There are two main archipelago groups in Spain: The Balearic and the Canary Islands. Both are synonymous with natural beauty, fun, and relaxation, but differ in geographical location. The Balearic Islands are 11 islands in the Mediterranean, while the Canaries are seven and emerge from the Atlantic Ocean.
Let Costa Cruises guide you through the discovery of the 14 most beautiful islands in Spain.
- Maiorca (Balearic)
- Minorca (Balearic)
- Ibiza (Balearic)
- Formentera (Balearic)
- Isola di Cabrera (Balearic)
- Tenerife (Canary)
- Gran Canaria (Canary)
- Lanzarote (Canary)
- Fuerteventura (Canary)
- Las Palmas (Canary)
- La Gomera (Canary)
- El Hierro (Canary)
- Isola di Ons (Atlantic Islands National Park)
- Isola di Cortegada (Atlantic Islands National Park)
500 km of pristine beaches, history, and culture: Majorca is the perfect destination to treat yourself to a moment of fun and relaxation. Also known as Sa Roqueta by the Majorcan and Balearis Maior by the Ancient Romans, this island is the biggest and most diverse in the Balearics, and there is always something to do.
Let's start with Palma de Majorca, the capital that combines beauty, culture, history, and undoubtedly, nightlife. The center of Palma is a maze of narrow streets, lost between the walls of ancient buildings. Here, you must visit the Cathedral, a wonderful example of Mediterranean Gothic architecture, in which you can find the Puerta del Mirador, the chapel of Trinidad and the Gothic Museum. On the Bay of Palma stands the Castle of Beliver, built by Jaume II in the 14th century, which has a majestic central patio surrounded by four cylindrical towers.
Do not miss La Cuevas Caves! They are located all over the island, which can be visited in specific areas. Take a look at Coves del Drach, y dels Hams in Manacor, indeed an incredible sight.
It is necessary to make an important selection among the most beautiful beaches in Majorca. First, because they are almost all beautiful, and there are over 300! We have chosen Coll Baix beach, on the northern coast of the island of Majorca. Even though it is difficult to reach, it offers a corner of uncontaminated nature where you can find paradise on the sand! Cala Varques, Cala Mondrago, Es Trenc, Es Pregons Grans, Playa del Palma, and Cala Estellencs are also beautiful!
An island of great beauty and a thousand surprises. Second in size in the Balearic Islands, Minorca is just a few hours by ferry from Majorca and has a rich, jagged coastline full of coves where bathing is magic. Also known as The Island of the Wind, over the centuries, it has experienced the domination of various peoples, including Romans, Greeks, Carthaginians, Arabs, and English: each of them has left an indelible mark on the island's culture. Minorca, like many other pearls of the Mediterranean, has been declared a Biosphere Reserve by the UNESCO, thanks to its uncontaminated landscapes that make it one of the greenest and most spectacular islands. When arriving in Minorca, start with Mahon and Ciutadella, the former capital of Minorca located north of the island. The symbol of the city is an 8-meter bronze horse raised on its upper legs. Plaza des Born, the Cathedral of Menorca and, of course, the Municipal Museum of Ciutadella are also worth seeing. The fish market in Plaça de la Libertat is also spectacular.
After a walk in the center, we recommend taking a trip to one of the most beautiful and well-known caves of Menorca: Lithica Pedreres de s'Hostal, characterized by a central labyrinth obtained by extracting mares stone, a tuff found on the island. The most beautiful lighthouse in the city is the one in Cap de Cavalleria, and the oldest is located on the tip of a high cliff north of the island. On the ground floor, there is a small, ecological museum collecting valuable information on the nature of the place and construction of the structure.
With its 200 km of coastline, beaches, and coves, it is difficult not to spend unforgettable afternoons under an umbrella on the beach. Among the most famous beaches, we find Cala Algariens, Cala Morell, Cala Macarella, Cala Turqueta, and Playa Son Saura.
Among the most visited islands of the Balearic Islands, is undoubtedly Ibiza, a dream destination for all tourists dreaming about nightlife and who at the same time want to immerse themselves in the crystal-clear waters of the sandy beaches made of unique natural wonders. Those visiting Ibiza should spend some time exploring Eivissa, the island's capital, taking a lovely walk along the La Marina promenade. In addition to bars and shops, you'll find the typical fishing boats that supply local markets. The highest part of the city, Dat Vila, is perched on a rocky outcrop overlooking the sea where, at the top, stands the cathedral of St. Mary “de les Neus”. The archaeological museum is also worth visiting: a dip into the history of the ancient Phoenicians, Carthaginians, and Saracens.
