There are now only a few totally or almost unspoilt beaches in the Canary Islands. This is a selection of the best beaches outside the official guides, frequented by locals and avoiding the most overdeveloped areas.
This beautiful black-sand beach is to be found in Los Realejos in the north of Tenerife. This is one of the island's surfing hotspots, and is also used for other water sports and as a landing strip for paragliding. Bathers should beware of strong currents . It is accessible by car and on foot.
Surrounded by volcanic landscapes and indigenous vegetation, including dragon trees, you can get to Playa de Bollullo beach by walking from Puerto de la Cruz. Being on the northern coast, heavy waves are inevitable, so you should be careful when swimming. From here we can continue on to Los Patos beach, which is equally charming, and even more appreciated by surfers. There are no services at the beach, but there is a restaurant nearby. Nudism is common in the area.
This beach's unique landscape charms are to be found in the Anaga area. The locals claim this to be one of the most beautiful dark-sand beaches anywhere in the Canary Islands. Although nudism is not in the majority, it is common. The beach is only suitable for paddling due to its dangerous waves. You can get to the beach by car and eat at nearby beach bars.
The El Médano, a paradise for windsurfers, and Tejita beaches, more suitable for swimming, are to be found at the foot of the Montaña Roja in Granadilla de Abona. They are famous for being among the largest in Tenerife, with fine sand and calm, transparent, shallow water. As we move further north we come across a small cove that is suitable for nudism, although waves are stronger here.
This the most recent extension of Las Canteras, stretching towards the La Isleta peninsula. Its natural environment has been resurrected into one of the best urban beaches in the world. Despite being part of the city, it still has some unique features due to its remote access. The most popular stretch consists of a boardwalk over the rocks, facilitating a stroll along the coarse black sand shore. Clear water, perfect waves, imposing rocks and few visitors, among whom nudism is common.
This is one of the most well known and liked beaches in the north because of its excellent surfing conditions. But it is not the only beach on this coast worth visiting: Los Vagabundos, El Puertillo, Punta Gorda... Be careful when the waves are strong. These are narrow black sand beaches, with tricky access from Arucas, Galdar and Guía. Just a few kilometres from the capital of Gran Canaria.
Moving on beyond Agaete on the west coast brings us to some of Gran Canaria's most beautiful beaches: open sea, black basalt sand and clean, clear water. El Risco, Faneroque, Guayedra, La Caleta, El Juncal… incomparably beautiful landscape, backed by cliffs, but where it is not always easy to swim: best at low tide, in summer, and exercising extreme precaution.
Light sand, isolated and not very busy, with a bohemian vibe and shallow water, protected from the wind. This is one of the hidden gems on the south coast, between Puerto Rico and Puerto de Mogán. There are other similar coves on this stretch of coast, such as Montaña Arena, El Cura, Medio Almud…
The beach is reached by a bracing walk among rocks from the road to the shore. Spectacular sunsets. Better off-season and midweek , checking that there are not too many cars or caravans parked in the area.
Perhaps the most quietest point in Gran Canaria -an island that is in general very densely populated- on the south-west coast, beyond Mogán and Veneguera. This is perhaps the most unspoilt beach in the Islands. It is reached by boat (from Mogán or La Aldea de San Nicolás) or by an arduous three hour downhill hike. This means not many people risk going to this immensely beautiful nature reserve, with those that do often planning to camp for the weekend. But those who do, always want to come back.
Black volcanic sand predominates on the beaches of La Palma, which stand out for their incredible natural beauty. At the foot of immense cliffs and surrounded by vegetation, with clean, crystal-clear water perfect for swimming at any time of year. Nogales is one of the most beautiful beaches to the north of Puntallana, with half a kilometre of fine sand. Only accessible on foot. With strong currents and shelving, it is ideal for surfing, providing prudence is exercised. Only accessible on foot, with 300 steps, but the effort is well worth it.
With 200 metres of volcanic sand bathed by transparent water, this beach is appreciated by divers and walkers alike. This is an isolated destination -almost wild- in a romantic bay in the area of Fuencaliente; it is a place to bathe until late in the evening, drinking in the stunning sunsets. Continuing to the extreme south, we come to a spot at the foot of the Fuencaliente lighthouse, in the Cumbre Vieja nature reserve, where you can switch off completely. Popular with the locals, it offers disabled access and services. This beach is always quiet, particularly in winter.
A long way from anywhere, this is an exile in the midst of purest nature. The municipality of Pájara in the south of Fuerteventura is home to a paradise of golden sand, bathed by wild water and surrounded by the Jandía mountains. Totally unspoilt and excellently preserved. It is difficult to get to by road, and the lack of services and nearby towns encourages nudism with no hassles. However, extreme prudence is recommended for swimming anywhere along the twelve kilometres of beach, even when the sea seems calm. The small town of Cofete, the Roque del Moro and the enigmatic Casa Winter all form part of this fascinating setting.
The Los Charcos lighthouse is on the north coast, three kilometres from El Cotillo, in the municipal area of La Oliva. The area is dotted with small, extremely beautiful coves. Los Charcos cove is a small nudist beach, hardly more than 300 metres long, combining golden sand, turquoise water and volcanic rocks, with natural lakes and lagoons teeming with marine life. This semi-virgin area is ideal for windsurfing because of its winds and gentle waves. This paradise is totally deserted in winter.
Once a nudist haven at the southern tip of the island and almost inaccessible by road, it has retained much of its charm, despite becoming more popular with the passing of the years. A combination of wild beaches with surprisingly contrasting fine white sand amidst the island's blackened volcanic slopes. Silence and light flood a setting of succulent beauty. Playa Mujeres beach is the largest and most visited, followed by Papagayo. When the tide is out, you can also visit the more intimate El Pozo beach.
To the north of Risco de Famara, following a difficult but safe and very beautiful path, we discover a beach out of our dreams, with half a kilometre of white sand. This is perhaps the most remote beach in Lanzarote, but it is worth the effort of visiting. The Yé coast, as it is known, is hemmed in by the fascinating Famara cliffs. Here we can bathe in El Río, the stretch of water separating us from La Graciosa, in a shattered landscape, with ample shores, untamed nature and gentle warm water currents.
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