Island life: the unique appeal of the Balearic and Canary Islands
Just the words ‘island life’ are enough to evoke images of relaxing on sandy beaches, with the gentle sounds of the ocean in the background. There’s a certain charm about living or owning a second home on an island that is a powerful draw for many people. For many, islands represent an escape from the pressures of everyday life that mainland properties can’t quite match.
The charm of the Spanish islands
Both the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands have been popular with tourists and holiday home buyers since the 1970s. Their plentiful supply of sandy shores and sun-kissed climates offer an idyllic setting for a break, while short flight times and low-cost airlines have ensured a steady stream of interest.
However, to lump all of these islands together as a single holiday destination is rather misleading. Each island has its own unique appeal. Here AIPP member agents, Fastighetsbyran look at three of the largest Spanish islands – Mallorca, Tenerife and Gran Canaria – to find out what it is that causes visitors to so readily fall for them.
The largest of all of Spain’s islands, Mallorca is a land of contrasts. Beautiful beaches with gently lapping waves invite pure relaxation, while the bustling city of Palma de Mallorca provides a thoroughly modern shopping, dining and nightlife experience. The high season sees the island booming with life, while the winter months offer a more relaxed pace of life. The central plains contrast beautifully with the Serra de Llevant hills and the stunning Serra de Tramuntana mountain range.
Mallorca also has much to offer those who like their gourmet food. Locally caught seafood and an abundance of fresh fruit, vegetables and nuts grown on the island, along with locally produced cheeses, makes for a unique and appealing seasonal cuisine. Specialities include tumbet (a vegetarian wonder) and a delightful noodle version of paella. Turron made from local almonds is a must for those with a sweet tooth.
In property terms, coastal areas tend to incur a price premium, with property values falling as you move further inland. This means that there’s something for every budget.
Palma de Mallorca called La Seu. Balearic Islands, Spain
The largest of the Canary Islands, Tenerife offers a rich array of landscapes and microclimates, from the Laurisilva rain forest to the volcanic Mount Teide, which reaches 3,784 meters above sea level. Walking and cycling are big business on Tenerife (as, indeed, they are on Mallorca) thanks to its stunning scenery and balmy climate, with temperatures of 18-25°C offering the ideal setting for outdoor pursuits.
Of course, Tenerife also has plenty of beaches, with sands ranging from picture-postcard gold to rich, volcanic black. Water sports opportunities abound all along the coast, while those looking for more of an urban experience will be delighted by Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
Tenerife has its own unique island cuisine. Tucking in to locally grown, ultra-salty, wrinkly potatoes with a duo of sauces (spicy red and bright green salsas) is a must, while fried padrón peppers are not to be missed. For those who live on the island year-round, the ability to grow such delicious food so easily thanks to the gentle climate is all part of the appeal.
Tenerife coastal properties can be pricey, but there are plenty of bargains to be found as you move inland, so buyers can shop around to find a home that meets their needs and their budget.
Santa Cruz catholic church illuminated in evening, in Christmas period, Tenerife, Spain
The second most populous of the Canary Islands, the volcanic island of Gran Canaria provides everything from beautiful beachscapes to rural parks to lush forestland, with a reforestation programme contributing to this rich natural environment.
The capital city of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria offers a lively urban experience, packed with cafés, bars, restaurants and retail outlets. Meanwhile, the island’s beaches offer everything from perfect sunbathing spots to intense water sports activity areas. Gran Canaria is also home to a lively basketball scene, complete with an 11,000-capacity arena, and its own football club.
In foodie terms, Gran Canaria has much to offer, with the super-sweet bienmesabe perhaps the island’s crowning glory in culinary terms. The vieja sancochada (sea bream casserole) is also not to be missed.
Property-wise, Gran Canaria has everything from traditional cottages to super luxurious villas, with prices largely dictated by proximity to the sea.
Puerto de Mogan, Canary islands
Our thanks to AIPP member agents, Fastighetsbyran, for this article and images used.
If you’re ready to experience the delights of island life for yourself, then the Fastighetsbyran Overseas team can help, offering insights into island life on Mallorca, Tenerife and Gran Canaria, along with a superb range of local properties.