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If you have been setting your sights on the story island of Gran Canaria, then look no further than our ultimate guide to the Great Fortunate Islands.
Using our 35 years of experience, we have put together this comprehensive tool to help you plan your adventure to the world´s preeminent adventure travel destination!
Download our free guide to:
- Find and discover the most incredible routes on the island
- The top beaches that you will be astonished to visit
- Nautical sports you can enjoy to the fullest
- Daytime leisure activities so you do not waste time
- Night time entertainment to feel the night vibe
- Gastronomy. A typical introduction to the most known plates
- Cultural life to increase your knowledge and perceptions
- Museums to remember the vivid history
- Archaeology routes and prehistoric caves
- Crafts and rudimental tools that aboriginal used to use
- Rural tourism
- Active tourism
- Health tourism
- LGBT tourism
- Useful information
The Gran Canaria Experience with Autos Sansu brings the most iconic and memorable travel information guide about the story island of Gran Canaria so you can properly and efficiently plan your trip over the island with the comfort and reliable services of a well known and trust-worthy travel experiences provider as Autos Sansu Experience is, by providing to you the highest quality and personalized services for over 35 years and we still feel that we have got to do much more to accomplish your dreams!
Thank you for trusting in us as we will be your best companion in the magnificent island of Gran Canaria and the Canary Islands overall.
Gran Canaria is a volcanic island that shines out like a beacon in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. This tiny European territory is situated just off the western coast of Africa, and boasts everything you need for a most unforgettable holiday experience, thanks to its privileged climate, top quality amenities and services, its excellently preserved natural environment, and the friendly character of its local residents.
All these qualities fit neatly into its uniquely rounded shape, in which over 60 kilometers of beach live alongside deep ravines and iconic rocky formations. The island´s stunning orography which culminates at 1,949 meters altitude at Pico de Las Nieves, provides a diverse landscape that ca be easily reached by a fine network of roads, allowing visitors to move between coast and mountain in a short period of time.
This contrast can also be extended to its cultural identity, forged over centuries, the result of the blending of its aboriginal legacy and its contact with three different continents, namely Europe, Africa and America, we can surely say that this is a true continent in miniature. All these have left their seal on the architecture, paintings and artistic manifestations that can be seen at the Atlantic Modern Art Centre (CAAM), and at Africa house, two of the institutions that best represent these cultural and historical links joining the island with other civilizations.
Gran Canaria´s year-round average temperature of 24 degrees make it an extraordinary place for sports activities, set in truly natural surroundings. Hiking mountain bike, cycling tourism and climbing enthusiasts are truly fortunate, choosing the ideal setting for their favorite sport on a land whose rich natural surroundings were awarded the distinction of Biosphere Reserve by Unesco on 43% of its territory and coastline.
Gran Canaria, which has never turned its back on the sea at any time during its long history, has become a top attraction for those looking to hone their skills at surfing, windsurfing, diving and sports fishing. The quality of its waters are awarded with over a dozen blue flags every year, in recognition of its sports harbors and beaches, all equipped with modern infrastructures and nearly all of which are apt for bathing.
The island is varied and full of protected areas, which provide the perfect setting for many striking postcard scenes. The Nublo and Bentayga are two stunning volcanic rocks that loom tall over the misty summit, thanks to a spectacular meteorological phenomenon called the sea of clouds. Legions of pine trees await visitors at the lush green hills over Tamadaba, Inagua and Pilancones, while the volcanic craters of Bandama and Los Marteles, with their sheer drops, cast a huge chasm, reducing man to a mere speck up against these natural elements.
Gran Canaria has a troglodyte past, of which some important vestiges remain. The first dwellers on the island left behind an archaeological and cultural legacy which lives on today in its gastronomy, traditions and sports handed down from generation to generation. Following the conquest of the island and its incorporation into the Castilian Crown at the end of the 15th century, the island and its capital city, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, became the political, economical and administrative centre of the Archipelago.
Just after this historic moment, Christopher Columbus chose Gran Canaria as a stop off port during three of his four voyages to America. He left his mark here in the shape of a museum in the ancient district of Vegueta, an area which also boasts other fine cultural hotspots such as the Atlantic Modern Art Centre (CAAM), and the Canary Museum, two must visits for those visiting the area´s cobbled streets.
Farming exports to America and Europe, the driving force behind the island’s economy up until the 17th century, saw a new dawn midway through the 19th century with the Free Port Law of the Canary Islands, an initiative put forward by Juan Bravo Murillo, which opened up the islands to free import and export trade. These exceptional fiscal benefits, which are included in today’s Fiscal and Economic Laws, promoted tree trade, establishing relations with other countries, providing the base back then for English shipping companies to build the first hotels in the capital.
This was the first milestone of the time that opened a dawn to a future of tourism, which even then had to wait until 1957, following the Second World War, when the first charter flight landed on Canary soil with the arrival of Swedish airline Transair AB. Since that defining moment, of course, demand has grown continually. Today, Gran Canaria is a highly hospitable island, able to combine fun and relaxation in just few square kilometres. It is a magical place, with towns, villages and beautiful countryside, perfect to be explored by couples, or in the company of friends or family.
Las Palmas GC – South (Telde, Ingenio, Agüimes, Santa Lucía)
The south of Gran Canaria is the main driving force behind the island’s economy in general. If you are in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria starts off along the southernmost tip of the capital, next to the natural pools of La Laja. Leave the city along the GC-1 motorway down the east coast. This side of the island is dotted with wonderful black sandy beaches. If you turn off momentarily at the GC-10 you will reach a shoreline walk starting off at La Garita, with its rather strange geological formation known as El Bufadero, as far as Melenara and Salinetas.
Come back onto the motorway and then turn off again at Telde, the second largest populated city on the island, and the site of one of the two aboriginal kingdoms that Gran Canarias was divided into, prior to the Castilian conquest. This municipality indeed boasts a rich archaeological legacy at several locations, the highlights of which are the pre-Hispanic settlement of Tufia and the lived in caves of Cuatro Puertas.
Caves of Cuatro Puertas
The neighbourhoods of San Juan and San Francisco are where the city sprang up, and are well worth a quiet stroll around their cobbled streets. This used to be the ecclesiastical and administrative power hub for the city, and it still conserves stunning religious monuments sheltered under palm trees and bougainvillea plants. The Gothic style Basilica of Saint John the Baptist here was declared a Site of Cultural Interest back in 1991. Take a look at the Flemish altarpiece at the main altar, and the figure of Christ carved out of corn paste by native Mexicans, just two of the artistic gems that will more than justify your visit.
Beautiful Arucas Basilic Shoot
Now take the GC-100 and stop at Montaña Bermeja, where you will come to Cuatro Puertas. Observe the upper part of this artificial excavation dug out by early Canaria dwellers, who built at its peak a sacred ritual site, or almogarén, where they would worship their gods.
