Having visited a number of the Canary Islands I’m often torn between which to visit next, but my absolute favorites have to be Lanzarote and Tenerife. The latter I first ventured to when I was 21, it’s the largest of the Canaries and has both a party and a family-friendly side. I’ve been to Lanzarote a number of times, often for a bit of winter sun as an escape from the cold UK weather!
So if you’re stuck between the two islands and need some help deciding from someone who’s been there, seen the attractions, and done the tours…you’re in the right place.
Let’s jump into my honest comparison of Lanzarote vs Tenerife!
Tenerife vs Lanzarote – A Quick Overview
|Family Friendly Activities
|A Much Smaller Island
|Much Bigger Island
When it comes to size, Tenerife is a much bigger island and the most visited of all eight Canary Islands. It is renowned for its all-inclusive resorts, lively club scene, Carnival festival, and stunning beaches. If you want to let your hair down, experience festivals, and join in plenty of family-friendly activities, this is the island to come to.
And then there is Lanzarote, the complete opposite.
Let’s say you want to experience otherworldly landscapes, paradise beaches, and a quieter vibe, then Lanzarote is the place to go. The small island has a more intimate ambiance, but that’s not to say it doesn’t have lively resorts, excellent eateries and plenty of activities to enjoy because it has all of that too.
Still, if you want a more in-depth look at Tenerife vs Lanzarote, let us dive in and discover the main differences between the islands to see which suits you best.
Tenerife is famous for its festivals, and it hosts Europe’s largest Carnival festival every February, which is also the biggest outside of Brazil. As well as its incredible festivals, which take over the island, it is notorious for its lively atmosphere and nightclub scene, so this is the island to choose for an action-packed vacation.
Family Friendly Activities
If you are going on a family holiday and have kids that love to be active, choosing a new activity each day, then Tenerife is for you. This island packs a punch with the array of leisure activities on offer, like 4wd buggy tours, dolphin watching, snorkeling safaris and all kinds of watersports.
Much Bigger Island
When it comes to Tenerife vs Lanzarote, you need to know that Tenerife is the largest Canary Island, while Lanzarote is the fourth largest. If you fancy exploring your surroundings, you will have plenty of options for places to go, but in saying that, you will not see the whole island in one vacation. This can be seen as an advantage or a disadvantage, but it can play a big part in deciding.
Most of us travel to experience things we might not see at home, and in Tenerife, this means volcanos, black sand beaches and huge mountains. This is the most visited island in the Canaries since there is so much to see and do, including visiting Teide National Park, soaking up the sun on the magnificent sandy beaches and climbing extraordinary mountains with viewpoints to die for.
Lanzarote is a fantastic place to relax, rejuvenate, explore, and take each day as it comes. While there are entertainment options – which we will explore further on the island is much more relaxed than Tenerife and is ideal for a quiet family holiday or perhaps a romantic getaway.
A Much Smaller Island
Yes, Lanzarote is MUCH smaller than Tenerife, and if you are seeking a more intimate atmosphere and the chance to see some of the islands without having to venture too far, this is the place for you. Getting to and from place to place is easy in Lanzarote, compared to Tenerife, and this can enhance your holiday if you want to experience the diversity of this beautiful island without wasting time in the car.
Yes, we said it! Lanzarote has better beaches than Tenerife. While Tenerife is the most popular island for its nightlife and beaches, the truth is Lanzarote’s beaches are just on another level. If you are searching for incredible beaches, just look at Papagayo or Famara, and you will know precisely why many confirm this.
Tenerife is the place to take on endless activities, but that’s not to say that Lanzarote is boring; it’s just another vibe. Lanzarote is an island where you can enjoy a more intimate excursion, try the local food and wine and soak up magical atmospheres from day to day without the hustle and bustle. While some people love to be surrounded by action, others may prefer to take a step back and enjoy quieter day trips.
Lanzarote vs Tenerife: A Quick Guide to Choosing
Couples, families, and solo travelers seeking a quiet beach holiday full of intimate, memorable experiences will prefer visiting Lanzarote.
However, groups, active families and those seeking fantastic nightlife need to consider Tenerife the perfect choice since Lanzarote will not provide the level of fun that Tenerife does. If you want the best beaches, Lanzarote needs to be the top choice since it is often considered the most beautiful of the Canary Islands. Yet, if you seek excursions, waterparks and diverse landscapes, then Tenerife is the ticket.
