Gran Canaria is the ultimate sunshine getaway, with its swathes of sandy beach, crystal-clear Atlantic waters and resorts to suit all ages.
British holidaymakers have been coming to Gran Canaria since the 19th century and it’s easy to see why. The sun shines on its sandy shores practically all year round, all set against a dramatic backdrop of volcanic cliffs.
The island’s beaches come in all shapes, sizes and even colours. Take your pick between sheltered bays and windswept shorelines blanketed in golden, white or black volcanic sand.
Whatever your idea of the perfect holiday, Gran Canaria is sure to have a resort that’s just right for you. Playa del Ingles is built for serious sunbathing by day and hard partying at night. Bahia Feliz and Puerto de Mogán are all about sleepy, traditional charm. Meloneras and Playa Taurito have the 5-star market covered.
Amadores Beach in Puerto Rico is one of the prettiest beaches on the island, and its calm, shallow waters make it the perfect choice for families. Playa del Ingles is best for beach bars and watersports. Maspalomas Beach comes backed by 400 hectares of Sahara-style sand dunes.
Las Palmas’s colonial streets are dotted with palaces, churches, cafés and boutiques, and there’s a beautiful botanical garden just outside town. If you’re feeling adventurous, trek across the Maspalomas sand dunes on camelback or climb into the heart of the Caldera de Bandama, a dormant volcanic crater.
Aqualand is Gran Canaria’s biggest waterpark, boasting a tangle of white-knuckle slides. Whale and dolphin spotting trips leave daily from Puerto Rico and golf courses and hiking trails criss-cross the island. For something with a bit more bite, check out Cocodrilos Park, home to Europe’s largest collection of crocodiles.
You’ll find first-class international cuisine all over the island, but the local dishes are not to be missed. Tuck into fresh seafood and top-notch tapas in one of the island’s many waterfront restaurants. The local wines aren’t bad either – Tinto del Monte is one of the best reds.
The Canary Islands have special status as a free trade zone, which means shopping in Gran Canaria is duty-free. The island’s vast shopping malls come well-stocked with everything from designer clothes to electronic goods. For traditional souvenirs, make for the local markets where you can get great deals on pottery, lace, coffee and products made from aloe vera.
Playa del Ingles is the island’s party hotspot, with big-name clubs like Pacha and Cream. Puerto Rico does a strong line in family-friendly live shows, while Puerto Mogan and Bahia Feliz are picturesque spots to settle outside with a bottle of wine and ocean views.
Gran Canaria is one of the Canary Islands. It lies between Tenerife to the west and Fuerteventura and Lanzarote to the east. Although the islands belong to Spain, they are actually closer to the coast of Morocco, surrounded by Atlantic waters.
Cost of a beerfrom €3 a bottle
3 course mealfrom around €20