Gran Canaria is the most southerly of the Canary Islands, famous for its delightful variations of scenery from golden coasts and soft sand dunes to lush sub tropical forests right up to dramatic high peaks with occasional snowfalls.
The Canary Islands lie in the Atlantic Ocean, about 125 miles (200km) from the African coast and almost 800 miles (1,250km) from the closest European port of Cadiz. Gran Canaria is almost circular, with a diameter of about 32 miles (50km), and is characterised by deep ravines that radiate out from the centre down to the coast. That unique geography has created amazing diversity, relished by visitors.
The north of the island is humid and lush, boasting green valleys and volcanic craters, while the south is arid and desert-like, with vast stretches of sandy beach.
The interior of Gran Canaria is characterised by steep highlands dotted with quaint villages, sporting white houses with red roofs, banana plantations and orchards bursting with tropical fruits. Tourists generally favour the southern coastline, flocking to the well-known beaches of Playa del Inglés or Maspalomas, where the sea washes soft sands and empty dunes stretch for miles, but the relatively compact nature of the island makes exploring an easy option. The capital, Las Palmas, lies on the northeast tip of the island, nestled between the two long beaches of Las Caletas and Alcaravaneras. It is a bustling, lively city packed with super eateries and shopping and with a cultural side that is well worth exploring.
Travelers will be dazzled by the choices: Gran Canaria offers bustling towns, sleepy villages and modern resorts which range from lively and trendy to family-friendly or escapist-tranquil. Many holidaymakers are drawn to the sunny south where the evenings come alive in Playa Del Ingles. This popular resort is also a centre for some of the Canary Islands' best bargain-brimming shopping Malls.
Maspalomas, with its spectacuylar Saharan-style scenery, is separated from Playa del Ingles by spectacular sand dunes. Maspalomas boasts an attractive waterfront with al fresco restaurants and bars, luxury hotels and the island's largest golf course.
Puerto De Mogan is a small fishing village, still traditional in style, with dark volcanic sandy beach, narrow alleyways and pretty white bougainviella-bedecked houses, Chic boutiques, jazz, piano and al fresco tapas bars , harbour side fish restaurants all surround a picturesque marina.
Costa Meloneras borders the Maspalomas dunes; a stylish resort with high quality hotels and an attractive tree-lined promenade shading a great line-up of restaurants, bars and designer boutiques. A glorious sandy beach and an 18 hole golf course make this a firm favouite for holidaymakers.
Puerto Rico is an excellent choice for families and couples alike, thanks to its sheltered beach and colourful waterpark.
Playa Amadores is a new resort, perfect for beach lovers with its man-made pure white beach sweeping majestically around the bay. A superbly well-maintained resort, Playa Amadores has an immaculate seafront promenade lined with boutiques,cafes,bars and restaurants.
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