Gran Canaria has got it going on. Dubbed the ‘miniature continent’, it’s an island that boasts a little bit of everything, from rolling sand dunes and rich forests to sleepy villages and world-class cities. If you’re after diversity, a Gran Canaria holiday will deliver.
Far from a fly-and-flop destination, Gran Canaria is all about getting out there and lapping up the good life. Swim in sun-kissed waters, hike among almond blossoms, soak in volcanic spa pools, climb cloud-topped rocks and feast on seafood fresh off the boat.
An effortless mix of nature, nightlife and doing sweet nothing, Gran Canaria holidays are hard to beat.
Beaches, beaches and yet more beaches
Almost 60 kilometres (37 miles) of Gran Canaria’s 263-kilometre (163-mile) coastline is covered with sand.
Home to a whopping 80-plus beaches, you’ll never be short of a spot to shake out your towel and snooze in the sunshine. Due to the island’s volcanic roots, you’ll find a whole kaleidoscope of sand, ranging from perfectly golden to silvery grey and lightly toasted brown.
When to visit Gran Canaria
Gran Canaria is often described as the ‘island of eternal spring’. That is quite true. Gran Canaria is a year round destination and you can really come at any time without disappointment.
Of course during winter it does get a little cooler, but compared to central and northern Europe it is still pure paradise. Inevitably, the warm winter does tend to draw the bulk of tourists and December to February can definitely be considered ‘high season’.
Not quite so busy, but certainly also a high season are the months between May and October. The cool sea breezes can be very refreshing compared to the ‘scorchers’ associated with mainland Spain.
Air fares are most attractive between November and mid December, also from March to May with the exception of Easter which is very popular indeed. Flights prices throughout August can also be more expensive because of the school holidays.
Customs and Traditions
During fiestas, the locals dress up in colourful costumes, stalls sell handmade crafts, there are lots of fun games to keep the children amused and of course the food and drink is flowing.
The main carnival is held every year between January and February in Las Palmas. It starts with street parties, known as verbenas del mogollón , where thousands of people dress up and dance their way through the streets until the early hours. Another highlight is known as the murgas . These are large groups of people who dress up, perform and sing about their discontent and criticisms of the local, regional or national social situation. They often use traditional well-known songs and change the lyrics to express their feelings in a humorous and ironic way.
The main events of the carnival include the gala for choosing the carnival queen and the great carnival parade, which marches through the whole city of Las Palmas.
Another important tradition on the island is the Romería . Every year Gran Canaria hosts many Romerías , which are religious pilgrimages in honour of a saint. People dress in traditional attire and walk through their town or village accompanied by singing and a band playing musical instruments.