Christmas in Gran Canaria tends to be a laid-back sunny affair and most people just kick back and relax. However, there's plenty of festive events in local areas and in the resorts. Here's ten great options for fun Christmas activities in Gran Canaria. Sunny Christmas!

Sunbathe in a Santa hat

There's nothing like knowing that your in the sunshine in Gran Canaria while your friends are all at home in the cold. Pop on a Santa hat and sit back in the sunshine feeling warm and smug.

Annoy everybody at home

You can't spend Christmas in Gran Canaria without snapping a selfie by the beach and making sure everybody sees it. There's big Christmas trees by most of the beaches. 

Visit the world's biggest sand nativity scene

Every year sand sculptors spend weeks creating a huge nativity scene on Las Canteras beach in the capital Las Palmas. It's so big it has boardwalks running through it. Entrance is free but the sculptors appreciate any tips. The Las Palmas sand nativity scene is down at the north end of the beach right by the giant Christmas tree. 

Visit the pine forest for living Christmas trees

Sometimes it's hard to get into the Chtistmas state of mind when the sun is shining and it's boiling hot. The solution in Gran Canaria is to drive up to the highlands and walk through the pine forests. You should get a few cool blasts of air and even some mist to wake up the Christmas spirit. 

Look for the cagón in the island's nativity scenes

Every town and shopping centre in Gran Canaria puts up a Belén or nativity scene for December and the beginning of January. They all show scenes from Jesus' life and range from basic scenes with hand made figures to huge, ornate displays with electric lights and waterfalls. 

Look carefully and each one has a figure doing something that isn't mentioned in the bible. The cagón is a man doing a pooh and is hidden behind a palm tree or a house somewhere in the scene. 

Christmas markets

Every town in Gran Canaria puts on a Christmas market in late December and there's food stalls and concerts in most town squares. Events start in the fortnight before Chistmas day and last until January 6. The Canarians really know how to party.

Camel ride in the dunes

In Gran Canaria it's traditionally the Three Kings on their camels that brings the presents on January 6, although Santa is more popular with the kids as they get to play with their presents for longer before school. Why not take a camel ride through the Maspalomas dunes for a Kingly expoerience. It's the perfect spot for that sunshine selfie.

Christmas dinner

You won't get turket and all the trimmings in local areas but there's plenty of choice in the resorts for all nationalities. In local areas look out for truchas: Little pastries filled with sweet potato or sweet marrow. 

Skip the whole affair

Bored of the consumerism of Christmas? Book a rural house in Gran Canaria or just go to a resort and ignore the Christmas offers. You can sit on the beach and relax for a week while everybody at home is busy getting stressed with last minute present shopping. 

Give something back

The local Casa Galicia charity runs an annual collection of toys and food for people on the island who struggle at Christmas. They ask for new toys and food with a long shelf life. There are drop off points in all towns and resorts, including Cardenas Real Estate offices in Arguineguin, Mogán and Puerto Rico. 

Published in Top 10

Playa del Inglés is about half an hour down the motorway from Gran Canaria airport and you can't really get lost. You can rent a car or get a bus or taxi to the resort. 

Published in Playa del Inglés
Friday, 05 December 2014 00:00

Gran Canaria Beaches: All Change at Tauro

Tauro beach is Gran Canaria's lazy Sunday chill-out beach for people old enough to remember the resorts going up. They gather at weekends to listen to proper music and  drink the island dry. With a long pebble beach, several ramshackle bars and a motely colection of decaying houses, Tauro is the anti-Amadores. For now!

The best time to visit Gran Canaria, without a doubt, is now. However, here's what to expect at any time during the year.

Thursday, 04 December 2014 00:00

When is the best time to visit Las Palmas

There’s no bad month to visit Las Palmas city as its climate is one of the world’s best, but the weather does have its quirks. Here’s a season-by-season guide to the weather in Gran Canaria’s capital.

