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With a year-round warm climate, beautiful beaches, and stunning landscapes, it’s no wonder that the Canary Islands are such a popular tourist destination. However, to truly experience the islands, it’s best to immerse yourself in the local culture. Here are some tips on how to enjoy the Canary Islands like a local.

Gastronomy of the Canary Islands
How to enjoy the Canary Islands like a local – Tip #1: Taste the local cuisine

Embrace the local cuisine and take an “aperitivo”

Canarian cuisine is a blend of Spanish, African, and Latin American influences. Specifically, it is characterized by its simplicity and use of local ingredients.

For instance, some of its most popular dishes are papas “arrugadas” (wrinkly potatoes), “mojo sauce” (a spicy garlic sauce), and “gofio” (flour made from roasted grains).

You can also try fresh seafood, such as octopus and grilled fish. Or, you can try the local cheese varieties, like queso fresco and queso de cabra (goat cheese). If you don’t know where to start, you can join an authentic food tour.

You shouldn’t miss the chance to try also the Aperitivo! This is a traditional gathering in the early afternoon for some light food and a drink, usually wine. The aim of the Aperitivo is to relax and chat with friends. It is usually done in small groups of 5 people maximum. However, a small percentage of Canarians prefer bigger groups.

The Canary Islands
How to enjoy the Canary Islands like a local – Tip #2: Enjoy the beautiful nature of the islands

Explore the natural beauty

The Canary Islands are known for their stunning natural landscapes, from the sandy beaches to the rugged mountains. One of the best ways to explore the islands is by hiking, with trails that range from easy to challenging.

Specifically, in Gran Canaria, you can explore the Roque Nublo rock formation. Moreover, in Tenerife you can hike to the summit of Mount Teide, the highest point in Spain. Or, even go horse riding!

In addition, the cliffs of Los Organos are one of the most breathtaking natural wonders in La Gomera. These magnificent cliffs are located on the north coast of the island and take their name after the towering rock formations that resemble the pipes of an organ.

Finally, visit La Restinga, a famous volcanic cone located in the southern part of El Hierro. The area is renowned for its beautiful beaches and crystal-clear waters, making it a popular destination for water sports and scuba diving.

How to enjoy the Canary Islands like a local - Explore the local history and culture
How to enjoy the Canary Islands like a local – Tip #3: Explore the local history and culture

Learn about the local history and culture

The Canary Islands have a rich history, with influences from Spain, Portugal, and Africa. You can learn about the islands’ past at museums and historic sites like the Casa de Colón in Gran Canaria. This historic house was once home to explorer Christopher Columbus. Another option is the Cueva Pintada Museum in Gáldar, which features pre-Hispanic cave paintings.

You can learn about Cesar Manrique, an artist, architect, and environmental activist who played a pivotal role in shaping the artistic and cultural landscape of Lanzarote( his birthplace) and the Canary Islands as a whole. Or even José Saramago, a Portuguese writer who discussed political issues and went into exile in Lanzarote following the censorship of his work.

How to enjoy the Canary Islands like a local - Local festivals
How to enjoy the Canary Islands like a local – Tip #4: Take part in the local festivals

Enjoy the local festivals

The Canary Islands are famous for their lively festivals, which happen every year. The biggest one is Carnival. It takes place in February or March and is celebrated with colourful parades, music, and dancing.

Another festival is the Fiestas de Mayo in Tenerife. This festival takes place between the 21st of April and the 30th of May. It celebrates the island’s patron saint.

Finally, the Fiesta de la Rama on the 4th of August in Gran Canaria, honours the Virgin of Las Nieves.

How to enjoy the Canary Islands like a local - Practice your Spanish
How to enjoy the Canary Islands like a local – Tip #5: Learn a few Spanish words and phrases

Practice your Spanish

While many locals in the Canary Islands speak English, it’s always nice when visitors make an effort to speak Spanish. You don’t need to be fluent in the language!

That said, learning a few basic phrases like “hola” (hello), “gracias” (thank you), “por favor” (“please”) and “adiós” (goodbye) can go a long way in making connections with the locals and experiencing the culture first-hand.

These are just some of the ways to enjoy the Canary Islands as you have lived there your whole life. It’s important to embrace the local cuisine, explore the natural beauty, learn about the local history, enjoy the festivals, and practice your Spanish. By doing this and more, you’ll have a deeper understanding of the islands’ culture and create memories that will last a lifetime.


Eleanna is the founder of A Curious Compass and has been blogging since 2013. Her mixed ethnic background has made her curious about the world from a young age. Since her first solo trip at 18, she has visited and lived in many places, like London, Sao Paulo, Paris, and Toronto. Her mission is to inspire people to travel the world in style and get to know the soul of each destination.

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