The Joys of Island-Hopping in the Canaries Andy Montgomery | Posted: 16 September 2016
Self guided walking holidays in the Canary Islands

Seven islands, one world.* I'm pretty sure I saw that on a billboard somewhere... or maybe I said it. Whichever it was, it's very true.

Self guided walking holidays in the Canary IslandsTravel from arid, barren Fuerteventura to lavish, fertile La Palma and you won't just have covered 230 kilometres, you'll have left one universe to enter another, such is the remarkable diversity between east and west in this quietly fascinating archipelago.

And if you use the inter-island carrier, Binter Airlines, getting around is quick, easy and a million miles away from the usual budget airlines experience.

When you fly Binter there's no nerve-wracking wait at the gate, wondering if your hand luggage is going to get stuck in that stupid metal measure, or if anyone will notice that the bag you're so casually trying to give the impression weighs nothing is actually breaking your shoulder.

Self guided walking holidays in the Canary IslandsFirstly, your ticket includes one free piece of luggage in the hold; and secondly, hand luggage is a laid-back affair with most people carrying several items on board. Inter-island flights don't have allocated seats so you're not blackmailed into paying out to pre-book as there 'can be no guarantees' that you'll be allocated seats together.

Neither is there a consequential bun fight at the gate with people elbowing you in the ribs to get to the steps ahead of you. Many passengers are business people travelling alone and, frankly, don't much care where they sit, and unless you're on the 7am flight, it's unlikely to be full anyway. Best of all is the in-flight service which consists of a Binter biscuit and a plastic cup of water, 'con' or 'sin' gas.

Self guided walking holidays in the Canary IslandsIf you're sitting near the back of the aircraft you won't have time to finish your biscuit before they're asking for your rubbish and the wheels are down. We always sit near the front to enjoy maximum biscuit time.

There's something about the Binter biscuits that makes them taste far better than the standard Tirma biscuits that they actually are. Once they get that Binter wrapping on them, they're raised to new heights of taste. Maybe it's because we usually eat them when we've been up since 4am and have yet to break our fast. Whatever the reason, they've become a major feature of inter-island travel for us and we're gutted if we don't get one. Very occasionally you can experience turbulence on a flight and they won't do the in-flight service.

Self guided walking holidays in the Canary IslandsAnd when it gets to summertime they swap the biscuit for dried nuts, presumably because the biscuits would be a gooey mess by the time they got to the passengers. Summer flights are just not as good for that reason, unless you get the early ones when they serve a fresh doughnut for breakfast instead. Heaven.

Then there's the flight itself. There's no climbing to 35,000ft on a Binter flight:  instead you get aerial views of the islands as you depart, fly over and approach each island. Naturally, Mount Teide tends to dominate the archipelago, and seeing it from alongside is something we never tire of, particularly when it's glistening in winter snow. But every island is fascinating from above and you get a totally different perspective of their volcanic make-up and starkly contrasting landscapes. Once you land, there are no endless waits at the baggage reclaim. Few passengers actually check luggage in so bags are out pretty much by the time you get there and your exploration can begin.

All in all, island-hopping in the Canaries is a wonderful way to experience the diversity of these islands and make the travelling part of the adventure.

And did I mention the Binter biscuits?

Self guided walking holidays in the Canary Islands

[*Since this article was published, La Graciosa has been officially recognised as the eighth Canary Island]

Related Holidays & Further Information

The Canary Island Experience

Explore three very different islands and experience the unique culture of each, staying in traditional welcoming hotels and enjoying thrilling walks off the tourist trail.

More about our walking holidays in the Canary Islands >

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