Travel Guide Gran Canaria – Located off the coast of Africa, Gran Canaria’s less crowded island interior boasts Iron Age artwork, caldera hikes and elevated villages overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
Mild year-round temperatures make the Canary Islands a favorite for the winter sun, but this Spanish archipelago offers plenty of great experiences beyond its lauded beaches. Take Gran Canaria – this windswept island is a veritable traveller’s playground with lively beach bars in the capital, Las Palmas; gentle, golden sand dunes; and spectacular hiking trails that extend into the volcanic mountains. Tucked away deep inland, you’ll find farms, cottage wineries and even coffee plantations, the only place on the continent to consider this island off the coast of Africa as part of Europe.
Travel Guide Gran Canaria
When the Spanish invaded in the 15th century, they fought against a resisting indigenous population – the resistance did not last, but these Canarians, or Guanches, were not completely exterminated; Half of the population of Gran Canaria still claim this genetic link.
Ultimate Gran Canaria Travel Budget Guide (2023)
One reason the natives were able to repel the Spanish was the island’s critical topography. Getting around most of Gran Canaria can be difficult, especially towards the interior of the volcano. The mountains are so steep that moving on them requires a patient serpentine road. But such a climb is worth the effort; It is not uncommon to climb the 6,500-foot peaks of Pico de las Nieves, the highest on the island, and see the Atlantic Ocean shrouded in clouds above the mountain peaks.
The shores below always draw crowds, but life in the heart of the island feels rustic and remote. Gran Canaria is officially the most densely populated part of Spain, but visiting its sleepy inns can seem impossible.
In the center of Gran Canaria is a small village called Tejeda with its white houses and almond trees. It’s a great photo, but the view of the giant caldera that surrounds it is less impressive. If you’re visiting the nearby Pico de las Nieves volcano, be sure to visit the village’s Dulcería Nublo for a traditional, rich chocolate-covered almond cake.
Sun-seekers flock to Gran Canaria and never stop spending time in the charming capital, Las Palmas. Stroll through Vegeta, Vegeta’s oldest neighborhood full of restaurants serving Canarian cuisine, and stop at the sprawling Playa de las Canteras for a dip in the sea. It may be the capital, but the atmosphere here is much more relaxed than you might think.
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Although Gran Canaria receives little rain, the residents of high Firgas have devised an ingenious irrigation system that runs through the streets of the city center. Admire the colorful tiles adorning the surrounding houses, but be sure to look across the Atlantic from this picturesque 500-year-old village.
Islands are not named after birds; Insula Canaria means “island of dogs” in Latin, and early settlers found Gran Canaria full of dogs.
There are over 240 officially recognized hiking routes around Gran Canaria. The trek involves some river crossings and trampling, and passes through bamboo forests as it exits the mountains.
At 5,250 feet above sea level, hiking around the Caldera Grande is quite chilly. However, the pines running down the volcano give a mountainous feeling.
Gran Canaria Travel
If you want to see the inside of Gran Canaria’s volcanoes, this is the tour for you. It’s only six miles long, but some steep sections mean it can take more than four hours. On the way you will see an amazing lava field that looks like a petrified lake.
I’m standing on top of a volcano, a misty lake below me and a clear blue sky above. There are pine trees all around and part of my brain is convinced I’m in California. My guide Guillermo Bernal explains the long history of the island, but my eyes are not entirely convinced that it is located on the island of Gran Canaria, just 52 miles off the west coast of Africa.
Even the idea of a guide like Guillermo in such a remote place is a surprise to me. He is an expert in ornithology and archaeology, because Gran Canaria is rich in birds and ancient history. “Apparently most people are at the beach,” Guillermo said. “Las Palmas or some small fishing village, but here is something else, isn’t it?”
It has been confirmed. The heart of Gran Canaria was once an active volcano, but today its slowly erupting caldera is a vast and beautiful amphitheater. Looking at the landscape from the outside, I find it strange that few people visit the extraordinary interior of the island, but flock to the shores and sandy beaches.
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But I came to discover the other side of the island. I hike with Guillermo for two days, in September the temperature is around 22 degrees. On this first trip, we follow the rim of the ancient Caldera Grande, overlooking the beautiful village of Tejeda. It’s close to the center of Gran Canaria and only 23 miles from Las Palmas, but it can take over an hour due to rough roads.
“The Guans, they knew a few things here,” Guillermo said. “For them, everything revolved around the sun, so here and in other caves there was light at special times of the year, like the equinoxes, and they built these little sanctuaries.”
Although the cave is closed to protect it from the few hikers, I can still see some carvings when I look inside. Guillermo apologizes for not being able to visit other parts of the island to see more striking examples of Iron Age artefacts – UNESCO inspectors will make the final decision on whether or not to grant the full “Sacred Mountains of Risco Caido and Gran Canaria”. Heritage status.
When we got back to the main road, I didn’t see anyone on the side of the road except for a senior citizen walking his dog. I wonder for a moment if the UNESCO status of a place like this would change, but if these hills have been quiet for the last few thousand years, that tells me they probably won’t change much even with World Heritage status.
The Complete Travel Guide To The South Of Gran Canaria
Cordial Resort Holidays offers accommodation around Gran Canaria. Guillermo Bernal guides Gran Canaria and loves to hike.
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The Canary Islands, Spain: A Complete Travel Guide
I visit the Spanish Canary Islands up to 10 times a year. Here’s our ultimate travel guide to this magical place.
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When I moved to Madrid from the US almost 15 years ago, most of my expat friends vacationed in popular Spanish cities like Seville and Barcelona.
Instead of the castles of La Mancha or the weaving streets of Andalusia, I preferred to spend my free time in the Canary Islands, the volcanic islands known as the Spanish Hawaii.
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With endless attractions in the area, I want to buy a house in the Canary Islands so I can enjoy the islands forever – my only problem is that I can’t decide which one to call home.
The Canary Islands consist of seven main islands: Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, El Hierro, La Gomera and La Palma. Each has year-round sun and no rainy season. Here is an introduction to each island:
This guide highlights the best attractions, food and accommodation on each island to help you decide which destination is best for you and how to plan your trip. Here’s everything you need to know