Seven islands, seven landscapes: The Canary Island's busy network of ferries offers the chance to see plenty of great sea life and shore-scapes

There are two essentials to island hopping, namely islands with enough contrast to warrant a hop, and an easy means of making such a hop. These days, it's easy to take in the multiple personalities of the Canary Islands in only a few short hops by hydrofoil and high-speed ferry.

Although the islands have an airport each, the ferry offers greater flexibility as well as the chance to absorb some amazing sights. If you want a little bit of everything, Tenerife is the Canary Island-hopper's catch-all – with Mount Teide dominating the landscape from every angle, the lush vineyards of La Orotava and the main tourist playgrounds of Costa Adeje and Los Cristianos. It's also the main hub of inter-island seaborne traffic, allowing access to all of the other islands either directly, or with just one change. The connections are made on large, modern ferries or fast catamarans from Los Cristianos or Santa Cruz.

Ferries are just part of the traffic in and out of the busy Las Palmas port in Gran Canaria. Cruise liners and ferries bring in almost a million passengers a year, and cargo ships glide out laden with tomatoes and bananas. From here, you can sail to Fuerteventura in three hours, home to more than 150 sub-tropical beaches of near-white sand and gin-clear ocean. Morro Jable is the island's southernmost port, and the gateway to the Jandía peninsula with its wild, wide swaths of sand and perfect windsurfing conditions.

Ferries from Gran Canaria also dock in Puerto del Rosario, half-an-hour's drive from Corralejo, the island's most popular resort. If you like the beach, it'll feel like Nirvana. If not, you'll need to move on. And that's easy: hop on a hydrofoil for half and hour to Lanzarote. The island presents a bucketful of drama. Over the years, natural pyrotechnics have created a landscape of volcanic cones, caves and cinders like nowhere else on Earth.

After such dry and harsh surroundings, an eyeful of greenery might be a welcome respite. The waters between Tenerife and La Gomera are home to one of the largest pods of pilot whales in any ocean. Whales and dolphins are frequently spotted racing alongside the ferries. By hydrofoil, La Gomera is half an hour from Tenerife. It's an island of ancient laurel forests and fishing villages that has been unchanged for centuries. La Palma, too, provides dense clusters of pines and palms, and precipitous ridges of volcanic cones.

Finally, five hours' sailing from Tenerife, the most western island of El Hierro offers arid plains of wind-twisted juniper trees and rolling tumbleweed. It might feel like you've reached the end of the world, but it's plain sailing back to civilisation on the network of ferry routes that unites all these very different seven sisters.

Travel essentials: Island hopping

Getting there

* The main airports in the Canaries served year-round from the UK are Tenerife South, Las Palmas (Gran Canaria), Arrecife (Lanzarote) and Fuerteventura. They have flights operated by a range of airlines, including easyJet (0905 821 0905; easyjet.com ), Monarch (0871 940 5040; flymonarch.com ), Ryanair (0871 246 0000; ryanair.com ), Thomas Cook (0871 230 2406; flythomascook.com ) and Thomson (0871 231 4787; thomson.co.uk ). In summer, there are also direct flights to La Palma, and in the near future the link with Tenerife North may be re-established.

* If you prefer to stick to a maritime journey, then the best approach is from Cadiz on the regular ferries of Acciona Trasmediterranea (00 34 902 454 645 trasmediterranea.es ).

Getting around

* La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro have connecting flights, with local air links centred on Las Palmas. But for the best seaside experience, you can take advantage of the range of inter-island ferries. Acciona Trasmediterranea (00 34 902 454 645; trasmediterranea.es ) operates from Santa Cruz de Tenerife and sails to Arrecife, Fuerteventura, La Palma, Las Palmas and El Hierro. In addition, Fred Olsen ( fredolsen.es ; 00 34 902 100 107) sails from Santa Cruz de Tenerife to Las Palmas (the largest port in the Canaries) and Agaete on Gran Canaria, between Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, and from Los Cristianos to various points on La Gomera plus El Hierro. Naviera Armas (00 34 902 456 500; naviera-armas.com ) has a parallel comprehensive network of routes, with some interesting additions such as ferries from Madeira. The islands are also connected by some smaller ferry links, such as the launches linking Lanzarote's northern tip with Graciosa.

More information

Spanish Tourist Office: www.spain.info/uk

Turismo de Canarias: www.canarias.es

News
newsGlobal index has ranked the quality of life for OAPs - but the UK didn't even make it into the top 10
Arts and Entertainment
Swiss guards stand in the Sistine Chapel, which is to be lit, and protected, by 7,000 LEDs
art

The Sistine Chapel is set to be illuminated with thousands of LEDs

News
people
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
News
Gillian Anderson was paid less than her male co-star David Duchovny for three years while she was in the The X-Files until she protested and was given the same salary
people

Gillian Anderson lays into gender disparity in Hollywood

Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsA Welsh town has changed its name - and a prize if you can notice how
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
News
i100
Sport
Ronaldinho signs the t-shirt of a pitch invader
footballProof they are getting bolder
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Service Charge Accountant

    30,000 to 35,000 per annum: Accountancy Action: We are currently recruiting on...

    Management Accountant

    28,000 to 32,000 per annum: Accountancy Action: Our client, a hospitality busi...

    Food and Beverage Cost Controller

    18,000 to 20,000 per annum: Accountancy Action: Our fantastic leisure client i...

    Marketing Analyst / Marketing Executive

    £20 - 24k: Guru Careers: A Marketing Analyst / Marketing Executive is needed t...

    Day In a Page

    Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

    Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

    A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
    Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

    Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

    The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
    An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

    An app for the amorous

    Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
    Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

    Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

    Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
    Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

    Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

    After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
    She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

    She's having a laugh

    Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
    Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

    Let there be light

    Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
    Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

    Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

    Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
    Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

    A look to the future

    It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
    The 10 best bedspreads

    The 10 best bedspreads

    Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
    Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

    Arsenal vs Galatasaray

    Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
    Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

    Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

    This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
    Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

    The children orphaned by Ebola...

    ... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
    Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
    The magic of roundabouts

    Lords of the rings

    Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?