Puerto de Mogán for a touch of class
Maspalomas for sun lovers
With miles of sand, sunny bungalows and thousands of palm trees, Maspalomas is the resort for sunbathing, relaxing and walking. Most of the low-rise accommodation is spread out in tranquil Campo Internacional and just a short walk from the dunes and the shore.
For outdoor dining right by the sea, head down to the upmarket Meloneras boulevard just west of the Faro de Maspalomas lighthouse, or to the Paseo del Faro just to the east. Six kilometres along the shore and you're in Playa del Inglés with everything the island's busiest resort has to offer.
Choose Maspalomas for a peaceful beach holiday and the odd big night out in Playa del Inglés.
Meloneras for the hotel experience
Gran Canaria puts on its glad rags at Meloneras; its line of seafront hotels are the newest and smartest on the island and you even splash out on a villa right by the promenade. Meloneras' hotels know how to look after their guests and you're just a few paces from the bars and restaurants on the boulevard.
There is more to Meloneras than hotels. The west end of the resort has a great set of smart villas and bungalows.
Choose Meloneras for a posh hotel holiday where you can just relax.
Playa del Inglés for the whole hog
Gran Canaria's biggest and busiest resort and home to its top nightspots, Playa del Inglés is more than a party town. While the Yumbo and the Kasbah throb until late, most of the resort is quiet and peaceful and you can avoid the crowds on Playa del Inglés beach by walking east to El Cochino. Playa del Inglés is all of Gran Canaria's resorts in one. You just have to decide what kind of holiday you want.
Go to Playa del Inglés for any holiday you want and choose your accommodation wisely. You don't want to be right by the Yumbo unless you plan to spend the night there.
Puerto Rico for the resort experience
It's bold, it's brash and it's a whole lot of fun. With two beautiful beaches at Puerto Rico itself and Amadores next door, a shopping centre packed with restaurants and bars, two marinas and quiet corners perfect for a romantic night out, Puerto Rico resort has it all.
Visit in winter and it shows its sedate side with Scandinavian tourists taking it easy in the sunshine. Arrive in summer and the Brits pick up the pace and party all night.
Go to Puerto Rico if you want all your home comforts and everything you need for a perfect sunny holiday right at hand.
Agua La Perra because you know it's there
Little Agua La Perra Resort is right next to Puerto Rico but is a much more relaxed spot. The tiny shopping centre has some of the area's best restaurants and you walk down to the marina and Puerto Rico beach in the shade of a palm garden.
Go to Agua la Perra if you want to be close to buzzing Puerto Rico, but not that close.
Arguineguin for the local experience
Arguineguín is a local town that sits right between Gran Canaria's main resort areas and is itself half way between local town and small resort. It has all the amenities of a small resort, great transport links to all the best beaches and still has local shops, bars and even a fishing port.
During the winter, Arguineguín feels like Oslo on Sea thanks to an annual invasion of Norwegian winter visitors. During the summer, it goes back to being a sleepy local town and only wakes up once a week for market day.
Go to Arguineguín if you want to experience authentic local life in south Gran Canaria and still have the convenience of being near the action.
Las Palmas for a city break
With the world's best city beach (seriously), a cobbled old town, top-class shopping and dozens of quality restaurants, Las Palmas is the perfect spot for a warm city break.
Choose between local seafood restaurants, superb steak fresh from South America, and any number of national cuisine restaurants (we've counted over 40 in the city).
Go to Las Palmas if you want to experience the buzz of a Spanish city and still have the beach right on your doorstep.
Bahia Feliz for complete peace and quiet
Bahia Feliz is a different world from the bustling resorts further round the coast in south Gran Canaria. A narrow resort right by the sea, it's a mix of bungalows, apartments and hotels with plenty of outdoor space. Bahia Feliz doesn't have the epic beaches on Puerto Rico and Maspalomas / Playa del Inglés, but it does have a long, coastal walk and little, private beaches all along the shore.
Go to Bahia Feliz to sit in the shade of a palm tree and forget that the rest of the world exists.
San Agustín for relaxation
San Agustín resort went native years ago and most of its apartments, houses and bungalows are privately owned. With a golden beach, long seafront promenade (that goes all the way to Playa del Inglés) and plenty of quality spots to eat out, it's Gran Canaria's low-key destination and perfect for a holiday that feels like home in the sunshine.
Go to San Agustín for a peaceful resort holiday without any of the hassles.
Taurito for easy fun
With its own water park and palm-fringed beach with water sports and dive schools, this mini-resort is a perfect destination for families and couples that want to relax with everything at hand. You're only ever five minutes walk from the sand and the pools and can easily spend a week here without needing to pop next door to Puerto Rico.
Go to Taurito for a complete resort experience without the crowds.
Patalavaca for sea views
Most visitors to Gran Canaria whizz past Patalavaca on their way to Puerto Rico or Mogán without realising what they're missing. It's golden beach is gorgeous and it's waterfront hotels, such as the Radisson Blu, are amongst the best in Gran Canaria. Walk east along the shore to local town Arguineguín or west for Gran Canaria's Caribbean beach at Anfi.
Stay at Patalavaca for gorgeous sea views and great little beaches.
Gran Canaria's alternative to resorts is tucked away in the north-west corner. It has almost as much sunshine as the southern resorts but remains untouched by mass tourism. With coffee and mango plantations, wineries, an aboriginal cemetery on a lava flow, and lots of seaside restaurants at Puerto de las Nieves, the Agaete Valley is a destination in its own right.
Walkers and people who like things laid back and local should turn right at the airport gate rather than left.