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Gran Canaria
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Gran Canaria. Beaches of white sand and black lava. 

Located opposite the northeast coast of the continent of Africa and surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, Gran Canaria is one of the Spanish Canary Islands. This island belongs to the province of Las Palmas, along with the islands of Lanzarote, Fuerteventura and La Graciosa. The island of Gran Canaria is circular in shape and has a total surface area of 1560 km2 and an altitude of 1956 metres, whereby the rocky peak of Morro de la Agujereada, at 1956 m, is the highest point, making it the third largest island of the archipelago in terms of length (after Tenerife and Fuerteventura) with the third highest altitude (following Tenerife and La Palma). Many consider this island to represent a kind of miniature continent, due to its geography, varied flora and fauna and the diversity of its climate, owed mainly to the combination of its altitudinal gradient and the effect of the trade winds.

At present, Gran Canaria is one of the main tourist destinations in Spain, welcoming almost 5 million tourists throughout the year. What is more, the Carnival of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is one of the most important events of the year and has been declared a Festival of National Tourist Interest, enjoying a major national and international profile.

Essentially, the tourism on the island of Gran Canaria consists of sun, sand and surf, although in recent years, rural tourism and tourism based around golf, water sports, hiking, cycling and wellness has also experienced somewhat of a boom. In addition to the capital of Las Palmas, the main tourist hubs of the island are San Agustín, Playa del Inglés, the island’s largest tourist centre with a natural beach of 2700 m, and Maspalomas with three different ecosystems: the dunes, an expansive palm grove and a coastal lagoon known as La Charca, Meloneras, Puerto Rico and Puerto de Mogán.

The island is connected to the outside world by plane via its international airport, located 20 km from the capital, and by sea thanks to its ports, which represent an important channel of maritime communication between the islands and for cruise ships.

Indulging in its exquisite local cuisine will make your visit to the island an even more enticing option. Escaldón de gofio (hand-rolled balls of special dough in fish stock), Flor de Guía cheese, the sancocho salted fish dish and the famous papas arrugadas, or wrinkled potatoes, are some of the island’s most typical dishes. Adults will have the chance to try the typical Arehucas rum, one of the most characteristic elixirs of the island.

Gran Canaria is an ideal destination for couples and when travelling with friends and family of all ages, from teenagers to small children and babies. It is a very tranquil island full of activities waiting to be enjoyed, along with its 60 km of stunning beaches and nature tourism that is bound to captivate young and old alike.

 

Transport options:

Plane, boat, private car, bus, bicycle, motorbike or taxi.

 

Distances:

Balito Beach: 0 m

Bus stop: 100 m

Anfi Beach: 1 km

Puerto Rico: 2 km

Arguineguín: 2 km

Golf course Anfi Tauro: 3 km

Maspalomas: 15 km

Airport: 46 km

Gran Canaria

 

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 Hotels in Gran Canaria

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Beaches
Towns
Must-visits
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Playa de Balito
Beaches
This secluded beach is easily accessible on foot from Marina Élite. This gravel and pebble beach has moderate waves and...
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iucono-pin How to get there
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Playa de Las Canteras
Beaches
t’s undoubtedly one of Gran Canaria’s best beaches for many of those who live on the island. Las Canteras, in other...
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Playa de Maspalomas
Beaches
Undoubtedly one of the other jewels in Gran Canaria's crown: Maspalomas beach. If you like strolling along the sand, then...
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Gáldar
Towns
If you really want to experience the authenticity of a Canarian village, then Gáldar is a must-visit. This village in...
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Tejeda
Towns
Tejeda is one of Gran Canaria’s most beautiful villages. Mainly because of the natural environment surrounding it. It’s surrounded by...
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Puerto Mogán
Towns
Puerto de Mogán stands out from the other villages in the south of Gran Canaria for its beauty and because...
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Surfing, a “must” in Gran Canaria
Must-visits
Because the Canary Islands are a paradise for surf lovers all over the world, we suggest booking some lessons to...
Read more
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Canarian gastronomy that you can't miss out on
Must-visits
Canarian gastronomy is known for its simplicity with a touch of exoticism. Canarian cuisine uses traditional products prepared in straightforward...
Read more
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Must-visit natural spaces
Must-visits
The wide variety of natural spaces in Gran Canaria means that, within such a small area, there are geographical landmarks...
Read more
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Playa de Balito

This secluded beach is easily accessible on foot from Marina Élite. This gravel and pebble beach has moderate waves and crystal-clear waters.

