Gran Canaria is the little sister of Fuerteventura and Teneriffa. She lies about 200 kilometers off the Moroccan Coast in the Atlantic Ocean. Because of the broad biodiversity Gran Canaria is often referred to as the “Miniature-Continent”. As Teneriffa and Fuerteventure the island has its seeds in a volcanic eruption. The center of the island with the almost 2000 meters in height is the Pico de las Nieves, the “Top of the Snow”. Its name comes with the possibility of snowfall at the mountaintop on cold days. Otherwise the weather in Gran Canaria is mostly warm and sunny.
The northern parts of the island are much more humid then the southern island. Especially the inland is covered in thick forest and has a broad diversity of animals. The dry storm from the Sahara, called “Calima”, is a characteristic you can find in the south. All the way from Marokko the storm sometimes even brings a bit sand with it. Those special conditions lead to an average temperature of about 18-26° Celsius. This is why Gran Canaria is often called “Island of Eternal Spring”.
The island wins with its dreamy, miles long beaches in the south. Especially the huge dunes near Maspalomas are an attraction. You can even find an oasis there, called “La Chacra”. Just outside of Puerto Rico you can enjoy white sand, crystal-clear water and palm trees. Far in the west the coast offers some lonesome bays and hidden beaches you can only reach by boat or a long trip by foot. The eastern coast is especially interesting for windsurfers. Here the sea is a bit rougher and the wind blows constantly. Also the annual Surf-Worldchampionships take place in Pozo Izquierdo. The beach of the capital, Las Palmas, is a lively city beach with a promenade filled with cafés, bars and restaurants.
Apart from the beaches Gran Canaria has a lot more sightseeing spots to offer. For example the lovely seaside town Puerto Mogán. Often referred to as “Little Venice” because of its large number of canals. Also very interesting are the numerous barrier lakes in the inland. In Barranco de Guyadeque you can find ancient villages made of caves in the rocks. Some of those are even inhabited! When you like shopping, Las Palmas is the perfect place to be. The city also offers numerous museums such as the CAAM, Museum of Modern Art.
The history of Gran Canaria begins with the Gunaches, the native people of the Canary Islands. With boats made of cane they crossed the sea starting at the North African Coast. They lived on the island until the capture by the Spanish in the early 15th century. The Name “Gran Canaria” finds its seed in the Latin word for dog “Canis”. Allegedly the island was populated by wild dogs.
Sports & nature
Who isn’t the kind of lazy sunlover has a lot of other interesting opportunities on Gran Canaria. The island qualifies for a broad choice of sports and the impressive nature is ideal for hikes.
Water sports fans find great conditions at the Gran Canarian coast: when you’re into sailing you find perfect wind from April to October. Major sailing ports are Las Palmas, where the annual Atlantic Rally for Cruisers take place, Puerto Rico, Pasito Blanco, Arguineguín and Puerto de Mogán. Here you find lots of sailing clubs and schools for beginners.
Because of the perfect water and wind conditions Gran Canaria is also a paradise for windsurfing, surfing and kitesurfing. The eastern beaches have rougher water and constant wind and are great for windsurfing. Also the surf world championships take place in Pozo Izquierdo. The northern coast offers waves that can reach sometimes 5 metres and are ideal for surfers.
When you prefer the underwater world Gran Canaria is also a great place for scuba diving. You can find tropical fish, sunken wrecks and underwater caves. Great diving spots is the marine reserve El Cabrón at the East Coast and Pasito Blanco, where you can take great underwater pictures of two sunken wrecks.
Peak season for sea-angling is from May to September. Setting off in Puerto Rico, Pasito Blanco and Puerto de Mogán you have the chance to catch some Tuna, Marlins and sometimes even a shark!
In most seaports you can also try waterski and jet ski.
Apart from the manifold opportunities at the coast you can also spend some great hours in the nature. The mountainous inland is perfect for mountainbike tours or a hike. The rocky tracks are ideal for an adventurous race with the bike and via foot you can reach some spectacular lonesome beaches. The rocks are also great for breathtaking climbing trips and if you are into horse riding you can book an exciting trekking-trip.
A more chilled experience you can find on the numerous golf courses.
Partying till the sun comes up – no problem in the various bars and clubs on Gran Canaria! Especially in the touristic centers at the southern coast and in the capital Las Palmas you can find lots of cocktail-bars and discotheques. Normally bars close around 2am, while the clubs don’t open until 11 pm and most of them shut down with the rising sun at earliest.
To kick off an awesome night out you should visit one of the plenty cocktail-bars. Many of them you can find in shopping centers, such as the Zaza Bar in Playa del Ingles. A real highlight there is the Garage Pub, a mix of a bar and a nightclub. A little more posh is the Aqua Ocean Club, an open air club at the beach in Maspalmomas.
The most famous clubs are the Pacha in Playa del Inglés, the Wilson in Las Palmas and the Hip-Hop Club China White in Playa del Inglés.
Culture and history info
The history of the island starts with the population of the Gunaches, the aboriginal inhabitants of the Canary Islands. It is said they crossed the Atlantic Ocean with boats made of can, starting at the North African Coast. They populated Gran Canria until the capturing by the Spanish in the early 15th century. Allegedly the islands name has its seeds in the Latin word for dog: “Canis”because the Spanish found many wild dogs when they first set foot on the island.
The Guanches were mostly tillers and cattle-breeders. While herding their sheep, goats and pigs they shall allegedly invented the sheperd’s leap, the Salto del Pastor. To be faster in the rocky mountains they used a long wooden pole to transport themselves safely and fast downhill by jumping. Nowadays the sheperd’s leap is a spectacular folk sport.
You can still visit the aboriginal caves the Guanches used to live in. In the northern region of Gran Canaria, especially near to Santa Maria de Guia you can find the honeycombed holes in the sheer rock walls. Some of them are still inhabited! In the canyon Cueva Bermejo in Barranco de Guayadeque you can even find a restaurant and a chapel in a cave. The town’s people live in the combs that can reach up to 50 meters into the rocks. The caves were formed by huge gas cavities in the once liquid lava the island is made of. Today the people even have electricity in those caves! Who likes to visit the primeval wonders has to visit the Archeology Park of the Cueve Pintada in Gáldar where you also see some spectacular cave paintings.
Apart from the Guanchen culture you can find some other cultural highlights on Gran Canaria. One of them is the impressive architecture evenly spread across the island. The over five century long lasting buildings were spared by the troubles of the World Wars and almost entirely preserved. While wandering through the narrow streets of the docklands of Vegueta in Las Palmas you can relive the feeling Christoph Columbus must have had as he stopped on Gran Canaria on his way finding the New World.
Las Palmas also has some other cultural highlights to offer such as the famous Museo Elder de la Ciencia y la Tecnología, the natural scientific and technical museum and the Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno for contemporary art.
The Canarios also love their year-round folk festivals. The most important one is the festival of Virgen del Pino, celebrated on the 8th of September with fireworks, traditional dancing and costumes. Other highlights are the International Filmfestival of Las Palmas, the Canary Musicfestival and the Operafestival.
Other great events are the theater and dancing festival Festival de Teatro y Danza de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria or the WOMAD, an international dance and music festival.
Unfortunately there are no tour offers at this location at the moment.
Aphrodite Chill Out
Price per person from 69.00€
A relaxing trip sailing along the southwest coast
Free Drinks and a luxurious menu included
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