Forever in the enormous shadow of its neighbour to the west, Tenerife, Gran Canaria is nonetheless never so eclipsed that it cannot provide temperatures around the 20C mark as March makes the rest of Europe shiver. In truth, the third-largest Canary Island is a fabulous destination. The capital Las Palmas offers elegant culture at its Centro Atlantico de Arte Moderno – but saves its best for the beach in the shape of Playa de las Canteras.
THINGS TO DO GRAN CANARIA
-Imagine this. You’re lying on a sun-soaked deck. Ocean breezes ruffle your hair. And when you look up, you see two soaring masts set against a brilliant blue sky. If that sounds good, then you’ll be in your element on this leisurely cruise along Gran Canaria’s south-western shores. You’ll sail in the ‘Aphrodite’, a traditional Turkish gulet that’s every inch the cruising beauty. All pine decks, wooden masts and a gleaming captain’s wheel, it’s like something from a period maritime drama. And from the moment you board, you’ll be royally treated, starting with a welcome drink. From there, it’s just a matter of chilling on your sunlounger, honing your tan and watching the stunning cliffs and beaches roll by. And there’s even a complimentary buffet and all inclusive bar to top everything off.
-Roque Nublo is a volcanic rock standing 80 meters tall. It is a famous landmark of the island, protected by UNESCO as a natural monument. Located in the municipality Tejeda, a short ride from the city center, it came into existence after a volcanic eruption approximately 4.5 million years ago. Roque Nublo is the most popular destination in Gran Canaria for hiking lovers, and would be an ideal experience for all who desire to see the wonderful views of Tejeda mountain. The usual starting point for a hike in Nublo is the area of Degollada de la Goleta, which is reached by vehicle, and is where hikers descend following a clearly signposted trail.
-Visiting Cueva Pintada is on of the must do things.Discovered by a local farmer in the late 19th-century, this is one of Gran Canaria’s most important pre-Hispanic sites: a cave adorned with geometric shapes, thought to relate to the lunar and solar calendars. It is also the most accessible of the island’s archaeological sites, situated not halfway up a cliff but right in the heart of the town (it is wheelchair-friendly). The museum complex features videos and reconstructions shedding light onto local life before the conquistadors arrived, and showcases the 5000-sq-metre excavated site where the remains of cave houses have been dug out from the volcanic rock. The highlight is the painted cave itself. While you can visit independently, the guided 90-minute tour is highly recommended. Try to book in advance via the website – there is a limit of 20 people on each tour so you might end up disappointed if you just show up.
-The Maspalomas dunes are a supersized expanse of white sand. The whole area stretches for 400 hectares on the edge of Maspalomas, and some areas are so unspoilt they’ve been turned into a restricted-access nature reserve. The landscape changes here from day to day, as sea winds bulldoze the site overnight and re-sculpt the dunes by morning.
-Jardín Botánico Viera y Clavijo, located in the northeast of Gran Canaria, in Tafira Alta, proves that Gran Canaria is not as deserted and dry as it seems. The botanic garden showcases the island’s endemic plants, alongside some imported flora. The bust of José de Viera y Clavijo, the Spanish botanist who had an idea of opening a botanic garden on the Canary Islands, proudly welcomes all visitors. The garden has collected about 500 plant species, endemic to the Canary Islands and other Macaronesian islands, with cacti and succulent varieties are available to look at on display. The garden contributes heavily to the program of species preservation through its research work. Its facilities include a library and laboratories, and it also publishes the journal Botánica Macaronésica.
–Playa de las Canteras The fine 3km stretch of yellow sand is magnificent, and considered by many to be one of the world’s best city beaches. There’s an attractive seaside promenade – the Paseo de las Canteras – which allows walkers, cyclists and joggers to cover the entire length of the beach, free from traffic. Perhaps the most marvelous part, though, is the reef, known as La Barra, which in low tide turns the waters of Las Canteras into a giant salty swimming pool that’s perfect for snorkeling.
-At first glance, Barranco de Guayadeque, half an hour’s drive from maspalomas, looks like any other evergreen valley. But then you’ll notice the cliffside is dotted with mysterious doors. These entranceways lead into a warren of natural and manmade caves, which were once used as burial sites for Gran Canaria’s ancient Guanche civilisation. Many of the caverns are still lived in by families with farmland in the area.
ACCOMMODATION IN GRAN CANARIA
Various range of accommodation available at the island from 13euro up to over 100 euro per night. There is different type of hostels, hotels, guest houses, resorts. Because of the fantastic weather season for going there is all year around so Gran Canaria is visited by the tourists all year. But prices in summer are higher than winter let say.