Gran Canaria features as a favourite destination for many UK Holidaymakers. From the gorgeous sandy beach of Playa del Ingles to the family-focused Arguineguin, there’s something for everyone! Towns on the South coast are usually the most popular, however, if you take a step back from these purpose-built resorts you can discover a wealth of incredible experiences. Wander the gardens of this UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, pause for lunch in the traditional terracotta towns of the North and discover a magical underground history.
Here we delve into the heart of Gran Canaria, journeying through its rolling hillside and North towards the capital of Las Palmas.
Caldera de Bandama – Volcanic Crater
Wind your way through the Northern vineyards of the popular Vino Del Monte grapes and you’ll find the Caldera de Bandama, a striking volcanic crater in the North of Gran Canaria. At 1000m wide it’s a breath-taking sight to behold; climb down into the crater passing fruitful fig and orange trees as well as lush eucalyptus plants during the descent. On clear days admire the distant views of Fuerteventura from atop the Pico de Bandama (the peak) which gifts sweeping vistas to the North and East of the island.
Puerto Mogan – “Little Venice”
This gorgeous pedestrianised town in the South of the island is bursting with the floral beauty of Bougainvillea, palm trees and bird-of-paradise flowers. Wander around the pretty marina and harbour lined with small, colourful fishing boats that supply the catch of the day for the local restaurants where you can dine on a delicious menu of seafood cuisine. Small arches and waterways pass through the town gifting it with the charming nickname of “Little Venice”. Explore the open-air market of Puerto Mogan on a Friday which fills the two main plazas – look out for locally produced candles and glass-sculptures to bring home for your loved ones.
Playa de las Canteras & Sardina del Norte – Unspoiled beaches
Discover a beach with a difference at Playa de las Canteras in Las Palmas where you’ll find intriguing sand sculptures with new designs and ideas inspiring its visitors. Voted as the 8th best beach in the whole of Spain by TripAdvisor’s Travellers Choice Award 2015 the golden sands and calm waters are a haven for families.
Sardina del Norte boasts a colourful backdrop of pretty villas to accompany its little-known beach whilst a host of restaurants serve you well with local delicacies along the promenade. Cueva Pintada (painted caves) dating back to the Guanches, aboriginal inhabitants of the Canary Islands, are nearby giving visitors an insight into life thousands of years previous to their visit.
Jardin Canario & Doramas Park – Botanical beauty
Gran Canaria’s lush landscape has led to its World Biosphere Reserve title from UNESCO and the beautiful gardens you can find across the island definitely do it justice. In the North-East, the Jardins Canario are 27-acres of beautiful botanical gardens consisting of over 500 plants creating a truly peaceful location to spend an afternoon.
Located in Las Palmas, Doramas Park provides a haven of nature and is a great place to escape the sunshine whilst wandering through the shaded gardens. Stop by on a Thursday or Sunday and you may be lucky enough to hear folk music from the neighbouring Pueblo Canario (a traditional Canarian Village)!
Agüimes and Telde – Terracotta Towns
A lovely way to experience the Canary Islands neo-classical architecture is by visiting the town of Agüimes where narrow cobble-stoned streets are lined by Terracotta homes in a picturesque setting. Visit the Parish Church of San Sebastián to get a closer look to this architectural style and enjoy the elevated views towards the coastline from this idyllic countryside town.
Discover the town of Telde to experience Gran Canaria’s deep history. The intriguing sites of Cendro, Tara and el Baladero consist of a series of underground caves with the latter amongst the most important for the native culture. The Bay of Gando offers a gorgeous location for taking in the unspoiled coastline with dainty fishing boats and traditional homes nestled upon the hillside.
Casa de Colon – Columbus House
Ornate doorways and latticed balconies welcome visitors to the Casa de Colon – Columbus House in Las Palmas. It is claimed that the famous explorer Christopher Colombus once stayed here in 1492, however, this palace has now become a fascinating museum. A magnificent collection of model ships, a replica from the La Nina (one of Colombus’ original ships), paintings and incredible artefacts from the travels of this great adventurer can be found here.
Catedral de Santa Ana – Unique designs
At the heart of the Vegueta quarter of Gran Canaria lays the charming Plaza de Santa Ana where the first church of the Canaries can be found. Building began in 1500 and took over 400 years to complete leading to the appearance of 3 very different styles (Gothic, Renaissance and Neoclassical) that give it a truly unique design! Within the Cathedral de Santa Ana you will also find the Museo Diocesano de Arte Sacro (Sacred Art Museum) which houses Spanish sculptures and paintings collected over the past 4 Centuries.
Here, in no particular order, are two RCI Gold Crown and TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence (2015) winning resorts for you to choose from in Gran Canaria:
Picture yourself lazing on the white Caribbean sands soaking up the warm sunshine on the South coast of Gran Canaria at the luxurious Anfi Beach Club. A beautiful collection of elegant Studio to 3-bedroom penthouse apartments come fully-furnished with all the modern luxuries you can expect at this multi-award winning resort. Refresh yourself within the free-form heated swimming pool, sip on ice-cool cocktails and learn to scuba dive at Anfi’s very own scuba school whilst the kids have a great time at Benito’s inclusive Kids Club.
Holidays to this gorgeous resort afford you with stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and golden sands of Amadores Beach from the comfort of your private balcony. Each of the stylish 1 & 2-bedroom apartments ease you through your holiday with a soothing Jacuzzi and well-appointed living room that relaxes you ready to explore the great delights of Gran Canaria. Dine on mouth-watering refreshments at the poolside bar, rejuvenate yourself within the cooling pool and treat yourself to a massage at the spa.