Where is Gran Canaria?
Situated off the north-western coast of Africa, Gran Canaria is the third largest of the Spanish Canary Islands. It’s a hugely popular holiday destination for a number of different reasons, but mainly because the island boasts year-round sunshine. This means it’s a great place to visit for either your summer holiday or even a much-needed dose of winter sun.
Another one of Gran Canaria’s biggest draws is its impressive coastline, with around 80 incredible sandy beaches; perfect for spending the day lazing around in the warm sunshine. The popular southern resorts of Playa del Inglés and Puerto Rico have bustling beaches with lots going on, so look out for these on your Gran Canaria Map. The quieter resorts of Puerto de Mogán and San Agustín are geared more towards families wanting to relax with the little ones.
The Canary Islands are famous for their volcanic landscapes, and Gran Canaria is no exception. If you can tear yourself away from your sun lounger for a few hours (we know, it’s tough!), you can explore a variety of different terrains across the island, from the famous sand dunes of Maspalomas to the mountainous scenery surrounding the impressive Roque Nublo. And then, of course, there’s the sea itself. Diving and snorkelling are popular activities for those who want to get a taste of life under the waves.
Strap your walking boots on, hop in the hire car and drive inland to admire the wonderful views of Pico de las Nieves, which at 1,949 above sea level is the highest point on the island and the third highest peak in the Canary Islands. The best time to see the scenery here is at sunset, or in the early morning if you fancy waking up early one day.
History and culture
Gran Canaria isn’t all just about stunning beaches and scenery; there’s a wealth of history and culture to dive into as well. The capital city, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, is the place to go if you want to find out everything there is to know about the island. Explore the many museums and galleries and visit the Catedral de Santa Ana in Vegueta, in the picturesque old town. This church dates back around 500 years, although it was never actually completed, and once you explore the impressive interior you’ll notice many of the works are unfinished, although they’re still very impressive! With so many colonial landmarks to visit, you’ll feel as if you’ve stepped back in time, so don’t forget to include Las Palmas on your Gran Canaria map of places to visit.
Other places of interest in Gran Canaria
A must-do if you’re interested in ancient history and art. Visit the Painted Cave of Galdar on the northern coast, about 30 minutes from Las Palmas, to observe amazing ancient archaeological artefacts such as wall paintings. In Maspalomas, you can also see the Maspalomas Lighthouse, which dates back to the 1890s and is a popular spot for watching the sunset.
The best time to visit Gran Canaria
Because it’s warm all year round, this island is popular with holidaymakers in every season. However, winter is not quite warm enough for beach weather, so aim to book your holiday between May and October if you want to make the most of the sun, sea and sand. On the other hand, if you’re keen to do some cycling and hiking with your Gran Canaria map tucked in your rucksack, it might be better to visit in the winter, spring or autumn, when temperatures are much more pleasant and the sun is less intense.