Cuatro Puertas Caves
Villa de Ingenio open its doors with the aim of displaying the fervour of its traditions. This municipality was formerly an important site for sugar cane production, while today its economy revolves around commerce and craft, one of its main vocations. The typical lacework made here is a leading light all over the island and can be appreciated at the Museum of Canary Stone and Crafts. Ingenio is also home to a special bread called “pan de puño” and the International Folklore Festival, which since 1996 has been drawing in relevant musical groups from all the continents.
Villa de Ingenio
The Museum of Canary Stone and Crafts
Before continuing your route it is worthwhile taking the road to Guayadeque Ravine, another remarkable inland aboriginal settlement prior to the island´s joining the Castilian Crown. It is a beautiful setting with lovely buildings and quirky restaurants that occupy caves which over 500 years ago were homes and burial sites for the first Canarians.
Barranco de Guayadeque
Agüimes is a town that throws itself headlong into its festivals, and for this reason the Carnival is the greatest of its celebrations. Yet it is also packed with history, as following the arrival of the Spanish in Gran Canaria, the Catholic Kings gave these lands away to the church, which gave rise to an Episcopal Estate, which survived until the 19th century. The oldest part of the town, around the Church of San Sebastián, is ideal for meeting and chatting to the locals.
Barranco de Las Vacas at Agüimes
Agüimes Outstanding Scenery
One of the best kept secrets in the municipality of Agüimes is the village of Temisas, a wonderful rural settlement declared a Representative Canary Hamlet by the Government of the Canary Islands. From there, visitors can either go back downwards to the beaches of Arinaga and “El Cabrón”, two idyllic spots for divers, or continue along the GC-550, which leads to Santa Lucía.
Villa de Temisas
Playa de El Cabrón at Arinaga
A stunning pine grove will greet us upon our arrival here. The Tirajana Crater, with its imposing steep walls, is a sight for sore eyes, which will whet our appetite for local wines, cheeses and the popular mejunje drink made from rum, cinnamon and honey. Head back down to the coast and stop off at the Fortaleza de Ansite Visitor Centre, along the GC-651, the last bastion of aboriginal resistance from where they threw their leaders off the edge to avoid surrendering to the Conquistadores. Carry on as far as Vecindario, and its large shopping centre located near to the beach at Pozo Izquierdo, known all over the world as a venue for the World Windsurf Championship, which attract the finest competitors in the world every July
Windsurfing World Championship at Pozo Izquierdo
Fortaleza de Ansite´s Cave
Fortaleza de Ansite
San Bartolomé de Tirajana
San Bartolomé de Tirajana Villages
San Bartolomé De Tirajana, Mogán & La Aldea De San Nicolás
Sunset at Maspalomas Dunes
The Special Natural Reserve of Maspalomas Dunes, one of the most beautiful enclaves of Gran Canaria.
San Bartolomé de Tirajana, Mogán and La Aldea de San Nicolás are our next stops on our route around the Southwest of the island. We can start our route at the Condal Vega Grande Estate, an ethnographic complex that covers centuries of history and culture in Gran Canaria. We head on southwards along the GC-1, passing Tarajalillo, San Agustín, Las Burras and Playa del Inglés to our left. The beaches along this stretch have made this area one of the most popular holiday destinations in Europe.
You cannot return home without first stopping to take a quick snap of your journey through the Special Natural Reserve of Maspalomas Dunes. This desert setting covers around 400 hectares, and is one of the most beautiful enclaves in Gran Canaria. It is made up of a series of gently undulating Sandhills, with abundant halophyte vegetation, and a lake frequented by unique insects and ornithological species, known by locals as La Charca (The Pool).
Next to the beach, and at the border with neighboring Meloneras, towers the Maspalomas Lighthouse, a 60 meter high construction that was inaugurated in 1890. This symbolic landmark of Gran Canaria was declared a Site of Cultural Interest by the Government of the Canary Islands, in the category of Historic Monument, and is one of the main attractions in the area. It is surrounded by nightclubs, restaurants and other leisure and entertainment venues.
Puerto de Mogán, one of the most attractive picture postcard scenes on the island, surrounding Puerto Rico, Tauro and Taurito.
Puerto de Mogán
Puerto Rico Landscape
Taurito Lago Princess
Apart from the standard attractions available at the municipality of San Bartolomé de Tirajana along its coastline, such as the many nautical sports, there lots of alternatives further inland. If you would like to see its more rural side, then take the GC-60 main road towards Tunte, its administrative capital, and enjoy the journey as you go along, and take in the aboriginal necropolis of Arteara, the amazing views afforded by the viewpoint over Degollada de La Yegua, and the gorgeous village of Fataga.
Village of Tunte
Aboriginal Necropolis of Arteara
Mirador Degollada de la Yegua
Village of Fataga
If on the other hand you wish to continue southwards, get back onto the main road to Mogán. This seaside town of Arguineguín will be your first port of call. This town has an important fishing port, with restaurants serving the finest sea bass viejas, marinated tuna and other fresh varieties brought to you straight from the ocean.
Arguineguín Beach. Outstanding place to enjoy by yourself.
Arguineguín sunset with El Teide in front.
The whole municipality is eminently touristic, and houses many modern urbanizations along its jagged coastline. It is one of the sunniest places on the planet, and boasts a magnificent recreational area for going bathing at any of its wide range of beaches, all the way along to Puerto de Mogán, with its fine picture postcard setting, surrounding Puerto Rico, Tauro and Taurito, either via GC-500, or the GC-1 main road itself. The boats that bob about on its sports marina adorn a landscape dominated by bright, picturesque buildings and canals inspired by the city of Venice. Super fresh fish is available at the local restaurants, and the port is the starting point for a range of excursions for visitors to go fishing, diving, or underwater sight-seeing in a submarine, over an extraordinary rich Atlantic sea bed.
Little Venice Venue at Puerto de Mogán
Stately Puerto de Mogán
Mogán is also one of the main suppliers of tropical fruits on the island. Tasty mangas, avocados and papayas are cultivated on these lands, that will set visitors up with a succulent bite as they head for La Aldea de San Nicolás, the most secluded region of Gran Canaria.
Presa de Soria at Mogán Village
Natural Organic Market celebrated at Mogán. Tasty and Delicious local products
La Aldea is a lands of ravines and towering cliffs, and treasures beaches that have staved off human interference, including Tasarte, Tasartico or the near virgin beach of Güigüi, a veritable Garden of Eden located off the beaten track. Right along GC-200, as we wash behind Veneguera, we can see a swathe of whimsical tones which have altered the volcanic streams known as Los Charcos Azules (The Blue Pools), as we approach one of the largest tomato producing regions in Europe.