Published in Las Palmas

Gran Canaria's North Shore, sandwiched between the breakers and the banana plantations is riddled with authentic seafood restaurants. Ignore the roadside warehouse restaurants between Bañaderos and San Felipe and head for these tried-and-tested spots instead.

Puerto de las Nieves

Puerto de las Nieves in the far north west of Gran Canaria caters to mobs of seafood-hungry Las Palmas locals at weekends. You won’t get a table at the beachfront restaurants after 13.30.

Visit during the week and Puerto de las Nieves reverts back to its natural, peaceful state. The odd carload of intrepid tourists that have driven from Las Palmas or along the West Coast road are often the only people on the terraces.

Puerto de las Nieves shuts up shop during the evenings. Most restaurants close but you’ll always find somewhere to knock out a plate of calamares.

Top Picks

El Dedo de Dios restaurant is the only one to the left of the old jetty. While it doesn’t have outdoor seating you can sit by the big windows if you arrive early.  The food excellent and the best value in town. The Dedo opens at night.

The quintessential Puerto de las Nieves seafood restaurant with a whitewashed terrace right by the beach and fishing nets on the walls. The seafood is good and the slight premium you pay is worthwhile if you can get an outside table.

Sardina del Norte

This tiny fishing harbour clings improbably to the narrow platform at the base of a high sea cliff in north west Gran Canaria. It’s a popular local spot because of its sandy beach, value restaurants and top-notch dive spots

The beach is small and sometimes gets washed away in winter but is the only sandy beach along the north coast. It has toilets, showers and sunbathing platforms.

Sardina’s restaurants serve seafood and Canarian dishes and their prices are local.

Top Picks

Right by the diving jetty the ramshackle El Ancla restaurant does great seafood, serving it without a trace of irony to divers just out of the ocean. The seafood and vegetable fry up is superb.

Embedded in the cliff overlooking the beach Mama Lolilla has to be one of Gran Canaria’s Top Location Restaurants. Arrive early (before 13.30) and you get the one-table terrace with the best view.

La Puntilla

Las Canteras beach ends at La Puntilla but the walkway continues all the way to El Confital beach two kilometres north. It’s a much quieter part of the city with residential streets and little rocky bays.

The restaurants here are local and serve seafood at lower prices than along the beachfront.

Amigo Camillo is first restaurant on the front as you walk north from the big square at the north end of the beach. It's right on the edge of the rocks with greats views from its covered terrace. The calamares and puntitas (deep-fried baby squid) are delicious and there’s always fresh fish on display.

Las Coloradas

The most northerly village in Las Palmas is tucked away in the La Isleta Peninsula and surrounded by a military base.

Las Coloradas isn’t by the sea and its restaurants don’t have a great view. However, its been a city hotspot for seafood for decades and after a lull is coming back onto the radar.

The Mirador del Atlante

Drive west out of Las Palmas along the coast road and you soon get to Tony Gallardo's amorphous but feminine sculpture. It represents the legend of Atlantis and looks like a giant woman facing the ocean.

Just past the sculpture is the Mirador del Atlante outdoor restaurant serving seafood and local dishes. It’s the only decent restaurant along the north coast with a good view of the city although you do pay for the location.

To reach the Mirador as you come into Las Palmas you have to drive past and turn around in the city: Just take the first exit past the bridge and use the roundabout by the Las Arenas shopping centre.

 

El Roque

Every house in colourful El Roque village sits on a huge rock sticking out into the ocean in north Gran Canaria. Perched right at the tip is the Italian run Locando El Roque. It does a range of pasta and fresh fish and while it's more upmarket than most seafood places in north Gran Canaria, its location is exceptional.

Puertillo 

The only sandy beach along the Gran Canaria North Shore, El Puertillo has a couple of fantastic local seafood spots right by the sand. There's not much to choose between them and they fill up fast at weekends. 

There’s a faint odour of garlic in most of Gran Canaria’s little shops and it comes from the string of vivid orange sausages next to the cheese.

