|Gran Canaria, Image by TPS58|
Spending most of my time in West Europe, from Portugal to Madrid, to Ibiza and to Barcelona, I continued my journey a bit Southwards along the coast of Africa. I reached to a beautiful group of islands known as the Canary Islands, situated off the coast of north West Africa in the Atlantic Ocean.
The Canary islands are one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. The Islands of Gran Canaria and Tenerife host the largest amount of tourism in this island group. I, as well, planned my journey as such to visit both these islands, celebrate my Gran Canaria holidays and then in Tenerife and understand their culture, cuisine and hospitality.
Gran Canaria is the third largest island in the Canary Islands and has the largest population. It's often described as a "continent in miniature" because it has so much variety to offer. The capital Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, in the northeast of the island, is one of Spain's largest cities. The south coast of the island is now dominated by the tourist resorts which generate most of the island's economy. The centre of the island is mountainous, with the remains of ancient pine forests on the peaks. Maspalomas in the south of Gran Canaria is the tourist zone, with the largest variety of options for enjoying the island. If you ever need Tourist Information or Specific help, the TI Center is in Yumbo Center.
Gran Canaria is more like a family destination where you can go with your family and kids. It is full package of parks, Sceneries, beaches, zoo, trekking and food. One of the major attraction of this island is Palmitos Park; if you have this in your travel plan, then be informed that the entry to this park is not free, but rather expensive (28.50 Euros), however if you book the tickets online you may get some discount (24 Euros). The tickets bought online are valid upto next 90 days and are eligible only if shown with an ID proof/passport. The park has lot to offer, Along the mountains, the sight is stunning, the way the park is organized is very beautiful and is really very well landscaped. There are good number of birds and animals to see, but the highlight is definitely the dolphin show. It's a stunning aquarium that gives you a really good view of the show. The park could be expensive if you want to eat or if you want a picture of you with Parrots, Dolphins or Eagles.
|Dolphin show at Palmitos Park, photo taken by Juan Ramon Rodriguez Sosa|
If you are with your partner then you should consider watching a movie in the open movie theater "Moonlight Cinema". Though I am not sure they play a Romantic movie every time, but it is worth experiencing, in my opinion. Instead of seats the theater provides Sofas for two with blankets, an alcoholic drink is complementary with your entry ticket and you can order Pizzas separately. All in all a beautiful experience for me. Most of the times English movies are played and those who do not understand English can use translator headset.
Hiking, trekking and beaches will make your mood light, but what I would suggest you is to take full benefit of being in the Hawaii of the Atlantic. Gran Canaria is famous among the surfers. Surfing is more common in the north of the island. The island also has lots of surfing schools to offer you training to enjoy this water sport.
|Surfing in Gran Canaria, photo taken by Juan Ramon Rodriguez Sosa|
Those who like to stay away from water can enjoy playing Golf, Gran Canaria being home to Spain's oldest golf club and has eight new golf courses mainly situated in the South.
Even for those who like to be very much inside water, Gran Canaria is the place for you. The island has good Scuba diving opportunities with great diving locations and many diving centres.
Gran Canaria is a great summer experience for romance, for family or team holiday. If you keep yourself aware and alert you can avoid many problems that you can face otherwise. You mail fall victim of fraudulent if you don't stay alert. Some of the streets can be badly lit and the area around the harbour can be a bit threatening. African women vendors will approach you in extra friendly manner and will try to put a bracelet on your wrist or purse/bag and then will charge an exorbitant fee for it.