La Aldea de San Nicolás
On the way to La Aldea, Tasarte and Tasartico
La Aldea de San Nicolás is the place where the Fiesta of El Charco is celebrated every year. It is burn out of a tradition dating from aboriginal times, based on rudimentary fishing technique consisting of bewildering the fit by splashing local cardoon and tabaiba branches in the water around the water’s edge, to the make their catch. From this culminating point of our route we can turn back the way we came, or head for the capital along the GC-200. If we choose the second option we must not forget to stop at the viewpoint over the Andén Verde, which will give us breathtaking views all down the western coastline of the island.
Fiesta del Charco, La Aldea
Outstanding Andén Verde. Must See!
Las Palmas de GC/North (Arucas, Firgas, Moya, Guía, Gáldar, Agaete)
The Parish Church of Saint John the Baptist, a unique Neo-Gothic style architectural masterpiece bailout of local stone by local workmen.
Saint John the Baptist Church, Arucas.
The north of Gran Canaria has much to offer. The route around this region starts with a short trip from the capital along the GC-2 motorway and GC-20 main road as far as Montaña de Arucas, a 300.000 years old volcano which rises some 412 meters above sea level and which can be scaled quickly by a winding road. Once at the top, fantastic panoramic views are afforded all around. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and neighboring municipalities of Firgas and Moya display all their splendor, mingled with reservoirs and banana plantations.
Montaña de Arucas, On Top.
The solemn, pointy silhouette of the Parish Church of Saint John the Baptist comes into view, a unique neo-Gothic style architectural masterpiece built out of local stones by local workmen. All around the cobbled streets surrounding the Cathedral, as the great temple is officially known, which dates from 1909, are a plethora of small businesses and restaurants where the finest local goods are served up.
Surroundings Arucas Saint John the Baptist.
While we are in this historic part of the town, it worth taking a look around the highly valuable symbolic green areas in Arucas. The Marquis House and Garden and the Municipal Park are peaceful havens that contrast so sharply with the frenetic pace of life at the Arehucas Rum Factory and Museum, founded back in 1884. Its rum bodegas – the largest and oldest in Europe – give off an aroma that seduced many great figures including Tom Jones, Plácido Domingo and Julio Iglesias. Their signatures are etched eternally into the oak barrels where this drink lays peacefully biding its time, so loved by thousands of Canarians.
The Marquis House and Garden.
Municipal Park, an ocean of calmness.
Arehucas Rum Factory & Museum.
We now ove off few kilometers from here to Firgas, where we come across some typical old streets which are great attraction to tourists, such as the Gran Canaria Walk and Canarias Walk, plus other places of subtle beauty such as the 16th century gofio corn milk, the square and church of San Roque, and a viewpoint strategically placed on its outside, overlooking the immensity of the Atlantic Ocean.
Beautiful Colorful City.
Beautiful Firgas Corn Milk Landscape.
Hiking enthusiast should not miss the lushness and beauty of the ravines at Azuaje and Las Madres. Firgas is a huge source of natural water with woody vegetation, as is neighboring Moya, home to the Special Natural Reserve of Los Tiles, a tiny remnant of the former ancient Doramas Jungle. In this town hanging over the edge of the ravine, Tomás Morales was born, one of the finest poets in the history of the Canaries.
Azuaje´s ravines and waterfalls.
Special Natural Reserve of Los Tiles.
Doramas Natural Park
Natural Park & Jungle Doramas.
We now set off towards Santa María de Guía, along the GC-75 road overlooking the coast. The Silva Bridge hangs some 100 meters over land, bypassing the Cenobio de Valerón, a unique grain store which the local aborígenes used to store their harvests. This archaeological settlement is made up of over 350 caves carved out by the island’s first inhabitants, is around 800 years old and is extremely well preserved, providing a surprise for visitors.
Silva´s Bridge. GC-75
Cenobio de Valerón.
Cenobio de Valerón Birdview.
Once we are in the town, the race is on to find an example of the famous Flower Cheese made in this region. Move around the town centre, go and see the Néstor Álamo Museum and the Parish Church housing the eight religious carvings by José Luján Pérez, a prolific sculptor who passed on a legacy to his country with the necessary artistic attributes by building a clock that went on one of the church´s two towers around the middle of the 19th century.
Santa María de Guía.
Néstor Álamo Museum.
Iglesia Santa María de Guía (Parish Church).
Back on the GC-2, our route continues onto the city of Gáldar, one of the two kingdoms that divided the island into two prior to the Castilian conquest. It is the land of the guanarteme kings of the time, and for this reason top of our list is a visit to the Painted Cave Museum and Archaeological Park, the most important aboriginal settlement in Gran Canaria. The museum stands over an ancient pre-Hispanic population who left their mark in the form of geometrical wall paintings inside one of the caves. It is the defining proof of a not so long distant past that today lives alongside the modern day commercial activity in the town.
Painted Cave Museum.
The coastline of Gáldar is popular for its exquisite marine life on sea beds all around Sardina, and for the highly respected wave that crashed at El Frontón, surfers paradise and one of the best waves on the planet. The day is nearly over, and there is no better plan than to take in a stunning sunset at Agaete, a genuinely Canarian village where the whitewashed houses offer a lovely uniform display.
Sardina del Norte Shore
Sardina del Norte. North Coast of Gran Canaria
El Frontón Peak Break.
Sunset at Agaete´s Village.
The Valley of Agaete hides a wholly enigmatic setting, crowned by the towering Tamadaba massif. Hiking paths criss-cross it in a intricate mesh, around the edges of estates that boasts the only coffee to be grown in Europe, thanks to its organoleptic properties.
Best coffee grown field in Europe.
Just above the centre of the village is Maipés de Agaete, an aboriginal cemetery declared a Site of Cultural Interest, with around 700 tombs that are over 1,000 years old. Back down at the centre of the village is the place for some peace and relaxation, at the Huerto de Las Flores botanical gardens, which is home to over a hundred different plant species from all over the world. The hermitage of Virgin of Las Nieves, with its scale model boats and it polychromed Mudejar coffered ceiling, are another must see at this municipality, before heading down to the natural pools of Las Salinas on the shore.
Maipés de Agaete – Site of Cultural Interest
Maipés de Agaete – Site of Cultural Interest
At the Huerto de Las Flores Botanical Gardens
The hermitage of Virgin of Las Nieves
Puerto de Agaete
Natural Pools of Las Salinas on the shore
Our day finishes up at the Port of Las Nieves, a spot where the famous Dedo de Dios rocks looms out of the sea, dwarfed yet undeterred by the towering 1,000 meter Faneque cliffs and the winding dragon tail of the mountains that runs all the way down the coastline of La Aldea de San Nicolás.
