Canary Islands Population, Main Cities and Geography

By | January 27, 2023

Canary Islands: population, cities



According to Countryaah website, the Canary Islands have a total population of around 2.1 million. Most people live in Tenerife (approx. 910,000) and Gran Canaria (approx. 830,000).

Ethnic composition

The population of the Canary Islands is made up of around 1,542,000 people who were born on the islands. Another 180,000 people come from mainland Spain. The rest of the Canarian population is made up of Europeans (mainly Germans, English and Italians), South Americans (mainly Colombia and Venezuela) and Africans (mainly Moroccans). Overall, the percentage of the non-Spanish population is around 12.5%. These can be found particularly on Tenerife and Gran Canaria.

A major problem in recent years has been the strong flow of poor, hopeless refugees from Africa who end up on the islands in life-threatening actions. A cautious estimate by the Guardia Civil assumes that in the period from January 1, 2006 to August 21, 2007 alone, around 1,260 boat refugees lost their lives on their way from Africa to the Canary Islands.

The native residents of the Canary Islands, who lived on the archipelago into the 15th century, were the Guanches, whose culture was almost exterminated by the Spaniards, but was also able to mix small parts with the Spanish. Therefore, there are still many people on the island who explicitly have old Canarian roots.

Religious affiliation

In addition to the 90% of the Canarian population who profess Roman Catholic Christianity and belong to the Archdiocese of Seville, there are also smaller minorities of Protestant Christians and Muslims on the islands.

National languages

The official language in the Canary Islands is known to be Spanish. Meanwhile, Canarian Spanish is spoken with a particular dialect that is somewhat similar to that of Cuban and Puerto Rican. If you come to the islands with your exemplary Spanish learned on the mainland, you will sadly soon discover that the letter s is often left out in the pronunciation, the 2nd person plural is replaced by the 3rd person plural or completely different words are used like guagua instead of autobus.

Before the Spaniards came to the Canary Islands, the old Canarians spoke their Guanche, which still exists today in writing. You can find out more about this language here >>>

Administrative headquarters and other cities

The two administrative headquarters and at the same time the most populous cities of the Canary Islands are Las Palmas de Gran Canaria with approx. 383,500 residents, and Santa Cruz de Tenerife with approx. 222,300 residents.

Other major cities on the islands are:

San Cristóbal de La Laguna on Tenerife (population approx. 144,000)

Telde on Gran Canaria (population approx. 98,500)

Arona on Tenerife (population approx. 72,300)

Santa Lucía de Tirajana on Gran Canaria (population approx. 58,400)

Arrecife on Lanzarote (population approx. 57,000)

San Bartolomé de Tirajana on Gran Canaria (population approx. 50,000)

La Orotava on Tenerife (population approx. 40,700)

Puerto del Rosario on Fuerteventura (population approx. 32,000)

Los Llanos de Aridane on La Palma (population approx. 20,200)

Santa Cruz on La Palma (population approx. 17,400)

Canary Islands: geography, map

The Canary Islands cover an area of around 7,446.95 km². Check topmbadirectory for politics, flags, famous people, animals and plants of Canary Islands.

The Canary Islands are part of Spain and the European Union, but geographically they are part of Africa. But despite the political affiliation to Spain and the European Union, it should be noted that the Canary Islands are part of the customs territory of the European Union, but not the tax area for excise duties and VAT. Therefore, the customs regulations apply to imports from non-EU countries.

The Spanish conquest of the Canary Islands lasted a good 100 years and began with the arrival of Jean de Béthencourt and Gadifer de la Salle. They began to take possession of the islands for the Spanish crown (Henry III) at the beginning of the 15th century under the claim of Christian proselytizing. The process can be considered complete with the submission of the island of Tenerife by Alonso Fernández de Lugo in 1496.

As an archipelago in the eastern Atlantic, they have no land borders with other states. The west African coast (near Morocco) extends about 115 kilometers away.

The islands are about the same height as the Sahara, Kuwait or Florida and are between 1,028 and 1,483 kilometers away from the Spanish mainland (Cape Trafalgar).

The Canary Islands are located approximately between 13 ° 22 ‘and 18 ° 11’ west longitude and 27 ° 38 ‘and 29 ° 30’ north latitude. Overall, the Canary Islands consist of seven main islands and six minor islands as well as some smaller uninhabited rock islands such as Anaga, Garachico and Salmor. Together with Cape Verde, the Azores, the Madeira Archipelago and the Ilhas Selvagens, the Canary Islands are part of the biogeographical region of Macaronesia, which are also known as the Macaronesian Islands.

