Canary Islands

“White Barolo”Timorasso. Tortona. Derthona. Colli Tortonesi.Confused? Read on…

The Canary Island wine scene is dynamic and constantly evolving with new producers appearing, new generations taking family wineries in different directions, new trends & wine styles combined with increasing prices which in turn encourage newcomers to the market.

For the visitor wanting to explore and understand the Islands’ wines, it is often difficult to find venues serving anything decent by the bottle. It’s even harder to find any serving a selection by the glass.

This is due to a variety of factors: low local wages, high fine wine prices, a combination of tight tourists and spendthrift tourists, increasing export prices, limited fine wine drinking culture and the strength of certain mainland Spanish brands that dominate about 80% of the wine list in most restaurants.

There are however a number of local heroes championing the local wines and allowing curious winelovers to enjoy a variety of the Islands best wines.

The Geography

The Canary Islands consist of 7 main islands 125km off the west coast of Africa.
They are the result of volcanic eruptions from 20 million years ago and perhaps the youngest soils of any wine growing region which are typically 500 million years old.

The trade winds from the northeast, “La Calima” (dry, dusty Saharan winds) from the southwest, varied volcanic soils, steep slopes and geographical isolation have resulted in some unique terroir, wines and scenery.

In brief (a very crude generalisation):

  • Big volcanic peak descending (often steeply) to the sea with vineyards all around.
  • Most agriculture and vineyards are in the north. Tourist beaches on the south coast.
  • Richest wine history of the islands.
  • History, culture and wine scene is found from NW to NE of the island (between Puerto de La Cruz & Santa Cruz).
  • Relatively flat, very windy, black soil moonscape with striking vineyards where it may be necessary to dig holes 3 metres deep to reach soil in which vines can grow.
  • Tourist beaches along S and SE coasts.
  • Flat, dry, windy sand bar making it difficult to grow grapes.
Gran Canaria
  • Fertile north. Dry south where the tourists and beaches are to be found.
  • Sparsely populated inland with Utah/Arizona-like desert scenery.
  • Largest city with the best wine scene on the islands on NE (Las Palmas).
  • High quality vineyards and wines are more recent to the island.
La Palma
  • Basically a big volcano poking out of the ocean, the world’s steepest island and the widest variety of wine styles in the region.
  • Wet north with rich red clay soils. Drier south with black volcanic soils.
  • Most bodegas are in the NW of the island with vineyards mainly in NW, W and SE.
El Hierro
  • A misty, humid and mild island with cooler windy north.
  • Viticulture is difficult due to the steep terrain of differing orientation.
La Gomera
  • Temperate but humid island of which 1/3 is rainforest.
  • Due to volcanic inactivity for around 1M years, the topsoils are rich.
  • Most vineyards are located around the northern valleys of the central Parque Nacional de Garajonay.
Map of the Canary Islands showing areas planted with grape vines

History & Key Dates

The 2 main eras of Canary Island wines are:

1550-1850 – world class sweet Malvasia sold in barrels.
Post-1980 – wines are bottled, quality improved and exporting begins again.
This history is driven by Tenerife with some indirect Lanzarote involvement.

Key dates :

1,000 BC : human settlers arrive in Tenerife from north Africa.

1400s : Spanish colonise and plant grape vines.

1500s : Portuguese arrive and improve things with Tenerife’s sweet Malvasias becoming world famous.

1600s : England fights with Spain and sides with Portugal. Madeira & Port dominate as Malvasia falls out of fashion in Britain.

1700s : Tenerife makes bulk blends and fortifies these to sell as fake Madeira, planting more red grapes to help colour them.

1800s : Napoleonic wars & mildew plagues wipe out vineyards. Later the Suez canal changes trade routes leading to the decline of winemaking in the Canaries.

1900s : cheap wine is imported from mainland Spain. Grapes in Tenerife are produced for eating and making some simple bulk (unbottled) wines for local consumption until tourism in the 1960s brings new customers and investment.

2000s : focus on quality and many grape growers start making, bottling and releasing their own wines.

