10 things to do and see on the island of Gran Canaria and 1 not to do

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Aina Martin

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Gran Canaria Island
10 things to do and see on the island of Gran Canaria and 1 not to do

"Twenty-two degrees all year" is one of the most famous slogans of the Canary archipelago. A spring continues with situations that in some moments are truly surreal. Type: on the one hand, people on the beach even in January; on the other, the snow-covered slopes of the surrounding mountains. On the island of Gran Canaria, second by population and third by extension of the entire archipelago, this situation is particularly evident. In reality it is only an apparent paradox, because it is precisely from the climatic diversity between the hinterland and the coastal strip that the mild climate arises that allows you to visit the island all year round. Pico de las Nieves, the highest mountain in Gran Canaria, with its 1949 meters above sea level separates the northern part of the island, more humid due to the North Atlantic currents, from that southern instead lapped by warm winds from sub-Saharan Africa. Not surprisingly, the south-western coast is the most popular for tourists with resorts, equipped beaches, restaurants and boutiques that follow one another almost continuously for tens of kilometers from Maspalomas a Puerto de Mogan. But woe to forget Las Palmas, which of Gran Canaria is the larger town (there are 21 municipalities in all) as well capital, together with Santa Cruz of Tenerife, of the whole archipelago. As has been effectively observed by many, in Las Palmas you go with both a bikini and an evening dress. Unlike the southern side of the island, in fact, in addition to the beaches (Playa de las Canteras e Playa de las Alcaveranes) there are museums, theaters and cultural centers of all respect. Our exploration of Gran Canaria starts right from the capital and then continues south. Happy reading.

1 Playa de las Canteras

Some have called Playa de las Canteras one "Central Park by the sea". And, indeed, this long tongue of sand for the inhabitants of Las Palmas is much more than just a beach. It is a meeting place where to chat, meditate, let their children play and of course swimming. All the year! A very close bond that does not escape even the thousands of cruise passengers that every day land in the city for the classic tour. Not just them. Even the surfing and windsurfing enthusiasts they really appreciate the waves of “Cicer”, the southern part of the beach not protected by the “Barra” (see photo), the imposing rocky system that acts as a natural cliff and ensures that the sea is almost always calm. In short, Playa de las Canteras is one of the most beautiful urban beaches in all of Spain. Large, comfortable, organized, popular, and above all never the same. Also worth seeing is the adjacent promenade full of hotels (click here for the hotel list), bars, restaurants, boutiques and typical shops.

2 Auditorium Alfredo Kraus

At the beginning we wrote that those who go on holiday to the island of Gran Canaria will do well to pack the evening dress as well. We were referring, among other things, to the Alfredo Kraus Auditorium at the end of the Las Canteras beach. Designed byarchitect Oscar Tusquests, the building was built between 1993 and 1997. The structure recalls that of a lighthouse, symbolically intended to illuminate and protect the capital of the archipelago of the Canary Islands. To protect Las Palmas, therefore, and to thank its most illustrious citizen, Alfredo Kraus (1927 -1999), the tenor who with his voice brought the name of the city and the island to the stages of the whole world. The Auditorium, which boasts a wonderful ocean view, is the seat ofGran Canaria Philharmonic Orchestra and Gran Canaria Ballet. In addition, the Las Palmas International Film Festival and Canary Islands Music Festival. For more info on history, architecture, artistic programming, tickets and means of transport visit the official website: www.auditorioteatrolaspalmasgc.es/auditorioalfredokraus

3 Vegueta

Vegueta, historic center of Las PalmasFrom 1990 is UNESCO World Heritage Site. An ancient district, where most of the city's monuments and historic buildings are concentrated. Regental House, residence of the president of the Court of Assizes of Gran Canaria; Consistoriales House, municipality of Las Palmas; Colon house, perhaps the residence of Christopher Columbus during a stop on the island; Episcopal Palace, seat of the Episcopate; and especially the Cathedral of Sant'Anna (see photo), a unique combination of different architectural styles: Gothic, Renaissance and Neoclassical. Inside the church, elevated to the rank of minor basilica, there are several sculptures by Jose Lujan Perez, the most representative artist of the island of Gran Canaria, who lived between the second half of the 700th century and the first part of the 800th century. In a wing of the Cathedral the Diocesan Museum local. Also in the neighborhood is the Canary Museum (see next paragraph). Finally, not far from Vegueta there is Playa de las Alcaveranes, the other beach in Las Palmas, smaller than Playa de las Canteras but equally comfortable.