In contrast to mainland Spain, Western European Time (GMT) or Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) or Universal Coordinated Time (UTC) (both CET-1) apply on the Canary Islands.

The islands of the Canaries

The Canary Archipelago, which spreads out in the Atlantic Ocean on the eastern edge of the Canary Basin, is made up of seven larger islands, four smaller satellite islands and finally nine rocks called Roques. All in all, they make up just 1.5% of the total area of Spain.

The seven larger islands of the Canary Islands are (from west to east):

El Hierro (269 km²) – Capital: Valverde

La Gomera (369 km²) – Capital: San Sebastián de La Gomera

La Palma (708 km²) – Capital: Santa Cruz de La Palma

Lanzarote (846 km²) – capital: Arrecife

Gran Canaria (1,560 km²) – capital: Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

Fuerteventura (1,660 km²) – capital: Puerto del Rosario

Tenerife (2,034 km²) – capital: Santa Cruz de Tenerife

The four smaller satellite

islands are Montaña Clara (north of Lanzarote) with a size of 1 km²

Alegranza (north of Lanzarote) with a size of 10 km²

Los Lobos (north of Fuerteventura) with a size of 15 km²

La Graciosa (north of Lanzarote) with a size of 27 km² (capital: Caleta de Sebo)

The nine Roques (rocks) protruding from the sea are:

Roque Chico de Salmor (near El Hierro)

Roque de Garachico (near Tenerife)

Roque de la Bonanza (near El Hierro)

Roque del Este (near Lanzarote)

Roque del Oeste (near Lanzarote)

Roque Dentro de Anaga (near Tenerife)

Roque Fuera de Anaga (near Tenerife)

Roque Grande de Salmor (near El Hierro)

Longitude and latitude

The Canary Islands extend over the following geographical latitude (abbreviation Δφ) and geographical longitude (abbreviation Δλ):

Δφ = 27 ° 38 ‘and 29 ° 30’ northern latitude. Δλ = 13 ° 22 ‘and 18 ° 11’ western longitude

You can find detailed information on this subject under Longitude and Latitude.


The Canary Islands have a deviation from CET of – 1 hour. The West European Time (or mean Greenwich Mean Time GMT) applies there and not – as in mainland Spain – Central European Time (CET). It is an hour earlier in the entire Canary Islands than in Germany. It should be noted, however, that from April to October the time is switched to summer time and the time is then GMT + 1 (= CET).

Further and detailed explanations of the time can be found under Time zones, time.

The highest point of the sun in Santa Cruz de Tenerife

Santa Cruz de Tenerife is located at a northern latitude of around φ = 28 ° (exactly 28 ° 28 ‘). As long as the sun is at the tropic, i.e. at Δ = 23.5 °, summer starts in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, June 21st. Then, for the highest position of the sun at noon, according to Eq. 1 (see position of the sun):

28 ° = (90 ° – h) + 23.5 °


H = 85.5 °

At 85.5 °, the sun is at the highest level of the entire year above the horizon (more precisely: above the horizon).

Mountains, Pico del Teide

Pico del Teide

The 3,718 meter high volcano Pico del Teide is the highest point not only in the Canary Islands, but also in all of Spain. It rises on the island of Tenerife and holds the title of the third highest island volcano in the world (alongside two other volcanoes in Hawaii). The Pico del Teide and the surrounding area (caldera) were declared a national park in 1954 and placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2007.

rivers and lakes

Despite the fertility of the soil due to the volcanic activity in the Canary Islands, there are no significant rivers or lakes on the islands, so they regularly suffer from water shortages. Large parts of the drinking water are therefore generated with the help of desalination plants.

The Atlantic, ARC regatta

The Canary Islands are in the middle of the Atlantic. Sailors are certainly aware that the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) to the Caribbean starts from Las Palmas on Gran every November. The destination port is Rodney Bay on St. Lucia in the Lesser Antilles. The start of this regatta, in which numerous cruisers also take part, is in November. Depending on the size or type of boat, the 2,700 nm = around 5,000 km long crossing takes between 14 to 21 days.

The coastline of the Canary Islands to the Atlantic is around 1,480 km, 260 km of which are beaches.

Canary Islands Population