Friday, November 27, 2020
Home Adventure Island in the Sun: Things to do in Gran Canaria

Island in the Sun: Things to do in Gran Canaria

Recently this old tourist machine has changed. I’ve listed my top 15 things to do

LAS PALMAS, GRAN CANARIA: There must be a reason why so many returns to this original tourist machine. Miles of golden beaches are remarkable clean and the weather is always perfect. For long Gran Canaria was loved and hated. Last ten years the island has been through a serious facelift. The old charter paradise Playa del Ingles and Maspalomas are actually better than its rather dubious reputation. With a little help from our friends we have made a list of some new and exciting things to do in Gran Canaria.

Maspalomas Dunes - Dunas de Maspalomas - are sand dunes located on the south coast, in San Bartolomé de Tirajana
Maspalomas Dunes – Dunas de Maspalomas – are sand dunes located on the south coast, in San Bartolomé de Tirajana

There are some plus sides of this tourist machine and perhaps the reason why so many returns. For some it`s an old habit, for younger visitors they have created new exciting things to do and to see in Gran Canaria. The best beaches in Gran Canaria are south of the island. The tourist office is there to be of help.

Big Catch: The sea has plenty of fish and some really big

#1 Big game sport fishing

You can come alone or with friends, share the boat with others or rent the entire boat and go for deep sea fishing in Gran Canarias. One meeting point is Pasito Blanco pier, located between Maspalomas and Puerto Rico. A fishing trip for six hours will cost 70 euro for adult and 50 for children.

The sea has plenty of fish and some really big. Such as blue marlin, white marlin, dorado and small tuna from 25 to 30 kilos almost the entire year. A large tuna is up to 400 kilos. Look out for dolphins and whales during sightseeing cruise from Puerto Rico, south on Gran Canaria.

#2 Camel Ride

Here is one activity few visitors think to experience. In company of a guide, ride a camel through the soft dunes of Maspalomas, and experience the unexpected side to the island. It might sound very touristic, and it is. Locals never ride camels.

Not nice meeting you: Plenty of crocodiles in the zoological park
Not nice meeting you: Plenty of crocodiles in the zoological park

#3 Crocodiles and Tigers

It all started with a few crocodiles in 1988. Now Parque de los Cocodrilos is Gran Canarias’s only zoological park. These animals – including chimpanzees, various monkeys, birds, among many others – usually arrive in very bad health due to being cruelly mistreated and confiscated from cargo ships, but they always recover under the professional care of the family running the park. The family of Bengal tigers you’ll see there, for example, were reared under the family’s care.
Location: Carretera Gral Los Coralillos – Agüimes

THE GRAN CANARIA CARNIVAL is famous for three weeks of entertainment

#4 The Gran Canaria Carnival

Get ready to be amazed. Few will resist a winter brake and event like the Gran Canaria Carnival. Taking place every year in February and March, three weeks of entertainment with parades, processions, music, dancing, Drag Queen Gala, horses, children´s events and a whole lot more.
It´s great fun, it´s popular and not to be missed. The festivities come to an end with a simulated funeral procession and the burning of a very large sardine.

Will be back in 2021: The Gran Canaria Carnival

#5 Keep fit for this race

You need to be fit and it´s tough going if you join Transgrancanaria race taking place in February. The four-day competition comprises of several races including the ultimate challenge – the 360° 264km race, 128km Transgrancanaria race, 65km Advanced race, the 42km Marathon, a 30km Starter race and the new 17km Family and Youth, non-competitive event. The competitions six individual races traverse mountain peaks, stony tracks, canyons, roads and beaches.
The next race taking place in February 2021.

Up and down the mountains: Transgrancanaria race taking place in February

#6 The city of Las Palmas

Las Palmas de Gran Canarias is the capital of the island, located in the north-eastern part with two bays and beaches – Playa de las Canteras and Playa de las Alcaravaneras. The city is bustling overflowing with atmosphere, history and culture. There are lots of high-end shops and boutiques, side streets loaded with cafes and great places for tapas and drinks.

Las Palmas organize film festival, an international opera festival, Las Palmas city festival 24th of June, Jazz Festival and even more.

Puerto de la Aldea: A well hidden place Easiest way to get there is to drive to the harbour of La Aldea.
Puerto de la Aldea: A well hidden place Easiest way to get there is to drive to the harbour of La Aldea.

