A continent in miniature, Gran Canaria, the third largest island in the Canary Islands, has so much to offer that you tend to forget that it is only an island. Its capital Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is one of the largest cities in Spain.
The terrain in this island varies from the desert in the south to the mountains in the centre and the greenery and the beaches in the south. Many people who visit the beach resorts in the south do not visit the interiors and do not even explore the variety that is available in this lovely island.
Hiking, horse riding, walking are among the many pleasures which can be enjoyed if you move beyond the resorts and fancy hotels built right on the beaches. Hire a car and drive around Gran Canaria on your own to get a true sense of what this place is all about.
Teror - a picturesque small town near the capital, it is lined with lovely old streets and rambling wooden balconies on old homes. There is a very interesting farmers market which is held in the square every Sunday morning.
The sand dunes at Maspalomas and Palmitos park. Nature's abundant beauty is visible at the sand dunes and you can enjoy the varied flora and fauna at the park.
Must to do:
Gran Canaries is a hiker's paradise. The varied topography and the lovely mountains all make is great place to go hiking or biking. Lakeside villages, cave villages, mountain trails, all this and much more are available here.
When to go
Gran Canaria is mainly arid and sub-tropical. The mountains in the centre can become quite cold in winter and the arid south can be very hot in summer. The peak season is early spring and late summer and early autumn, but with mild temperatures all the year round, the sea is warm enough for swimming at any time of the year.
How to get there:
There is a busy airport on Gran Canaria - Gando airport (or Las Palmas Airport), located 16km from Las Palmas. It has connections to the other Canary Islands.
Alternatively, you can fly to Tenerife and get a local ferry across to Gran Canaria. The distance between the 2 islands is about 60 kilometres.
On the island, you will need to use the local bus service, taxis or hire a car.