After the capital, let's stop by Les Salines, a naturalistic park with enchanted beaches located at the extreme south of the island. The area is a natural reserve and a perfect habitat for migratory birds. Then, it continues the Sa Trinxa promontory, where the Tower of de ses Portes stands, protecting the island's precious saline. When visiting Ibiza, you must stop by Cala d'Hort, a picturesque beach overlooking the mysterious island of Es Vedrà, which over the centuries has become the inspiration of legendary stories. It went from being the Odyssey's background to recent UFO sightings.
Beaches not to be missed include Las Salinas, Cala d'Hort, Agua Blanca, Talamanca and Platja den Bossa, as well as of course Cala Conta and Cala de Benirràs.
Among the most beautiful islands in the Balearic, is undoubtedly Formentera, where the beaches recall the ones in the Caribbean, with fine sand mixes and crystal clear water that reaches the horizon. If the sea is the main attraction of the island, there are many other things to do to shape an unforgettable vacation.
Among the things to see in Formentera is the beach of Ses Illetes, known as the beach of little islands, also considered as the most beautiful one. Es Arenals, Calò des Morts, Cala Saona, Cala Savina, Platja de Migjorn and Platja de Llevant are among the other unforgettable beaches of the island. Among the less frequented, we recommend El Tiburon, Playa Tanga, and Ses Platgetes.
Cabrera is part of the Balearic Islands, and it is also the main island of the homonymous archipelago, located near Majorca. This location has been an armored military area for a long time, but it has been open to tourism for many years, becoming a national maritime land park of the Cabrera archipelago. The history of this island is fascinating and complex: it hosted the Carthaginians, Phoenicians, Romans, Byzantines, pirates, and many other historical upheavals. After becoming a military area, the pressure of Greenpeace in 1991 and the demands of the Balearic Government returned this pearl to the world.
Landscapes of breathtaking beauty, enchanting beaches, and cliffs overlooking the sea. We are talking about Tenerife, one of the dream destinations to visit at least once in a lifetime. Ideal for the lovers of relaxation on the beach, and also a perfect destination for trekking in unspoiled nature. Like the rest of the Canaries, the island is of volcanic origin and is located just north of the Tropic of Cancer.
This mountainous island is not just sea, but is a collection of coastal villages, pools, and terraces and, of course, the unforgettable Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Among the locations not to be missed on this enchanted island, we must mention Icod de Los Vinos, located on the north coast and famous for its banana plantations.
Bajamar is also spectacular, where the natural pools (whose water exchange happens through the Ocean) offer fun both for the young and adults. In Guimar, you can find mysterious pyramids that, to date, don't have a valid historical explanation, and are attributed to a possible trade between the Canaries and Latin America.
When visiting Tenerife, stop by La Orotava, famous for its wine and for being inside the Teide National Park, a protected area covering the highest part of the island. The park has over 50 endemic species of plants and unique volcanic landscapes: Alto de Gujara, Lano Ucanca, Roques de Garcia and Pico Viejo.
Among the beaches not to be missed in Tenerife, we include Playa Fanabe, La Tejita, Playa Bollullo, Playa el Duque, Playa de las Teresitas, and the natural pools. The natural pools, allow you to enjoy a bath in calm and warm water, even when the Ocean doesn't allow it. In addition to those in Los Gigantes, there are also the swimming pools of Charco Azul, Montaña Amarilla, the Pools of De Bajamar, the Natural Pool of Jóver, Lago Martianez, Charco del Viento and the natural pools of Gerachico and Punta del Hidalgo
They are considered a miniature continent and that’s not an exaggeration: Gran Canaria has a climatic and landscape variety that rivals much more extensive territories and offer tourists scenery out of the ordinary. It is the second most populated island of the Canary Islands, after Tenerife, and just like the other islands of the archipelago, it is of volcanic origin. At the center of the island, it is possible to see the caldera of an old volcano.
Gran Canaria is the perfect place for walks among the banana and avocado cultivations, for the beaches, and the contemplation of beautiful landscapes. Enjoy at least once the view of the Teide, from Cruz de Tejeda, one of the fascinating viewpoints in Spain. The view of the Tenerife volcano is so beautiful that it will leave you breathless. Speaking of breath, trekking lovers can visit Roque Nublo, one of the most sought-after pilgrimage destinations in the Canaries and home to an important religious procession. A 2-3-hour route of medium difficulty among the fiery red rocks.
Gran Canaria is famous for being crossed by ancient roads, known as caminos reales, to explore on foot, like they were typical trekking paths. History lovers will discover the true beauty of the island at La Vegueta, the old neighborhood of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Here, you can make a trip to the Cathedral of Teror. Also, visit Aguimes with its Arucas Cathedral.
