Looking North in the Canary Islands

How many places in the world are split by a north south divide – where character, history, landscapes and weather differ to quite extreme degrees?

In Europe, north can conjure up thoughts of bleak, cooler lands whilst south invokes thoughts of sunshine, sparkling seas and pavement café societies.
Even fantasy lands like those in Game of Thrones reflect a deep rooted perception – it’s grim up north – although character wise the honest, northern Starks come out much better than the sneaky, untrustworthy southern Lannisters every day of the week.
It’s so deep rooted that the perceptions can sometimes be applied to a world that lies much further south.

Despite the Canary Islands occupying a position in the Atlantic to the left of North Africa and the Sahara Desert, this European version of a north/south picture is often painted by various parties. Over the years, these have been mainly by those with a vested interest in nudging potential clients in the travel direction they’d like them to take.

These are seven images of the north of seven islands that make up the Canary Islands.

They might not necessarily fit the images people have in their heads of what northern parts should look like.

La Maceta, El Hierro

La Maceta, El Hierro
The northern end of the beautiful, shovel shaped scoop of  a valley known as El Golfo on El Hierro at around 5.30pm on a February afternoon. This was during one of the coolest winters we’ve known on the Canary Islands. A reminder that everything is relative

La Caldera de Taburiente, La Palma

La Caldera de Taburiente, La Palma
This is wittily known as Playa de Taburiente in northern La Palma even though it’s miles inland and requires quite a trek to reach it. In September the Caldera title is quite appropriate, it’s a cauldron and some of our walking party were in danger of suffering from heat exhaustion.

Vallehermoso, La Gomera

Vallehermoso, La Gomera
The northern parts of La Gomera are without a doubt the most beautiful. Climbing out of Vallehermoso on an August morning after a night of ‘testing’ home made Gomeran brews nearly had me expiring from the heat on the mountainside. Doing it in April still brought on a sweat but it was far more bearable.

Playa de las Teresitas, Tenerife

Playa de las Teresitas, Tenerife
Playa de las Teresitas in March. There are no resorts, only a fishing village, and it lies at the gateway to one of the most remote and beautiful areas of Tenerife, Anaga. It is the best looking beach on Tenerife and it’s in the north, at the opposite end of the island from where most tourists flock.

Agaete, Gran Canaria

Agaete Valley, Gran Canaria
The Agaete Valley in December. Most people arriving by ferry overlook Agaete in their rush to head to the south of Gran Canaria. It is a peach of a northern valley that is home to tropical fruit, vineyards and the most northerly coffee plantation in the world.

Corralejo, Fuerteventura

Corralejo Dunes, Fuerteventura
October in one of the places that turns all north/south perceptions right on their head, the sea of sand dunes leading to the Fuerteventura resort of Corralejo. Not only do you not need woollies, you don’t need clothes of any kind.

Alegranza, Lanzarote

Alegranza, Lanzarote
Swimming to a concealed mini lagoon on an uninhabited island that is the most northerly point of the Canary Islands in May.

It’s not so grim up north at all – it’s enough to have Ned Stark shaking his head in disbelief… if it hadn’t been detached from his body.

Jack is co-owner, writer and photographer for BuzzTrips and the Real Tenerife series of travel websites as well as a contributor to online travel sites and travel magazines. Follow Jack on Google+

About Jack 799 Articles
Jack is co-editor, writer and photographer for BuzzTrips and the Real Tenerife series of travel websites as well as a Slow Travel consultant and a contributor to online travel sites and travel magazines. Follow Jack on Facebook for more travel photos and snippets.


  1. Being a Northener myself, I am happy to know the North/South divide is not all weighted towards the south! Lovely photos of some gorgeous spots in the Canaries – pity about the Game of Thrones spoiler though!! Some of us are waaay behind….

    • Really sorry about that Colleen. I thought we were so way behind that it was safe (we only saw season 1 on Spanish TV at the beginning of last year). But it did cross my mind 🙁

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