Visiting Gran Canaria - What to See and Do
(Gran Canaria Airport LPA, Spain)
Often called 'the miniature continent', Gran Canaria
is blessed with an assortment of landscapes and environments. This makes tourism even more enthralling for the island, as it is certainly not a 'one-hit-wonder' by any means. Plenty of enticing attractions have transformed the island into a thriving sightseeing destination, sparkling with exuberance around every corner.
Almost one-third of the island is a UNESCO recognised biosphere reserve. Many of the landscapes add an important dynamic to the island's atmosphere. Beautiful beaches, sprawling sand dunes, signature green hills and a rocky eastern coastline make for brilliant day trips around the island. Tourists have an abundance of attractions to explore when holidaying here.
Temperatures remain warm throughout the year, even after dark. This makes scuba diving, beach holidays, boat cruising and nightclubbing popular for tourists all year round. The capital city, Las Palmas, is bursting with an incredible night scene, and Playa del Ingles also boasts a fascinating after-dark culture. From dawn to dusk to dawn again, Gran Canaria will delight with a host of fascinating sights.
Ten things you must do in Gran Canaria
- Las Canteras Beach (Playa de Las Canteras) is perhaps the best-known beach in all of the Canary Islands. This magnificent, 4-km / 2.5-mile long strip of golden sand can become quite busy during the summer peak season. However, visitors should still find time to spend a morning or afternoon at this beach. It is found in the heart of Las Palmas and offers diving spots too.
- In the southern reaches of the island, Palmitos Park is a thriving bird sanctuary that welcomes thousands of nature-enthusiasts each year. Swans, ducks, hummingbirds, parrots and a range of birds of prey dot the park, giving tourists a wide variety of species to try and spot. In addition, dolphin photo opportunities and a small aquaria can also be visited.
- Located along the coast of Maspalomas, Englishman's Beach (Playa del Ingles) is another popular beach attraction in the southern area of Gran Canaria. The water is an azure blue and the beach boasts a wide girth, giving plenty of space for tourists. This beach is another of Gran Canaria's important tourist magnets, so becomes quite busy during the peak tourist season.
- Just behind the city of Maspalomas, the massive sand dune landscape is a small reenactment of the great Sahara Desert. Stretching inland for several kilometres, the Maspalomas Dunes are a great place to experience a desert zone. Tours to this part of the island can be arranged via the Internet or at larger hotels on Gran Canaria.
- On the eastern side of the island, the small town of Aguimes is the perfect place to experience a more traditional Gran Canarian lifestyle. Much of Aguimes has been restored, and sites like the old church and peaceful town square make for excellent sightseeing opportunities.
- The capital city of Gran Canaria, Las Palmas, is home to many fascinating attractions that go beyond the beach. The Cathedral of Las Palmas is a stunning religious structure that can be seen from anywhere in the capital. Inside, tourists are greeted by a beautiful interior, complete with a forest of columns close to the central nave.
- The Canaria Museum is where many of the archipelago's archaeological finds end up. The Canary Islands boasts several famous archaeological sites, and this museum is like an easy summary of the best. Tourists can spend several hours discovering the ancient relics and artefacts of Gran Canaria and other surrounding islands. The museum has become an impressive tourist attraction in Las Palmas and is certainly worth looking out for.
- Even though Gran Canaria radiates an interesting aura year-round, tourists will feel more in love than ever when Las Palmas hosts the regional Carnaval festival each February. Much grander than neighbouring Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria and its capital city put on a remarkable celebration that includes parades, processions, dances, music and feasts.
- Scuba diving is an important feature of Gran Canaria. The best spot on the island to explore brilliant, underwater treasures is the El Cabron Marine Reserve. It is found close to the small town of Arinaga and includes volcanic reefs, cliffs, hanging walls, caves and a range of marine creatures, like angel sharks and sea horses.
- The interior of the island is famous for its hilly landscape. Therefore, hiking tours are a regular draw for tourists. A slew of interesting landmarks are on display along walking tracks, including cave dwellings and breathtaking mountain scenery. The flora and fauna found across the island is also quite special.