In contrast, Lanzarote is the more romantic, relaxing choice, while Tenerife is the place to let your hair down.
Tenerife Mini Guide
- Tenerife is the largest Canary Island
- It has a population of 917,000 (2021) inhabitants
- It is dry throughout the year, and rain is possible but very rare in the winter months
- The high season is between June – August and January – February for Carnival.
- Teide National Park for hiking, Santa Cruz for Carnival, and La Laguna, a UNESCO Worl Heritage Site, are all top attractions on the island.
- Tenerife has two airports, Tenerife North and Tenerife South, with Tenerife South being the most commonly used international airport.
- Tenerife’s hotels are commonly seaside resorts ideal for families and couples, and the southern coast is bustling with options.
Tenerife is a fantastic choice for many reasons, and I would say that attending Carnival on the island has to be one of the most amazing experiences, plus the overall atmosphere is excellent if you are traveling with a group, as a family, or perhaps on a stag/hen party.
The best thing is you won’t be short of things to do on this island, and all interests are catered to; plus, you can go off the beaten path and see what’s on offer outside the luxury all-inclusive.
Lanzarote Mini Guide
- Lanzarote is the fourth largest Canary Island.
- It has a population of 152,000 (2021).
- Similar to Tenerife, Lanzarote is dry year-round with very little rain.
- The high season is June – August, but it attracts tourists in the winter months too.
- Timanfaya National Park, Cueva de los Verdes, and the resort of Puerto del Carmen are all top attractions on the island.
- One major airport, Lanzarote Airport, also known as Arrecife Airport, is for domestic and international flights.
- Lanzarote has more off-the-beaten-path hotel options in quieter locations, albeit at a slightly higher cost, but a unique experience and the chance to try something different.
Lanzarote is ideally suited to those looking for a relaxing holiday and is perfect as a honeymoon option. The diversity between the mountains, the volcanic landscape, and the pristine beaches is just the ticket to a peaceful and rejuvenating holiday, especially if you want to get away from it all and soak up nature.
One of the good things is that there are many excursions and entertainment options, so you won’t be short of things to do whenever you want, just not at the same level as Tenerife. So, don’t worry about boredom here; many fun options exist.
The Key Differences between Tenerife vs Lanzarote
How Does The Nightlife Compare?
Tenerife’s nightlife is famous for being diverse and widespread, with a famous strip on Playa de las Americas. At the same time, Lanzarote has its entertainment options, just a much lower key.
How Do The Beaches Compare?
Tenerife’s beaches are beautiful; however, some artificial beaches cater to holidaymakers and are focused on the southern coast, while Lanzarote’s beaches are much more unique and rugged.
Which Is Better For Families?
For active families, Tenerife is fantastic since it has many water parks and activities, while Lanzarote also has activities but less of an action-packed vibe.
Which Is Better For Couples/Honeymoon?
Lanzarote is excellent for a honeymoon or a romantic holiday, with its gourmet restaurants, off-the-beaten-path accommodation and remote beaches.
Which Is Better For Activities?
Tenerife is hands down the best for activities, and there is something to suit everyone, from water-based activities to hiking in Teide National Park to various boat excursions.
Which Is Easier To Get Around?
Lanzarote is much smaller and more accessible than Tenerife, which is much larger with longer distances.
Which One Is More Affordable?
While both islands have similar prices for most things, hotels can be a little higher in Lanzarote, and you can get better all-inclusive deals in Tenerife since the coastline is built up with holiday resorts.
Which is the Better Choice? Tenerife vs Lanzarote
Lanzarote offers off-the-beat-path hotel options, rugged and wild beaches, and quieter surroundings, making it an excellent choice.
Tenerife is the island where you are more likely to get a good deal on hotels, excursions and experience an action-packed holiday with friends or family.
Both islands are significant, with many hiking options and sights to see if that is what you plan to do. When it comes to the beaches, Tenerife has the classic white sandy beaches to enjoy, while Lanzarote’s beaches are much more out of the ordinary and special; however, they are not for everyone.
The great thing is that both islands are different, yet they have elements of each other, which can be found if you look. In Lanzarote, you will find classic sandy beaches and good nightlife, and in Tenerife, you will find quieter areas of the island to relax and unwind, but their characteristics are quite the opposite.
So, with that being said, has your decision been made?