Gran Canaria is one of Europe’s most popular destinations and it’s easy to see why. Anyone getting away for family fun, lively nightlife or a peaceful break can find what they are looking for on the beautiful island. The image of clubbing and beach resorts which many hold is only a part of what the island can offer, with great cultural heritage and spectacular landscapes also found there. Ben Perkins explores…
What to do?
Keeping the whole family entertained is easy here, with a number of attractions suitable for all ages. Palmitos Park in Maspalomas is a famous animal park with incredible shows which are often loved by children and parents, the exciting dolphin show is a highlight. Other options for family days out include a range of boat trips around the spectacular coast, scuba diving or snorkelling in Puerto Rico or taking in the flora at the free of charge Jardin Canario botanical garden.
The third largest of the Canary Islands is home to some of Europe’s best beaches. Playa Del Ingles is an incredibly popular choice with its white sand, water sports and proximity to a large shopping centre, snack bars and pubs it is the ideal choice for a family day by the sea. There are also options for those looking for something quieter, such as the secluded and charming Playa Taurito on the south west coast.
For many, the lively nightlife is the greatest draw to the island. The south coast is the place to go to dance late in to the night. Playa Del Ingles is the most popular clubbing resort on the island and offers countless bars and clubs. It is known for the best deals and is perfect for young holiday goers. The gay scene there is one of the most prominent in Europe and plays host to friendly venues and popular drag shows. For a classier feel, try Maspalomas where more high end bars can be found.
Gran Canaria’s cosmopolitan and vibrant image is well known, but there is another side to the beautiful island. Las Palmas, the largest city on the island, boasts its most interesting cultural sights and a taste of Canarian life. The capital city is home to a number of fascinating museums and galleries. Visitors can browse a vast collection of Canary archaeological exhibits at Museo Canario or explore the history of the Islands at Casa Museo de Colón. Art enthusiasts should also take the opportunity to see some of the finest pieces the Islands have to offer at the Atlantic Centre for modern art.
You will find acres of spectacular protected land to explore and quaint villages to discover. Hiking can be the perfect way to discover the islands natural beauty. There are many choices for fantastic walks through the stunning landscape but one of the best is the Roque Nublo hike which where you can experience the unique scenery of the west of the island.
Furthermore, glorious sunshine is one of the greatest appeals of holidaying in in Gran Canaria. With sun and warm temperatures extremely likely and with little variation throughout the year it is a great place to escape the British weather at any time.
Places to Stay
There is no shortage of choice in Gran Canaria, with a long list of great accommodation options. If you’re hoping to experience a real taste of life on the Canaries the Casa Mozart Hotel Boutique, Las Palmas is a great choice. Set slightly away from the main tourist hotspots in residential Las Palmas it is an elegant hotel with a homely feel. Alternatively, Hotel Parque, also in Las Palmas provides excellent value for money. As a cheaper option, it is not as luxurious as some others but is in a fantastic location in front of San Telmo Plaza.
For sun seekers heading to the south coast Hotel Playa Bonita is a lovely modern hotel which doesn’t break the bank. Its location In Playa Del Ingles and only a short walk from the beach and shops it is well placed to be your base for making the most of the hugely popular resort. Sol Barbican Hotel is another fine place to stay in Playa Del Ingles. It is a family friendly hotel with a remarkably welcoming atmosphere to couple with spacious rooms in apartments and bungalows, two pleasant outdoor pools and a crowd pleasing entertainment programme.
If it’s a quiet and relaxing break you are looking for and you want to avoid the big, livelier resorts consider Hotel Rural Las Calas, a traditional countryside hotel in the hamlet of La Lechuza is the perfect place to relax. Its tranquillity is a world away from the common image of a party island and the idyllic surroundings are perfect for enjoying the natural beauty of the island.
Visitors are spoilt for choice when finding restaurants. One of the highlights is Casa Montesdeoca in Las Palmas. A charming 16th century house surrounded by delightful plant life provides a romantic setting and serves excellent food. If you’re in the south, Restaurante Marco Polo in Maspalomas serves great Mediterranean food or for those who like a bit of spice Ristarante Bali provides a great dining experience with modern and classic Indonesian food.