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Gran Canaria

 GRAN CANARIA: a miniature continent

Gran Canaria is the third largest island of the Canary archipelago, but it is number one for beaches, entertainment, history and attractions,. The total land area of Gran Canaria is 1560 km2. The diameter of the island is about 55 km. Gran Canaria has a  population of 800,000 inhabitants, almost half of this number lives in the capital Las Palmas. Formerly the islands were called "Tamaran" what "good" means. However, when Romans visited the island, they found very large dogs (canis means dog in Latin). So they named the Island “Isla de Gran Canaria”, what means Isles of the Big Dogs. This breed is nowadays known as "Presa Canario".
The face of the island is defined by deep canyons (barrancos), starting in the middle of the island and ending on the shore. Due to the big temperature differences, the island is divided into zones, with a wide variety of landscapes, therefore the nickname “miniature continent”. The sunny south is a rugged, rocky area with numerous oasis of palm trees, and the Barranco of Fataga, also known as the mini Grand Canyon of Gran Canaria. In the southern coastal region (from Bahia Feliz to Puerto de Mogan) tourism dominates. The interior, "El Cumbre" (central mountains), has pine forests, terraced hills, orange and lemon plantations and beautiful views from the highest peak of the Island: Pico de las Nieves with a height of 1949 m. In the north of Gran Canaria are the banana and potato plantations, typical Canarian towns as Teror, Arucas, Valleseco etc. The west coast consists of steep cliffs, rising from the sea (to sometimes 1000 meters altitude).

LAS PALMAS The Capital
We recommend to visit this fascinating city in the North- East of the island. The city stretches along the ocean for about eleven kilometers. Tourism is concentrated along the four kilometer, white, sandy beach of “Las Canteras ". The vieuw from the boulevard is very lovely and so is relaxing on one of the many terraces here. Situated near the beach "Las Canteras" the square "Parque Santa Catalina” is frequently visited by the locals. From the international  harbour “Puerto de la Luz”, it´s only a short walk to the fortress “Castillo de la Luz ". This was built in the 16th century and was for a long time a major fortification to protect against pirates and privateers! Do not skip the old town "Vegueta", it is worth a visit.  Here are the House of Columbus, the Santa Ana Cathedral and various musea situated in buildings reflecting many aspects of the Canarian architecture mixed with South American and Spanish influences. Exquisite stately facades, large patios with stone trim work and beautifully decorated wooden ceilings.
The well known shopping streets of Triana and Mesa y Lopez (with the famous "El Corte Ingles) make it possible to enjoy shopping in the capital!
 

AGAETE
Situated in the north of Gran Canary, far away from mass tourism, is the romantic fishing village Agaete, in a beautiful valley full of banana plantations, coffee plants, papayas, avocados etc. It is one of the very few places in Europe where coffee is harvested. The fishing village has the advantage of being well protected from the moist winds and therefore has more sunshine than the rest of the north. At 2 km away is the harbour of Puerto de las Nieves, a perfect place to relax on a terrace watching the fishermen busy with their boats and nets. From this port, the ferry is sailing to and from Tenerife.
 

AGÜIMES / GUAYADEQUE
This municipality has a fertile agricultural part mainly because it is one of the few municipalities where fresh drinking water is flowing in little streams from the mountains throughout the year. It was for centuries well-known for its sugar cane plantations. Walking through the old town, it is easy to discover ancient houses and cobbled streets. A few kilometers away is the magnificent and beautiful canyon of Guayadeque with a lovely village where one can still see the cave dwellings of the former original inhabitants. But the present occupants of the village live in modernized ones. Very popular among the locals, are the cave restaurants "El Centro" and "El Tagoror”. Here is where one can discover the real Canary cooking.
 

PUERTO DE MOGAN
The lovely village of Puerto de Mogan is built in Venetian style and is situated in a beautiful valley where tropical fruits are grown. Puerto de Mogan has a modern marina and a fishing harbour. The weekly market is on Friday, and is visited by many tourists from miles around. A nice alternative: take the ferry from Puerto Rico to Puerto de Mogan, a trip of about half an hour, you´ll enjoy it!
 