Port of Las Nieves with the famous Dedo de Dios and Faneque, Tamadaba & La Aldea In front.
THE CAPITAL (LAS PALMAS DE GRAN CANARIA)
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is the largest city in the Canary Islands. It is the capital of the island, and was founded back in 1478. Over the years it has consolidated itself as an important, cosmopolitan Atlantic location. Since Christopher Columbus visits on his way to America, travelers from all origins have been seduced by its charms.
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
With a historical and colonial town centre, made up of Vegueta and Triana, and with one of the finest urban beaches in the world at Las Canteras, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is also a leading tourist, historical, gastronomic, shopping hotspot, with delightful museums and a fine range of cultural and entertainment offerings, the highlight being its well known Carnival.
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria – Las Canteras from above
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria – Las Canteras
Vegueta & Triana
Neighbourhood of San Roque Ravine.
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria Carnival
The historic town centre, the city of Columbus
Gran Canaria´s capital sprang up and developed around the district of Vegueta. The hub of this area of town is the Plaza de Santa Ana, with its ancient Town Hall buildings at one end and the great Cathedral at the other. The Columbus House Museum, the Canary Museum, the San Martín Centre of Contemporary Culture, and the Diocese Museum of Sacred Art together make up an interesting and peculiar museum tour, and are complemented by a wide variety of restaurants and bars for visitors to try out some fine local cuisine, and cutting edge á la carte menu. Don’t leave without visiting the Market, and on Sundays the open air craft market, with folkloric dancing at the historic Plaza de Pilar Nuevo, next to the Columbus House Museum.
Plaza de Santa Ana
The Columbus House Museum
Plaza de Pilar Nuevo
Folkloric Dance & Market
The Organic Market
The Guiniguada ravine bed separates the colonial district of Vegueta from the Calle Mayor de Triana and surrounding areas, where the House Museum of writer Benito Pérez Galdós, who was born here, is located. The capital projects itself all along this open shopping and restaurant area as far as San Telmo Park, and the Bus Terminal, the gateway to the rest of the island. Also standing between Vegueta and Triana are essential visitor attractions such as the aforementioned Pérez Galdós and the Gabinete Literario building, with a pleasant little square for passing through or for stopping at is pavement cafés.
The Guiniguada Ravine
Benito Pérez Galdós House & Museum
San Telmo Park
#Ciudad Jardín- The English Neighborhood#
The district of Ciudad Jardín came about in the 1920s. It is a residential area around which stands the former Metropole Hotel, today a centre for Town Hall services, and the historic Santa Catalina hotel, where English writer Agatha Christie stayed during the 20s and 30s to get some rest and to continue writing her novel “The Mystery of the Blue Train”. On the edge of this neighborhood is the architectural complex of the Pueblo Canario, made by modernist artist Néstor Martín-Fernández de la Torre, where the Néstor Museum is located, a real gem in the city.
Ciudad Jardín Area
Pueblo Canario by Néstor Martín-Fernández de la Torre
Santa Catalina Hotel (Agatha Christie Inspiration)
Also in this area is the Marina, from where the Atlantic Rally for the Cruisers (ARC) set off every year in November bound for the Caribbean, and is a hub for cruisers and divers. At sports crazy beach, the front doorstep to the Port and the famous Las Canteras beach.
ARC Marina Sport Event
#The City of Sea, Sun and Sand#
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. City of Sea, Sun & Sand
The city has one of its main landscape features in the shape of La Isleta, a tiny peninsula presided by three majestic volcanoes. The Ports of La Luz and Las Palmas sit along this narrow isthmus on the one side, while the beaches of Las Canteras and El Confital are located on the other. They are two poles of economic and social life in the city, which on the side of the beach constitute a superb natural theme park. Right here, between La Puntilla (next to the district of La Isleta), and the Alfredo Kraus Auditorium (in the neighborhood of Guanarteme), visitors can enjoy three kilometers of golden sands and a range of different environments up and down this touristic beach, which is like a huge park and an ideal meeting point for local residents. Right next to the Auditorium, in the neighborhood of Guanarteme, is La Cícer, the beach surfing and sports area. At the other end, from La Puntilla, tourist can stroll along the avenue of Los Nidillos as far as the natural setting of El Confital, an outstanding surfing spot with a viewpoint from where visitors are treated to simply stunning views over the city.
Las Coloradas Reef & La Isleta on the next side
Stairs to El Confital
Las Canteras Avenue – From La Isleta to Guanarteme & La Cícer
La Cícer at Guanarteme & Alfredo Kraus Auditorium in front
Los Nidillos at La Isleta
Along the three kilometers of Las Canteras beach, visitors do not just enjoy the fine weather that dominates the area throughout the year, and it’s fine waters. Sport activities, both on the sand and in the sea, plus the wealth of gastronomic choices at the many eateries all along the promenade complete the attractiveness of such a special urban beach, where in February they celebrate the Sardine Burial at the end of Carnival, and bonfires at the Night of San Juan in June. From here in a pleasant walk lined with traditional businesses visitors come to Santa Catalina Park, the tourist hub of this part of town, and the gateway to the cruise harbor as well as the spiritual home of Gran Canaria´s great Carnival, with the Élder Science Museum as a top attraction.
Bonfires at the Night of San Juan in June
Tourist Hub at the Cruise Port of Las Palmas
Santa Catalina Park
#Wine and natural surroundings#
On the way out of the city to the centre of Gran Canaria, along the GC-110 and GC-310 main roads, the region stands out for its wine-producing land up at Tafira, and for where the Viera and Clavijo Botanical Garden is located, an authentic gem of biodiversity of the Macaronesia region and a must see for lovers of nature and in its maximum expression.
Wiine-Producing land up at Tafira
Botanical Garden Viera y Clavijo
Las Palmas GC/ HILLS AND SUMMIT (Santa Brígida, San Mateo, Valsequillo, Tejeda, Artenara, Valleseco, Teror)
Gran Canaria´s interior is a heaven of valuable secrets which the more adventurous visitors will relish. Away from the hustle and bustle of the towns and cities and tourist areas, this are of the island preserves its original appearance, like a protective layer for the customs and traditions that are preserved in the villages that are dotted about the mountains and ravines.
Gran Canaria´s interior
Taking the capital city as our starting point, we rise steadily up to nearly 2,000 meters above sea level in record time. Look at how the orography and microclimates shape hundreds of natural species as we pass, and feel the sensation of absolute freedom when, at the top, the clouds settle below your feet.
