Gran Canaria – A Guide To Spain’s Tropical Canary Island

by Garth



 

Gran Canaria – Tropical, Mountains and Beaches

We wanted some winter sun and decided on Gran Canaria for a few days after reading about it’s diverse landscapes, and the fact it has a tropical climate in the centre of the island appealed, it sounded like a good island for us to explore and relax.

 

Our Hotel

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Garth in the adults only pool at the Sheraton Salobre Golf Resort

We hired a car and stayed at The Sheraton Salobre Golf Resort after seeing some bargain offers online we bagged ourselves a good deal for 5 nights.  Although we aren’t golfers we’ve stayed at a couple of golf resort hotels and they’ve all be really nice. The hotel itself was perfect, luxurious, with classy guests, well behaved children (and not too may of them either!) It was set in the mountains away from the popular tourist resorts. Most days we perched ourselves at their adults only infinity pool with Bali style daybeds, quite romantic, but you had to bagsie early morning despite signs asking guests not to, it was worth it.

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Sheraton Salobre Golf Resort

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Breakfast time!

The food was stunning all meals were served buffet style and each evening there was a different type of food.  Breakfasts were to die for, so much choice.  We were asked on the way into the Breakfast room if we wanted Champagne?  She didn’t need to ask twice!  Well she did actually, to see if we wanted white or pink!

 

 

Las Palmas

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Las Palmas colourful homes

So we headed out to see the different landscapes and some culture and started with the island’s capital city Las Palmas, if you happen to be visiting on the first Sunday of a month, then museums are free to enter.

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Las Palmas Vegueta

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Phil outside Santa Ana Cathedral

Just head to the old town and Vegueta – as it’s the nicest part, we loved the quiet strolls wandering the colourful and historical streets, it manages to retain much of its original colonial character, the Santa Ana Cathedral is also worth a look.

 

 

Mountains and Teror

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Teja

Views from Teja

Views from Teja

From here we went to Teja, high up in the middle of this mountainous island. The beauty of Gran Canaria comes into its own, so well worth hiring a car for the mountain vistas and hiking opportunities.

The village of Teror

The village of Teror

pretty balconies in Teror

pretty balconies in Teror

Colourful buildings in Teror

Colourful buildings in Teror

Teror was also a lovely historic town high up in the mountains, and clouds!  the town has lots of colonial architecture.  It was a long drive and took up a fair portion of the day, because of all the winding roads as you need to drive slowly, but the scenery was stunning, even Phil was impressed!

 

 

Playa del Ingles

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Yumbo Centre, Playa del Ingles

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Nudist beach Playa del Ingles

Another day we stopped by Playa del Ingles and the Yumbo Centre, a popular party haunt with the LGBT community. It’s a 4 floor complex of nightclubs, bars, restaurants and markets full of touristy stuff. The cabaret and karaoke clubs looked like they’d be good fun in the summer. However the whole place is a little bit tacky (sorry!) once you’ve been to Mykonos other places are hard to beat! but we did have a fun time at Yumbo and great pizza.

We then walked to the promenade which was lined with more lively bars, it’s one of those fun’n’sun resorts.  If you’re looking for culture then Playa del Ingles is not for you, but it does have one outstanding feature – the beach.

 

 

Gran Canaria’s Dramatic Dunes

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Garth & Phil at Maspalomas Sand Dunes

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Maspalomas Sand Dunes

Not far away are the sand dunes of Maspalomas, they are absolutely spectacular and protected as a nature reserve,  it was one of our favourite views on the island. You really felt like you had been transported to the Sahara Desert, we walked about half an hour from Playa del Ingles but turned off a bit too soon to get to the Dunes.  There were  a few people around and Phil noticed that they didn’t appear to have any clothes on! We’d accidentally found ourselves right in the middle of the nudist beach! So if you are traveling with Aunty Maud be aware! Phil found the situation hilarious! there are a couple of designation nudist zones on the vast beach which seems to go on for miles. The Dunes are an incredible sight, and worth a decent walk amongst them, although we found them quite hard work hiking up and down the steep drifts, as they are deceiving to look at. Garth always thought he’d get a better shot from the next one!