LA CUMBRE / PICO DE LAS NIEVES
In the centre of the island, "El Cumbre" (mountains), we´ll find pine forests, terraced hills, orange and lemon plantations and beautiful views from the highest point ”Pico de las Nieves” with a height of 1949 m.

ARUCAS
Arucas is the third largest city after Las Palmas and Telde, beautiful with gardens and prominent houses. High above the banana plantations raises the magnificent Basilica in Neo-Gothic style. It has a botanical garden with exotic flowers and plants. At 6 Km. distance is the Costa de Bañaderos, with rugged cliffs and beautiful cala's (coves).

FATAGA
The pearl of Gran Canaria. Beautiful village in the valley of the 1000 palms. The authentic washing place is still today´s meeting point for the women. There is also a nice square, it seems like time is standing still here.

TEROR
This is a typical Canarian town with aristocratic buildings and white houses with handcut, local pine wood, balconies. It is the religious centre of the island because here is the Basilica, built in 1767 with the statue of Nuestra Señora del Pino (patron saint of the pine tree), famous for the yearly pelgrimage in September. The town hall and museum are nice specimens of well preserved Canarian architecture.

 

Holiday destinations

 

Puerto de Mogan

The lovely village of Puerto de Mogan is built in Venetian style and is situated in a beautiful valley where tropical fruits are grown. Puerto de Mogan has a modern marina and a fishing port. A relatively quiet village for a relaxing holiday. The weekly market is on Friday, and is visited by many tourists from miles around.

Playa Del Cura

A tourist village on a very small scale. Playa del Cura is located on the beautiful old coastal road towards Puerto de Mogan. (2 km). The famous beach of Playa de Amadores is only 1.5 km away. Playa del Cura has a small shopping mall with restaurants, bars and a pharmacy. The quiet beach is partially composed of black sand and stones. It is a very popular holiday destination for Scandinavians.

Playa del Ingles

Playa del Ingles is a very famous and popular holiday destination. Together with Maspalomas and San Agustin it is the tourist centre of Gran Canaria. During the day mostly the tourists are laying in the sun by the pool or on the beautiful beach with the famous dunes of Maspalomas in the background. In the evening there is plenty of entertainment in one of the many shopping malls for tourists of every nationality and age. (Kasbah, Cita, Gran Chaparral, Yumbo, etc..)

Around 40 years ago, the south coast just existed of tomato plantations. Because of the warm climate and beautiful beaches these plantations have been replaced by hotels, bungalows and apartments. Therefore it´s not possible to find an old town in Playa del Ingles, for the simple reason that it never existed! But exploring the interior of the island, through an excursion or with a rental car is sure to be amazing!

San Agustin

A quiet older tourist resort right next to Playa del Ingles. It features a shopping mall. The beach of San Agustin “Playa de las Burras” is a beautiful bay with dark sand and relatively quiet. A walk over the promenade, or a walk along the beach to Playa del Ingles takes about 30 min. Taxis are very cheap and cost from San Agustin to Playa del Ingles about € 3.50 (fare per trip, max 4 persons).

Maspalomas

This resort is located south of Playa del Ingles. It is quieter and set up with more space. Maspalomas has a beautiful golf course and a shopping mall with a lot of entertainment for children (trampoline, playground, ...), good restaurants and nice shops. Further south, near the lighthouse is the new district Meloneras, with expensive 4* and 5* hotels. It has a boulevard which is gorgeous.

Maspalomas is ideal for tourists who enjoy the peace and occasionally look for fun and entertainment in Playa del Ingles or Meloneras (taxi + - € 4,- per trip, max 4 persons).

Gran Canaria has a warm and sunny, subtropical climate. The temperature is over all year quite evenly. In the mountains, in the interior, it is a little cooler and on the highest mountains, in wintertime, you even may find some snow. The south of Gran Canaria lies in the rain shadow of the mountains, resulting in a drier and sunnier climate compared with the northern part. The average annual temperature is 22 ° C, the coldest month is January with an average monthly temperature of 17 ° C and August is the warmest with an average of 28 ° C. Most rain falls during the winter months November, December and January. The driest months are in June, July and August. The temperature of the sea water is almost all year round between 19 and 24 ° C.

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