The municipality of Santa Brígida must be reached along the GC-4, past the town of Tafira to our right. Before heading into the center however, around the edge of Monte Lentiscal, we turn off to our right along the GC-802 towards La Caldera de Bandama, a beautiful 220 meter deep volcanic crater. From the top, we are treated to stunning panoramic views over the whole of the northeast of Gran Canaria. Next to this natural spot there is a peak with the same name of Bandama, the setting for Las Palmas Royal Golf Club, the oldest golf club in Spain. This spot is home to a Second World War bunker which is open to the public, and also boasts fine vineyards and bodegas that produce their own Denomination of Origin wines.
We return to the fork in the road we turned off at earlier, and head on up to the town centre of Santa Brígida. The countryside is very green around here, with the highest number of dragon trees in the Canaries. These century-old trees are botanical marvels, and some of them, are still firmly rooted to the ground. Stay in Santa Brígida to visit the Wine House Museum and its little open-air market, which just like other markets in neighboring San Mateo, Teror and other hillside towns offers superb locally grown product each weekend.
San Mateo Farmer´s Market on Weekends
San Mateo is an eminently cattle rearing and agricultural municipality, nestling in the hills just below the summit area. It is well worth a visit, to try out their spectacular cheeses and other culinary delights, all in stunning natural surroundings, where water flows down the ravines such as La Mina, providing refreshing picture postcard images. Take a stroll around the town center and have a good look at the perfectly restored ancient houses. And before completing the climb, take a detour through Valsequillo, a bordering municipality that is famous for its splashes of bright white blossom from its almond trees, its tasty strawberries and the bewitching spell of Tenteniguada, one of its finest spots.
We go back where we came from and carry on up the GC-15 towards Tejeda, a town that, since September 2015 has had the distinction of being “one of the prettiest villages in Spain”. This recognition is by no coincidence and is down to its unspoiled natural heritage, carved out of savage volcanic eruptions and the majesty of two totemic rocks for the inhabitants of Gran Canaria: the Nublo and the Bentayga. Tejeda sits below the Pico de Las Nieves, the highest point of the island and an exciting challenge for cyclists. Its 1,949 meters altitude is a privileged watchtower surrounded by robust Canary pine trees, a fabulous species that are resistant to fire and when burnt can rise from its ashes, absolutely outstanding. A central stopping point along our route before we get to the village itself is the Parador Nacional hotel, a crossroads and ideal resting place to take a look at the food stalls all around, or to try a snack at one of the nearby bars. Once we are in Tejeda we can stock up and some fine cakes and marzipans, two popular desserts made with the almonds grown on the local farmland.
Roque Nublo with El Teide in front
Roque Bentayga with Roque Nublo behind it
Pico de Las Nieves
Parador Nacional Cruz de Tejeda
With this sweet flavor lingering on the tongue we move on to Artenara along the GC-60 and the GC-210. The highest municipality on the island oozes peace and quiet in natural surroundings. The viewpoint dedicated to Miguel de Unamuno is a superb balcony to look out over the “petrified storm” which shook the great writer during his visit to the summit in 1910.
On our way back to the capital along the GC-21 we must not forget to stop off at Valleseco, a region with a completely contradictory name (literally Dry Valley) as demonstrated by its so called Water Route. There is no getting away from the green vegetation and footpaths that meander all over its hills, providing a challenge for even the most experienced hikers. Every year, Valleseco celebrates its Apple Festival, and it is also home to firsts holly ecological market on the island.
We round off our itinerary at the summit and hillsides by visiting Teror, home to the Virgin of El Pino, the patron saint of Gran Canaria. We walk down the high street and see the striking Canary balconies that adorn the ancient façades. This take us to the Basilica, built in the 18th century, where on the 8th September every year thousands of devout followers from all over the Canary Islands converge. Teror is the perfect place to pick up some souvenirs, in the shape of lacework, knitwear, pottery and wickerwork products. We must not head back to the capital without first trying the chorizo from Teror, an appetizing piece of cold pork that the Gran Canarians are rightly proud of.
Basílica de Teror
The coastline along Gran Canaria is one of the preferred hotspots for tourists who choose to come to the island. The average yearly temperature of 24 degrees guarantees a long lasting experience at any of the beaches along the coast, most of which are easily accesible and apt for bathing. There are choices to suit all tastes. Tourists can choose from long stretches of golden sands to any coves sheltered in the shadow of steeping cliffs, and areas reserved for nudists.
Maspalomas and Playa del Inglés, at the natural area of Las Dunas, are the best known spots due to their wide range of accommodation and leisure urban beaches in Spain and the pride of the residents of the capital, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. One of the most delightful nightfalls to be had on the island is at Agaete, while the coast of Mogán is another ideal area to enjoy the sea thanks to the stability of the climate, famous around Europe for having over 330 sunny days a year.
- NAUTICAL SPORTS
The sea is a fundamental feature of Gran Canaria´s iconography and is one of its main sources of open-air entertainment. The Tradewinds provides the land with unrivaled conditions to do all sorts of nautical sports along the 236 kilometers of coastline, equipped with modern infrastructures and services, available all year round.
The seafaring tradition of Gran Canaria has resulted in worldwide recognition of regatta racers born on the island, who have achieved success at the Olympic Games and World Championships. This passion for the sea led to the homegrown sailing discipline of Vela Latina being born, a highly popular sport in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, and its sailing school since 1904. The boats are known locally as botes, and carry triangular sails. They represent different neighborhoods around the municipality at a range of competitors held on the bay between April and October.
The ARC regatta, which joins Gran Canaria with the Caribbean of Santa Lucía, is one of the most eagerly awaited events in the year. Each race brings together some 200 sailing vessels and over 1,200 participants who venture across the Atlantic Ocean, either in teams or with other family members.
The southeast of Gran Canaria, just like Hawaii, is one of the best places on the planet for going windsurfing, due to its magnificent weather conditions. Since 1988, Pozo Izquierdo beach has been the venue for one of the most spectacular legs of the World Championships, in which the sports professionals and emerging starts pit their skills against the waves, with acrobatic jumps. The event, which has recently been given the name of Gran Canaria Wind and Waves Festival, has spawned windsurf legends such as Björn Dunkerbeck and the Ruano sisters, Daida and Iballa, who have dominated the competition for decades, and are the starts the younger generations look up to.
- Surf and Bodyboard
The north coast of the island is the region chosen by lovers of surf and bodyboard as they go in search of the perfect wave. Las Canteras beach, at a specific point called La Cícer, is the ideal scenario for learning to surf, at courses provided by specialist schools in the capital throughout the year. Bañaderos and Playa del Hombre, in the municipalities of Arucas and Telde respectively, are other perfect places for the inexperienced to start learning.
