Cooperative Travel Head 2 Head tackles the difficult travel questions and decisions holidaymakers face each year. We’ll seek to lift the lid on destinations, holiday types, and more to help you find the perfect holiday.
This time in our Head 2 Head, we’re pitting two of the most sun-kissed, popular European holiday destinations: the Canaries and the Balearics.
Can’t decide where to go? Let us help!
Where are they?
The volcanic Canary Islands, which include Tenerife, Lanzarote, Gran Canaria, lie off the west coast of Africa. That means that a 4-hour flight to get there.
The Balearics, which include Ibiza, Majorca, Menorca, Formentera, and numerous smaller islands, sit to the east of Spain in the Mediterranean Sea. It only takes around a 2-hour flight from the UK to reach them.
Our Winner: While both destinations are Spanish-speaking, these two archipelagos sit over 1,500 miles apart. The Balearics win here, because they are 2 hours closer to the UK.
The Balearic Islands have a shorter holiday season. Their temperature dips lower between November and April, so the holiday season tends to last between May and October.
Go to the Canary Islands in summer and you’ll find yourself in a hot, sub-tropical paradise with an average temperature in the late 20°C’s. If you visit during the British winter you’ll still find yourself comparably warm and cosy in the Canaries.
Our Winner: The Canary Islands tips the scales when it comes to the best time to visit, because it is an all-year-round destination.
The Canary Islands are known for their nightlife, with Playa del Inglés, Playa del las Américas, and Puerto del Carmen providing lively and fun-packed evenings out.
The Balearics has a great nightlife across Mallorca and a quieter, more sophisticated flavour through Menorca. The jewel in its crown, however, is Ibiza, which has some of the most electric nightclubs in the world!
Our Winner: The Balearics wins here, because Ibiza’s nightlife is pretty much unbeatable.
In the Balearics, Majorca offers a delightful capital city in the form of Palma de Majorca and the ancient streets of the UNESCO World Heritage Listed Old Town of Ibiza.
A short city break in the Canary Islands can be a soothing escape from everyday stresses. Highlights include the relaxed but cosmopolitan Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, and the volcanic sand beaches of Tenerife’s Puerto de la Cruz.
Our Winner: Both destinations have fabulous places to stay for a fleeting but pleasant visit, but the quick 2-hour flight to the Balearics means that it is better for a short break.
In the Canary Islands, you can admire the immense cliffs and darks sands of Tenerife’s Los Gigantes Beach, the clear waters perfect for snorkelling at Lanzarote’s Playa de Papagayo, and the soft dunes of Gran Canaria’s Maspalomas.
The Balearics offer a spectacular range of beach experiences. Compare the paradise of Majorca’s Cala Varques’ white sands, the scenic thrill of Menorca’s Cala del Pilar, and the party vibe of Ibiza’s Cala Jondal, and you’ll know what we mean.
Our Winner: While they may have fewer Blue Flag beaches, the uniqueness of the Canary Islands’ volcanic beaches and sometimes black sand puts them just slightly ahead for us.
The Balearics is the perfect destination for a couple’s break, whether you are looking for romance, privacy, or just fun away from kids. You’ll find romance in Majorca with wine tours and Adults Only boutique hotels, charming historic walks in Menorca’s Ciutadella, plus beautiful beaches and secluded coves in Ibiza.
The Canary Islands have plenty for couples, too, with Tenerife providing Adults Only hotels and sumptuous places to eat, stunning beaches across Gran Canaria for lazy days and sunset strolls, and warm waters to snorkel in Lanzarote.
Our Winner: It’s a tough choice here, but we think that the Canary Islands have the edge for their sheer variety of couply things to do.
There are a number of UNESCO-protected areas across the Canary Islands, meaning that many of the best attractions are natural, such as Mount Teide in Tenerife and Timanfaya National Park in Lanzarote. Siam Park in Tenerife is the best waterpark in Europe, and unmissable!
The Balearics has its fair share of beauty too, with Salines Natural Park in Ibiza and Drach Caves in Majorca. You’ll also enjoy Menorca’s biggest waterpark at Splash Sur and opportunities for snorkelling, diving, and swimming across every coast.
Our Winner: We love the exotic, rugged gorgeousness of the Canary Islands, so they get our vote here.
Both holiday destinations cost about the same to travel to. Prices of course vary from resort to resort, but the quieter areas on one island will be priced similarly to the quieter areas on another, and the opposite for the more vibrant or luxurious areas.
Our Winner : Draw – It’s just too close to call.
How they stack up:
Our users said: In a Facebook poll, 49% of our followers said that they would rather visit the Canary Islands, while 51% preferred the Balearic Islands.
This was an extremely close call, but we have to give the crown to our winners, the Canary Islands. Tenerife, Lanzarote, Gran Canaria and the rest offer reliable fine weather, pristine beaches, enchanting atmospheres, and exotic landscapes.
Of course, the Balearics are spectacular holiday destinations in their own right, and both sets of islands have so much to offer. The only way you’ll know if you agree is to do your research – or better yet, visit both and compare the two!
Do you agree?
What do you think?
Let us know in the comments!