Gran Canaria holidays serve up year-round sunshine, Blue Flag beaches and family-friendly resorts. So it’s hardly surprising that around 700,000 Brits flock there every year for a few days’ R&R. But if you think Gran Canaria is just about fly-and-flop holidays, think again. This place has plenty of things to do – check out our 5 favourites.
No holiday to Gran Canaria would be complete without a trip to its bustling capital city. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is a colourful combination of boutiques, beaches and bars – so you can shop ‘til you drop and dine out on the seafront. The oldest quarter in the city, Vegueta, is well worth exploring, too. Visit the Santa Ana Cathedral while you’re there – this twin-towered building was the first church to be built in the Canaries.
Did you know that Gran Canaria is a World Biosphere Reserve? Well, you do now. The patchwork landscape of jagged mountains, pine forests and sweeping sand dunes means this little isle is teeming with flora and fauna. Visit one of the 32 protected areas or take a daytrip out to sea, where you might spot some playful dolphins and loggerhead turtles swimming in the wild.
Gran Canaria’s aqua-blue waters are perfect for snorkelling. The sea here is full of African and Atlantic fish, anemones and octopi – but you need to know where to look. Stick to rocky areas, where the water will be clearer, and avoid sand dune-backed beaches. Confident snorkelers will love the reef by Playa Chica, while the sheltered beach at Amadores is great for beginners.
If you’re a fan of the great outdoors, you’ll love Gran Canaria. The volcanic peaks and valleys are perfect for cross-country activities. Don your hiking boots and walk along deep craters, hike through pine forests, and climb the island’s highest mountain, Pico de las Nieves. Or hire a first-class bike and have an intense two-wheeled workout. These winding uphill roads are not for the faint-hearted, but the views are well worth the effort.
If cycling up a mountain sounds like your idea of a holiday nightmare, Gran Canaria has the solution – miles and miles of sandy beaches. Those who live by the ‘bigger is better’ motto will love Playa del Ingles. This sandy stretch goes on for 3 kilometres, and has loads of restaurants and bars to choose from. At the other end of the spectrum, there’s Playa Taurito. A black-sand bay tucked between two cliffs, this place is perfect for family picnics and paddling.
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Author: Sarah Reeves
Published: April 27, 2016
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