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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Playa Taurito is a hush-hush resort on Gran Canaria’s southwest coast, squeezed between chic Playa Mogan and throbbing Puerto Rico. It just has a handful of elegant hotels stacked up the sides of its rugged volcanic cliffs, plus a quiet beach lapped by the Atlantic, so it feels like you’re at your own private party.
Playa del Ingles
Playa del Ingles is set on the southernmost tip of Gran Canaria. Sandwiched between the smaller resorts of Maspalomas and San Agustin, it’s brimming with purpose-built apartment complexes and hotels, big-name nightclubs, and a Saharan-sized beach. Come summer, it draws a young crowd looking to party, but with its long list of daytime activities, it’s a certified family favourite, too.
This modern, stylish town on Gran Canaria’s southern coast is petite enough that everything’s within easy strolling distance. There’s a pretty, pedestrianised village square lined with pavement cafés and restaurants, while parks and Moroccan-style buildings only add to the charm. From here it’s only a short hop to buzzy Playa del Ingles, 10 kilometres away.