4 Canarian Museum

The Museo Canario, in the Vegueta district of Las Palmas, houses the most rich documentation of the glorious Guanche civilization, the aborigines of the Canary archipelago, gradually disappeared after the Spanish conquest of the islands. It is about dirty 11 set up with pottery, finds, statues e mummies of this pre-Hispanic civilization of Berber origin. The Museum also has a well-stocked one library, A 'newspaper library it's a archive available to scholars and the public. The most famous find is undoubtedly theIdol of Tara, terracotta statue symbol of fertility of the Guanche who, we recall, practiced the polyarchy and legitimized the practice of ritual suicide. It is said that the last resisting the Spanish conquest, in order to escape annexation, preferred to throw themselves into the many cliffs that outline the coastal slopes of Gran Canaria. The Museum, inaugurated in 1879 by the local doctor, historian and anthropologist Gregorio Chil y Naranjo, is now supported by a private foundation. For more information on history, collections, initiatives, prices and opening hours visit the Official site: www.elmuseocanario.com

5 Cueva Pintada Museum and Archaeological Park

In addition to Canary Museum, the right place to learn more about Guanche civilization it's definitely the Archaeological Park of Cueva Pintada in town hall of Gáldar, north-western side of the island at approx 30 kilometers from the capital Las Palmas. Cueva Pintada stands for "Painted Grotto" and its discovery dates back to 1862 even if, incredibly, more than a century had to pass before the local institutions finally assigned men and adequate means to the enhancement of this important archaeological site. Excavations begun in the 70s, in 1987 brought to light a village of over 50 houses e artificial caves which still represents one of the most important testimonies of the aboriginal civilization that inhabited and prospered in the Canary archipelago before the Spanish annexation. The recovery of these remains favored the subsequent creation of the adjacent museum in a successful attempt to provide the indispensable didactic material (also in 3D) to explain the important finds found. For more information on visiting hours, prices and means of transport to / for the Cueva Pintada museum and archaeological park, visit the official website: www.cuevapintada.com

6 Maspalomas

Maspalomas, part of the municipality of San Bartolomé, is by far the most famous tourist resort in Gran Canaria, as well as one of the busiest in Europe. People of all kinds flock to this area, south of the island, to enjoy the climate and a wonderful habitat made of webbed, dunes e oceano. Families with children, young and old couples, surfers, naturists and gays: in Maspalomas there is room for everyone both on the beach and in hotels, discotheques, the bar, the restaurants and shops arose in the last thirty years in the rear of the beach. Mute witness to the impetuous tourist development Lighthouse namesake of the locality, declared in 2005 site of cultural interest of the Canary archipelago. More in detail, "Playa del Ingles" it is the area with the largest number of accommodation facilities, but there is no lack of other sites of interest: from "Congress Palace", functional to the development of congress tourism; to the "Mundo Aborigen", archaeological park dedicated to the natives of the island; finally passing through "Palmitos Park" (see next paragraph) with its rich display of tropical flora and fauna, Maspalomas has all the essential attractions for a dream vacation on the island of Gran Canaria. In short, a place not to be missed even if you decide to stay in the north, in the district of Las Palmas. THE connections between the two locations, in fact, are Frequently and insured all year round. Seeing is believing!

