A world favourite
As far as holiday destinations go, Gran Canaria is part of the world’s vintage collection. The third-largest Canary Island first appeared on the tourism radar as far back as the 19th century, and it’s gone from strength to strength ever since.
The beach scene
Gran Canaria’s enduring appeal begins with its beaches – and it’s not a case of one size fitting all. On one hand, you’ve got the larger-than-life coastal resorts of Playa del Ingles and Maspalomas, where sunbathing is serious business and nightlife is of the neon variety. On the other hand, you’ve got the sleepier towns of Puerto Mogan, Bahia Feliz and Puerto Rico, where the beaches come with more space and the evening entertainment is a little lower-key.
Meloneras and Playa Taurito
Recently, Gran Canaria has started a collection of more bijoux beach resorts, too. In Meloneras and Playa Taurito, everything comes with a touch of gloss. Shops go down the boutique route and hotels lean towards luxury.
Another reason Gran Canaria’s popularity has stood the test of time is its good-looking interior, where cliffs and gorges wax and wane. If you want to catch a glimpse of traditional island life, there are plenty of hamlets here, too. Just half-an-hour’s drive from Playa del Ingles, you’ll discover Fataga, where car-free cobbled streets are lined with whitewashed houses.
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Amadores sits on a hillside on the southwest coast of Gran Canaria. It’s a fairly new addition to the holiday scene, but the place has kept things low-key – waterfront restaurants and a quiet beach sum up the highlights. Evenings here tend to be pretty relaxed, though next-door neighbour Puerto Rico has plenty of lively pubs and bars should you want them.
On the southern tip of Gran Canaria, Maspalomas is a quieter, more sophisticated version of its neighbour, Playa del Ingles. Instead of big shopping centres and starry-eyed nightclubs, it serves up first-class restaurants and designer boutiques – all next to a standout strip of beach.
Set on Gran Canaria’s sun-soaked southern coast, Meloneras is a peaceful, purpose-built resort that has class written all over it. It has several modern shopping centres which not only house high-end boutiques and designer labels, but also bring together an assortment of stylish restaurants and bars. The livelier Playa del Ingles is just down the road, as is Maspalomas, whose beach links to Meloneras’ own sandy blanket to create a vast stretch of sunbathing space.
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