2-3,000 BC : evidence of early humans (Cro-Magnon) in Canary Islands.
1,000-800 BC : human settlers arrive in Tenerife from north Africa, living in isolation for nearly 2,000 years (“Guanches”  in Tenerife).

Phoenicians, N Africans, Romans, Genoese, Normans all locate or visit the islands.

The False Start:
1350s : Mallorcan friars planted Fogoneu (indigenous Mallorcan grape) possibly in Telde, NW Gran Canaria.
1392 :  the Guanche kill the friars and the vines die.

Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italians and British start visiting in numbers.
Spanish beat the Portuguese to full-on colonisation.

The Golden Era
Late 1400s : Spanish colonise; grape vines are introduced and dominate agriculture on the north coast of Tenerife until the 1700s.
1500s : Portuguese winegrowers arrive and Tenerife’s sweet Malvasias become world famous (“world” being Europe and their colonies)
1630/40s : England falls out with Spain and sides with Portugal (boosting Madeira & Port sales).
1680s : Malvasia falls out of fashion in Britain as tastes move towards fortified reds wines.

The Wine Decline:
1700s : Tenerife refocuses on “Vidueño” (blends) of high yield Spanish & Portuguese grapes for the Americas while staining these with cheap mainland Spanish red wine & fortifying with aguardente brandy from Lanzarote to produce fake Madeira. Eventually red grape varieties were planted for this purpose.
1730-37 : Timanfaya erupts in Lanzarote – preparing the land for today’s main wine growing area in La Geria.
1760(ish) : the British Royal Navy bring the first wine to Australia in 1770.
1850-80 : Napoleonic wars & mildew plagues wipe out vineyards.
1869 : the Suez Canal opens up., changing trade routes and leading to supply from other regions (eg Sherry from Jerez), further driving the decline of winemaking in the Canaries.

1900s : most grapes produced for eating and any wines are simple, bulk (unbottled) wines for local consumption on the farm or at the farm canteens “guachinche”. Peninsular Iberian wines arrive at low prices.

The Phoenix from the Flames

1960s : tourism begins, increasing local wealth allowing farmers to buy land and invest in making their own wines as part of a cooperative, or as a family project.
1980s : mass tourism brings investment and new customers, winemakers invest in bottling their wines.
1990s : focus on quality and revival of local grape varieties.
2000s : focus on quality and many grape growers look towards making, bottling and releasing their own wines.

Fun Facts

  • Latin America’s first vines came from the Canary Islands. Brought by the missionaries in 1540, the variety  “Mission” (aka Listán Prietro, País) was the only grape grown in California until the 1850s.
  • Argentina’s Torrontes is a crossing of Listán Prietro X Moscatel.
  • Phylloxera never came to the Canaries (due to geographical isolation).
  • The islands have over 80 grape varieties (of which over 40 exist nowhere else in the world).
  • There are no “autochthonous” grapes in the Canaries; only “indigenous” varieties (ie originated elsewhere, but have made themselves at home here and are considered “native” or “local”).
  • Shakespeare wrote about Canary Island wines in 30 of his plays, referring to it as “Malmsey”, “sack” or “Canaries” (incidentally he also received 268 gallons/ year from the Crown – equivalent to 1,600 bottles!).
  • The islands boast the world’s 3rd highest volcano (the tallest mountain in Spain), world’s steepest island, perhaps the highest & steepest vineyard in Europe, one of  Spain’s 5 oldest wineries.
  • The first grape wine ever drunk in Australia was from Tenerife.
  • Harvests can last as long as 3 months and start as early as 7th July (Vinatigo in 2023).
  • One winery in Lanzarote has even flipped its harvest to Spring as per the Southern Hemisphere.
  • Nelson lost his arm here (shot in Tenerife, amputated back on ship).

The Islands at a Glance (through wine glasses)

Even though some of the islands make excellent wines, it may not be easy (or cheap) to find them locally.
Outside of Tenerife, it may help to think regionally. Ie on the other Islands, you’ll be lucky to find more than 2-3 top producers by the glass in the best wine venues; they’ll most likely be showcasing the top from La Palma, Tenerife and Lanzarote too.

