Our first ever sun holiday as a couple was in the Canary Islands a few years back. We heard amazing things about Tenerife and Gran Canaria, so it's no surprise we wanted to experience the laid-back island life, delicious fresh food and mile-long sandy beaches. What is great about these islands is that none of them is short in mountain hiking and biking trails, shopping and nightlife spots, restaurants and bars. This makes the Canary Islands a versatile destination which can tick various boxes for many travellers. We are soft adventure lovers who love pursuing culinary activities, so the Canary Island seemed perfect for us.
Our first Canary island destination was Tenerife. We loved hiking in Tenerife and discovering amazing things to do on the island. Since we loved Tenerife so much, there is no surprise that we decided to enjoy a Gran Canaria holiday next and have yet another great travelling experience.
Getting to Gran Canaria
There are lots of daily flights from mainland Spain as well as many other European countries. There are various cheap airline companies which, if booked in advance can cost less than £100 per person return. You must hold a valid passport or visa depending on what country you live in, the duration of your visit and your reason for travelling, e.g. tourism, work or study.
The airport in Gran Canaria is located 25 km from tourist destinations and only 18 km from the capital, Las Palmas. There are various shuttles which you can prebook, or you can rent a car so you can better explore the island at your own leisure.
When to visit Gran Canaria
Gran Canaria is a year-round destination. Although the winter might not offer as many hours of sunshine or bathing in the ocean, the temperatures are still higher than in the rest of Europe. Summers are the most popular and the warmest. Winter has the most attractive ticket prices, so if you are in it for a bargain, then make sure to check your options from November to February.
Customs and Traditions in Gran Canaria
If you are interested in the cultural side of Gran Canaria, then the island is wonderful as it has many fiestas and carnivals throughout the year. During fiestas, locals dress up in colourful costumes, sell handicraft items and play various games to keep the young ones entertained. Of course, there would be no fiesta without food and drinks which are plentiful. The main carnival is held every year between January and February in Las Palmas. It starts with street parties, known as verbenas del mogollón.
Things to do in Gran Canaria
There are so many awesome things to do in Gran Canaria. It all depends on the type of traveller you are and the sort of activity you are interested in. Are you a beach person, foodie traveller, adventure seeker? Gran Canaria has something for everyone.
Are you a beach lover? Know that Gran Canaria has 230 kilometres of coastline with all sort of beaches, which come in all shapes and sizes. Perhaps the most beautiful sight is the Maspalomas sand dunes. Here you’ll find a 2,000-hectare strip of land with 17 km of coastline with sand dunes, wide sandy beaches, shallow waters and an excellent all-year-round climate. Are you in love already?
If you fancy something a little more popular, lined with restaurants and bars, then Playa del Inglés is the go-to-place. A bit of a romantic? Check out Playa de Amadores (Lovers’ Beach) or seek some quiet on the Playa Taurito or San Agustín. To best experience the island, rent a car and drive around it so you pick your favourite beach. Which one is it going to be?
Once you got an amazing tan and explored some of the island's ancient trails, head over to Las Palmas and immerse yourself in the local culture. Go to morning markets, engage with locals and visit various museums which can be found all around the island. In Gran Canaria, people love to celebrate festivals whether they are of religious or cultural nature. There is always something going on, which makes Gran Canaria an ideal place for culture lovers. The islands are also home to some internationally renowned festivals, including International Film Festival of Las Palmas, the Festival de Música de Canarias (Canarian Classical Music Festival) and the Festival de Ópera.
Walking and hiking
We love walking and hiking and wouldn't miss experiencing a little of Gran Canaria's beautiful and mountains terrain. The island has many ancient paths, covering 66,000 hectares of protected lands. Some of these walks are on newly-built paths and there are some challenging ones with serious climbs, but there are also a series of relatively short and easy walks. Please remember that conditions in the mountains are very different than on the coastline, so make sure you pack waterproof and hiking gear. You can check some trails here and start planning your hiking activities.
Hey, sports lovers, we didn't forget you! The brilliant weather in Gran Canaria is exceptional for sports, including cycling, diving, water skiing and sailing. We especially love scuba diving. I still remember my first ever dive in the Seychelles. Pretty crazy! Nowadays, I can't wait to simply explore the depths of the oceans. Gran Canaria has some crystal clear waters, full of incredible marine life waiting to be discovered.
As we love a bit of adventure, we are keen on mountain biking, and we can assure you, with its diverse terrain, Gran Canaria sure is the perfect place for it.
Gran Canaria is traditional and versatile, but with an influx of international travellers, comes the demand for vibrant nightlife. The island isn't short on bars and nightclubs which cater for party souls. It's good to remember that little happens before midnight. Nightlife in Gran Canaria is lively, starts late and goes on all night with most bars open until 2 AM and clubs keep up with the party people until 6 AM. What better way to end a night out, then heading to the beach and admiring a beautiful sunrise?
Gran Canaria is a wonderful destination which caters for a range of travellers. It is in a unique position whereby it can accommodate budget seekers, whilst being home to opulent options for luxury travellers. It has beautiful beaches, gorgeous mountains, it is culturally alive and offers a variety of bars and restaurants which serve fresh and delicious food. It is easy to see why Gran Canaria should be on your destination list.
What do you think? Are you ready for a trip to Gran Canaria? Leave a comment below and tell us what type of traveller you are and what excites you most about Gran Canaria.
Thank you, Deal Checker for sponsoring this post and reminding us how incredible Gran Canaria really is. The information provided in this article is 100% real and down to Earth and is entirely reflects our opinions only. We hope you will love Gran Canaria just as much as we did.