If you’re searching for that perfect holiday that won’t cost a fortune to visit and offers the allure of lying on a beach and the excitement of a bustling capital, then Gran Canaria should be on your list.
A unique vacation destination
Flights to Gran Canaria are frequent and affordable and the island has become a popular destination as a result, but if you’re under the impression that one Spanish island is much like the other then think again; each Canarian isle has a different vibe, and the locals on those islands feel very passionately about their own particular island culture. Gran Canaria is the third largest island in the archipelago, but holds almost half the population; it is something of a mini-continent featuring desert scenery in the form of huge sand dunes, a lush interior with mountainous terrain and 60km of beautiful beaches.
Hit the beaches
Speaking of those beaches, making the most of them is pretty much a must on Gran Canaria. For the most part the beaches stretch along in white or golden colours, like Maspalomas and Playa del Ingles where the scene is lively, but if you fancy a bit of variety, there are some of the famed black beaches, like Arguineguin, to be found on this island too. For those inclined to hit the surf, there are beaches like Pozo Izquierdo that draws surfers and windsurfers alike, or small beaches like Taurito where you can rent paddle boats or jet skis. But if you’re after that Caribbean-like experience then head to Anfi del Mar for those powdery white sands and warm aquamarine waters.
Explore the interior
If you can tear yourself away from sunbathing on the beach, you will be rewarded, as there’s plenty to see on this island. Further exploration of Mesopalomas will lead you to those immense desert-like dunes made up of sands that have blown across the Atlantic from the Sahara Desert. Whereas, going further inland to the island’s mountains and valleys are reminiscent of an alpine setting. Head north and you’ll find the landscape rugged and dramatic. And if you absolutely can’t bear to be away from the surf, then I recommend heading west, you’ll find Guigui beach there, and it’s worth the trip, it’s an unspoilt hidden gem.
Mix with the locals
The capital city of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria retains the flavour of mainland Spain, but pulses with influences from Africa, and its own mixture of tropical and Latin heritage. The town has been nicknamed Little Havana and the name is well earned, it is a colourful and historic mix of traditional restaurants, old town charm and lively, friendly locals., With its three city markets, numerous restaurants and tapas bars as well as a plethora of charming little fashion boutiques this is a great city to spend time in.
Gran Canaria isn’t large but it certainly packs a lot into its small size. One visit will leave you hankering for more time on its sunny shores and in its vibrant towns.
Images by Juan A. Del Pino, Pedro Szekely, Santi Martin and El Coleccionista de Instantes used under the Creative Commons license.