Gran Canaria for each type of traveler
Recently, I was lucky enough to spend a few days on Gran Canaria, the largest of the Canary Islands. They are part of Spain, but located much further south than the peninsula, off the Morrocan coast. Hence we had fabulous weather, even in December. I was with a group of six girls, one of them knew some locals so we had the pleasure of seeing what they thought was worth showing:
Gran Canaria for the Explorers
I highly recommend a trip up to Tejeda. It´s quite a hike up the hill, even in the car, but it is worth it. From the panorama terrace you can see across the hills and valleys of the island, all the way to Tenerife, the neighboring island. We caught the sunset up there, as you can see in the pictures.
After that we went to Teror, another jewel of a town I can highly recommend. When we arrived, it was shining bright with cosy Christmas lights, but whenever you go, visit it during the day. The architecture will take to back to centuries past, the town square with the church and the wooden balconies on every house.
Las Palmas for the Sightseeing fans
In Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, the capitol, there are plenty of things to see. I noticed, they even have hop on / hop off buses going around. What I liked most was the historic center around the park San Telmo. There is a darling little Ice Cream parlor there in the corner, looking just like out of a movie. The cathedral and surrounding streets are beautiful, Triana is the shopping street with the usual Spanish high street shops.
My absolute favorite part of Las Palmas is the neigborhood called San Juan. I´ve never seen such a colorful and vibrant barrio anywhere. It stretches out over a few hills and bears hundreds of Instagram worthy photo opportunities. I´m sharing just a few of my own pictures below. To get there I took a bus, it´s very simple as you can pay the driver and the fare doesn´t change regardless of how many stops you go.
Gran Canaria for Foodies
On our first full day on the island we followed a friend´s recommendation and ate at Allende Puerto, a tapas restaurant serving local dishes from the Canary islands. We had a fantastic experience there, the food was plentiful and tasty, service as friendly as I´ve hardly ever seen it on the mainland and the prices are reasonable. It was crowded though, we had to wait for a table, even during off season.
Another experience a foodie needs to have on Gran Canaria is to drive out into the countryside, outside the city and find one of the local village restaurants. There you sit at large tables, amongst entire families taking their weekend meals on hardwood tables with checkered table cloths.
One of their specialties is a bread baked with aniseed. Another is baked goat cheese, then there is roasted peppers and tomatoes and lots and lots of seafood. This is as far as it can get from fine dining, but worth it if you want to see what Spain is really about.
Las Palmas for Party People
Thousands of hedonistic tourist flock to Gran Canaria each year to dance, drink and have fun. It earned a reputation as a the party island of the Canaries. Las Palmas being the largest city, it offers lots of clubs and discos where you can party until morning. Saturday is the day people go out to dance.
Flamingo is a nice one, located at the Hotel Cristina on Calle Gomera 6, not too far from the beach. But the real vacation feeling is guaranteed at Terraza Kopa, entrance via the shopping center CC El Muelle. There are dancefloors and bars outdoors under the star filled sky, with a view of the port and the nightly cruise ships there. The music is electronic/dance, dress code is dressy (the shorter dresses the more you´ll fit in). Be prepared to pay a cover charge and for a long line out front.
If you follow my blog by now you´ll know I´ll never say no to a rooftop bar 🙂 In Las Palmas we went to El Tenededero de Catalina on Calle del General Vives 76, a more low key venue but still crowded on a Saturday night. It´s walking distance from the other clubs mentioned above but they close at 2am, so a good place for a pre-party drink.
If you like this type of venue, also check out my article on rooftop bars in Barcelona.
I´d love to hear what you thought of Gran Canaria and if you´d recommend spending more time there. Comment below!