Christmas is Culture in the Canary Islands

The Canary Islands are offering a Christmas filled with ancestral cultural traditions in towns and villages, accompanied by festive nights in their cities and swimming at their beaches, that brings together hundreds of people to celebrate the New Year.

Christmas Deals to the Canary Islands:

United Kingdom                                                      Republic of Ireland

Playa Blanca, Lanzarote from £293pp              Costa Teguise, Lanzarote from €391pp

Fuencaliente, La Palma from £488pp               Playa de las Americas, Tenerife from €506pp

Maspalomas, Gran Canaria from £539pp        Caleta de Fusta, Fuerteventura from €850pp

An intimate Christmas awaits in the Canary Islands, with its quiet pathways away from the stress of shopping, with its ancestral cultural traditions in villages and towns or swimming at the beach, bringing together hundreds of people to welcome the New Year. On Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve and Epiphany, the magic of the lights, the concerts, the traditional dances, and Canarian gastronomy fills every walk with sun and joy.

People that are tired of the cold of winter can enjoy clear skies and spring-like temperature in winter. The islands are said to have the best climate in the world, not only due to its temperature, which stays around 21 to 28 degrees all year round. It is also because of the warmth of the locals and their enthusiasm for living, helping you enjoy your vacations and the outdoor culture of these special days.

Traveling to the Canary Islands for Christmas is quite easy thanks to the frequency of flights between the islands of the archipelago and mainland Spain and the rest of Europe. The Canary Islands recently welcomed a 38% increase in airline capacity in comparison to pre-pandemic figures. This increased volume of flights to the Canary Islands can be seen across Ireland and the UK including airports in Dublin, Cork, Belfast, London, and Newcastle.

In just three hours, the clouds and snow disappear and are replaced by a radiant sun tinged with gold. You’ll soon be wearing short sleeves and sandals. There is also an emphasis on rest and relaxation in the Canary Islands, where travellers can enjoy just living in the moment.

Your Christmas story can begin without coats, and instead begin with views of the sea, monumental mountains, forests from the Tertiary Period, villages where neighbors greet each other by name or cities with bright lights and late-night parties.

The turning on of the Christmas lights is spectacular in the City of La Laguna, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Teide National Park in Tenerife, Garajonay National Park in La Gomera and the Silbo Gomero are also World Heritage Sites. The latter can be enjoyed in most of this island’s celebrations, as a lot of the events take place there as a unique form of communication among the Gomeros, something that has been done since aboriginal times and has still been maintained to this day.

The lighting of the Christmas lights in the cobblestoned village of Moya, Gran Canaria, is also quite a spectacle. Here you can also walk the path of the Special Natural Reserve of Los Tilos de Moya and experience life in the warmth and beauty of its nature.

The Canary Islands are a paradise for hiking, which can also be practiced during the Christmas holidays due to the kindness of its climate, with appropriate guides. In the archipelago, UNESCO has recognized the islands of La Palma, La Gomera, Lanzarote and more than half of Gran Canaria as Biosphere Reserves. Likewise, the Canary Islands Network of Protected Natural Spaces comprises 146 spaces, which have some degree of environmental protection.

Nativity scenes are also activities that call for the celebration of the Christmas holidays at the beginning of December, with each Canarian village taking great care in decorating. The Belén de Arena de la Playa de Las Canteras in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is unique. Here you can discover sand sculptures by international artists who come to Gran Canaria to participate in this ephemeral and artistic challenge.

The traditional nativity scene in the village of Yaiza, Lanzarote, is traditional, as well as a work of art. In addition to the usual nativity scenes, this one features the representation of traditional houses to scale, and emblematic places of the island such as the Salinas de Janubio, the Montaña del Fuego, La Geria or the Mirador del Río, designed by the international artist César Manrique.

The Christmas tree in the village of Tiñor, in Valverde, El Hierro is also something quite unique to the Canary Islands.  In fact, it could be one of the most original parts of the Christmas celebrations in the archipelago due to its meticulous decoration by means of tunos and tunera cactuses.

The islands are also the perfect place for a challenging swim to celebrate the New Year. In Las Canteras Beach, it is a tradition that hundreds of people gather to share this dip, at a warm temperature, which renews the body and mind for the coming year. In the Canary Islands there are more than 500 beaches to celebrate the New Year, the day or one’s life.

The whole month of December is a celebration in the Canary Islands with traditional Christian dances in homage to the birth of Baby Jesus. You can find these dances in Agaete, Gran Canaria, where it is called Lucero de Madrugá, or Santa Cruz de La Palma, with the Divinos. They begin 9 days before Christmas to commemorate the nine months that Mary carried Jesus, culminating on the night of December 24th, during Midnight Mass. They are accompanied by the locals in the street playing traditional Canarian music. The Baile del Niño [Dance of the Child] is still celebrated in some areas of Tenerife, such as in the churches of the villages of La Matanza and Ravelo, in El Sauzal.

Agüimes, in Gran Canaria, has the largest Play of the Three Wise Kings nf the islands, with more than 300 participants staging the arrival of the Three Kings with gifts for the child Jesus on January 5th. This is accompanied by drums, flutes, castanets and tambourines to dance and sing to the rhythm of tajaraste [combined music and dance typical of the Canary Islands].

In Tejina, Tenerife, the Auto de Reyes [Play of the Three Wise Kings] is very well known and is attended by many who enjoy its representation and songs. Agüimes, in Gran Canaria, has the largest Auto de Reyes on the islands, with more than 300 people that participate in the staging. A very popular Auto de Reyes is also staged in Betancuria, Fuerteventura.

The Easter Ranchos groups emerged in the Canary Islands in the 16th century and continue to this day. They perform songs in the streets accompanied by the sounds of stringed instruments, triangles, swords, rattles, castanets, timples and tambourines. They also play their music in the churches on Christmas Eve and also for New Year’s Eve and Epiphany. The tradition began in the Canary Islands so that the dead would not remain in Purgatory. The Rancho de Animas de Teguise (Lanzarote) is an improvised traditional Canarian chant of religious belief to the souls of the dead.  It is one of the oldest in the Canary Islands. There is evidence of it dating back to the 16th century. There is also the one in Valsequillo, in Gran Canaria, which is very traditional and one of the most famous on the Islands due to its continuity over time.

And as with Christmas in any country around the world, the Canary Islands boasts a plethora of delightful festive dessert foods. Each island has its own Christmas customs as well as its own desserts and sweets. The rapaduras and marquesotes of La Palma, the quesadillas in El Hierro, the tortas of La Gomera or the cakes of Puerto de la Cruz, in Tenerife. However, the most popular dessert and favourite among all Canarian households at Christmas are the truchas de batata. These are puff pastries filled with sweet potato and almond, although there are also varieties with angel hair or even cream or chocolate.

As you can see, there are many reasons to visit the Canary Islands this Christmas and New Year’s, find out how you can spend the festive period on any of the islands by visiting