Among the most beautiful beaches in the Canary Islands, we include Playa Guigui, which can be reached in about 3 hours on foot. If you prefer comfort, you should go to Playa del Inglés, extending for almost three kilometers from Maspalomas - of which we recommend visiting the lighthouse - to San Agustìn. A must-visit playa? Montana de Arena.
Volcanic landscapes, red and black lands, deserts, sharp rocks, and natural parks: this is the landscape awaiting the tourist who arrives in Lanzarote, one of the wildest islands of the Canaries. As part of the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, this beautiful island is a concentrate of natural beauties to discover one by one. Located right next to Fuerteventura, Lanzarote is famous for the volcanic landscape of the Timanfaya National Park, an almost extraterrestrial volcanic paradise. Lanzarote is a destination for those who love to walk and surf. Even those looking for a quiet and wild beach to plant an umbrella will find some delightful places to create unforgettable memories.
If you go to Lanzarote, you need to see Jameo del Agua, a vast underground tunnel created by the eruption of the volcano Monte Corona. Cesar Manrique has enhanced the beauty of Lanzarote with a series of works of art blending perfectly with the nature of the place: take for example Mirador del Rio, one of the most beautiful viewpoints on the island. The same artist has also earned a museum, located in a marvelous palm garden and which can be visited upon payment of a ticket.
The Timanfaya National Park is one of the most important locations in Lanzarote and, in general, in the Canary Islands. It is a vast volcanic area recently created, where it is possible to watch the spectacle of nature exhibited in geysers and other natural wonders.
Don't miss the beaches of Fumara, Las Conchas, Carcho de Palo, Playa Papagayo, and Caleta del Mero.
Arid and desolated, Fuerteventura is one of the most beautiful islands in the Canaries. An ideal destination for lovers of the sea, fishing, and surfing, and the perfect place to lay in the sun, and enjoy seafood in the most exclusive restaurants. In Fuerteventura, there are no monuments, and in general, there are a few villages to visit, but you can find: Betancuria and Lajares. Playas de Jandia is among the most evocative beaches, with its fine sand and clear water; immerse yourself in the waters of Plata de Cofete and the Concha, like El Cotillo, for calm waters and enchanting landscapes.
La Palma is the island of volcanoes that seem to come from another world, between a thousand kilometers of forests and little pathways to get lost amongst. La Palma is the ideal destination for those who love watching the sky, also thanks to the low light pollution of the island. A location not to miss is Santa Cruz de La Palma, the center of island life, from which various walks start. Also, try the Belvedere of La Cumbrecita, a natural balcony on the Caldeira de Taburiente. La Palma is also the perfect place for whale watching.
Wild and primitive, La Gomera is one of the most evocative Canary Islands. Here, the gomeran whistle is still in use, which is a language made exclusively with whistles designed by the shepherds to communicate miles away.
The luxuriant nature of the place highlights a landscape immersed in the blue, where time seems to have stopped a hundred years ago. Take a tour of San Sebastian de la Gomera, the city standing on a volcanic rock, and you will understand what we are talking about. Agulo, Los Organos and the Garajonay National Park are also to visit.
El Hierro is the perfect place to reach the Canaries, avoiding the beau monde of Fuerteventura and the excesses of Ibiza. Here, the tourist arrives on an island completely different from the other ones, where a simple stay is a mystical and isolated experience, far from the nightlife. El Hierro is accessible only by two places: from the small airport, and el Puerto de la Estaca. In the small group of houses in La Caleta, it is possible to find refuge and start a series of breathtaking walks. The capital is Valverde, a town of a thousand people that will stay in your heart.
Ons is located in the small archipelago of Galicia and, together with other minor Spanish archipelagos, forms the National Park of the Atlantic Islands of Galicia. This is the ideal place to immerse yourself in nature and do bird watching.
The island of Cortegada is located in the province of Potevedra and is part of the national park of the Atlantic islands of Galicia. For years, it was private property: then in 2007, it finally became public, open to mass tourism and accessible to all again. This location is ideal for a full immersion in ancient forests, where you can breathe the mystery and live an adventure that few people have as a memory. We recommend a trip to the old laurel forest, where you will walk near magnificent eucalyptus trees and even on the remains of an ancient village inhabited until 1910.
Take a Costa cruise to the Spanish Islands
Travel with Costa Cruises to discover some of the Spanish islands, and let yourself be conquered by the lush and wild nature of Lanzarote, from the Ibiza nightlife and much more.
Don't wait, discover now all the departures for the Spanish islands.