote, Fuerteventura has 150 miles of unspoiled beaches, making it the perfect destination for a quiet and chilled out family break, any time of year. There are plenty of family-friendly hotels and resorts to choose from, with Corralejo a popular location for families with kids. The name of the islands translates from Spanish as “strong wind” and it’s true that the island can be blustery.

Read next: The best packing cubes for organised family holidays

Fuerteventura according to Mumsnetters

"Fuerteventura - hire a car and get away from the Yarmouth-style resorts. We found tiny little fishing villages where the local children swim in the harbour and deserted beaches" -  Ooopsadaisy

"I recommend the Jandia peninsula, especially the Playas de Sotavento de Jandia – breathtakingly beautiful beaches with the best swimming, sunbathing and windsurfing. Most of the Jandia area is a national park, and you'll probably have to drive as it's quite hard to get to, but it's worth it. Also visit the dunes of Corralejo in the north of the island. Corralejo itself, a rather dismal resort, has dazzling white dunes. They are also protected as a National Park, but you can sand- and wind-board along them" -  Ricekrispie22

What are the top family-friendly attractions in Fuerteventura?

Spend the day at Oasis Park, the island’s zoo which has flamingos, parrots and sea lions. Kids will love the displays and tickets include transport to and from the zoo, plus entry to the botanical gardens. There are lots of activities on offer, from swimming with sea lions to kite surfing, and Acua Park, Corralejo's waterpark.

Flight time from the UK

Approximately 4 hours, 15 minutes

Read next: The best hotels and resorts with kids' clubs, as recommended by parents

4. Gran Canaria

hotels on a sunny beach in gran canaria

Best family hotels in Gran Canaria at a glance

Why is Gran Canaria good for families?

With jungle, mountains and stunning sand dunes, Gran Canaria is a great island for adventurous families to explore. Summer temperatures average 32 degrees, and rarely drop below 22 degrees in winter. Most resorts can be found on the southern coast, the perfect spot for sun, sea and sand. Venture into the centre of the island for cave homes and jaw dropping mountain landscapes.

Read next: The best cabin bags for your next family holiday

Gran Canaria according to Mumsnetters

"The south of Gran Canaria - specifically Puerto Mogan - is lovely and is in a micro-climate of its own due to the geography (it's at the end of a ravine)" -  wink1970

"We have stayed in Meloneras a few times in June and July and it's not too busy even then. There's a lovely promenade with nice shops and restaurants and a lovely sandy beach plus the dunes are there (they go all the way along to Playa del Ingles). Some great hotels (Lopesan Baobab is our fave but the Costa Meloneras is v good too)" -  givememarmite

What are the top family-friendly attractions in Gran Canaria?

You'll find 29 species of dolphin swimming off the coast of Gran Canaria, and there are plenty of boat trips to take you out spotting them. Check out Palmitos Park zoo, take a camel ride over the dunes at Maspalomas and cool down at Aqualand waterpark.

Flight time from the UK

Approximately 4 hours, 30 minutes

Read next: How to keep kids entertained on your next flight

5. La Palma

the observatory on la palma, canaries

Best family hotels in La Palma at a glance

  • Best overall: La Palma Princess | Book now

  • Best budget: Apartamentos colon y bungalows | Book now

  • Best apartments: Apartamentos Centro Cancajos | Book now

  • Best for luxury: Lighthouse on La Palma Island | Book now

  • Best by the beach: Hacienda San Jorge | Book now

Why is La Palma good for families?

Said to be the prettiest of the Canaries, La Palma is low-key, unspoiled and mostly free from theme parks and large resorts. The entire island is a UNESCO biosphere, and part of Europe’s Dark Skies reserves - so don’t miss the chance to stargaze while you’re there. La Palma’s summer climate is slightly cooler than the other Canary Islands, making it a great choice for younger kids.

La Palma according to Mumsnetters

"Don't forget La Palma, it's very quiet, we had a lovely holiday last year, but if you want lots of bars and shops it's not for you" -  Fluffy40

"We went to La Palma. The hotel was lovely and near a volcanic beach. We hired a car to travel around the island as some of the places we wanted to visit were quite remote. In 2021 there was a volcanic eruption which destroyed many homes but also created new rock pools, beaches, etc. It is not a big island but it is very beautiful" - LittleLlama

What are the top family-friendly attractions in La Palma?

The Roque de la Muchachos observatory is a must-see for space fans, and be sure to book a guided stargazing expedition to really take in the island’s night sky. The otherworldly, colour-changing salt flats at Fuencaliente have to been seen to be believed, and you’ll find plenty to entertain the whole family just exploring the island’s countryside.

Flight time from the UK

Approximately 4 hours, 15 minutes

Read next: The best family-friendly beaches in Europe, according to Mumsnetters

Are the Canary Islands good for family holidays?

The Canary Islands are an ideal destination for holidaying with kids. Their subtropical climate means they’re not too hot in summer, with warm weather for winter sun holidays too. Across the islands you’ll find a holiday to suit all tastes and budgets - from wild, unkempt countryside to sangria by the pool, and activities from windsurfing to stargazing.

Which is better for families? Tenerife or Lanzarote?

It’s a close call but Mumsnetters think Tenerife is slightly more family-friendly than Lanzarote, although both make a brilliant choice. As the largest Canary Island, there are definitely parts of Tenerife which are more geared towards partying, and Mumsnetters recommend Costa Adeje for a family-friendly beach holiday.

Which is the biggest Canary Island?

Tenerife is the biggest Canary Island, covering 785 square miles.

What’s the best Canary Island for a family holiday?

Tenerife is the best Canary Island for a family holiday. Mumsnetters love the range of accommodation and activities available, great beaches and family-friendly resorts. For a holiday that’s more off the beaten track, rugged La Palma is also a favourite. For the best of both worlds, pick a base on one of the larger islands and catch a ferry to La Gomera or El Hierro.

How we chose our recommendations

Because we know that there's nothing like a real recommendation, we first headed to the Mumsnet holiday forums to find out which of the Canary Islands were being recommended for family holidays from the UK.

We then did some online research, looking at the strengths and weaknesses of each island, and what traveller reviews said about them. Having collated all that information, we then narrowed our list down to the best family-friendly Canary Islands right now.

Why you should trust us

We work hard to provide unbiased, independent advice you can trust. We do sometimes earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links in our articles. This helps us fund more helpful articles like this one.