About the Island
The number of annual visitors surpassed 2.8 million (2,800,000) in the year 2011; making Gran Canariaone of the most visited touristic destinations in Europe; most of the tourists visiting the southern part of the island. The north tends to be cooler while the south is warmer and sunnier with 365 days of sunshine. Some experts claim it as having the best climate on earth. The east coast of the island is flat dotted with beaches while the western coast is rockier and mountainous.
The unique climate, ideal contours and picturesque surroundings make it the natural habitat for second residences or the ideal retirement home for most UK, Europe and Scandinavian residents.
The southern region of the island which is most touristic in nature, due to nurturing probably the world’s best climate, is surrounded by crystalline watered shores and shiny sandy beaches, being a real magnet that has lured generations of travelers from all over the globe. They are world famous and crowded, such as the long stretch of sands at Maspalomas, a huge strip of yellow sand, stretching from Playa del Inglés to the foot of the great Maspalomaslighthouse, bordering a dune desert on the island’s southern tip.
The long series of beaches, range from quiet family ones such as San Agustín, Amadores, and the small Puerto de Mogán, or livelier ones such as the traditional tourist enclave of Puerto Rico, and most importantly the world famous beach of Playa del Inglés.
A myriad of small beaches are packed into the south of Gran Canaria, all of them boasting fine weather practically the whole year round. Some are for tourists, with a wide range of amenities. Others provide the perfect getaway for those in need of more secluded spots.
Still further to the west along the southern shore, in the Municipality of Mogán, are the communities of Puerto Rico and Puerto de Mogán, a village referred to as “Little Venice” on account of its many canals. Heading west along the southern coast is the fishing city of Arguineguínin the Municipality of Mogán. All of these being very popular among Scandinavian property seekers in Gran Canaria.
Indeed the diversity and once again climatic conditions surrounding the beaches and contours of the island make it the most sought after and dreamt of second home for property buyers across Europe.
The beaches at the north of the island fit the latter profile better, such as the small sea enclaves like Agaete, the perfect spot for those who wish to leave their busy lives behind.
The capital city, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria – also to the north – proudly boasts its own special landmark: the cosmopolitan Las Canteras Beach, an urban 3-mile long stretch of sand that packs the city out with swimmers and surfers.
The capital city is Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Las Canteras Beach lies in the heart of the city, it is a protected area and diving zone. Las Palmas is also known for its annual Carnaval. It was the first stop of Christopher Columbus’ expedition on his way back from the Americas, a commemoration of which is the Hermitage of San Antonio Abad, where the navigator prayed, and the Casa de Colón. Other attractions in the capital city include the Museo Canario (the most important archaeology museum in the archipelago), the Cathedral and the Plaza del Espíritu Santo. In Teror the shrine of Virgen del Pino, patron saint of Gran Canaria, can be found.
The town of Agüimes, on the eastern part of the island, has been carefully restored, and its town centre, centered around its old church and a peaceful square, now evokes the quiet living of a traditional Canarian town. The district also has some of the best preserved cave dwellings, in the protected area of the Guayadeque Ravine, where even the church has been built into the hillside and visitors can find a number of popular cave restaurants. The district also includes the most renowned scuba diving area on the island: the marine reserve at the playa de El Cabrón just outside the town of Arinaga.
Other important towns are Telde and Vecindario (within the municipality of Santa Lucía de Tirajana) and Gáldar important diving zone. In Arucas there is a Neogothic temple, popularly known as “Arucas” Cathedral”, as well as a large fertile plain where bananas are grown. In Gáldar and its surroundings there is also a banana-growing plain and some remarkable archaeological remains, such as Cueva Pintada or Cenobio de Valerón’s communal silos, ancient tombs, and the port of Sardina del Norte (one of the island’s ports where, as in Las Palmas’, Christopher Columbus used to get supplies for his ships).
The cultural diversity offered together with the touristic attractions offering a sound alternative in a city like Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and many other surrounding smaller towns are making more and more tourists year after year take the final plunge of making the island their permanent home.
Indeed as initially described a continent in itself offering the most diverse and unique characteristics of needling together city life, with cultural towns and villages and of course the world’s best climate to accompany you by your side … Gran Canaria.