Chorizo de Teror is the Canarian version of Spanish sobreasada but is rammed with garlic. It’s basically a thick pate in a sausage skin and is served spread on crusty bread. Canarians eat it at any time but it’s popular as a breakfast snack during fiestas.

Be warned: Chorizo de Teror is a breath monster of a snack and we don’t advise eating it the day before you fly home.

The Terror in Teror

For the island’s most authentic and potent chorizo head to Teror town on a Sunday and buy one in the market along with a fresh bread roll. Just squeeze out the contents into the halved roll and spread with the skin. Then tuck in.

We guarantee that the locals will stop and watch you. They love their Chorizo de Teror but very few tourists are brave enough to try it.

Alex says: Dial down the garlic by cooking chorizo de Teror: Put it in a bowl with about an inch of a strong spirit such as vodka or aguardiente (local firewater made from the remnants of grape pressings). Light the alcohol and the heat shrinks back the sausage skin and melts away some of the fat. Wait until all the booze has burned off and help yourself. You’ll still stink of garlic the next day but the flavour mellows with the heat.

Chorizo de Teror is an authentic Canarian treat but you never get it in hotels or in tourist restaurants: The taste is just too strong for most visitors. If you are inspired to give it a go please let us know what you think of it.



 Millions of people come to Gran Canaria every year for its beautiful beaches and perfect weather. Some of you however, want to do a bit more than just get a tan. If you fancy going for a walk in Gran Canaria, but don't want to go too far from the resorts, don't worry: There are plenty of excellent walks right in the heart of Gran Canaria's main resorts.

Walking in Gran Canaria ranges from sunset strolls by the sea to epic treks across the mountains. Here’s our guide to the resort walks in Gran Canaria that combine easy walking with plenty of outdoor cafes and ocean views.

Across the Maspalomas Dunes

The dunes are Europe's only slice of the Sahara Desert. They stretch over 6km from Maspalomas resort to Playa del Ingles. The best way to see them is to walk right across them from the end of Avenida Tirajana to the sea.

See here for a Google Map of the start point for this walk.

The walk takes an hour with a couple of stops for taking photos and running up and down sand dunes. The soft sand is hard going so stick to the crests of the dunes for the easiest path. Take water, a hat and sunscreen.

Once you reach the sea either walk west along the beach back to Maspalomas or east back to Playa del Inglés. We recommend doing the walk at dawn or dusk as you will get better photographs and it won't be as hot.

Beach walking from Maspalomas to Playa del Inglés

If walking through the dunes sounds like too much hard work, then walk along the shore from Maspalomas to Playa del Inglés resorts, or vice versa.

Start either in Maspalomas by the lagoon, or from the Annexo 2 line of restaurants on the beach in Playa del Inglés. The walk is about 6 km long and takes a couple of hours with a stop for a swim, some sunbathing, or a drink at one of the many snack stands on the beach.

You’ll go past the nudist sections of the beach so don't be surprised if you see a few naked people splashing about in the sea or playing volleyball on the beach (what is it with nudists and volleyball?).

The Costa Canaria Walk

You don't even have to get sand in your sandals to walk along the beachfront in Playa del Ingles. The beachfront promenade, called the Paseo Costa Canaria, runs all the way from the end of Avenida Tirajana to San Agustín Beach about 5km east. The whole walk is dune- or seafront and takes you past a couple of quiet, local beaches.

Walking from Playa del Inglés the promenade, which is largely wheelchair friendly, runs behind the dunes and past the three small, sheltered beaches called Playa El Cochino at the end of Playa del Ingles beach.

The walkway continues along the coast to Las Burras Beach with its golden sand and largely local crowd and goes on all the way to San Agustin Beach and up the hill to the end of San Agustín Resort. The whole walk takes a couple of hours one way if you include a drinks stop or a swim at one of the beaches.

Meloneras Promenade

The Lugar las Meloneras seafront promenade is in the newest and most upmarket part of Gran Canaria's resorts. It runs between the historic Maspalomas lighthouse, soon to open as a museum and exhibition centre, all the way to Meloneras Beach. The walk takes you past plenty of shops, bars and restaurants, and past a tiny archaeological park right on the seashore.