Wine Production

Approximate split of wine production across the islands.
Figures refer to bottled wines (ie excluding bulk wine for domestic consumption or export).

x000 litres (ave. 2016-2020)

Quick Reference:

Any restaurant in the Michelin guide should have a decent wine list, however not all will have the best local wines, particularly by the glass.
Each separate island page on will recommend venues where you are sure to find quality local wines, as well as a list of some unverified venues recommended to us by other sources.

Tenerife : 

The longest and richest wine history with a huge variety of wines and some great venues.
Excellent public transport to get around.
The best place to buy wines from any of the Islands

Unique cordon trenzado (braided vines) in Orotava Valley

Wine hot spots: Puerto de La Cruz, La Laguna, Santa Cruz

Gran Canaria : 

Wine hot spots : in / around Las Palmas.

It is easy to travel between these by bus or taxi.

Lanzarote : 

Blessed and cursed by tourism, it can be challenging to find the higher quality wines, and generally much cheaper to buy outside of Lanzarote (e.g. in Tenerife or mainland Spain).
Dominated by large bulk producers, buying in grapes and blending multiple vineyards, these wines are aimed at tourists with limited time & information.
Some exciting newcomers to look out for in their early stages of evolution.
Tiny production of red wines which has historically been terrible (wrong grapes for the climate in an attempt at copying Rioja). Some producers are now making reds worth drinking (Erupción, Tisalaya, Timanfaya).

Unique vines grown in circular pits (hoyos) with walls to protect them from the constant northerly winds.

Wine hot spots : very specific locations on east and south coasts in Costa Teguise, Playa Honda, Puerto Calero and Playa Blanca.

Fuerteventura : 

Only a few vineyards and producing in tiny quantities in a tough climate.
Some of the higher-end hotel restaurants may feature one or two local Fuerteventura wines, as well as one restaurant in Corralejo.

Wine hot spots : Corralejo, Puerto del Rosario

La Palma
El Hierro
La Gomera
Further information to follow after Wine Fogg visits the islands.
Vine Training Systems used across the Canary Islands
Image from "About Canary Wines" book from Islas Canarias DO

Producers to Look Out For

Tenerife : 

Suertes del Marques,  Envinate,  Viñatigo.  Ambora,  Araucaria,  Atlante,  Hermanos Mesa,  Las Toscas,  Ocampo*,  Piedra Fluida,  Tierra Fundida,  Trevejos,  Finca Vegas,  Vento.
*the premium line of Presas Ocampo

Gran Canaria : 

Bien de Altura (Carmelo Peña Santana’s wines: Ikewen, Tidao, Agan & Sansofi),  Lava,  Tameran,  Vega de Galdar

Lanzarote : 

Akaet,  Cohombrillo,  David Fernandez (Maho),  Jable de Tao,  Puro Rofe,  Taro,  Timanfaya,  Tisalaya,  Erupción (red).

Fuerteventura : 

Conatvs (especially their 2023 Baboso Negro to be released in 2024).

La Palma : 
Azul Perdido,  Llanos Negros,  Tagalguen,  Victoria Torres
El Hierro :
Bimbache,  Elisar,  Tesoro,  Vinos Uwe
La Gomera :
Silvio Gomero.  Any Forastera (La Gomera’s  signature grape)

Minimal Intervention & Natural Wines

Many producers across the islands talk about “sensible intervention” without wanting to certify themselves as “natural”.
Their size / turnover / finances may not permit for the expense of certification, and many would like the option of resuscitating their vineyards in case of any climate disasters (as an alternative medicine advocate may wish to take drugs for a heart transplant).

There are however a number of strict natural winemakers on each island, and an association “Vol Ca Nat Wine”, headed up by Cristóbal Guerra of Vega de Galdar. They plan to feature a logo with the association’s name on their bottles in future.

Winemakers to Watch

There are several winemakers who are worth following as they have various projects across different islands.

Below is a non-exhaustive list of those we think are worth seeking out (arranged in alphabetical order by their first name).

Alberto González Plasencia: (of Timanfaya, Lanzarote). He also advises Vega de Galdar (GC), Conatvs (Fuerteventura) &  and others across the Islands and mainland Spain.