If you are looking for big and massive swells that break the incredible and best waves in the island, check out El Frontón, La Guancha and few other places around the Northwest coast of the story island of Gran Canaria. Gran Canaria is also known for the sought after crests at El Frontón (for bodyboard) and El Confital (for surf), which are regular venues for world championships of each speciality. Both locations are recommended for professionals or for highly skilled amateurs only
Kitesurf is another popular sport on the island. Dozens of kites fill the beaches of Vargas and Pozo Izquierdo during the summer, in a spectacular display that owes its fame to the Tradewinds. During the winter months the activity mover further down the coast of Playa del Inglés in search of more favorable conditions.
- Scuba diving
The natural wealth of the sea beds in Gran Canaria opens the doors to a whole new underwater universo in which unknown species live in other pockets around the world. The islands biodiversity is specially remarkable in areas around Sardina del Norte, Caleja Baja, El Cabrón, Pasito Blanco and Las Canteras, as well as other perfect spots that reveal the best kept secrets in the Atlantic Ocean.
# Discover the best places to enjoy your preferred sports#
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- NAUTICAL ACTIVITIES
- SPORTS MARINAS
- SEA TRANSPORT
- SEA EXCURSIONS
- CETACEAN SPOTTING
- DEEP SEA SPORTS
- SURF SCHOOLS
- WINDSURFING SCHOOLS
- KITESURF SCHOOLS
- SCUBA DIVING
The sea is a fundamental element of Gran Canaria´s iconography and is one of its main sources of open air entertainment.
- Deep sea sports fishing
The sports marinas in Gran Canaria are the starting point for fishermen bound for deep sea thrills. White tuna fish from the Atlantic, barracuda and the blue marlin are highly sought after catches, and are accesible between the months of May and November.
The pleasant climate any season of the year encourages expert crews who are looking to enjoy intense days out fishing around the most popularly frequented spots, between Maspalomas headland and El Descojonado, near to La Aldea de San Nicolás.
- DAYTIME LEISURE ACTIVITIES
Gran Canaria is a stunning theme park with irresistible attractions for all the family and friends. Its natural areas meet with all the required safety standards and quality for visitor to enjoy the great outdoors, providing a superb opportunity to get to know the local flora and fauna.
The Finca de Osorio, the Viera y Clavijo Botanical Gardens, and the recreational areas purposely set up at the islands summit all complement the range of leisure and entertainment choices spread around the rest of the island. Places such as Palmitos Park, Sioux City, Aqualand, Maspalomas and the Angry Birds Activity Park in Puerto Rico are just some of the alternatives for a memorable day out.
- THE VIERA Y CLAVIJO BOTANICAL GARDENS #
The much-loved “Canary Garden” was the brainchild of the extraordinary Eric Sventenius. It showpieces the wealth of flora that abounds around the Macaronesia region, and highlights the more than 500 endemic species from the Canary Islands themselves. Covering a surface area of 27 hectares, it is considered the largest botanical garden in Spain
- PALMITOS PARK#
A botanical and ornithological park that boasts 51 different types of palm trees, 1,500 exotic birds and a show featuring birds of prey. It has a superb collection of cacti, orchids, butterflies and hummingbirds, 160 different species of tropical fish, crocodiles and a parrot show.
- HOLIDAY WORLD
The Holiday World Theme Park is at the heart of this Leisure and Entertainment Resort, and the biggest of its kind in the Canaries.
- CROCODILE PARK
A zoological park with over 300 crocodiles, tropical fish, tarantula spiders and a treasure island.
- CACTUALDEA PARK
A botanical garden with a high variety of cacti, palm trees and other tropical plants.
- Sioux City
A Wild West American town. Cowboy shows with horses, buffaloes and cows.
- MINI TRAIN
Route around Playa del Inglés, on a cute miniature sized train.
- SUBMARINO AMARILLO
Travel to the bottom of the sea and discover all its secrets.
- CAMELLO SAFARI DUNA OASIS
A fun camel ride around the famous Maspalomas dunes.
- DONKEY SAFARI LAS TIRAJANAS
- KARTING CLUB GRAN CANARIA
The largest race track in the world. Circuits for young children, older children and adults.
- AQUALAND MASPALOMAS
Water Park with lots of slides. With a mini golf on site.
- ANGRY BIRD ACTIVITY PARK
Open air theme park
Open air adventure park.
- NIGHT TIME ENTERTAINMENT
#Boredom is a completely unknown state of mind in Gran Canaria. The warm temperatures all year round encourage a lively nightlife on a island whose local inhabitants take their entertainment very seriously indeed.
Although it might sound contradictory, the night time in Gran Canaria starts before the sun goes down. The bars and terraces everywhere around are an excellent starting point to kick off a pleasant evening out at a quiet restaurant or at any establishment that provides an outdoor evening meal.
The islands multicultural background has shaped culinary range in which all five continents are represented. Trying out the international cuisine served all over Gran Canaria is a fine way to get started, while a taste of superb local dishes and tapas is also well recommended.
As happens in the rest of Spain, eating hours are very flexible. The last meal of the day can be served between nine and eleven o’clock in the evening, an imaginary frontier at which musical shows, theatre performances and other artistic representations take over, along with the discotheques, pubs and dance halls located around the tourist areas to the south, and up at the capital.
#The warm temperatures all year round encourage a lively nightlife.#
# “Papas Arrugadas” salty potatoes with spicy mojo sauce, the top dish in the Canaries´ culinary heritage.
Gran Canaria´ s cuisine feeds off locally grown products. Farmers on the island grow fruits and vegetables that go into the making of tasty stews and broths. These are usually accompanied by pork, beef and goat’s meat, although chicken and rabbit also play their part in a cuisine that is also complemented by excellent fresh fish from the sea.
Visitors’ first contact with local food will be through its most popular starters. Leg of pork, chorizo sausage from Teror, olives and cheese in its multiple varieties all stand out in the culinary shop window, presided by the famous papas arrugadas salty potatoes with spicy mojo sauce, the top dish in the Canaries’ culinary heritage.
Experienced diners will appreciate the personality that oozes from carajacas, goat’s meat or vieja fish, juicy delights for the islanders. One of the most dearly loved local dishes is sancocho, which is a combination of salty fish, potatoes, sweet potatoes, gofio maize meal, and mojo sauce. There is also ropa vieja, which mixes meat with chickpeas, which is also a celebrated dish.
Gran Canaria is the European coffee and rum capital. The wine harvested in local bodegas is quite admirable, while its desserts come from homemade recipes. The marzipan from Tejeda, the suspiros pastries from Moya, and the bien mesable cakes offer a truly sweet experience, just like the inhabitants on the island.
- CULTURAL LIFE
Culture in Gran Canaria is currently enjoying extraordinary health, thanks to the events and spectacles held on the island throughout the year. The Canaries International Music Festival has consolidated itself as one of the most outstanding events in classical music, thanks to the presence of world renowned figures who have raised its artistic quality and prestige and which signals the start of the cultural calendar.