This beach is perfect for a relaxed dip, as tourists from other parts of the island don’t really come here.

The 220-metre long and 40-metre wide Balito beach usually has a moderate swell.

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Playa de Las Canteras

t’s undoubtedly one of Gran Canaria’s best beaches for many of those who live on the island.

Las Canteras, in other words, paradise on earth, is the best beach in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Its waters and golden sand are reminiscent of the Caribbean and it has all kinds of services, not to mention a 4-kilometre long boardwalk brimming with restaurants of all kinds.

What’s more, thanks to a rocky reef of volcanic origin called “la barra”, it’s a very safe beach with virtually no waves (except in La Cícer), so this beach is child-friendly and one of the island’s calmest.

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Playa de Maspalomas

Undoubtedly one of the other jewels in Gran Canaria's crown: Maspalomas beach. If you like strolling along the sand, then this is the beach for you.

Because it's so long and so wide, you can walk comfortably without having to dodge sunbathers all the time. It joins Playa del Inglés at a certain point and together these beaches are 6 kilometres long.

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Gáldar

If you really want to experience the authenticity of a Canarian village, then Gáldar is a must-visit. This village in the north of Gran Canaria was the island’s first capital. It still conserves the structure of many of its historic buildings to this day: the casino, the Royal Theatre, its food market, the square and Parish church of Santiago, its pedestrian streets, the Cueva Pintada Museum and Archaeological Park, the architecture of its buildings’ Canarian balconies; you’ll be sure to fall in love with this charming village in the north of the island.

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Tejeda

Tejeda is one of Gran Canaria’s most beautiful villages. Mainly because of the natural environment surrounding it. It’s surrounded by mountains where you can take in stunning views of the Roque Bentayga. Almost all the houses in Tejeda are white-roofed with touches of stone and wood. This is a must-visit on your trip to the island.

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Puerto Mogán

Puerto de Mogán stands out from the other villages in the south of Gran Canaria for its beauty and because it’s an amazing tourist spot.

It’s really popular with visitors because it’s next to the coast and a stone's throw from the tourist spots. Nevertheless, it still holds onto some of the local charm.

The walls of the houses here are lined with colourful bougainvillaea and beautiful flame trees.

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Surfing, a “must” in Gran Canaria

Because the Canary Islands are a paradise for surf lovers all over the world, we suggest booking some lessons to try your hand at surfing to experience a sense of freedom like never before.

The perfect conditions for this fun sport come together on its coasts: constant wind that, along with other conditioning factors, contribute to a “swell” (undulation before the wave) that works the miracle: perfect breakwater suitable for all levels.

Surfing in Gran Canaria is no exception, the island is home to some of Europe’s best surfing spots.

Surfing in Maspalomas, Playa del Inglés and other areas with great waves

When it comes to surfing, Gran Canaria has two main areas: the north, in particular the urban coast of Las Palmas, has legendary spots that are a big hit with more experienced surfers.

Waves can reach heights of up to 5 metres in some northern parts of Gran Canaria.

On the other hand, the south, mainly Playa del Inglés and Maspalomas, has the perfect spots for those just starting out. Its small waves that reach heights of no more than 2 metres are perfect for surfers of all levels.

What's more, the fact that international tourists flock to the island in droves has led to surf schools springing up in Gran Canaria for the most enthusiastic and brave visitors to start riding waves.

Just like in all surf schools, there are different types of lesson packs. Sessions usually last two hours, but can be as long as three.

Individual or private lessons are the most expensive, although you can get a good deal if you buy a pack of two lessons or more.

Group courses are cheaper so, the more lessons bought, the cheaper each extra lesson will be. What's more, you can also take monthly or even quarterly courses with one, two or three sessions a week.

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Canarian gastronomy that you can't miss out on

Canarian gastronomy is known for its simplicity with a touch of exoticism. Canarian cuisine uses traditional products prepared in straightforward dishes, harking back to the dishes the island’s grandmothers used to make, resulting in mouth-watering and healthy dishes for traditional cuisine lovers.

