A Family Getaway on Gran Canaria
Gran Canaria has all you need for a great family escape – a plethora of beaches of all types, suitable both for toddlers and grown-ups; reserves where you can enjoy nature in all its splendour and embark on all kinds of adventures; leisure areas where children can have a whale of a time, and a climate which permits you to enjoy holidays at any time of year. What more could you ask for? Here, then, is a selection of several family holiday plans on Gran Canaria, where you will have an unforgettable time.
Beaches for Children
Admit it – the place where kids really have the best time is at the seaside, what with its mix of water and sand where they can play for hours on end. And, don’t deny it – it’s also the perfect spot for adults, where a good dose of sunlight and a refreshing dip help you leave all your worries behind. The beaches are one of the major draws to Gran Canaria and you can enjoy them all year around, thanks to the island’s mild climate. Nearly 236 kilometres of coastline offer just short of 60 kilometres of beaches of all kinds, from the kilometres-long sandy beaches to the more rugged, rocky coves with natural pools.
If you’re travelling with the kids, we recommend you make for the south of the island, to the area of Dunas de Maspalomas. Each year this beach attracts a host of vacationers seeking a well-earned rest and it is likely to be the perfect spot for your holiday, too. Other worthwhile options include Playa del Inglés, which is perfect for doing watersports, those of San Agustín and Las Burras, swathed in an aura of tranquility, and the beach of Las Canteras, renowned for being one of the finest urban beaches in the country. If you’re the more adventurous type, then head for El Puertillo and Agaete with their natural rock pools.
Activities for Children
Apart from the proverbial seaside, Gran Canaria also hosts numerous activities for all the family. Following are some pointers.
1. Gran Canaria – a Huge Nature Reserve
As far as nature goes, Gran Canaria is the equivalent of a miniature continent which stands out for its rich biodiversity. So, make a point of touring this grand Biosphere Reserve in search of its unique landscapes.
2. Dolphin Spotting
Dolphins can often be sighted in the south of the island and spotting them is thrilling for all the family. Enjoy a sailing adventure full of excitement as you wait for these friendly cetaceans to make their appearance. They are sure to treat you the odd acrobat leap as well. Your entertainment is guaranteed!
3. Theme Parks
Theme parks are a great standby when you are travelling with children. On Gran Canaria the young ones will have lots of thrills and spills careering down the water slides at Aqualand Maspalomas, venturing into the Wild West at Sioux City or testing their climbing skills on the various circuits at GrancAventura, among other things. And, while we’re on the subject, the Poema del Mar Aquarium will be opening to the public shortly. The aquarium recreates as accurately as possible the ecosystems of dozens of species that live both in and out of the water, so take note!
A holiday on Gran Canaria is the ideal opportunity for youngsters to try their hand on a surfboard. La Cícer, on Las Canteras beach, and Las Alcaravaneras, in the heart of the city, are great spots for learning and practising this sport.
5. Sightseeing in Town
And, needless to say, a holiday on this fantastic island should also include a bus tour of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, the island’s major city, its old town dating back 500 years. The atmosphere there is lively and you can do a welcome spot of shopping. Don’t miss out on it!
Ruta Gran Canaria
A train to the clouds
A front row seat to touch the sky. That's Gran Canaria, an island with many points to observe the firmament. High peaks and clear, dark skies are some of the advantages to its contemplation in the island. Also, and thanks to the phenomenon called by locals 'Panza de Burro', which makes the clouds gather low above sea level, and that blocks the light pollution of cities.
Some companies, such as the Astronomical Observatory Temisas, thst carries out many of such activities in different places of the island. And AstroEduca with its teaching about astronomy.
Tejeda and the summits of Gran Canaria
The protected landscape of great beauty of Las Cumbres, spans a very important sector of the north and northeast of the island of Gran Canaria, in the municipalities of Artenara, Gáldar, Guide, Moya, Tejeda, Valleseco, Valsequillo and San Mateo.
Crowning the summit, in the center of the island is the highest point of Gran Canaria, Pico de las Nieves. Let´s dare to climb it by bike!
The best waves for surfers
On Gran Canaria there are many schools to learn surfing, windsurfing and kite if you are a begginer, or toimprove your level if you already have some knowledge. One way to release adrenaline while you enjoy the famous beaches of the island like Maspalomas, Playa del Inglés, Mogán, Puerto Rico, Agaete, Meloneras and San Augustine, to name some of the most emblematic.