The International Cinema Festival of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is a bid by the island’s capital to promote independent cinema. Its program includes the showing of films, documentaries and short films in the film industry, and parallel activities in which the current state of the sector is debated.
Since 1992, the Canaries International Jazz & Más Heineken Festival is a fiesta which has brought together artists and lovers of this highly admired music on the island. Its celebration coincides in the summer with the Villa de Ingenio International Folklore Festival, a colorful musical display in which has attracted both local groups and international formations from over 40 countries since its inception.
#Culture in Gran Canaria is currently enjoying extraordinary health, thanks to the events and spectacles held on the island throughout the year.#
The historical heritage of Gran Canaria is readily available to visitors, through an attractive network of museums and art galleries that are scattered all over the island. The buildings they are housed in are of priceless value, and take visitors on a journey through time. There are pre-Hispanic mummies, modern art collections and personal belongs of local literary writers and painters who all made their mark well beyond the Islands’ borders.
To better understand the lives of the islands’ early dwellers, before the arrival of the Castilian conquest, it is well worth a visit to the Canary Museum. This age old institution preserves, studies and exhibits fascinating objects and human remains that illustrate the ways and customs of the aborígenes. The Columbus House Museum is the site where the Genoese sailor stopped off at during his first voyage to America, and its rooms exhibit paintings, cartography documents and navigation instruments, as well as other documents that portray the close ties that existed between Gran Canaria and the far off continent.
Just a few yards away, without leaving Vegueta, the walls of the Atlantic Modern Art Centre (CAAM) are home to over 2,500 works of art of different genres, formats and styles with a distinctly multicultural flavor. This international vocation is shared by Africa House, an institution that specializes in contemporary art and emerging creators, who choose this venue as a place to retell their experiences by way of speeches and conferences that help bring an already nearby territory that much closer to home.
#An attractive network of museums and art galleries that are spread all over the island.#
The north of Gran Canaria is home to other important settlements. The stunning enclave of the valley of Agaete was the site chosen by the early settlers to place nearly 700 tombs on top of a volcanic lava flow known today as the Necropolis of Maipés. Another outstanding site is the Cenobio de Valerón, a collective granary store located in the municipality of Santa María de Guía with over 350 caves, chambers and silos where the aborigines deposited leftovers from the harvests to provide food in times of scarcity. This same function was shared by the Cuevas de Los Canarios, where there are alphabetical type wall etchings in the middle of the Bandama Crater.
The Roque Bentayga was the first worshipping site for the Gran Canarian aborígenes, and is a beautiful natural monument that should not be missed by visitors coming to Gran Canaria. This rocky formation is set right at the heart of the Biosphere Reserve, and served as one of the spiritual hubs for the indigenous people there. Their legacy can be seen at the Visitor Centre, a museum built at the foot of it which provides an insight into the typical customs and rituals of pre-Hispanic culture.
The area surrounding the Mesa de Acusa is the site for the most relevant settlements in Artenara, but the star settlement is the quite unique sacred setting of Risco Caído. It is a group of caves with a circular space in the middle of them used for religious and astronomical purposes, with a skylight that lets in natural light to illuminate wall etchings. This phenomenon can be viewed between the equinoxes of spring and autumn, on a route organized by the Cabildo de Gran Canaria Island Government available by prior appointment only.
No less spectacular are the vestiges found around the east and south of the island, from the ancient settlement of Tufia and the archaeological settlement of Cuatro Puertas, both located in the municipality of Telde. The Guayadeque Ravine, between Ingenio and Agüimes, was the home of a significant dwelling area whose activity and mummified remains can be seen at the Canary Musuem, a vital institution in the field of research and conservation of aboriginal heritage. The Ansite Fortress, a strategic enclave from where the ancient Canarians laid their definitive siege to the Castilian troops in 1483, also boasts a fine Visitor Centre, dedicated to preserving and displaying the legacy inherited from our ancestors.
The final place of interest in the south is the Necropolis of Arteara, in San Bartolomé de Tirajana. The settlement there has over a thousand tomb structures, signalling the importance they obviously had for the aborigines. Just like at the Necropolis of Maipés in Agaete mentioned earlier, a wall surrounds the whole funeral complex, bordering the area reserved for burials.
The craft trade in Gran Canaria owes its singularity to a constant maturing process. The pre-Hispanic dwellers on the island had already started working in clay, an essential raw material for the making of religious figures and seals geometric shapes known as pintaderas. This pottery vocation lives on to the present day at several towns around the island’s interior where they still manufacture carvings, pans, jugs and an endless array of decorative figures.
Foreign influences following the Castilian conquest brought with them techniques and materials that were beneficial for the craft trade, as it brought in embroidery and lacework which was highly acclaimed, both on the islands and elsewhere. Agricultural development brought about an industry that facilitated the transport of products harvested on the land. This is how basket weaving came into being, with the emergence all kinds of baskets, tubs, bags and other objects.
The Canary knife is a highly useful tool for countryfolk and their daily activities, and has acquired a great sentimental value over the years which is passed down from parents to children. No less symbolic for the locals is the timple, a wooden musical instrument resembling a guitar, with five strings on it, which has played a crucial role in folkloric culture on the islands.
The FEDAC shops give visitors the chance to acquire craftwork pieces from Gran Canaria. These objects are the result of the old fashioned trades that refused to dwindle and die, and are the glowing display of local history and traditions.
Gran Canaria is a superb destination for shoppers, thanks to its huge range of shopping areas and very low levels of tax on products. The island has large shopping centres, featuring all the big national and international brand names, alongside smaller establishments which will seduce incoming visitors with locally sourced products from the land.
The main tourist areas of San Bartolomé de Tirajana and Mogán, the open shopping areas of Vecindario, Telde and Gáldar, alongside the island’s capital city, have large numbers of shops and shopping centres where visitors can get hold of anything they wish. The distinguished street of Triana, the bustling Avenida de Mesa y López and the area around the Port of La Luz and Las Palmas are open air bazaars that are open all year round. They are a must for visitors to catch up with all the latest fashion trends while treating themselves to some fine tapas.
Outside the main cities, the interior of Gran Canaria is another great option to be able to get up close to the fascinating work of local craftsmen and women. The FEDAC shops sell traditional items with a deep-rooted island seal. These items can also be found around the markets that open their doors at weekends in the middle of the island. The markets of Teror, San Mateo, Santa Brígida and the stalls up at Cruz de Tejeda are great places to find that special souvenir or culinary product that will forever remind visitors of their trip here.
