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

December is often a sunny month in Gran Canaria although we do get a few days of rain almost every year.

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Tip of the day

  • Exchange Money In Gran Canaria Or At Home?
    Exchange Money In Gran Canaria Or At Home?

    Visitors to Gran Canaria often ask whether it is better to exchange their local currency for euros at home or in Gran Canaria. 

    The answer is that it is almost always better to buy your euros at home than it is to bring pounds to Gran Canaria and use local banks or currency exchanges. This rule of thumb applies all over the world. A currency is almost always cheaper the further away you are from the place you can spend it (because demand for it is lower). 

    Exchange rates are almost always better at home than in Gran Canaria

    You are very likely to get a better exchange rate using a British currency exchange specialist or local bank. Many of these companies will deliver your euros to your home.

    One of the best rates in the UK is often from the post office, especially if you do it well in advance.

    The only way you'll get a better rate in Gran Canaria than at home is if the exchange rate changes while you are travelling and this is rare. 

    You also have to bear in mind that currency exchanges in Gran Canaria are getting rarer and some local banks don't exchange money for non-clients. 

    To Transfer large amouynts of money to Gran Canaria, or to make regular transfers, always use a reputable currency broker such as Currencies Direct. This will save you money on exchange rates and bank charges and is highky secure. 

    The risk of bringing cash to Gran Canaria

    Another important factor to consider is the risk of bringing cash to Gran Canaria: If it is lost or stolen, there is no way of getting it back. 

    It is much safer to bring a debit or credit card and use local bank ATMs to take out money. These days, a good option is a pre-charged debit card. 

    Cards may be slightly more expensive that carrying cash, unless you seek out a bank card with low commissions, but it is much more secure. 

    Bank ATMs like Bankia, Santander and BBVA often charge lower rates than the ATMs in shopping centres and busy tourist areas.

    Alex Says: Always select the Euro option at ATMs in Gran Canaria because the exchange rate is much better than if you opt for the Local Currency option. The same applies when you pay by card in shops and restaurants.

    See our Gran Canaria Tips section for more nuggets of useful local information.

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