Lugar las Meloneras is a great place to walk in the evening as you get to watch the sea set over the Atlantic Ocean. Meloneras Beach itself gets ignored by most visitors in favour of bigger Maspalomas Beach. It is sandy and has its own little shopping centre with bars and restaurants. If Maspalomas beach is windy, there is a good chance that Meloneras will sheltered enough to sunbathe.

From Puerto Rico to Amadores Beach

The safe, cliff-top walk from Puerto Rico resort to Amadores Beach gives you beautiful views of the turquoise sea and rocky shore along the way. There is even a spiral stair case in front of the Gloria Palace Hotel that takes you down to the sea. If the sea is rough, which isn't that often, don't go down the staircase as people have been washed off the rocks during storms.

The walk starts from the shopping centre in Puerto Chico. It takes about 40 minutes one way. Once you get to Amadores Beach you can get a drink or a snack in one of the restaurants, go for a swim and do a spot of sunbathing, and then either walk or take a taxi or bus back to Puerto Rico.

These walks may not take you up into rugged Gran Canaria mountains, or past any rural villages but they give you amazing views of the sea and have plenty of convenient drink stops. 

Published in Walking

One of the open secrets of Gran Canaria is the high quality of the Scuba Diving.

 

Published in Scuba Diving
Wednesday, 17 September 2014 01:00

Gran Canaria Surfing: El Confital

The fast, barrelling, right-handed point break at El Confital is one of Europe's top bodyboarding waves and hosts European tour events regularly. 

Published in Surfing
Wednesday, 17 September 2014 01:00

Gran Canaria Surfing: El Lloret

A great wave for proficient shortboarders but not for bodyboarders or beginners: Get El Lloret wrong and you end up on the rocks. 

Published in Surfing
Wednesday, 17 September 2014 01:00

Gran Canaria Surfing: The La Cicer Break

La Cicer isn't the best surf area in Gran Canaria, or even in the capital Las Palmas, but it is the most popular as it's where most of the island's surf schools take their groms.

Published in Surfing

Visit Bandama at dawn when the caldera is full of mist and the picon lava is glowing, and it's one of the island's great spectacles. Visit any time and there's plenty to do and see from a secret bunker to classy wineries.

Published in Resorts & Places

Only a few of Gran Canaria's 100 beaches are touristy. The rest, spread out around the coast, attract a local crowd and have a different vibe: Canarians will pay for seafood but not for sun loungers. If you want to spend time on a Canarian beach, something we wholeheartedly recommend, then use these tips to judge if you have found your spot. 

 

Drive into Las Palmas along the coast road from the airport and you can't miss La Laja beach and its mob of seagulls. While everybody sees it, only boogie boarders and locals appreciate it.

It's just a patch a golden sand, but La Puntilla beach in San Cristobal is sandy, sheltered and right by some of the island's best fish restaurants. 

Tuesday, 09 September 2014 02:00

Alcaravaneras: Las Palmas' Other City Beach

Gran Canaria' other golden beach is a shadow of its former self but still a great place for a swim. It has a real local feel and a fun boardwalk (see video).

 We read dozens of articles about Gran Canaria every week. Most of the time it hurts. In fact, you've got more chance of finding an original piece about the island as you do of finding a Canarian in the Puerto Rico Shopping Centre.

 Enough is enough.

We've decided to kill the cliché and murder the tired metaphor so we've put our heads together and set the bar high:

Here's our style-guide for Gran Canaria Info articles.

By the way, if we break our own rules, please feel free to shout at us.

 

The essential clichés

No article can be published without one of the following insightful themes:

 

Starting with a pun on the island's roundness

Saying it's like Spain but different

Setting out to explore the other, real, Gran Canaria

Revealing that it's an island of contrasts

Mentioning the tourist bight, sprawl, plague, etc, within two sentences

Referring to Gran Canaria as la Isla Bonita (that's La Palma)

 

Discover Stuff: You're an explorer

 

To write in an original way you must discover a secret beach, explore a hidden valley or scale a rugged peak. Seeing the resorts and popular beaches with a fresh eye isn't worth considering. Do not under any circumstances focus on details but rather always try to cram the entire island into 400 words.