#Gran Canaria is a superb destination for shoppers, thanks to its huge range of shopping areas and a very low tax system on products.#
Gran Canaria is a tourist destination where fun is closely linked to the kindness of its people. The festive repertoire kicks off with the famous Carnival, one of the most eagerly awaited and attractive events, and of special relevance to visitors for its international feel. The island’s fine climate enables these popular festive traditions to be held throughout the year. Local fiestas such as La Rama and El Charco are bursting with age old and historical, religious and culinary customs, all of which contribute to strengthening Canarian cultural identity.
- RURAL TOURISM
The wealth of natural surroundings in Gran Canaria was rewarded in 2005 with 46% of its land surface area and sea being declared a Biosphere Reserve. With this award came recognition by Unesco of the fine state of preservation of protected areas on the island, its sustainable development linked to traditional activities in smaller towns and villages, and the uniqueness of its local flora and fauna.
All these factors, which have produced a varied landscape of stunning beauty, have turned Gran Canaria into a natural setting for rambling, playing adventure sports and discovering endemic species that are unknown in other places around the world. The fauna that inhabits the island is completely harmless. The lizards, the wide range of bird species including the blue chaffinch, marine mammals and fish can be marvelled at all year round, while visitors can breathe in the fresh aromas of laurel tree forests and stoll around the palm trees, cardoon plants or towering pine trees at the foot of the mountains.
The range of accommodation includes rural cottages and hotels spread around the whole of the island. All the biodiversity that Gran Canaria boasts can also be seen from its network of viewpoints, with 31 amazing balconies that provide the finest panoramic views.
- ACTIVE TOURISM
The mild climate that rules the lives of the islanders encourages physical exercise in natural surroundings
The mountains and ravines in Gran Canaria are an open air gymnasium 365 days of the year. The mild climate that rules the lives of the islanders encourages physical exercise in natural surroundings and attracts elite sportsmen and women to set up camp here for their training.
The orographic terrain depicts a horizon marked by great contrast and fosters outdoor activities such as hiking, climbing and mountain bike. An example of the excellent conditions offered by the island for active tourism is its extensive mountain racing calendar, featuring the outstanding Transgrancanaria, the Artenara Trail, the Tejeda Circular, the Entre Cortijos Mountain Run, and the Villa de Moya Circular Extreme.
Every year, the roads around Gran Canaria welcome cycling tourists and professional cyclists who choose the island for its wonderful climatic conditions and its steep mountain slopes. The ascent to Pico de Las Nieves is one of the toughest in Europe with stretches of road that reach slopes of 23%.
Gran Canaria is truly passionate about its sport. Many are the disciplines to be enjoyed on the island. The mild climate and its many unique orographic condtions are an open invitation to do exercise in the sea or in natural surroundings on land. There are just so many different choices for you to release your energy, or just enjoy going along to the traditional sporting displays that are held all around its 21 municipalities. The shepherd’s stick jump, the stick fight or heavy stone lifting and ploughing are the showcase for ancient customs that in some cases date back to times before the conquest.
The most popular home grown sport on the Archipielago is Canary Wrestling, a sport originally played by the aborigenes, whose seal of identity is nobleness, and which has survived to today. Latin Sailing is another deep-rooted sport along the coastline of the capital city, the place for the headquarters of Union Deportivo Las Palmas Football Club and Gran Canaria Basketball Club, two elite sporting institutions with thousands of fans.
The island also holds other interesting sporting events such as the Gran Canaria Walking Festival, the Frontón King and the start of the ARC sea race that joins the capital with the Caribbean island of Santa Lucía. Every year, Gran Canaria also welcomes professional sportsmen and women from the world of cycling, swimming, running and beach volley, who come to make the most of the local climatic conditions and the quality of local facilities to prepare their next challenges.
#The Royal Golf Club of Las Palmas became the first golf club to be inaugurated in the country, in 1891.
Gran Canaria has made a remarkable contribution to the development of golf in Spain. The Royal Golf Club of Las Palmas, located on the edge of the Bandama Crater, became the first golf club in the country to be inaugurated in 1891. Since then, the island has presented its credentials as a most pleasant setting for golf enthusiasts, who pour in from all over Europe, drawn in by the fine climate and ever improving air links, that today can bring golfers here on direct flights from the European mainland in a few short hours.
There are eight magnificent golf courses scattered all over the island. Their links have been designed by top course architects. No course is further than 50 kilometres away from another, meaning golfers can try them all out. Another of the attractions are the superb natural views to be had from all points of the courses. Beaches and mountains are all around as players hammer the ball down the fairway.
- HEALTH TOURISM
Gran Canaria welcomed its first tourists towards the end of the 19th century, when people travelled over from the United Kingdom to the island, seduced by the generosity of its climate and the incredible curative properties of its waters. The period of transformation society underwent during the Second Industrial Revolution in Europe made the most thoughtful individuals search for a solution to the problems derived from the pollution and the economic and demographic changes that were happening. With heart and lung disease rife at this time, people’s skin and bones found cures in the now extinct spas of Azuaje and Los Berrazales, highly popular at the time.
Those incipient health expeditions planted the seed of an activity taken on board by Eduardo Filiputti, the creator of a heliotherapy centre in the 1960s right next to the Maspalomas Dunes, considered the precursor to today’s extensive range of establishments specializing in body care and relaxation that exist in Gran Canaria.
The island now has Spa and Wellness centres managed by professionals who specialize in wellbeing and health and beauty. Treatments with seaweed, sea mud, hydrotherapy, salt baths, aromatherapy, thalassotherapy, massages and Turkish baths are just a few of the alternative therapies available to visitors to relieve aches and pains, stress and boredom.
- LGTB TOURISM
Gran Canaria is one of the most popular tourist destinations with the European LGTB community, who have stayed loyal with the island for decades now. The open mentality of the locals makes this region a place where all sexual orientations are fully respected. The only thing not allowed to visitors is not to have fun, while the area taken up by Maspalomas and Playa del Inglés is the greatest example of the peaceful coexistence between residents and tourists.
The range of accommodation in Gran Canaria varies from hotels to bungalows and apartments, some of which are considered gayfriendly. However, for complete privacy visitors can stay at exclusively gay establishments at coastal locations, and just a stone’s throw away from the beach. The gay community also has an area specially reserved for it in a warm corner of Maspalomas. Beach Kiosk number 7 is the reference bar for those who want to cool off while enjoying pleasant conversation down by the sea.
All the roads from Playa del Inglés lead to the Yumbo Shopping Centre, a gay universe that undergoes constant transformation. In the mornings, its alternative shops offer cheaply priced products that cater for the LGTB community. When the sun goes down, the time comes for entertainment. Bars, discos and pavement cafés open their doors for revellers to have fun till they drop.
Gay Pride, which lasts for two weeks, and the Drag Queen Galas at the Carnivals of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and Maspalomas, are two sacred events in the festive calendar on the island. These celebrations are of great media impact throughout the whole continent, due to its harmonious blend of fun and respect.