Your Guide to Yoga Retreats in the Canary Islands
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Yoga travel in Spain goes well beyond its mainland. Ibiza, Majorca and the rest of the Balearic Islands are wonderful destinations in the Mediterranean. But further south, off the coast of West Africa, the Canary Islands are a paradise on earth.
The archipelago has long been considered a bridge between Europe, Africa and the Americas. The great explorations of the 15th and 16th centuries would normally do a stopover in the Canary Islands, and boy did the sailors have an amazing location to prepare for the long voyage!
With astonishing landscapes and perfect weather year-round, nowadays, the Canaries are a popular getaway for Europeans and a magical place for all kinds of travelers. Kitesurfers benefit from the strong wind and reef breaks; hikers enjoy the rugged terrain that gives spectacular views of the mountains and volcanoes; and yogis won’t get enough of the dozens of yoga retreats in the Canary Islands, which easily put them among the most popular yoga destinations in the world.
Best time to visit
Image credit: Yogasanahouse
If you want to go to the Canary Islands, you don’t really have to worry about the best time to visit. The weather is precisely why they are among the best yoga destinations. It’s not an exaggeration that any time is a good time to visit the Canaries!
With average temperatures between 62°F (17°C) and 75°F (24°C) all year round, the archipelago is considered among the top 3 locations with the best climate in the world. Summer is warm without being too hot; winter is mild and never cold.
Which island to choose for a yoga retreat?
Legend has it that the seven islands are the remains of Atlantis. But whether you believe it or not, the truth is that the archipelago’s charm has no rival. Each island has its own personality and there’s one that will surely give you whatever you’re looking for from your yoga retreat.
From Tenerife to La Palma, here’s what each of the Canaries has to offer:
Image credit: Mandala de Masca
The largest and most visited island of the seven, Tenerife has a little bit of everything for all tastes. Want a short yoga break? You’ll find it here. In need of a luxury holiday? There are quite a few on this island. Don’t want to spend too much? There are several budget retreats in Tenerife.
Most visitors go to the southern part of the island, where the majority of the resorts lie. However, the north and inland are quite interesting as well. Natives normally live in this area, where you can find more secluded beaches, as well as Teide National Park with incredible forest landscapes.
If your retreat takes place in the south, just make sure to add one or two days to your vacation to explore the rest of the island. Once you try the great local cuisine and exquisite wines, you’ll know it was totally worth it.
Image credit: Line Up Fuerteventura
The second largest of the Canaries, Fuerteventura has a desert-like landscape with pristine beaches and turquoise water. The winds and swell exposure of the northern shore generate excellent waves for advanced and beginner surfers alike.
This makes Fuerteventura an ideal location for a surf and yoga holiday. Indeed, some people consider it “the Hawaii of Europe”, and although the Azores and the rest of the Canary Islands could have something to say, this can help you imagine how great the surfing culture is here. With a laidback atmosphere, nice little restaurants, tapas bars and “aloha” vibes, maybe it’s not only the big waves that helped Fuerteventura earn its nickname.
Image credit: Lanzasurf
Beautifully shaped by the visionary architect, Cesar Manrique, Lanzarote feels like the most distinctive of all the Canaries. Being born on the island, he also fought to keep the picturesque vibes intact and stopped the construction of tall portentous buildings. And with the help of mother nature, the landscapes here feel as if they had come from outer space.
The volcanic activity of over 300 cones has left a unique scenery of black fields of lava and ashes, a blend of yellow and red rocks, and all kinds of beaches. Playa Blanca, in the south, is the most popular among tourists and for good reason, but you should absolutely take your time to explore Timanfaya National Park and enjoy the moon-like views.
Join a hiking and yoga retreat and the schedule will certainly include one or two walks around the volcanoes.
And if you like to combine yoga and wine, you won’t find a more interesting place than Lanzarote. The craters of many volcanoes have been transformed into vineyards where you can see the tasty Malvasia grapes grow. There are several wineries throughout the island that are worth a visit.
Image credit: Zuzzi Husarová
Gran Canaria has quite a diverse landscape that has given this island the reputation of being “a continent in miniature”. Why? Well, you can start your day on top of a snowy mountain, spend the afternoon in the subtropical green valleys and chill at night in the sand dunes of Maspalomas. Everything’s within a few hours of distance!
If you’re on the island around February-March, the Gran Canaria Carnival is a must as it rivals the carnival in Rio or any other celebration in the world. The festivities paint the streets with colorful parades and a cheerful atmosphere you don’t want to miss.
Las Palmas is the capital city and it’s among the 10 most populous area in all Spain. Many cruises use it as the main harbor to sail around the Canary Islands, its duty-free stores attract thousands of shopping lovers and its bustling nightlife is a hub for party animals.
Lastly, if the clothes become a bit uncomfortable, nudism is legal on all beaches of Gran Canaria. So, if you have that on your bucket list, your retreat on the Canary Islands is a good opportunity to cross it off.
Image credit: Vidyamor
The most north-westerly of the Canaries, La Palma offers incredible unspoiled scenery for a detox yoga holiday where you can forget about everything and reset your body and mind.
Green forests, lush vegetation, volcanic formations and contagious tranquility make up for the lack of sandy beaches. And even if it isn’t the ideal place to lie on a sun lounger all day, if you go up to Roque de los Muertos, you’ll have better views than on any other island.
In fact, the whole island has been declared a World Biosphere Reserve by the UNESCO. Because of this, there are strict light-pollution laws that make la Palma the best out of the seven for stargazing. Can you imagine a night yoga session with such a background?
La Gomera and El Hierro
Image credit: YogaCanarias
The last two Canary Islands are La Gomera and El Hierro. These two don’t have as many retreats. However, there’s a handful in La Gomera where you can escape the crowds and enjoy some quiet time to actually focus on your yoga. While not as popular as the other five, you’ll still get to practice with the impressive backdrop that all the Canaries offer.
El Hierro doesn’t have too many options, but if you like water sports or would like to do some eco-tourism, you could plan a day trip from one of the other islands.
Can’t travel all the way to the Canary Islands? There are plenty of great yoga retreats in mainland Spain!