Do stay in a resort and explore the rest of the island in a day on a Jeep Safari. You'll see it all. In your article only mention the day out.

Scrape the surface: Make as little effort as possible to find anything interesting during your visit. If you must delve, delve into Google.

 

Unique and wonderful vocabulary

 

Go heavy on the word unique. Use it at least every sentence and don't both to explain why anything is unique: The readers already know. If you think you're using it too often just switch to 'perfect'.

Fascinating, gorgeous, wonderful, incredible, amazing, picture postcard perfect, etc are also perfectly viable alternatives. All other describing words are redundant.

Use the words traditional and sustainable at least once per article. It doesn’t matter where: Just get them in. Combined with “perfect example of” they get you double points.

The word nice is due for a revival: Use it often as it makes your prose incisive.

The word literally is free. Slap it on the page.

Use words like impart, integrated, intense: Any word that you don't use in everyday conversation makes you sound clever. Better still, combine several beginning with the same letter in one phrase: Alliteration is always fun.

Help us get the word amazeballs off the Twittersphere and into quality prose. The world needs it.

English is too short: Make sure you puff out your prose with lots of wills, woulds, shoulds, coulds, can.

The active voice is nasty. Passive is always the way to go.

 

Mince the metaphor, crunch the cliché

 

In the lively resorts, hotels perch, pools are situated, you hit the sun-drenched beaches along with hordes of tourists, cash is splashed, the Yumbo is nudge, nudge, wink,wink (insert funny joke).

Off the beaten track the mountains float in the air above you, remote villages nestle quaintly, views are panoramic and breathtaking, markets and fiestas are colourful and vibrant and full of friendly locals.

Food is always succulent, mouth-watering and delectable. You stumble upon charming local restaurants that are always hidden gems.

 

Facts get in the way

 Facts are so yesterday. Only check yours by referencing other articles found on Google. Get at least one basic fact per article so wrong that it makes the reader's teeth grind. It makes your words memorable.

 

Locals, what locals

There are no local people in Gran Canaria except friendly ones dressed up in traditional costume dancing charmingly at authentic local fiestas. If you must mention a local in any other context, make sure it's a barman with a dodgy accent.

 

Narrate to irritate

Refer to yourself in the third person. It's what the queen does and if its good enough for German pensioners, then it's good enough for you.

You need a nickname. Pick one that nobody has ever called you for real authenticity.

Tell the reader all about yourself. They care more about you than about the destination. Include lots of personal details that are unrelated to the content. Blurry photos of your family get you noticd on social media.

 

Engage with the audience

 

Beg for likes on social media: People will admire your determination

Post a link repeatedly just in case somebody missed it the first 23 times.

Join a web ring, blog ring, book club or any other network dedicated to sharing each other's content. Promote your buddy's irrelevant content to your audience.

Change the title of your old stuff and repost it as new. Do this often and without warning.

Photos are essential: Include blurry, cloudy and downright terrible ones to boost your reach. If your camera is broken use one of the 10 free photos available on Flickr or Creative Commons. Or steal from the internet: Never credit the photographer.

Want to submit a guest post to Gran Canaria Info? Please use the above as a guide and include plenty of links to your online casino or Viagra shop. We'll definitely publish it on the front page. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published in Frontpage Blog
Wednesday, 25 June 2014 01:00

Arucas: Bananas, Rum and a Giant Church

Arucas town is famous for its colossal Gothic church built with bug money (see below). Oh, its also got a rum distillery and one of the best preserved town centres on the island.

 

Published in Resorts & Places

Gran Canaria startede under the ocean and that's the way it'll end up. In the m,eantime, it's had a pretty eventful history. 

Published in History
Page 18 of 21

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