 

 

Puerto de Mogán

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Puerto de Mogan’s harbour

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Puerto de Mogan

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Garth in Puerto de Mogan

For an authentic Spanish experience we headed to Puerto de Mogán, a very pretty fishing town.  The residential streets behind the harbour are lined with stunning Bougainvillea crawling over the buildings and making canopies of flowers, in lots of different vibrant colours. We arrived on market day, so the place was very busy, the market had all the usual tourist tat stalls, mixed with a couple of decent stalls, but the town itself was charming, and we finally had some tapas!

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Phil enjoying Canarian tapas

Try the Gran Canaria local tapas dish ‘Papas Con Mojo’ – small roasted potatoes, that are boiled in sea water to make them really salty, they are then covered in a garlic sauce. We also love Allioli – garlic mayonnaise served with fresh rustic bread, which is served all over Spain.

 

Phil & Garth’s Top 5 Gran Canaria Tips

  • Tip #1: Rent a car to get the most out of the island
  • Tip #2: Gran Canaria is a perfect UK winter destination – warm temperatures and hotels have heated pools.
  • Tip #3: It’s tropical climate and mountainous landscape makes it an ideal hiking destination
  • Tip #4: Don’t bother with all-inclusive, try half board, get out and eat delicious tapas!
  • Tip #5: Gran Canaria is close to the equator, so take extra care to avoid sunburn

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17 comments

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17 comments

Vyjay 18th September 2016 - 7:35 am

The Grand Canaria circuit is really wonderful. The stunning pictures have effectively captured picturesque towns, sand dunes, beaches and infinity pools with equal effect. I am sure it would be really great to head out to these parts some day.

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By Land and Sea 17th September 2016 - 10:45 pm

Oh, how I love the photos, the colors, the streets, the flowers, the water! This place looks amazing! I’ve never heard of this town before but I feel like we must go here! Many of your travels really appeal to me and our style, and this one certainly goes on my list of top places!

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Lisa 17th September 2016 - 8:59 pm

This looks amazing. You captured the beauty and the vivid colors of the area. The sand dunes look like fun! Bet I could do some off the beaten path hiking there. Add to the bucket list.

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The Grey Traveller 17th September 2016 - 8:02 pm

Haven’t got to the Canaries yet but these photos suggest I should put it on the list. Looks like a great place that you stayed.

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Gutsygurltravel 17th September 2016 - 2:19 pm

Wonderful photos! Thank you for sharing your adventure.

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Melissa Giroux 17th September 2016 - 11:35 am

Wow! This looks amazing! Loving all the colorful pictures! 😀

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Travel Lexx 16th September 2016 - 7:51 pm

Beautiful! I didn’t realise there were so many pretty towns in Gran Canaria and that there is so much more to do other than laze around on the beach. The sand dunes look stunning and it sounds like I would be in my element with all the hiking. Playa del Ingles doesn’t really appeal but I did hear good things about Parrots Restaurant at the Yumbo Centre!

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Lauren 16th September 2016 - 7:06 pm

Haha I would have loved champagne for breakfast! You wouldn’t even need to ask me once! Great blog looking past fan canaria as just a party resort and the food looked to die for!

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Stephanie (1AdventureTraveler) 16th September 2016 - 6:10 pm

I just love the Grand Canaria island. I feel like I have been there through your adventure. Your pictures and video are awesome as always. Love the infinity pool at the Sheraton Hotel and the colors of Las Palmas. So many wonderful activities there. How many days would be a good length of time to spend there? Thanks for sharing 🙂

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Angie 16th September 2016 - 12:44 pm

Now you keep making me jealous with these infinity pools lol, it’s on my bucket list and I can see you have been to at least two 🙂 I actually spent my 21st birthday in Gran Canaria so it was wonderful to read your post and bring back lovely memories! I loved Maspalomas and had my first camel ride there. Puerto de Mogan is also stunning isn’t it, I did the “yellow submarine” trip, cheesy but enjoyable. I would say this was probably my favourite part of the island and I would highly recommend it – but I think your photos do that for everyone to see! Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

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