Gran Canaria: Introduction
There’s something for everyone on a holiday to Gran Canaria. The third largest of the Canary Islands, Gran Canaria is known for its lovely landscape, seaside resorts and cute villages. With brilliant sand dunes and seriously fun theme parks, it’s a great place to take the family for a guaranteed sunshine-filled break. The island boasts a number of welcoming resorts – Playa del Inglés is a great choice for fun-seeking holiday makers, with lots of sunbathing and evening entertainment to be had. If you’re looking for something more relaxing, San Augustin is the place to come. Here you’ll find beautiful apartments, villas and enticing beaches; spend the days lazing on the beach, paddling in the clear waters and enjoying the best ocean-to-table food at the beachside restaurants. Heaven!
Gran Canaria has everything to offer holidaymakers. If you’re searching for an inexpensive break, San Augustin is a popular choice, with a fun Wild West theme park nearby, which is great for keeping the kids amused. Maspalomas to the south of the island is famous for its photogenic giant sand dunes – and a stunning beach, which stretches for 1.2 miles. It’s considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches in Gran Canaria, although Playa de La Mujeres in the west is fantastic for watersports, and La Charca is an idyllic spot for spending an afternoon at leisure, swimming and catching the sun’s rays. Delight in local specialities such as tapas, paella, fresh dorada, with great value-for-money restaurants in most resorts. If you’re here for some nightlife, the best bars can be found in the Kabash centre or the Plaza commercial centre in Playa del Ingles, as well as good casinos in San Augustin and Playa Meloneras.
Why Choose Gran Canaria for a holiday?
The year-round sunshine and warm climate makes it a great holiday destination for all the family; there’s over 122 miles of coast to enjoy, and 50 beaches. You can travel to Gran Canaria on a budget with a huge array of package holidays to Gran Canaria on offer with Monarch. It’s one of the world’s most celebrated climates, with beautiful weather throughout the year, for crashing out on a beach. Although Gran Canaria is fantastic for diving and surfing, there’s plenty of land sports to enjoy on the island – you can climb Roque Nublo, Gran Canaria's iconic Cloud Rock, for amazing views across the sandy beaches. With everything from golfing to sailing, sand dune exploring and duty-free shopping, you’ll be sure to find something to keep you busy on this beautiful island. If you can resist the lure of lying on the beach, that is.
Attractions & Activities
There’s plenty to do in Gran Canaria. It’s a golfers’ paradise, with great golf courses at Maspalomas, the home of international golf events, amazing views at Salobre Golf and sea-facing beauty at Meloneras Golf. The sunshine means you're pretty certain to be able to play every day, with challenging modern courses. For something special, play a game at El Cortijo near Las Palmas, and Spain's oldest golf club! A stay in Gran Canaria wouldn't be complete without a trip to the wonderful three kilometres of golden sand dunes at Maspalomas. These fantastic dunes make a wonderful sight as they wind their way down to the sea; up to 10 metres in height and made of fine, ground shells, the best way to enjoy this Saharan-like landscape is on a camel safari.
For family holidays, explore the natural beauty of the island at Palmitos Park; this park is home 150 species of birds, a butterfly house, aquarium and gibbon island – a wonderful oasis of natural beauty. Just a few miles north of Maspalomas is the biggest water park in the Canary Islands, with around 50 flumes, rides and even a mini-golf site. There’s also the fun of Holiday World in Maspalomas, a theme park with fairground rides, which has lots of restaurants, a gym and spa to keep the whole family amused. It’s open in the evening, and the family can have lots of fun with the laser guns, big wheel and laserdome here.
Watersports are also great in Gran Canaria. From scuba diving to sailing, the beaches offer a wealth of fun. Deep-sea fishing is big here, with sailing schools in most of the island’s resorts and trips to catch swordfish, tuna and blue marlin. If you’re looking for an adrenaline kick, there’s also jet skiing and waterskiing on offer. For more action-packed fun, head to Sioux City, near Puerto Rico, which was originally built as a stage set for a 1970s western – your kids can frolic in the park with its own cowboys, Indians and sheriff!
Of course, lounging on the beach is a must in Gran Canaria. Playa del Ingles has a large sandy stretch of beach, whilst Playa Amadores has a manmade beach and the beach in Puerto Rico is popular with families and watersports enthusiasts!
Events in Gran Canaria
Gran Canaria loves a party, and there’s events throughout the year for all to enjoy. In January, Dia de los Reyes Magos is celebrated throughout the island with special street parades, and in February, there’s a special carnival around the island with colourful costumes, dancing and singing. The carnival ends at the beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday, but celebrations continue on in Playa del Inglés. There are many holy festivals, including Semana Santa – the week before Easter – with religious statues carried around the island, and Corpus Christi in June, with flower processions. In August, Bajada de la Rama is celebrated with a colourful fiesta. And, of course, Christmas is a huge celebration here, with many nativity-related artworks and a nativity play on Christmas Eve.
Getting Around Gran Canaria
Renting a car is the easiest way to get around the island – you can rent a car inexpensively from the airport, and explore the island at ease. If you decide to travel around Gran Canaria on public transport, catch the buses supplied by the company Global, which operate all over the island and are very reliable. In the capital, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, you can catch the local buses. Cycling is also a nice way to explore the island; most resorts offer bike hire.
Top Tips for a holiday in Gran Canaria
• Sample the local cuisine – Puchero Canario is a great traditional stew with meat and vegetables.
• Consider bringing hiking gear – there are some fantastic hikes to be done in Gran Canaria.
• Beaches make up more than a quarter of Gran Canaria's 147-mile coastline – make sure to pack your sunscreen, as temperatures soar here in the summer.
• Take care of your valuables when you're on the beach – especially at weekends – as pick-pocketing is common here.
Gran Canaria holiday resorts
|Maspalomas Holidays||13 Hotels, Villas + Apartments|
|Playa del Ingles Holidays||12 Hotels, Villas + Apartments|
|Puerto Rico Holidays||10 Hotels, Villas + Apartments|
|San Agustin Holidays||6 Hotels, Villas + Apartments|
|Playa de Taurito Holidays||3 Hotels, Villas + Apartments|
|Playa Meloneras Holidays||2 Hotels, Villas + Apartments|
|Playa Amadores Holidays||2 Hotels, Villas + Apartments|
|Puerto Mogan Holidays||2 Hotels, Villas + Apartments|
|Playa de Balito Holidays||1 Hotels, Villas + Apartments|
|Playa del Cura Holidays||1 Hotels, Villas + Apartments|
|Las Palmas Holidays||1 Hotels, Villas + Apartments|