People often say that Gran Canaria is a mini-continent. This is due to its location off the west coast of Africa. The island is a fantastic choice for anyone looking to have a great holiday in the sun. There are 236 kilometers of coastline and about sixty of those are beach.
In Gran Canaria, you have a mixture of volcanic landscapes, pine forests and Macaronesian flora. For these reasons, UNESCO has designated an area in the west of the island a World Biosphere Reserve. Gran Canaria is not new to the tourism trade and the first tourist began arriving over 150 years ago in search of the fantastic climate that this beautiful island offers.
There are over 800,000 inhabitants on the island and about half of them live in the capital. The capital is called Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. The tourists and locals get around the island easily on the extensive roads that circle the whole island.
How to get there
The airport at Gran Canaria is located in the capital Las Palmas (Airport Code: LPA.) You can fly directly from many European countries by a good selection of low-cost carriers.
From the UK you have a choice that includes, EasyJet and Ryanair. The flight time is a little over four hours. Not such a long time when you get to see such a beautiful place and feel some sun for a change.
If you are on the Spanish mainland there are a couple of ferry options that might be of interest. You can either leave from Cadiz or Huelva. Both options land at Las Palmas. There is also the choice of the boat from Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, La Palma and Tenerife.
Top Resorts in Gran Canaria
Las Palmas – Las Palmas is the capital of Gran Canaria and the real hub of everything. An excellent choice if you like to be in the heart of things. From here you can explore all that there is to do on Gran Canaria.
Maspalomas – There is an excellent beach in Maspalomas that sits under the watchful eye of a lighthouse. The beach here stretches on for six kilometres and the local scenery is breathtaking.
Playa del Ingles – If you like the beach and you like your nightlife then this is the place to come. Every year thousands of party lovers descend on Playa del Ingles with the intention of having a great party.
Puerto Rico – Puerto Rico was once just a small fishing port with not a lot going on. Today it is a hot spot for visitors and is famous for being the part of the island that receives the most sun. A true sun lovers paradise.
San Agustin – San Agustin is a quiet location that is sure to leave you feeling refreshed and relaxed. Here you can spend your days relaxing before enjoying a chilled out evening away from the crowded resorts.
Roque Nublo – Roque Nublo is a pair of rocks, one little and one large. The rocks sit in the middle of the island and are certainly worth a visit. From the top of this landmark, you will get panoramic views of the island which make for excellent photo opportunities.
Museum and Archaeological Reserve of Cueva Pintada – Situated in the middle of Galdar is this excellent example of history and art. For anyone that likes either of those two things, a fun day is assured. The museum gives you a real insight into the people of Canaria before the Hispanics arrived.
Casa-Museo de Colon – Many say that Christopher Columbus came to Gran Canaria in 1492. The jury is still out on that one but a lot of the first island governors did. The palace that was built here shows off Gran Canarian architecture in an excellent way. There are plenty of fountains, exhibitions, libraries and examples of metalwork to keep you entertained.
Le Plaza de Teror – The locals of Gran Canaria come to Teror as a pilgrimage. In the Plaza del Pino is a statue ofthe Virgen del Pino. The patron saint of the island. The building is stunning and worth a trip all on its own. When you put everything together you get so much for just one trip.
Bandama – Nearly 2000 years ago a volcanic eruption caused a huge crater to appear on Gran Canaria. The crater is known as Bandama and if you like hiking then you will not be disappointed. The crater is 1,000 meters in diameter and 200 meters deep. You can normally reach the bottom in about 30 minutes but the hike back up can take considerably more time.
Sup Arucas Rum – Gran Canaria knows what it is doing when it comes to rum. For five centuries the island has produced sugar cane. For a long time now the island has been producing rum that was initially sweetened with the sugar cane. Over the years this changed to honey and Sup Arcuas Rum is now exported across the globe. There is a distillery on the island which serves as a great choice for an afternoon visit.
When to visit Gran Canaria
When people talk about Gran Canaria they often say that it is the ‘island of eternal spring.’ This is because there is never a bad time to come for a holiday. The winters do cool down a bit but you will not find yourself freezing like you do back in some parts of Europe. The busiest months on the island are November to February when people look to escape the cold of their native countries. Other busy months are the traditional summer months of June through August.
Airfares are at their cheapest when the season starts. As the island gets busier so the cost of flying increases.