I find it amazing that only a few of my friends have enjoyed vacations in the Canary Islands. Having spent a fabulous family holiday during half-term in Las Palmas, the islands cosmopolitan capital ( which I can only describe as a mini-Barcelona). Here’s a preview of what you are missing out on:
1. THE ISLAND HAS THE PERFECT CLIMATE – ALL YEAR ROUND
Unlike the Balearic Islands, Gran Canaries’ temperatures remain in the 20ºCs for the majority of the year, which really does make your holiday pretty perfect, and let’s face it us Brits really do enjoy nothing more than a good old whinge about the weather! Albeit it too hot or too cold!
Having visited Gran Canaria twice now during February, we enjoyed temperatures averaging around 22ºC during our stay (although it does get a little cooler in the evenings so remember to pack a jacket). The climate does however drop to around 16ºCs in December and January and the hottest days are during August reaching the early 30ºCs. It is worth knowing before you book that the weather is a few degrees warmer in the south, we hired a car and drove to the south of the Island and noticed it was considerably warmer.
If you are a little bit of a beach bum like me, then the beaches in Gran Canaria will not disappoint. The Island has plenty of white sandy beaches with clear crystal waters, overlooked by palm trees. Maspalomas is simply beautiful and needs to be seen to be believed! Fine white sand and wind-sculpted dunes set against the blue sea are truly an amazing sight. The dunes can be reached by walking through a large arched entrance on Avenida de Tirajana. You’ll find Maspalomas beach divided into four areas, the first perfect for families, the second and the fourth are nudist zones (if this is your thing) and the third is popular with the gay community.
Quieter beaches can be round at the resorts in Puerto de Mogan which is also a beautiful fishing port. Gorgeous white buildings surround cobbled streets, and flowers festoon the arches of the buildings. There are tapas bars and restaurants a plenty, where you can while away many an hour sat drinking the local vino, people watching until your hearts content.
If it’s lively Kabana bars, Pedalo boats and water sports you are looking for, try Puerto Rico and Playa del Ingles in the south of the island and the e beach in Playa Las Canteras, Las Palmas was fabulous boasting a coral reef and beach volleyball courts for those more active, tapas bars and ice-cream parlours scattered the long-paved promenade.
3. IT’S ONLY A 4-HOUR FLIGHT FROM LONDON AIRPORTS
If you are seeking a break-away from the bleak British winter and simply looking for a few weeks of sunshine, then Gran Canarias is perfect as it’s only a 4-hour flight. No long-haul necessary and if you are travelling with young children that is certainly a godsend in itself! There’s nothing worst than a bored 3-year old continually kicking the seat in-front of them and wailing about their ears (especially if that 3- year old belongs to you)! Obviously with this in mind, the flights are much cheaper and most airlines fly to Las Palmas (the Islands airport in the north of the Island). Once you land, the connecting journey to your resort (at the most southern point is only a 40-minute ride away).
4. EXCELLENT VALUE FOR MONEY
In comparison with most European holiday destinations and definitely compared to spending a vacation in a Caribbean Island, Gran Canaria does offer excellent value for money. As a family of four we stayed at the Hotel Reina Isabel Spa which was excellent and I could not rate highly enough. Situated across from the beach, with its own rooftop pool and restaurant, spa, salon, beach bar and amazing service and décor though-out (see separate blog post). A hotel of this standard would undoubtedly cost double in other destinations. As well as the accommodation, it was also incredible value for money when dining out, costing as little as €60 for 4, including wine. The food dishes were also amazing, especially the paella with some of the best tapas restaurants that rivaled those in Barcelona! It was incredibly inexpensive to hire a car for the day too (which I would highly recommend to explore the Island); from €26, collecting at 9 am and returning the following morning. So, remember to take your driving licence and to drive on the left-hand side of the road …….
5. THE PERFECT HOLIDAY – CATERING FOR ALL GENERATIONS
Forget the myth that the majority of the population in the Canary Islands consists of the retired during the British winter month or ex-pats running all-day British breakfast bars. This is definitely not the case, the capital Las Palmas remains terribly Spanish and traditional and as it is a busy port, its visitors consist of all nationalities and all ages. The fabulous range of shops on offer, including the duty-free shopping attracts the young fashionistas and the Puerto de Mogan is an ideal holiday spot for families and a romantic getaway for couples alike. The livelier resorts of Puerto Rico and Playa del Ingles attracting a younger generation due to its busy nightlife. The many themed water-parks scattered around the Island are also a great hit with families and teens.
So, the next time you are choosing a holiday destination that won’t break the budget and has everything to offer, why not consider Gran Canaria?
As ever, thank you for stopping by
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