#7 Visit Puerto de la Aldea

This is a tiny fishing port where small restaurants serve delicious fish dishes. South of the port, there is a beach, Playa de la Aldea. The locals have a festival, Fiesta del Charco, taking place 11th September. The origins of this festival were where locals try to catch fish with their bare hands. The coastal road over here is demanding, some on the edge of cliffs at up to 500m above sea level – and stunning view.

Top of the World: Pico del Pozo de la Nieves at 1,949 metres
Top of the World: Pico del Pozo de la Nieves at 1,949 metres

#8 Head to the top

If you need another challenge, the mountainous centre can provide a remarkable view. You have to pass by scenic, narrow roads, enchanting villages, narrow terraced fields, high plateaus, deep ravines and rocks on the road up to Pico del Pozo de la Nieves. At 1,949 metres, this is the highest point on the island. Next tallest is the iconic Roque Nubloat 1,813 metres.

#9 Ride the waves

The sea in Gran Canaria inspire more and more people to get onto surfboards. At least to try it – at least once in their lives. And bodyboarding, windsurfing, and now kitesurfing. Riding the waves and adrenalin seems to be a national sport on this island.

Auditorio Alfredo Kraus striking in its geometric modernity at the southern end of Playa de las Canteras
Auditorio Alfredo Kraus striking in its geometric modernity at the southern end of Playa de las Canteras

#10 The Food of Gran Canaria

After all, food is quite important and it took 500 years to cook up Gran Canaria´s rich cuisine. To blend the mix of products from the sea with outside influences that dropped anchor at the ports. The gastronomy was born with flavours from all around. Thanks to great climate, it provides a range of products including tomatoes, olives, tropical fruits and huge amount of fresh fish to be found on local markets.

Famous for local cheese - Queso de Flor
Famous for local cheese – Queso de Flor

#11 The secret Cheese

Back in time, some locals decided to make the recipe for the famous “Queso de Flor” and brought it to Montana Alta, in the higher part of Santa Maria de Guia. For years this cheese was kept secret, until the cheese-makers come to launch the cheese in the rest of the island. Test this extraordinary cheese with the best wine from Gran Canaria, and with dishes such as Chick-pea Rope Vieja and the salted jacked potatoes “Papas Arrugadas”.

#12 Wine from the Ocean

Let´s take a journey within a journey – a gastronomical field trip across an island in the ocean. A port of call named Santa Brigida within the mountainous hinterland. A must-visit for food and wine fans. Apart from sea, sun and beaches Gran Canaria has for long had wine production. Wineries have recent years invested in new vineyards and equipment. The result is a growing number of excellent white wines and some promising reds.

Santa Brigida is home to Wine Museum where you can taste wide range of wine varieties. Casa Museo del Vino, Address: C/ Calvo Sotelo 26, 35300 – Santa Brígida.

Surfing Gran Canaria;The waves tend to be the biggest along the north coast
Surfing Gran Canaria;The waves tend to be the biggest along the north coast

#13 Wild-West in Sioux City

Become a real film star of your own. Then head on to Sioux City located in San Bartolome de Tirajana, near San Augustin. This theme park whisks you back to the American western period with its film-set recreation. Like an old town in the middle of the American prairie with lots of action.

#14 Golf on volcanoes

Gran Canaria has eight golf courses and you can experience golf on volcanoes and by the coast. Real Club de Golf de Las Palmas is Spain`s oldest golf club established back in 1891. This is the most picturesque course designed in the crater of a dried-out volcano. Expect fabulous views of Central Gran Canaria.

Grand Hotel: Spa and pampering. Gran Canaria wellness is salt water pool heated to 30 degrees, a place to chill out

#15 The Health profile

It´s easy to line up the twenty-best spa-hotels. The modern and chick style is about spice massage, buttercream and spice massage, Tahitian monoi oil and healing pillow, body wrapping and warm mud, or you prefer to detoxify your body. You name it, and you´ll find any treatment. The health profile has raised to therapeutic levels mostly at some luxury hotels.

The first tourists came to Gran Canaria more than 60 years ago for health reasons. Based on reports that dry and hot climate, minerals in the sand and sea water apparently meant healing. Then came only charter tourists. Now the new wave has made the island a wellness destination – a spot in the Atlantic Ocean for spa and pampering.

Playa del Ingles: BETTER THAN A BAD REPUTATION

 

Gudmund Lindbaek
Gudmund Lindbaek
Journalist founded King Goya a few years back. Meeting people, local food and engaging stories are my passion. I plan for ambitious once-in-a-lifetime trips. My delight is the prospect of Future Travels: Longer, Slower, Farther! I just want a tiny slice of adventure to be alive, and then excited to return home.

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