Gran Canaria is potentially my favourite country to go on holiday to – I say potentially as it’s definitely in my top three! Turkey and Disneyland Paris (although not a country) hold a special place in my heart as well.
The beauty of Gran Canaria is in the different climates and ecosystems you can experience there. It is often known as “The Island of All Seasons” and this is certainly true. Africa is only 210 km away from Gran Canaria, so you can expect the heat of a near Equatorial climate. You can explore Pico de las Nieves – a 1,949 metre mountain – and see snow. A visit to the capital, Las Palmas, may even resort in you seeing some drizzly rain, which doesn’t sound fun but makes a lovely change from the glaring heat (trust me!).
In this post I will talk you through the first two places I have been and what you should look out for there:
This is probably the most diverse place I have ever been to. Maspalomas is a resort now entirely dedicated to tourism. In my opinion it is the perfect place to stay if you are new to the island because it is in a central location for excursions. From this position, you are able to dip your toe into the more rural parts of the island, without breaking too far away from comfort. Maspalomas is also close to the home of nightlife on the island – Playa del Ingles (translated – Englishman’s Beach, let that just say what it needs to!). If you are one to go on holiday and completely immerse yourself in a brand new culture, then this probably isn’t the place for you – but do wait for Part 2 where I will discuss Puerto de Mogán as I think you’ll quite like it there!
The diversity of this wonderful resort is found in the breathtaking Sand Dunes. The dunes are a nature reserve so you can explore them at you’re own pace, or jump on a camel or horse to take the pressure of your feet! It is worth noting, the dunes are much like a piece of the Sahara desert so there is no breeze. This makes it a prime spot for sun-worshippers. The dunes also boast a Nudist Beach so make sure you read signs carefully if you want to avoid a potentially awkward situation!
Las Palmas is the capital of Gran Canaria and its the part of the island where you will experience cooler weather, sometimes even rain. Don’t let this stop you visiting the city though as it is a fun place to explore. The town is divided into two halves, you have the old and the new. Personally, I prefer the old district of town as it is home to the best architecture and unique buildings I have seen. However, the new side has an amazing shopping centre – Centro Comercial Las Arenas – which seems like a never ending haven filled with shops! It’s well worth a visit. In the old district there are lots of independent shops and cafes, alongside some familiar high street names. I recommend you visiting the Casa de Colon Museum and Home of Christopher Columbus. It is only a small museum but the courtyard garden in the middle is really pretty and the house is decorated to give you an insight to the islands history.
Furthermore, The Cathedral of Santa Ana is totally stunning. I have been there multiple times and it never fails to take my breath away. There is something that makes me feel totally awestruck about this Cathedral, the beautiful interior and statues are so intricate that it is really hard to believe. You can also ride a lift to the top of the bell tower, to get panoramic views of the whole city – which is great if you like photography but not so great if you are scared of heights!
I hope you liked Part One of Gran Canaria, Part 2 will be coming out some point next week, after a very exciting trip I have on Monday! In Part 2 I will be talking about Puerto Rico and Puerto de Mogan, two very beautiful and scenic locations, quite different to the busy nature of the two places mentioned today!
FUN FACT: did you know the Canarian Spanish word for bus is guagua, pronounced ‘wa-wa’. You can catch a guagua to the capital from most parts of the island!
Check out my Flickr Album to get a sneak peak of the other locations I will write about, but also see some more pictures of Maspalomas and Las Palmas!
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