Sweeping arcs of golden beaches, lively resorts and olde-worlde villages that are ripe for exploration all combine to make holidays in Gran Canaria a year-round choice.
When it comes to holiday destinations, Gran Canaria is a vintage destination on the world stage. The third-largest of the Canary Islands first became a tourist hub in the 19th century, and it has continued to increase on its popularity year-on-year.
The enduring appeal of Gran Canaria lies with its stunning beaches and those beaches are varied. There are the over-the-top coastal resorts of Maspalomas and Playa del Ingles, where sunbathing is a competitive sport for space and occupies most people’s time by day and the nightlife occupies their evenings. For a slightly slower pace there are the sleepy towns of Puerto Rico, Bahia Feliz and Puerto Mogan where there are fewer people on the beaches and the entertainment on offer in the evenings is a little less frenetic.
In recent times, Gran Canaria has become home to a selection of more exclusive beach resorts. In Playa Taurito and Meloneras there is a distinct air of glamor with luxury hotels and high-end retailers.
Another reason Gran Canaria holidays remain popular is its scenery in the interior, where gorges and cliffs dominate the landscape. To experience traditional island life, there are a multitude of villages dotting the countryside. Only 30 minutes’ drive from Playa del Ingles, you will find Fataga, where pedestrian only cobbled streets are bordered by attractive whitewashed houses.
Gran Canaria is known for its wide range of microclimates but is genuinely a year-round destination. For holidays to Gran Canaria, in general the average daytime highs range from 20 degrees Celsius (68 Fahrenheit) in the winter months, to 26 degrees Celsius (79 Fahrenheit) during summer. Some winter nights are cool, but low temperatures below 10 degrees Celsius (50 Fahrenheit) never occur near the coast. Further inland the climate remains mild but mountainous terrain can see frosts or snow occasionally.
The summer months of July, August and September are usually rainless and when rain does occur it is distributed unevenly throughout the island, making some regions much drier than other areas. Sunshine and cloud cover is also variable during the cooler months. Summers are pretty much full time sun, with the island’s south being most favored by visitors.
How to Spend Your Gran Canaria Holidays
With their soft golden sand and crystal clear water, most visitors spend their first day on holidays in Gran Canaria recuperating and relaxing on one of the breathtaking beaches on the island.
Seek out the nearest beach to where you are staying and head there to spend a day kicking back and relaxing and getting used to your surroundings. Almost all the beaches on this picturesque island offer golden sand and shimmering blue water. Remember to pack high factor sun cream to ward off the extremely strong sun on your first few days.
Gran Canaria’s center offers you the best views of the island and across to the neighboring island of Tenerife. There’s numerous hiking trails, known as caminos reales in Spanish, on the island, many of them are easy to walk and will lead you to the famous Roque Nublo rock formation.
Following your hike, take some time out in the mountain villages of Tejeda and Artenara nearby – there is only 10 kilometers (6 miles) separating these towns and the latter is Gran Canaria’s highest settlement. It is famed for its houses in caves. Meanwhile, Tejeda is celebrated for its food, with bienmesabe (almond dessert) and potaje de jaramago (wild rocket stew) being two of its specialty dishes.
Make a pilgrimage to the island’s north and Teror – known as the religious center of Gran Canaria. It features quaint cobbled streets and is more traditional in its atmosphere.
A walk that is popular nearby is Barranco de Azuaje. A more sedate alternative travel up the north coast and relax on a rugged and rocky beach.
To explore the west of Gran Canaria, travel from the island’s south on the GC-200, the road connecting Puerto de Mogan with the agricultural region known as La Aldea de San Nicolas. If traveling from the north of the island take the GC-2 along the coastline and connect with the GC-200. Both roads offer plenty of spectacular views.
Possibly the most vibrant of all Canarian cities is Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, it makes for a fantastic day trip and there is a wealth of things to do here. Most notably it is home to one of the finest metropolitan beaches in the world, Las Canteras, Triana is the main high street and is perfect for some retail therapy, while in the historic area of Vegueta you will find the Catedral de Santa Ana.
In the south you can take a long beach walk all the way from San Agustin to Maspalomas, traversing the famed Playa del Ingles beach on the way.
Most visitors to Gran Canaria do not venture to the east of the island but included in what they miss out on is the city of Telde, the oldest on the island and the original capital.
As you now know, there are various resort town and cities in Gran Canaria and all offer the full range of accommodation options, the best area to stay on Gran Canaria holidays depends entirely on your tastes.
Generally, the most luxurious places to stay are the hotels in the south of Gran Canaria in the Amadores area, Arguineguin and Maspalomas. Cheaper options can be found in the Taurito area and Playa del Ingles.
Aparthotels are also in plentiful supply, as are apartments which are a very popular solution in the Canaries and highly demand by northern Europeans. For those wanting to spend less this is a good alternative.
As with any high tourist destination the prices are higher during the peak season which runs from before Christmas, through New Year and on to Easter.
Booked.net has comprehensive listings of accommodation throughout the whole island. Check out some of the best.
The temperature in Gran Canaria is set to warm by default, making it a true all-year holiday destination for Gran Canaria holidays.
Known as the “island of eternal spring” - the nickname is well-deserved. Naturally, in winter the weather is cooler, however it is still a paradise in comparison to central and northern Europe.
That is why the warm winter attracts the bulk of visitors with December through February considered “high season”.
Not as busy, but also a high season are the months from May and October, when cool sea breezes make for refreshing conditions compared to the scorching weather of mainland Spain.
For most visitors, getting on holidays to Gran Canaria will be via a flight. Monarch Airlines have daily direct flights from the cities of Manchester and Birmingham and also from London Gatwick. Low cost carriers like easyJet and Ryanair also have frequent flights from airports across the UK.
Iberia is Spain's national airline with frequent daily flights from Barcelona and Madrid and Barcelona, and regular flights from other parts of Spain.
The flight time from London to Gran Canaria is 4 hours 30 minutes. Gran Canaria Airport is 18 kilometers (11 miles) south of Las Palmas, and 25 kilometers (16 miles) north of the main southern resorts.
There are also regular ferry services to Gran Canaria from ports in mainland Spain.
If you are wanting a slightly cheaper holiday on Gran Canaria, we remind you the peak season (although the island is always busy) in the Canary Islands is not summer but is generally from October through to Easter.
During the “peak” season, it is quite tricky to find a cheap, decent apartment in the island’s south because many retired people holiday there. Therefore, it pays to book in advance.
There is absolutely something for everyone in Gran Canaria. The third largest of the Canary Islands, it is well-known for its beautiful landscape, plentiful seaside resorts and traditional villages.
Find out why Gran Canaria holidays have been luring tourists in droves for more than a century with Booked.net.