Carmelo Peña Santana : Carmelo’s own wines are made under the “Bien De Altura” brand which is difficult to spot on the label. Instead, look out for the actual wine names: Ikewen, Tidao, Agan & Sansofi. These are made at others’ bodegas. He is also the winemaker for Jable de Tao (Lanzarote).

Jonathan García Lima (of Suertes Del Marques) is also winemaker / consultant with Tamerán (GC) and Ocampo (the premium range of Presas Ocampo).

Pablo MatallanaTaro & La Vardona are Pablo’s own labels made in others’ bodegas. He advises several other wineries including Cohombrillo (Lanzarote)..

Rayco Fernández : a négociant with several projects : Puro Rofe (Lanzarote) and Bimbache (El Hierro). While he no longer states the winemakers on the label, Pablo made Bimbache and Carmelo made Puro Rofe until the 2021 vintages.

The Grapes

Most of the best books about Canary Island wines (see resources / links below) contain chapters covering each grape in detail. These tend to be more accurate than the grape overviews on the DO’s own websites.

There are over 80 varieties across the Islands, 40 of which are not found elsewhere.

Complete List : 

(grapes in bold indicates that they are not found anywhere else in the world)


Albillo Criollo, Albillo Monte Lentiscal, Baboso Blanco, Bermejuela, Bermejuela Rosada, Breval, Burrablanca, Burra Volcánica, Forastera Blanca, Gual, Gual Mazo, Listán Blanco, Malvasía Rosada (/Aromática), Malvasía Volcánica, Marmajuelo, Moscatel Alejandro, Sabro, Vallera, Verdello de El Hierro, Verijadiego, Vijariego Blanco (/Diego), Vitoriera


Baboso Negro, Bastardo (/Verdejo) Negro, Bermejuela Rosada, Bienmesabe Tinto, Breval Negro, Castellana Negra, Forastera Negro, Huevo de Gallo, Listán Negro, Listán Prieto, Listán Rosa, Listán Rosado, Malvasía Púrpura, Malvasía Rosado, Mollar Cano Rosado, Negramoll, Negramoll Rosado, Tintilla, Torrontés Volcánica, Verijadiego Negro, Vijariego Negro

This can overwhelming and confusing, however of these, there are basically 6 that account for the vast majority of the grapes grown in the region:

White :

Listán Blanco,  Malvasía Volcánica,  Vijariego Blanco

Red :

Listán Negro,  Negramoll,  Vijariego Negro

A Quick & Dirty overview of some of the key grapes :

White Grapes:
Listán Blanco
Quite neutral and can express the terroir. Particularly interesting on volcanic terroir along Tenerife’s north west coast.
(aka Palomino Fino)
Malvasía Volcánica
Quite neutral, mineral and refreshing.
Malvasía Aromática
More interesting and aromatic than Malvasía Volcánica.
(aka Malvasía de Stiges /Malvasia Dubrovačka)
Adds acidity to blends. Apple/citrus character and increasingly found as single varietal wines.
(aka Vijariego Blanco)

Other white grapes to be aware of:  Albillo Criollo,  Diego,  Forastera Blanca,  Gual,  Marmajuelo,  Moscatel,  Sabro,  Verijadiego.

Red Grapes:
Listán Negro
Signature grape. Expressive of regional terroir. If over-extracted it is deeper coloured with more pyrazines (peppery / herbal notes).
The “next big thing”. The Pinot Noir / Nebbiolo of Tenerife. Can age well.
(aka Mollar Cano / Tinta Negra Mole)
Baboso Negro
The next “next big thing” after Negramoll. Dark fruit & spice, some compare it to Syrah or Nebbiolo.
(aka Alfrocheiro)
Vijariego Negro
Used in blends to add acid and tannins.
(aka Sumoll)

Other red grapes to be aware of:  Castellana Negra,  Listán Prieto,  Tintilla.

For a more comprehensive overview including more of the grapes of the Canary Islands, see the separate page on Canary Island Grapes.

