You might have heard the old chestnut about Gran Canaria being like a 'continent in miniature'. Well, it’s not far from the truth. The third-largest island of the Canaries, Gran Canaria’s startling range of terrain - fertile north, arid interior, desert south – and its multiple attractions combine to make this one diverse destination.
Get ready for sun-drenched beaches, a healthy dose of culture and nightlife, and endless outdoor activities. From its vibrant colonial capital Las Palmas to its rugged interior, Gran Canaria has a lot more going for it than package resorts.
Day 1: City Bustle and Beachside Bliss
You’ll never be bored in busy, happening Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Historic Barrio Vegueta provides a glimpse into Spain’s illustrious past, as does Christopher Colombus’ House with its fascinating museum. Bars and restaurants abound here too. Shop til you drop, stroll Ciudad Jardin’s leafy streets, then wind down with sun, surf and golden sands at Playa de las Canteras.
Day 2: Inland Surprises
Seemingly light-years from the hedonistic coastal resorts, Gran Canaria’s mountainous interior makes for a wonderful day trip. Ingenio is known for its ceramics and embroidery, while Agüimes boasts a delightful old center. Further north, Tafira’s botanical garden is a popular stop; nearby is Caldera de Bandama, a huge volcanic crater with spectacular views. The wild terrain around Cruz de Tejeda is dotted with jagged ravines, cute villages and snaking roads.
Day 3: Water and Westerns
You’re on an island, surrounded by water…time to mingle with the local aquatic population! Why not take a dolphin-spotting cruise in a glass-bottomed boat off the coast of Puerto Rico, or an underwater tour leaving from the pretty resort town of Puerto de Mogán? You might even meet some finned friends while windsurfing off the southeast coast! Prefer your adventures on firm ground? Indulge your Spaghetti Western fantasies at the surreal Sioux City Theme Park, or go horseback riding through the lush countryside of Salobre.