Gran Canaria - Something to Suit All Tastes
Sadly, the most common perception of holidays to Gran Canaria is one of mass seaside tourism, with few visitors ever travelling further afield to discover the riches of this diverse island. The great news is that with a hire car it is easy to explore the whole country in just a few days. In fact, when planning your holiday the hardest decision may be in deciding what version of the Island you want to see, from the remote green pine forests of the mountains and their snow capped peaks, to the dry contrasts of the south with sun drenched beaches to the quiet fishing villages, there is something here that will seduce almost every visitor in the end.
Things to See and do in Gran Canaria
Energetic travellers won't be short of things to see or do on Gran Canaria holidays from action packed excursions on foot or horse back to adrenaline pumping watersports.
The more sedate will enjoy delving into the enchanting, multicultural capital city of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria where there are numerous churches, museums and galleries to appreciate.
Excursions include camel safaris (try the La Baranda park) through the Sahara like Maspalomas sand dunes and palm tree oasis where you can pretend to be Lawrence of Arabia and if you're lucky you might even get a camel kiss! You can also go on a marine safari, which includes a spot of deep sea fishing, amazing views from glass bottom boats and even a submarine ride.
There are loads of amazing beaches to choose to visit and some of the best include Playa de Maspalomas, which is renowned for being picturesque with fantastic sea front restaurants offering the catch of the day - be sure not to miss this sandy hotspot.
If you get a chance to separate yourself from the irresistible beach activities, there is a lot more fun waiting for you inland – head for the centre of the Island where the beautiful mountains offer some breath-taking hikes. The island also features three beautiful water parks and eight amusement parks, which are fun-filled places to fill up everyone's holiday to Gran Canaria regardless of their age. Among these parks, a crocodile park and a reptile park are especially popular with kids and adults alike.
There are other sporting activities available as well, the most popular of which are golf, tennis and cycling.
Nightlife, Shopping and Hot Spots
Eating anything anytime you like really isn't a problem on Gran Canaria as there is a great choice of food on offer, from Canarian, Thai and Indian to American, Italian and British.
If you want to sample some solid traditional cuisine then try "papas arrugadas", which is a locally produced potato resembling a wrinkled new potato.
For the more adventurous why not try "soncocho" a salted fish soup, which is delicious.
The nightlife is usually lively, with the main spots of Puerto Rico and Playa del Ingles featuring many different bars and clubs offering regular live music and DJs in the summer season.
Not all the activities in Gran Canaria revolve around drinking and staying out late; for those who prefer a calmer evening head to the resorts of Playa del Cura and Las Palmas, which are very popular among families and couples looking for a tranquil setting to watch the sunset or a cosy, chilled out bar for a quiet drink.
Like the rest of the Canary Islands, Gran Canaria is a shopping haven, since most of the island is partly tax free. This means that the products available here are very cheap and affordable in comparison to the rest of western Europe. You can buy almost anything you want, from designer couture jewellery and cosmetics to perfume, electrical appliances and souvenirs.
There is an efficient system of transport within the island, with a network of buses that can take you all around. Taxis are also available and both have reasonable fares. However, there are no trains available on the island.
Gran Canaria Weather
The island has a tropical climate where the sun shines 50 weeks of the year, which makes it feel like the spring season prevails on the island all year long.
Gran Canarian summers are very pleasant with the temperature averages remaining between 26°C and 28°C. Even if the temperatures rise from the 30°C level occasionally, you can be sure of your comfortable stay on the island due to the continuous presence of a pleasant sea breeze. July offers the maximum sunshine hours per day, which amount to 12. September is the hottest month of the year, while August and October are generally very warm too.
The southern parts of the island are dry and relatively warm, while the northern parts are a little colder. And in these parts are where the winter is at its extreme with minimum temperature average ranging between 22°C to 24°C, which is quite comfortable, and explains the spring climate and why holidays to Gran Canaria are a popular option most of the year round. The minimum period of daily sunshine hours is 7 hours in January. Rain is most likely to come during the months of January and February.