The Styles

The old-school (pre-2000) styles can be roughly categorised as:

  • Rustic farm wines served from the tanks at local canteens (Guachinche).
  • Cheap bottles of “refreshing, mineral” whites.
  • Oak drenched reds bottled to recreate riper mainland Spanish reds from Rioja & Ribera del Duero.

There is a new wine scene emerging where the following styles can be found:

Whites :
  • Fresh & mineral driven.
  • Aromatic.
  • Complex with pronounced minerality. Some of the best may be barrel fermented / aged.
  • Semi-sweet white “Afrutado” – rarely of quality and produced for non-wine drinkers. Best avoided.
Rosé :
  • The few rosé produced come in dry to semi-sweet. Vicky Torres’ “Rosado” is outstanding and well worth seeking out.
Sparkling :
  • Pét-nat, traditional (champagne) method and a few charmat method (carbonated).
Reds :
  • Light bodied, pure and mineral driven. Sometimes with some carbonic maceration for freshness and fruit.
  • Fuller bodied, barrel aged crianza & reserva.
Sweet :
  • Non-fortified / late -harvest (white and red).
  • Fortified (mostly white).
Off-piste :
  • Whites aged under flor with/without fortification, orange wines, sparkling red, amphora fermented and/or aged.
A few of the more elusive off-piste wines to look out for:
  • Viñatigo’s Vijariego Blanco aged 1 year under flor in a Jura style – only 250 bottles (of 400 produced) are released per year.
  • Las Toscas Barrel fermented Listán Blanco- only 2 barrels / year made by this micro-producer.
  • Timanfaya’s sweet barrel-aged (solera) Moscatel.
  • Llanos Negros 2006 Los Tabaqueros (white blend).
  • Victoria Torres Rosado (high altitude Negramoll rosé/red from 1,360m).
  • Cohombrillo’s Rancio – Malvasía Volcanica aged under flor in a Sherry style.
  • Tidao Blanco from Carmelo Peña Santana (old vine 110y/o Listán Negro + other grapes, open barrel fermented).

TIP : Beware of anything designed to catch your eye on a shelf (gimmick shaped or coloured bottles, bright cartoon animal labels)


While some find the term “minerality” quite controversial, Wine Fogg considers it as acceptable as “fruity”/”savoury”/”vegetal”/”animal”.

Volcanic Wines are often thought of as being “mineral”.  In his excellent book “Volcanic Wines”, author John Szabo advises that there is no typical common character of such wines, however there are 2 types of distinct “minerality” you may find in Canary Island Wines:

  1. Saline : often simply from the nearby sea spray / mist, and more apparent on the finish. This is common in many wines from Lanzarote.
  2. Reductive – from decisions in the cellar, or the natural reaction of the grapes and yeasts to the mineral depleted volcanic soils in certain regions. This can appear as eggy / sulphurous aromas that may or may not dissipate with air. Some can confuse this with cork taint, or wine faults. This is common in many wines from Valle de la Orotava.

The Official PDO Wine Regions

There are 11 PDOs each with their own logo that appears on the back of the bottle:
  • Regional “Canary Wine”
  • 5 Island Wines (“El Hierro”, “Gran Canaria”, “La Gomera”, “La Palma”, “Lanzarote”)
  • 5 Tenerife DOs (“Abona”, “Tacoronte-Acentejo & Taganana”, “Valle de Güímar”, “Valle de La Orotava”, “Ycoden-Daute-Isora”)

Note: Fuerteventura wines come under the regional Canary Wine DO

Why is this important?
Such is the success of wines from the region that fake Canary Island wines have been appearing.
Read more on this link

Note that there are many quality wineries in these islands/regions that do not necessarily come under the DO, and some wineries that have wines from multiple DOs (eg Envinate, Viñatigo)

Canary Islands

(est. 2011)

Canary Wine (from any island – can be blended from different regions, but not often done)

Good website with further information on grapes and member producers

Around 29 wineries under the DO

La Palma

(est. 1993)

18+ wineries come under La Palma DO

Easy to navigate website with short history, links to wineries.
A little out-dated

Gran Canaria

(est. 2009)

40 of Gran Canaria’s 70+ wineries come under the DO
An informative website with further links to the DO’s wineries


(est. 1993)

28 of Lanzarote’s 30+ wineries come under the DO
Excellent up-to-date website with links to the wineries (including location map), statistics and events.

