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Gran Canaria at a glance

Gran Canaria has a kind of magic. You can soak up the sun on a beach and then marvel at the view from a snow-capped mountain.  There are miles of desert-like sand dunes and waterfalls in lush forests.

Some atmospheric towns and villages have stepped from history books. Yet there are buzzing bars and clubs in modern resorts rich with luxurious hotels, great shops, amazing spas and fine cafes.

There is so much packed into Gran Canaria that it is described as a continent in miniature – and that’s a big advert for a button-shaped island about the same size as London.

Of course, you can always just stay put in the sun. It’s warm enough to enjoy the beach at any time of year and, like the rest of the island, the 147 miles of coastline offers an amazing choice. There are nearly 40 miles of beaches, including miles of white sand, small bays, busy town beaches, fishing villages, secluded coves and rugged cliffs.   

A multitude of micro-climates mean that on Christmas Day the sun can shine for hours and the summer months rarely see a drop of rain. The average temperature is a comfortable 24 degrees Centigrade, about 20 degrees warmer than an average UK winter’s day.

The main resorts and beaches are on the island’s sunniest south side. The north and west are wetter, greener and rugged.  Inland are miles of natural parks, stunning mountains, a huge volcanic crater and breathtaking scenery.

Many beaches are centres for all kinds of water sports as well as fishing trips and sea excursions. There are superb golf courses and tennis academies and miles of beautiful hiking and cycling trails.

Gran Canaria is a Mother Nature theme park so well protected that almost half the island is a UNESCO biosphere reserve.  Maybe it really is wonderful enough to be the eighth continent on Earth.

Where to stay in Gran Canaria

San Agustin, Gran Canaria, Canary Islands

San Agustin

The resort of San Agustin is situated on the south coast of Gran Canaria, providing a relaxing alternative to busier resorts.

Puerto Rico, Gran Canaria, Canary Islands

Puerto Rico

The resort of Puerto Rico lies on the south east tip of Gran Canaria, offering a modern lively resort with great facilities.

Puerto Mogan, Gran Canaria, Canary Islands

Puerto de Mogan

Prepare to be completely enchanted by this chic little seaside resort on the southern coast of Gran Canaria.

Playa Del Ingles, Gran Canaria, Canary Islands

Playa del Ingles

Playa del Ingles is the largest resort in Gran Canaria and a true holiday hotspot.

Maspalomas, Gran Canaria, Canary Islands

Maspalomas

Maspalomas has a gorgeous 6 km long beach, overlooked by stunning sand dunes separating it from Playa del Ingles.

Playa Del Cura.jpg

Playa Del Cura

Gran Canaria, one of the prettiest Canary Islands, with the peak of Pozo de Las Nieves at its centre, and hiking through Gran Canaria’s Bandama crater Gran Canaria is the third-largest island in the Canaries’ archipelago, but accounts for almost half the popu…

Best Time to Visit Gran Canaria

Circular-shaped Gran Canaria, which has a sub-tropical climate, is a divided island. It is green and damp in the North and like a desert in the South. It is cold enough for snow on the mountain tops in winter – and still warm enough to sunbathe and swim on the coast.

If you’re a beach person, the best time is the summer when the sun shines for 10 hours a day and the sea is the warmest it gets (about 23 degrees Centigrade).  The average temperature is 24 degrees, lower than might be expected because of the cooling breeze. The hottest summer temperature is 28 degrees. 

At Christmas and New Year the sun can shine for six or seven hours on most days and the temperature is likely to be a warm 20 to 25 degrees Centigrade. You will need to wrap up a bit in the evenings. The sea temperature will be around 20 degrees and people do swim all year round.

Most rain falls between November and February, but more than five rainy days a month is unusual. It rarely rains at all between May and September.

Two massive events for the island are the annual carnivals from mid-February to the beginning of Easter and Gay Pride in Maspalomas in September. The carnival’s spectacular big parade in Las Palmas attracts more than 200,000 people and the 19th annual Gay Pride event expects well over 100,000 to attend.

Gran Canaria Travel Advice

Car Hire:  The road network is good and there are numerous car hire companies. It’s a convenient way to explore much of the island, although there are few roads in the mountains in the south-west.  You will need to have picture ID (passport or driving licence) in the car with you as well as the car rental contract. Drive on the right.

Bus: There are two bus companies. The blue Global buses travel around the island, even to the mountains. The yellow Guaguas Municipales buses run on 40 routes in the capital, Las Palmas.  Most buses have air-conditioning. Multi-trip tickets can be bought at a discount.  Routes and fares can be obtained (in English) online. 

Taxis: Taxis display a green light when available and can be flagged down in the street. They are generally available in towns and resorts or can be booked by phone (or through hotels). There is a taxi fare calculator online. 

Ferry: Ferries and jetfoils link Gran Canaria with Tenerife, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, using the ports of Las Palmas and Agaete. The crossing to Tenerife can be done in just over an hour. You will also see ocean-going yachts beginning their journey across the Atlantic to the Caribbean. There are also ferry links with mainland Spain.

Flights:  Inter-island flights around the Canary islands are offered by two companies based at Gran Canaria Airport.

Make the most of your trip Things to see & do

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