Of all the traditional Canarian dishes, you need to try the following:

Sancocho

The dish’s strange name means “half-cooked food” and consists of boiled salted fish (usually sea bass or wreckfish) accompanied by sweet potatoes, boiled potatoes, mojo, green or red and served with gofio in an earthenware casserole dish. It's perfect if you’re looking for a low-calorie dish, but without missing out on that typical Canary Islands flavour.

Although it is traditionally eaten on Good Friday, it’s a festive dish that can be eaten at any time of year, making it one of the most popular dishes eaten in the Canary Islands.

Rancho canario

If you’re a spoon food lover, this traditional Gran Canarian dish will be right up your street.

There’s not much to it other than ingredients as humble as they are simple, cooked with a whole lot of love. A must-try stew with chickpeas, potatoes, tomato, fat noodles, pork and chorizo sausage, paprika and saffron that’ll put a spring in your step.

Viejas guisadas con papas arrugadas

Vieja in Canarian cusine mightn’t ring a bell It’s a traditional fish eaten on the islands with no shortage of ways to cook it...

In this recipe, the vieja is cooked in a vegetable broth with potatoes, tomato, spring onion, garlic, coriander, cumin, chilli and, last but not least, olive oil. It’s then served with the wrinkled potatoes.

Caldo de papas

On the other hand, there’s the caldo de papas, another one of the most popular Canarian spoon foods.

This is a broth with potatoes, tomato, green pepper, onion, coriander, garlic and cumin, over which eggs are cooked. A dish that’s not a world away from the tomato soup that’s popular in Andalusian villages; this quick, easy and mouthwatering dish is reminiscent of times gone by.

This will be right up your street if you’re a vegetarian.

Puchero canario

This is very similar to the dish served on the mainland, but with a Canarian touch; corn on the cob, one of Gran Canaria’s traditional foods used to make this stew unique. Its secret: top-quality products cooked over a low heat.

It mainly uses different meats such as beef, chicken and pork, carrots, cabbage, sweet potatoes, potatoes and pulses.

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Must-visit natural spaces

The wide variety of natural spaces in Gran Canaria means that, within such a small area, there are geographical landmarks as different as rocks, dunes that looks like a desert, craters or ravines.

You’ll learn about the island's orography and history at every turn when travelling around this island The following are just some of the must-see awe-inspiring natural wonders to check out in Gran Canaria.

Roque Nublo, place of worship

Roque Nublo is Gran Canaria’s most renowned volcanic rock formation. This 80-metre high formation is 1,813 metres above sea level.

It was formed by a volcanic eruption around 4.5 million years ago. What’s interesting about Roque Nublo is that it was a place of worship for the ancient aborigines.

This is one of the island’s must-see spots.

Maspalomas Dunes

You can't come to Gran Canaria without taking a snap in the Maspalomas Dunes.

This miniature Sahara-like desert is one of the island’s most awe-inspiring landscapes. Walk through its dunes, take in the stunning panoramic views and finish off by going for a dip in the blue waters of the Atlantic.

Tamadaba Natural Park

Tamadaba Natural Park is a Canary Island pine forest, not to mention the sea cliffs and ravines.

This is all part of the natural space that stretches all the way from inland Gran Canaria to the ocean. Take one of the trails through this 7,500-hectare park and make sure you make time to take in the jaw-dropping views at observatories such as the Balcón viewpoint.

Guayadeque Ravine Natural Monument

The Guayadeque Ravine is one of Gran Canaria’s best kept secrets. This steep-sided ravine winds its way for 15 kilometres from the inland all the way to the coast. Along the way you’ll be whisked off to Gran Canaria’s aboriginal past; cave houses, native vegetation (more than 80 endemic species) and even hotels and restaurants.

It has dozens of hiking trails for you to discover its most hidden secrets; so get your hiking boots on and start walking!

Cenobio de Valerón

More than 300 different-sized cavities in El Tagoror del Gallego form the Cenobio de Valerón, designed by the native Canary Islanders to store the grain harvested.

They did this to protect the harvest from animals, storms and the light-fingered. This area was declared an Asset of Cultural Interest in 1974 and is definitely one of the most interesting places to visit in the Canary Islands.

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