El Hierro

(est. 1994)

13 wineries come under El Hierro’s DO
A simple, informative website outlining the grapes and wineries of El Hierro.

La Gomera

(est. 2003)

15 wineries come under La Gomera’s DO
A basic website with useful links to the 15 DO wineries.


(est. 1994)

8 of the regions 30+ wineries come under the Ycoden-Daute-Isora DO

Valle de la Orotava

(est. 1995)

18 wineries come under the Valle de la Orotava DO
An excellent, modern website with links to each winery, information on their wines, and an overview of the regional grapes and unique “cordon trenzado” vine training system

Tacoronte-Acentejo & Taganana

(est. 1992)

29 of the 50+ wineries in Tacoronte-Acentejo & Taganana come under the DO
Contact information and links to each producer

Valle de Güímar

(est. 1996)

11 of the 20+ wineries come under the Valle de Güímar DO
An easy to navigate website with an overview of and link to each winery


(est. 1996)

16 of the 18+ wineries come under the Abona DO
Contact details of each of the DO producers with some basic information on the grapes and soils.

Map of the DOs of the Canary Islands by Quentin Sadler care of the Wine Scholar Guild
Map by Quentin Sadler used with kind permission from the Wine Scholar Guild

The Events

Unfortunately there are no regular events that showcase all the islands’ wines, and any local events are generally organised by and focus on one DO.

There may be specific Canary Island tasting workshops organised by local champions such as Vingelist (see link below), and it may be worth reaching out in advance to check.

The best producers across the islands are more likely to appear at international wine events, and it is worth following their Instagram accounts for details.

Links & Resources


Canary Wine

The official book published by the Canary Wine association with input from local producers.
Available as free pdf download here:
Hard copies can be purchased at Vinoteca con Pasion (Puerto de la Cruz), Cuvée Enoteca (La Orotava) and some wineries (Viñatigo, Monje, Tajinaste).

The Epic Wines of the Canary Islands by Santo Bains

An excellent, thoroughly researched book on each island, the history, grapes, wineries and wines.
This is available as a free pdf download at:
Hard copies can be purchased at Vinoteca con Pasion (Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife) and Tajinaste’s tasting room (La Orotava, Tenerife).


West London Wine School’s video series on the Wines of the Canary Islands
For those of you wanting a deeper dive into the wines and grapes of the Canary Islands, this is a series of videos aimed at WSET Diploma students.

Santo Bain’s Epic Wines of the Canaries Vlog


Canary Wines App:

Containing images and information on over 600 wines from 150+ wineries across the 11 DOs.

Social Media Accounts to Follow

Wine educator and photographer Igor Phillipenkov spends his time between Dublin and Tenerife hosting tutored wine tastings. Follow him on Instagram for the latest information and trends on the Islands’ wines, or reach out in advance to check if he has any Canary Islands wine tastings organised during your visit.

Travel Tips & Logistics

Disclaimer: some of the links below are affiliate links which may pay me a small commission should you buy their services via this link at no extra cost to you. This will help contribute towards the costs of running this website.
These are only services that we have personally used during our travel to the islands and endorse regardless of any affiliation link.


Some of the larger or international wineries may speak English, as will some smaller wineries run by the new generation who may have moved back from international jobs Spain.

Many of the smaller wineries, winemakers, growers will speak limited English, and you’ll benefit from having someone to hand with fluent Spanish, or learning some quickly.

  • Learn some Spanish (at least a few basic phrases).
  • Download google translate.
  • Consult my page on common wine terms in Spanish (coming soon).

Appointments & Reservations

Make appointments in advance at wineries, restaurants and wine bars to avoid disappointment (peak tourist season isn’t the only time they’re full).

  • Check their Instagram & Facebook accounts. If they’re regularly active on social media, this may be a good way to reach out to them.
  • Use Google Translate to send messages in Spanish and translate the replies.
  • Smaller wineries will be busy simply managing the day-to-day business. Don’t be offended if you don’t hear back, or that they’re unable to receive you.

