Best time to visit: May, June, July, August
Average high: 24˚C
Average low: 18˚C
Price of meals: 2/5
Holiday type: Adventure / Beach / Family / Party / Romantic
Gran Canaria is one of the most populated islands in the Canary Islands and, while it is predominantly Spanish speaking, the majority of the island inhabitants speak English. Despite being only 602 square miles in size, its vast array of beaches, mountains and climate has led to visitors referring to it as a “continent in miniature”.
First and foremost, Gran Canaria should be enjoyed for its sandy beaches and all-inclusive hotels, so the most popular resorts can be found along the flatter coastal regions in the south and southwest
and the north and northeast. Most hotels have easy access to nearby beaches which also offer their own activities, including surfing and diving with local sea life. Some areas are more prone to late-
night partying than others, so families and couples preferring a quiet break should do some research before booking their stay.
The mountains running from the northwest coast towards the southeast divide the island’s climate, meaning the north is often cooler than the south. Within the mountains themselves, adventure and
nature lovers can enjoy the forest and rocky hikes, a wide variety of flora and fauna and nature parks to explore. Paragliding from atop the rocky coast is the best way to get a bird’s-eye view of the island,
while 4x4s and camels are available to those who want to explore the island from the ground in two very different ways.
The island is also home to Spain’s oldest golf course, as well as shopping centres, museums and a whole range of restaurants and bars. Tourists wanting to see more of the island than their small
corner can hire cars or use public transport to navigate the motorway that circles much of the island, while ferries and flights are available for visiting the neighbouring Canary Islands.
Much of Gran Canaria is subtropical, with large parts of the island being quite dry, forming such landscapes as the sand dunes in Maspalomas. However, its mountainous middle means the third-
largest island in the Canaries is actually one of the most diverse for the climate. Arguably, the southwest receives the best weather, where its beaches are protected from the wind all year. Las Palmas, in the northeast, isn’t protected by the mountains, so is often cooler and can sometimes be cloudier. Meanwhile, the mountains themselves range from rocky to flush with vegetation, including pine
forest and almond trees.
Meals are relatively cheap in Gran Canaria, averaging €8 for a meal for one. A more substantial three-course meal for two is likely to cost between €20 and €40. Beer ranges from €1.50 to €3.50, but you will be able to buy a bottle of water in most locations for less than €1. If you stay in a hotel, remember to ask about special offers on food and drink for guests.
Winter need not be that gloomy time of year with dark days and wet nights. Swap the fireplace for blue skies and sunshine and the gloves and scarf for shorts and sunscreen by booking a winter getaway ...
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