7 Palmitos Park

Speaking of Maspalomas we mentioned his versatility. In fact, both the beach and the places in the rear are designed to meet the needs of everyone: from naturists to families with children. The latter, above all, have Palmitos Park, which is beautiful exotic park ideal to spend a pleasant day in the company of their children. From the dolphinarium, to the aquarium, to the eagles, to the parrots, without forgetting, coati, marabou, caimans and pelicans, the park is a real temple of fun and it is worth all about 30 euros of admission. Obviously, the management has provided diversified rates and packages (which can be purchased online) according to the needs and composition of the family units. The park is open every day, all year round, from 10.00 to 18.00. For more information visit the official website: www.palmitospark.es

8 Puerto de Mogán

We have said it several times, and we have to repeat it again: there are few tourist resorts in the world that can offer (almost) everything to everyone and the island of Gran Canaria is certainly one of them. For example if you are looking for something more characteristic than in Las Palmas and Maspalomas, Puerto de Mogán is the right place for you. A town with an unmistakable Mediterranean style developed around his marina. In short, despite being in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, the colorful houses clinging to the hill, i narrow alleys and small bridges crossing the fishing village they are inspired by typically Mediterranean architectural styles and settings as seen elsewhere in Spain, Greece and Italy. The ideal, therefore, for a holiday of relaxation and nature. Puerto de Mogán, in fact, is the mecca for divers and to the deep sea fishing enthusiasts, as well as a preferred home base for hiking routes pointing towards the interior of the island. Also worth seeing Puerto Rico, Patalavaca, Amadores, Arguineguín (see next paragraph) e Taurito, the other inhabited centers that, like Mogan, have become over time residential tourist locations where to stay for a dream holiday onGran Canaria island. Finally, do not miss Yellow Submarine, small submarine which at a cost of about 30 euros takes tourists to discover the beautiful seabed around the port of Mogán.

9 Arguineguín market

Puerto de Mogán as well as for the characteristic village, the tourist port, bars, restaurants, fishing, excursions and everything else, it is also famous for its municipal market which takes place every Friday. However, Mogán is neither the only nor the most famous street market in Gran Canaria. The palm of most important market on the island it is up to Arguineguín, halfway between Maspalomas and Puerto de Mogán (of which it is administratively part). Every Tuesday in Arguineguín tourists come from all over the island to stop by to give and / or treat themselves to a souvenir and a typical Canarian product. Among other things the locality, which is located at the end of the highway that connects the entire eastern side of the island, also deserves from a tourist point of view. Despite the present fact of hotels, resorts and related activities, the village has in fact maintained its own typical seafaring imprint. Not to be missed!

10 Trekking

Not just surfers, divers and recreational fishermen. The island of Gran Canaria is also a very popular destination for trekking enthusiasts, even more after insertion, by theUnesco, of more than half of the territory between "Biosphere Reserves". The volcanic nature and the peculiarity of flora and fauna suggest to those who come on vacation to pack shoes and clothing suitable for excursions. Among the many itineraries available, the peaks of Roque Nublo (see photo) and by Pico de las Nieves (with its 1949 meters the highest on the island), they are easily accessible and deserve to be climbed. Magical places, not surprisingly considered sacred by Guanche, the Canarian natives who inhabited the island for millennia before the Spanish conquest. The tourist patronage of the island of Gran Canaria offers all the informative and logistical support to anyone wishing to deepen the great nature of the island. For more information visit: grancanaria.com/patronato_turismo/Sport-di-montagna

1 Watch out for the Maspalomas sandstorms

Maspalomas is the busiest tourist resort in Gran Canaria. A piece of the Sahara in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean without the typical drawbacks of the desert, except one which, if unprepared, can be particularly annoying. From time to time, in fact, the beach and the dunes behind it are lashed by strong winds which inevitably end up raising a lot of sand. The advice, therefore, is to always carry sunglasses to protect the eyes by grains suspended in mid-air. The other thing to watch out for is the sand temperature, especially in the dunes. The suggestion, in this case, is of do not walk barefoot to avoid burning your feet. Apart from these small precautions there are no particular contraindications. There are those who, at the very least, advise against visiting the island a December and January, months in which the Atlantic Ocean temperature is colder compared to the rest of the year.

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