Gran Canaria The Great Atlantic Escape
11 October, 2016
Our free days are a pleasant surprise on the calendar and the best way to get the most out of them is to board a plane bound for some fresh, entertaining and getatable destination. That spot is Gran Canaria, a whirlwind of sensations, halfway between Europe, Africa and America.
Gran Canaria is just a two-hour flight from the Iberian Peninsula. So, getting there is really easy. A comfortable trip with no stopovers will convey you to that diverse land which emerged millions of years ago from submerged volcanoes in the depths of the Atlantic.
One of the perks offered by a Gran Canaria getaway is, of course, the winter sun. Temperatures on the island remain a constant 24 degrees all year around, enabling you to make the most of any outing to Las Canteras, Maspalomas, Playa del Inglés or Puerto de Mogán, some of the best known and famous beaches.
The Gran Canaria seaboard is the perfect setting for letting off steam by engaging in watersports, but, if what you’re after is making forays into the island’s interior, you should make a point of visiting the towns of Teror, Agüimes, Tejeda and Artenara, or such stunning spots as the Guayadeque Gorge, an ancient pre-Hispanic settlement which nowadays is noted for its striking, cosy cave houses.
Any trip to Gran Canaria should include a visit to the island’s summit, a central area in the Biosphere Reserve where the Roque Nublo and Roque Bentayga outcrops stand. Oh, and remember to get your camera ready. There, you will literally feel like you have arrived in heaven when the weather phenomenon known as the “sea of clouds” spreads out at your feet, as if you were the main subject in a painting set against the memorable scenery of steep mountains and deep gorges.
The north coast of Gran Canaria features some must-see sites such as Puerto de Las Nieves and the Valle de Agaete, a lush garden with tropical fruit housing the only coffee plantation in Europe. Gáldar awaits you with the majesty of the Cueva Pintada (Painted Cave), the largest native Canarian archaeological site, while Arucas, for its part, is the headquarters of Arehucas Rum, a peerless drink which has livened up the festivities of many generations of Canary Islanders.
Well worth visiting is Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, a carefree capital with a wealth of cultural activities. Its Vegueta district is the city’s historic centre and you are urged to venture into the monumental area to see close-up the Cathedral of Santa Ana, Museo Canario, Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno and Christopher Columbus House Museum, a beautiful enclave where the Genoese navigator stopped over on his way to discovering America and which highlights the relationship between the Canary Islands and the New World.
If you’re up for an intense day of shopping at more than reasonable prices, the Calle Mayor de Triana is the ideal spot for it. Large, national and international firms and prestigious brands have stores in this shopping area, and the latter is a pleasure on the eyes, as the district features picturesque buildings in various architectural styles.
Gran Canaria is a lively island, an urban travel destination where you can soak up the atmosphere of its street markets and craft stalls, as well as the various events held there during the year. The last quarter of 2016 will see such long-awaited events as the start of the ARC Transatlantic Race, the Underwater Photography Contest, the Bethlehem built of sand on Las Canteras beach or the Gran Canaria Walking Festival, a grand event for trekking enthusiasts which in this upcoming fifth edition will be including new routes and a night itinerary for star-gazing on the Cumbre de Tejeda.
All these offerings make Gran Canaria a unique destination for an exciting long weekend or warm autumn or winter holiday. Here, time flies by and the island has lots of travel plans to be savoured in advance.
Why wait to experience all this first-hand? Check out our flights here.
Images by Patronato Turismo Gran Canaria
11 October, 2016