“Gran Canaria” is one of the Canary archipelago islands. It is the third largest by the island area (1560 km²), after the Tenerife and Fuerteventura islands. The island has population of about 850,000 people. It is the second island of the Canary archipelago by the number of residents. Gran Canaria is one of the most popular by tourist. Every year the island is visited by over two million tourists.
Which of the Canary Islands is better to spend a vacation? Tenerife or Gran Canaria? Which of the island offers the best conditions for tourists? There is no single answer to these questions. There are many supporters of both islands at tourist forums. In the past, the Gran Canaria island was very popular among tourists. But the tourism industry of the Tenerife island was developing rapidly in recent years. Now the island of Tenerife offers many services for tourists. There are a lot of attractions and interesting places. Vacation on the Gran Canaria island of can appeal to those who are looking for a quieter place for leisure.
Gran Canaria is located in the Canary Islands archipelago center. Neighboring islands are Tenerife and Fuerteventura in the west and the east. Gran Canaria has a circle shape with a diameter of about 50 kilometers. The coastline of the island has a length 236 kilometers. The capital of Gran Canaria is “Las Palmas de Gran Canaria” city, which is located in the northeast of the island.
On the island of Gran Canaria any time of year is warm (but not too hot) weather. Average temperatures range from 20°C in winter to about 26°C in summer. Some nights can be cool at any time of year. The total amount of precipitation is small. Most of the precipitation (rain) falls in the winter months in the northern part of the island. In the south tend to be more dry and hot weather. Tourists usually prefer southern part of the island. The warmest months of the year are July, August, September and October.
The west coast of the island has steep, rocky shore. East and south of the island are more suited to attract tourists. There are many beaches on the east coast and in the south of the island. The total length of the Gran Canaria island beaches is about 50 kilometers. Also there are 32 protected natural areas on the island.
Most tourists come to the southern and south-eastern parts of the island. The most famous place among tourists is the Maspalomas region. Most famous resorts in Maspalomas are “Playa del Inglés”, “Maspalomas” and “Meloneras”. On the south is the famous beach “Dunes” (Dunes of Maspalomas).
Las Palmas city is one of the two capitals of the Canary Islands (another is Santa Cruz de Tenerife). It is the largest city in the Canary Islands. The city's population is 382 thousand people (2012).
The international airport on Gran Canaria (Las Palmas Airport) located at a distance 18 kilometers from the Las Palmas, near the ocean. It is the largest airport on the Canary Islands by the number of served passengers.
- Traditional carnival (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria Carnival) is held every year in February. The main event of the carnival, “Cabalgata”, passes along the route length of 6 kilometers. Main events of the Carnival held in the “Santa Catalina” park. (Santa Catalina Park located in the northern part of the city.) Carnival is also carried out in the south of the island, in the popular resort Maspalomas.
- Festival of classical music “Canary Islands Music Festival” is held in February. The main events of the festival take place in the “Alfredo Kraus Auditorium” hall of the, as well as on open areas (outdoors).
- Popular festival “Fiestas de San Juan” (Fiestas Fundacionales) is held every year in June to commemorate the founding of the city (the city day). These days in the city are many colorful events.
- Other festivals: Film festival, Jazz Festival, the festival of theater and dance, “Fiesta de San Lorenzo” festival (August 1).
There are four main beaches in Las Palmas: “Las Canteras”, “Las Alcaravaneras”, “la Laja” and “Confital”.
- “Playa de Las Canteras” beach located in the northern part of the city, on the west side of the Guanarteme isthmus. (Isthmus connects the Isleta peninsula (La Isleta, La Isleta) with the city.) It is the largest beach in the city. On the beach and in the nearby Santa Catalina Park in February are held the main events of the carnival. The beach has a length more than 3 kilometers.
- “Playa de Las Alcaravaneras” is a small beach (Las Alcaravaneras beach) located near the Las Canteras beach, on the eastern side of the Guanarteme isthmus.
- “Playa de la Laja” beach (La Laja Beach) is located to south of the city and has a length about 1200 meters.
- “Playa del Confital” beach (Confital Beach) is located to north of the Las Palmas city, south-west of the Isleta peninsula (La Isleta). The beach is not as well suited for a comfortable stay. There are often quite strong waves on the sea. Sports fans consider this place as one of the best in Europe for surfing. Not far from this place is also a nudist beach.
Maspalomas is one of the largest resorts in Spain, specially built for tourists. Its heart is “Playa del Ingles” resort village with numerous hotels, restaurants, bars, discos, and golden sandy beaches. In Maspalomas, in the south of “Gran Canaria” island, is located famous beach “Dunes of Maspalomas”, a total area about 250 hectares.
There are hotels of different price categories for tourists (from luxury hotels to budget hotels), apartments and chalets. For example, the “Bungalows Dunagolf” 2 star hotel situated near the famous beach “Dunes of Maspalomas” and next to the golf course.
The main advantage of the resorts of the south of the “Gran Canaria” island is perfect beaches with yellow sand. It is believed that the water temperature in the sea is a few degrees higher than that on the Tenerife Island of. There are also a water park, amusement park, lots of bars, cafes, restaurants and shops for tourists.
To west of the Maspalomas resort is located Puerto Rico village, which is also popular with tourists.