Thursday, 16 January 2014 00:00

Top Ten Reasons To Choose Gran Canaria

Top Gran Canaria attractions include the Maspaloms dunes Top Gran Canaria attractions include the Maspaloms dunes

While almost four million people visit Gran Canaria every year, most come for the sunshine without realising that the whole island is a great destination.

The Sunshine

Sun-starved Europeans head to Gran Canaria for their holidays because we get an average of eight hours of sunshine every day. That make Gran Canaria one of the sunniest places on Earth. You know that you feel better as soon as the sunshine hits your skin and for a guaranteed tan, Gran Canaria’s resorts are a sure bet. Even Las Palmas up in the north of the island has the most pleasant weather in the world, according to a Syracuse University study.

The Beaches

From the golden sweep of Maspalomas to rugged Gui Gui, Gran Canaria’s 80 beaches are a huge draw for sun-starved northerners. Whether you want a beach with plenty of parking and cold beer within walking distance, or remote bays where you can let it all hang out in private, there is a beach for everyone in Gran Canaria. Some people stick to the same lounger every day for a week while others do a different beach every day: The choice is yours.

All Day Breakfasts and Mojo Sauce

Love them or hate them the all-day English breakfast is a staple in Gran Canaria’s resorts. If you’d rather stick with Canarian food then any local bar knocks out delicious papas con mojo and plates of succulent calamares (but not for breakfast). You can eat whatever you want in Gran Canaria, from steak and chips to deep-fried moray eel. For the proper stuff, get up into the hills and sit down in a bar where nobody speaks English. Good luck!

Epic Scenery

Gran Canaria is only a small island but its scenery is immense. That’s why they call it a Continent in an Island. From the Saharan sand dunes of Maspalomas and the rugged central mountains, to the epic cliffs of the west coast, you’re only ever a few minutes from the next stunning landscape in Gran Canaria. Whether you drive it, walk it, bus it or look at it from the poolside bar, Gran Canaria is a beautiful rock.

Pick a Sport, any Sport

Except skiing on snow! Anything else you can do here, from diving to mountain biking, nude volleyball to paragliding. The calm weather and varied terrain mean that Gran Canaria is a fantastic sporting destination. It has the facilities for almost all sports. The local favourites are football, basketball and anything to do with the sea, but there are local clubs for most sports and companies offering a huge range of activities.

One uniquely local sport that is worth trying is "Salto del Pastor". Basically, you head up into the hills with a long wooden pole tipped with a steel spike. Then you jump off rocks and down cliffs using the pole to land gently. Experts can drop over 10 metres and land perfectly.

This is Europe, Baby

Gran Canaria is a safe destination with European-standard safety and hygiene regulations. You don’t need to avoid the pork and seafood and can wander about anywhere you want all day long. Gran Canaria doesn’t do earthquakes, volcanoes, riots or poisonous animals. All the main beaches and big pools have lifeguards and the police are friendly and unobtrusive. For a safe holiday with no hassles, Gran Canaria is a top choice.

Cold Beer, Great Rum

Gran Canaria may be warm but the beer isn’t: It comes in big ice cold glasses and costs a lot less than it does down the local pub. The local brew Tropical is excellent on tap and the resort bars serve loads of British and European favourites from Guinness to Amstel. If you’d rather stick to the shorts then try the islands Arehucas rum. You can even head to the distillery to watch it being bottled and try the full range of local spirits.

So Much To Do

Dolphin shows, golf, whale watching, hiking, mountain biking, shopping, tapas, sunset cocktails, all night dancing, yoga retreats, marlin fishing, go karting, paragliding, parachute jumps, diving, surfing, stand up paddle, wineries, cheese making, sailing, boat charters, waterparks, ultra running, windsurfing, gambling, carnival, camel rides, quad biking, jeep safaris: And that’s just from one leaflet stand in one small apartment complex. Gran Canaria is the island where you can do anything you have ever dreamed of and do it in the sunshine.

Crazy Local parties

If there is one thing worth getting off the sun lounger for it’s Gran Canaria’s local romerias or fiestas. They are outrageous, rum-soaked parties where the locals let their hair down and celebrate their culture. Depending on when you are in Gran Canaria you can join 50,000 locals in a lagoon trying to catch fish with their hands, dress up as a widow and parade through town in stilettos, beat the sea with branches, or join in with the folk dancing. The island’s local fiestas are one of Europe’s least known highlights. Grab a bottle of rum and a bag of ice and join in!

It’s Right There

Gran Canaria is only four hours flight from Europe and the number of flights increases every year. You can now fly direct from almost anywhere. Love them or hate them, Ryanair started a low-cost revolution that made Gran Canaria an easy destination for everyone.

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