Vegueta: Extremely charming neighborhood
Vegueta is really beautiful and concentrates the main architectural attractions of Las Palmas. Near the beach of Las Canteras is one of the biggest attractions of the city.
It is recommended to visit the area slowly, savoring its rich architecture and some of her jewelry as Literary Cabinet, the squares of Santa Ana, the Holy Spirit and of Santo Domingo and churches that dot.
It is also highly recommended a bath in one of the best urban beaches: Las Canteras. A good place to enjoy beautiful sunsets.
As Agaete, where you'll find plenty of restaurants to enjoy a tasty meal of local fish and other fresh seafood. Do not leave without trying a good grilled fish-based groupers, traveling, mullet and octopus or fish paella.
Should come to the old salt Agaete, now converted into a fantastic natural pools.
Teror. Pure essence
Teror Teror or Villa Mariana is one of the oldest settlements on the island and an old town in the area around his basilica declared historical-artistic heritage. The Basilica of the Virgen del Pino, is a place of pilgrimage for all the inhabitants of Gran Canaria. And Teror Square, a good place to appreciate the typical Canarian architecture balconies.
The village is located in an area of outstanding natural beauty and ecological value as the Natural Park Doramas Azuaje, with ravines and Moya, Pino Santo or Parque de Sintes.
A place well worth discovering! Check out our flights here.more info
Journey To a More Intimate Gran Canaria
One August morning in 2014, Stephen Curry, one of the world’s best basketball players, looked out of the window in the hotel where he was staying in the south of the island, together with the American national team, and wrote a message for posterity on the social networks: “Gran Canaria, God’s creation” was the immortalising phrase he wrote while taking in the scenery. He thus confirmed, decades later, that what the writer and journalist Domingo Doreste had said about his land of birth being a miniature continent was still true. The key to this is the combination of factors which make Gran Canaria a unique destination for nature lovers.
In 2005, almost half the island’s surface area was designated a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, a tribute to the incalculable wealth of its species and a state of conservation which has kept human impact on the environment to a bare minimum. Indeed, man’s traces in the protected nature areas open to visitors is hardly perceptible. Each strip of land, whether on the coastline or in the mountains, reveals a genuine flourish of beauty.
One of the must-visit landmarks is Caldera de Tejeda, which affords stunning views of the north-west of the island. It is home to both Roque Nublo and Roque Bentayga, two basalt monoliths regarded as emblematic by the islanders. The summit is presided over by El Pico de las Nieves, at an altitude of 1,949 metres. This great height often puts it above the cloud level, setting up an effect known as the “sea of clouds”.
This spectacular backdrop, swathed in silence, exerts a great pull on visitors seeking direct contact with the living legacy of Macaronesia, the ensemble of five archipelagoes in the North Atlantic, made up of the Canary Islands, the Azores, the Cape Verde Islands, Madeira and the Savage Islands. The flora of Gran Canaria is one of the island’s great draws and has aroused interest among the scientific community for centuries. Over a hundred plant species are indigenous to this island alone, while another five hundred species are endemic to the Archipelago. Laurel forests and towering pines are conducive to immersing oneself in an environment blessed with a privileged climate. If you’re fond of botany, be sure to visit the Jardín Viera y Clavijo – also known as the Jardín Canario (Canary Island Garden) – given over primarily to flowers and plants endemic to the seven Canary Islands.
The indigenous fauna scattered across the island is also interesting. In addition to lizards, perenquenes (Canary wall geckos) and such iconic birds as the blue chaffinch, Gran Canaria is home to almost fifty types of nesting birds. The sea is another of its fortes. The waters surrounding the island feature a broad variety of fish, notably the comber, grouper, island grouper, cow bream and white seabream, among many others. It is also quite common to spot dolphins and whales coasting along at a safe distance.
Gran Canaria’s biodiversity can be seen in all its splendour from the Red de Miradores, a network of viewpoints comprising 31 observation platforms affording the best possible views and where you can take great photos. Further, if you’re an enthusiast of trekking, climbing or cycling, Gran Canaria offers endless opportunities in the form of routes with various difficulty ratings.
Accommodation at stunning sites is provided by a good range of rural hotels and houses spread across the whole island. Small spiritual retreats, where you can dispel all stress, located in gorges and other concealed tracts of land, guaranteed to enhance your experience of Gran Canaria.
Come and live it out for yourself. Check out our flights here.
Photos by Patronato Turismo Gran Canaria
Gran Canaria The Great Atlantic Escape
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 Canariamore info