Sometimes described as being like a Continent in Miniature (although perhaps less-so than neighbouring Tenerife), Gran Canaria offers a variety of micro-climates. The dry South-west (Puerto Rico, Mogan) offers the sunniest climate in the Canaries where temperatures get up into the 20s (°C) even in January, while the high altitude mountainous interior even receives occasional snow. As in the rest of the Canaries, the North receives the majority of the island’s cloud and rain. Have a look at the island in Google Earth and the contrast between the green north and dry south is clear.
The 5km long stretch of sand between Playa del Ingles and Maspalomas is the most iconic on the island and its shallow waters ensure warm bathing temperatures. Further west are several man-made beaches; Puerto Rico, Amadores and Puerto de Mogan – these offer family-friendly protected waters located in the area with the sunniest weather on the island (and in the whole of Europe).
Gran Canaria has become a very popular Gay destination, and Yumbo centre in Playa del Ingles has become the Gay Party Capital of Europe. Playa del Ingles also hosts Canary Gay Pride Day further reinforcing the area’s LGBT-friendly credentials.
Founded in 1478, Las Palmas is the largest city in the Canary Islands and is joint Capital of the Canary Islands together with Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Its oldest district, Vagueta, features many historic buildings such as the Casa de Colon mansion and the Santa Ana cathedral. The 3km-long Playa de Las Canteras beach is said to be one of the best urban beaches in the world, is protected by a rocky reef and offers great family-friendly bathing and snorkelling.
The green north is covered in pine forests and a small remnant of the original laurel forest at los Tiles de Moya. The forested interior of the island offers great hiking as well as superb climbing on the iconic rocky monoliths such as Roque Nublo.
For more information on Gran Canaria, visit Gran Canaria Info