Gran Canaria Mini Guide
Located south of Spain
and east of Morocco, Gran Canaria forms part of the Canary Islands, a volcanic archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean which was originally visited by Christopher Columbus in 1492 on his way back from the Americas.
Around 60 of the 236 kilometres of Gran Canaria coastline is made up of white sandy beaches, and with little rain and temperatures rarely ever dropping below 22C, it is the perfect spot for holidaymakers looking for sunshine and a pleasant climate.
We have a large fleet of vehicles available at Gran Canaria Airport. This is very convenient for people who want low cost transport as soon as they arrive. Advance book car hire Gran Canaria airport for the cheapest deals.
Most of the island's population of around 820,000 (far outnumbered by the 2.2 million tourists who visit every year) live in the capital of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, while the tourists are generally drawn to the south of the island and the resorts such as Bahia Feliz, Amadores, Melonera, Playa Tourito, Puerto Morgan and Puerto Rico.
Visitors are well catered for throughout the island which has shopping malls and resorts and there is even a popular destination for Europe's gay tourists - the Playa de Ingles resort which has many rainbow bars. Gran Canaria has been described as a 'Miniature Continent' because of its incredible biodiversity and UNESCO protects the island as a Biosphere Reserve.
The island's east coast is taken up with beautiful beaches while the western coast is more mountainous. Gran Canaria is also dotted with caves, including underwater ones which are a big draw for scuba divers to explore the natural wealth of the archipelago, nowhere better than at the marine reserve at Playa de El Cabrón near to the town of Arinaga.
On land nature lovers can find many birds and butterflies within the jungles and ravines. For the less adventurous, there are 1,500 exotic birds of 230 different species in Palmitos Park botanical gardens, including a colourful parrot by the name of 'Crazy Delores'.
Not far from this subtropical paradise are the Maspalomas dunes which help to make up the diverse landscape with its surrounding deep blue lagoon and attractive lighthouse overseeing the beach. Along with the Doramas' Jungle, the Nublo rural park and the Azuaje ravine, the Maspalomas are among 32 protected sites of great natural beauty on Gran Canaria.
Among the many other attractions are Cocodrilos Park, the huge Roque Nublo stone and the Cueva Pintada, the Canary Islands' most important archeological park.
Access to the island is easy, with flights arriving at the international airport of Gran Canaria-Gando, and most Spanish airlines fly to the island as it is considered part of Spain. Then, those who rent a car can use a series of highways throughout the island which include the superhighways GC1 and GC2, dual carriageways and a number of routes into the mountains.
There is also a comprehensive bus network to provide public transport and the vehicles are modern and air-conditioned. Travelling by bus is a particularly good way to meet the locals who are often helpful and friendly.
– One of the most famous events in Spain is, The Carnival de Las Palmas Gran Canaria and this year it is on from 10 February to 5 March.
- Road works in South Gran Canaria: Road works are taking place in the popular tourist area of the south of Gran Canaria. The planned improvements to local roads should make driving in the area more enjoyable. Plans include re-asphalting and improving road signs and pedestrian crossings. The streets in Castillo del Romeral, Aldea Blanca, San Fernando and campo internacional are affected.
- If you're the bohemian type, the 21st June marks the summer solstice, celebrated on Gran Canaria with a beach party including music, dance food and a ritual celebration of the longest day in the traditional Canarian manner with a little paganism thrown in for good measure. If you can last the party out until sunrise you'll be in awe as the sun rises out of the sea.