When it comes to a vacation in Spain's Canary Islands, it can be difficult to choose which of the isles to visit. Do you mingle in the bustling cities of Tenerife
, stretch out and relax on the lovely beaches of Fuerteventura, or explore the stunning volcanic geography of Lanzarote
? The solution is Gran Canaria - the island has a little bit of all three! From the densely-populated cities to the surprisingly varied geography, our vacation rentals on Gran Canaria let you experience a destination not to be missed.
Where is Gran Canaria?
Gran Canaria rests in the middle of the Canary Island Archipelago, with Tenerife just to the west and Lanzarote and Fuerteventura just to the east
. Like the rest of the islands, Gran Canaria has a mild tropical climate, with wintertime temperatures between 50 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit, and summers that get as warm as 79 degrees. However, the temperature can vary thanks to the island's diverse scenery - between the beaches, forested mountain peaks, and volcanic geography, the island has so many different types of nature to enjoy that it acquired the nickname of "the continent in miniature."
Las Palmas & Large Cities on Gran Canaria
Along with Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the northeasterly Las Palmas de Gran Canaria serves as the capital city of the Canary Island archipelago. As such, it's one of the most densely populated spots in all of the Canary Islands - with almost 400,000 residents, nearly one in five Canarians lives within the city. On top of delicious dining and duty-free shopping, the city has plenty of family-friendly tourist attractions, such as the artistic selection of the Museo Néstor, the old-world architecture of the Catedral de Santa Ana, and relaxing public parks like the Parque del Estadio Insular.
After sunset, however, the city takes on a different atmosphere thanks to its active nightlife. Concerts at venues like the Alfredo Kraus Auditorium (conveniently located near the beautiful Playa de las Canteras) and clubs like Club Swinger Privée provide great music, cool drinks, and good company as you dance the night away. If you want even more festivities, make sure to visit the city as winter turns into spring for Carnival, or the festival celebrating the city's foundation in June!
Tied together by the main highway on the island's east coast, all of Gran Canaria's largest cities are just a short trip from one another, making them ideal for day trips. Telde, the second largest city on the island, is just a short drive to the south of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. This city is one of the isle's oldest, and between the centuries-old Church San Juan Bautista and the nearby Necropolis of Jinámar, history buffs will definitely want to give the town a visit. At the island's southern tip, meanwhile, is Maspalomas, a peaceful, welcoming resort town ideal for those who want to kick back and relax by the beach.
Beaches & Other Natural Attractions
Like all of the gorgeous Canary Islands
, Gran Canaria is a beachgoer's dream come true. The northern and central parts of the island are dotted with soft, sandy shores to enjoy, from crowded city beaches like Playa de las Canteras near Las Palmas de Gran Canaria to smaller, more intimate beaches like Agaete on the northwest coast.
If you want to experience some of the best beaches, however, head south. Swimmers and sunbathers should stop by Puerto Rico de Gran Canaria, while San Agustín offers great waves for surfers. Maspalomas, meanwhile, has its fair share of conventional beaches - Playa del Inglés, in particular, is perfect for families in search of golden sands and soft gentle waves, but is most famous for the sand dunes just to the east of the city. The rolling hills and warm sun beating down almost make you feel like you're in a desert. When you need a break, just take a few steps into the refreshing sea and breathe in some fresh ocean air!
On top of the beaches you'd expect one of the Canary Islands to have, Gran Canaria is rich with other natural attractions. Just north of Maspalomas, for example, is Guayadeque Ravine, a gorgeous valley rich with old-growth trees. The Caldera de Bandama lets adventurous travelers explore the island's volcanic past, with a stunning view from the lip of the crater and verdant green plants growing from the fertile soil below. If you're looking for views, however, then don't forget about Roque Nublo. This volcanic monolith sits at an altitude of over 5,000 feet, providing a breathtaking vantage point for admiring the incredible island, from the sea of puffy clouds above to the rocky mountain peaks below.
Don't settle for anything less than one of our comfortable vacation rentals when you come to explore the beauty of Gran Canaria!
Photo Credit: Stuart Buchanan via Flickr