If you particularly enjoy a wine bar / winery / restaurant – do ask them for recommendations on other venues to visit or wines to try.

Mobile Phone Usage

As the Canary Islands are part of Spain, they are generally covered under European roaming plans, however DO:

  • Double check with your mobile phone provider.
  • Buy an international sim card in advance, or buy a sim locally when you arrive if your plan does not include EU roaming.

Many phones nowadays have eSims (you can load several eSims onto most latest models, and activate up to 2 at any one time).

For data plans we use, and can recommend, airalo that sells eSims for most countries and regions (e.g. Europe).
For voice calls, we either use whatsapp, Instagram, or a dedicated international calling app such as localphone.

menu_bookGuide Book

Our go-to travel guide for over 25 years has been the Lonely Planet series.

They have a guide dedicated to the Canary Islands available from Amazon: Lonely Planet Canary Islands

Car Hire

There are regular bus services throughout the islands (Tenerife’s is particularly comprehensive), however you will find it much easier to visit wineries and island hop with a car, particularly if you plan on buying wines.

  • Waze and Google Maps are both excellent navigation options.

Most budget rental firms will add a daily surcharge to take the car to a different island.

The following companies allow travel to other islands at no additional cost (the car must however be returned to the location from which it was rented) and we have used them both on our trips:


Part of the Avis group, Budget allows cars to be taken to the other islands.


Cicar seems to be the company of choice recommended by expats in local internet forums.
Cars come fully insured (no excess to pay) and free additional driver. Prices seem to be fixed.
This is the most hassle free option, although not the cheapest.

Getting There & Away

Wine Fogg prefers flying with British Airways due to longstanding loyalty, convenience of flights and luggage allowance.

Off-peak TUI also has some great offers from London Gatwick:

The usual price comparison sites are also helpful for comparing flight options such as: and


When travelling solo, our first choice is Airbnb which is often unavailable due to high demand.

We have found the following sites to be useful when looking for accommodation:

Island Hopping (Flights & Ferries)

There are regular short hop flights between the islands, however if you’re moving around and buying wines, you’ll want your own car and make use of the excellent ferry connections.

The views on approaching the islands by sea can be spectacular and worth the journey.

There are 2 main ferry services: Fred Olsen and Naviera Armas offering very similar services.
Unless you are a local resident, you will have the choice of 2 prices: foot passenger, or passenger with car.

The best way to compare all the route options across multiple ports and operators is on Ferry Hopper:

We have also created a useful map of the islands showing the ferry routes and crossing times, highlighting the ones that make most sense on a trip (click on image below to view full screen version).

In addition to bananas which are grown on all the islands, each island has a signature crop of which they are particularly proud such as coffee beans from the world’s most northern plantations (Agaete, Gran Canaria), pineapples & figs (El Hierro),  watermelons (Lanzarote), watercress soup (La Gomera) and avocados & mangos (Tenerife). Below is a list of some highlights to look out for.

Local & Regional Produce


Most islands make decent cheese, however Gran Canaria is famed for it.

The cheeses are generally hard cheeses similar in texture to Manchego or Gouda.


Although cacao is not grown on the islands, there are 2 brands of locally produced bean-to-bar chocolates, both from the same factory in Fuerteventura.


Papas Arrugadas (wrinkly potatoes) are locally grown small, round potatoes.

They are commonly served served with the local spicy mojo rojo or moja verde in a Canarian version of Patatas Bravas.


La Palma is famous for Chili Peppers.

Mojo (salsa) made from these peppers can be found across the islands.


Gofio is a type of roasted and ground grain (wheat, corn, millet…) that can be prepared and eaten in a variety of ways.

It can be used as a thickener in soups, or coating for cheese or chocolates.

The average visitor is most likely to encounter it mixed with honey & oil, rolled into a bread like consistency and sliced to be served as an accompaniment to a meals.

Vieja (Parrot Fish)

Vieja is a colourful beaked fish found in the Atlantic Ocean from south Portugal to Senegal.

It is emblematic of the Islands, and a good choice for anyone wanting to eat something more local.