The further west you go the less touristic the islands so by the time you reach El Hierro the crowds of Tenerife are long gone. The western islands offer longer cruising distances and an opportunity to experience proper Atlantic Ocean sailing. There is very little chance of not seeing dolphins and whales when sailing between the islands and it is not uncommon for a pod of dolphins to play in the yacht’s bow wave for minutes at a time. Put the bright lights of Tenerife out of you mind and you won’t be disappointed with the stunning coastal towns of La Gomera, La Palma and El Hierro.
Our exact route will, of course, depend on the weather but we we have four beautiful islands to cruise around:
Served by the busiest Airport in the Canary Islands, Tenerife makes a perfect starting point for a sailing trip. Marina San Miguel is just 10 minutes from the airport so you can be settled on your yacht often within an hour of landing. Alternatively, the marina in the capital, Santa Cruz de Tenerife is on the doorstep of a vibrant and bustling city with plenty of cultural, shopping and culinary recommendations. Although the island itself has many beautiful features to recommend it, not least the ever impressive Mount Teide, sadly Tenerife’s marinas don’t so we will probably head off to one of the other islands.
Boasting what we consider to be the finest view in the Archipelago, the entrance to the port of San Sebastian is stunning, especially approaching dusk when the colours of the buildings on the hillside are saturated by the setting sunlight. The friendly marina with its town immediately on hand make this a perfect stopping point. La Gomera has some lovely anchorages which we will often have all to ourselves and two stunning fishing villages, Santiago and Valle Gran Rey, to enjoy. The local food is simple but of a high quality and as you would expect, fish is a speciality.
Both the marinas on the island are welcoming and well appointed. Santa Cruz de la Palma is right on the edge of the beautiful town with its floral balconies and cobbled streets whilst Tazacorte is quiet, laid back and the perfect place to enjoy a post-sail Gin & Tonic. The coastline is breathtaking not least because of the huge volcanic craters shrouded in mist. The Italian restaurant just outside the marina at Tazacorte serves the most delicious profitteroles … and they even come recommended by a resident French skipper!
The pace of life is definitely slower on the most western island of El Hierro and it is known mostly for its marine wildlife and fantastic diving. Walk though the lava fields just outside Marina Restinga to really feel the origins of these volcanic islands.