Gran Canaria: the unique beauty of a special island

Gran Canaria is one of the 7 islands that make up the Autonomous Community of the Canaries. It is a thousand kilometers from Cádiz, the closest European port, and 210 kilometers from the coast of North Africa.

381,000 of its 855,000 inhabitants live in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, the nerve center and capital of the island which, in the years before the pandemic, hosted almost half of the tourists who traveled to the island.
If we think that in normal conditions Gran Canaria could welcome something like 4 and a half million tourists a year, it is easy to understand what kind of importance the island has on a planetary level and how much it is loved by European travelers.
Generally it is German, English, Northern European and Spanish tourists who are most attracted to the beauties of Gran Canaria.

Beaches, sun, nature, gastronomy and the possibility of practicing outdoor sports all year round make this island a unique destination in the world. In recent times, the possibility of working in smart working has added new frontiers to tourism in Gran Canaria.

8000 remote workers now live on the island taking advantage of the high-speed internet connection and the possibility of integrating well into local communities.
For Gran Canaria it means hosting international talent while attracting a new form of tourism. The professionals who decide to come to work on the island are Germans, English, Americans, Italians and French who decide to stay in Gran Canaria for at least 2 months

Play sport

Route GC-200 in Gran Canaria
Route GC-200 in Gran Canaria-Photo by Polina Rytova on Unsplash

The climate of the Canary Islands generally favors outdoor sports activities. In particular in Gran Canaria, there are 7 golf courses among which it is necessary to mention the Real Club de Golf of Las Palma, the oldest in all of Spain, whose birth dates back to 1891. The spectacular landscapes of the island also give the opportunity to practice excursions and trekking among incredible scenarios: just imagine what a simple but healthy walk in the dunes of Maspalomas or a trekking on Roque Nublo can be.

Dunes de Maspalomas
Dunas de Maspalomas-Photo by Klaus Stebani from Pixabay

Then imagine the coast and the sea, where you can choose between different water sports: from sport fishing, passing through surfing, wind surfing or kite surfing, sailing, scuba diving and much more. Cycling finds in Gran Canaria an excellent response also from professional teams not only for the excellent climate which, even in winter, allows athletes to train in spring climates, but thanks to sinuous and well-kept roads in the interior and spectacular views along the coast..

Gastronomy

Tray,With,Assortment,Of,Fish,And,Seafood,
Tray with assortment of fish and seafood- Shutterstock image

So.
When it comes to Spain, the sea, mild climates and good food, I never know where to start.
The fish dishes and the restaurants on the coast just so as not to stray too far from the photo above.
But also and above all local products of the land and wines with a controlled designation of origin.
The flavors of Gran Canaria are original and natural, whether they come from the sea or from the land.
Patatas arrugadas, sanchocho and many varieties of stews are just some of the typical flavors of the island that you must absolutely try. The only coffee produced in Europe is grown in the Agaete Valley; Bodega Arehucas Rum is the largest and oldest of its kind in the entire European continent.
Gran Canaria is also part of the Saborea España project, created to highlight the products and ingredients of local dishes, as well as the skills of the chefs who cook in the island’s restaurants

A historical and natural heritage

Caves of Valeron
Caves of Valeron- Shutterstock image

Gran Canaria has unique climatic characteristics thanks to its peaks that reach maximum altitudes above 1900 m above sea level.
This means that it has been defined as a miniature continent and declared by UNESCO as a Biosphere Reserve, thanks to the sustainable development of its environment and the conservation of the species living on the island.

If the tourists who visit Gran Canaria choose it for the climate, the sea and the beaches, it is indisputable that the historical and natural heritage of the island is unmatched in the world.
The natural pools in Guía, the Special Reserve of Los Tilos de Moya, the only remaining laurel forest in Gran Canaria, the Painted Cave Museum and the Archaeological Park, the beaches and steep cliffs around Agaete, the historic center of Arucas, the woods around Osorio in Teror and the Azuaje gorge in Firgas.
How not to mention the Nublo Rural Park and the Special Nature Reserve of the Dunes of Maspalomas which are probably the most representative of the island.

Roque Nublo
Roque Nublo_ Photo by Mandy Schneider from Pixabay

Gran Canaria also offers various archaeological sites not to be missed for any reason in the world, such as the Caves of Valerón (Santa María de Guía), the Roque Bentayga Visitor Center (Tejeda), the Archaeological Park of Maipés (Agaete), the Necropolis of Arteara (San Bartolomé de Tirajana), Cañada de Los Gatos (Mogán), the Visitor Center of the Guayadeque Ravine (Agüimes) and La Fortaleza Visitor Center (Santa Lucia de Tirajana).

Gran Canaria has also been declared a “Tourist Destination Starlight” by the United Nations for education, science and culture (UNESCO).
Astro tourism is one of the flagship projects of Gran Canaria, and has launched at conquer its spectacular night skies by fighting against light contamination in an attempt to restore the right to observe the stars.
The island wishes to recover the quality of the skies that the Aborigines used to see, with unique astronomical indicators, diversifying the range of tourist offerings and opening new windows of knowledge.
To this end, this defense of the skies over Gran Canaria has become the backbone of the intervention of the island’s authorities, while many are working to ensure that the original settlement archaeological site of Risco Caído, in Artenara, is declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO, together with the Areas Sacred of the Montaña de Gran Canaria.

5 curiosities about Gran Canaria

curious frogs

  • British writer Agatha Christie traveled to Gran Canaria and stayed at the Metropole Hotel. She sat outside for hours and looked out at the sand and seascape. Some of her adventures by Hercules Poirot were written from the terrace of her hotel
  • Moby Dick, starring Gregory Peck, was shot on Las Canteras Beach in 1954
  • Researchers from the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria are trying to confirm their hypothesis that the 1755 Lisbon earthquake caused a tidal wave that reached Gran Canaria and generated the Maspalomas dunes. (other theories say that the sand came from the Sahara).
  • Gran Canaria has the “nickname” of miniature continent due to the great variety of landscapes and climates found on the island. On some winter days visitors can be on the beach with a mild 22ºC, then within an hour climb to the top and find snow, 0ºC.
  • Gran Canaria boasts 33 different protected areas that extend over 66,707 hectares, which is less than half of the total area of the island (42.75%)