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  • Entertainment

TRAVEL: Gran Canaria’s best bits

Saturday, 23rd September, 2017 10:00am

Story by Jack Gleeson
TRAVEL: Gran Canaria’s best bits
TRAVEL: Gran Canaria’s best bits

IT MAY only be the third biggest Canary Island, but Gran Canaria has plenty to sing about.

Holidays to this idyllic isle serve up round-the-clock sunshine, top-notch beaches and family-friendly resorts.

So it’s hardly surprising that over 700,000 tourists flock there every year to top up their tan.

But if you think Gran Canaria is just about traditional fly and flop holidays, think again.

This place is packed with plenty of things to do to suit all types of lifestyles – and in this feature, Canary Islands specialists, Thomson, pick some of the best.

 

Get back to nature

There’s no denying that Gran Canaria’s beaches are beautiful, but the real beauty spots lie elsewhere.

The landscape is a mishmash of rugged mountains, pine forests and sweeping sand dunes, with loads of flora and fauna, too.

In fact, the island is so unique that practically the whole thing has been declared a World Biosphere Reserve.

Visit one of the 32 protected areas or take a day trip out to sea. If you’re lucky, you might even see some playful dolphins and loggerhead turtles swimming in the wild.

Explore Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

No holiday to Gran Canaria would be complete without a day trip to its lively capital city. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is a rainbow-coloured combination of bars, boutiques and beaches.

You can shop ‘til you drop, have a freshly-muddled mojito on the seafront, and tuck into tapas by the harbour.

Vegueta is well worth exploring, too. It’s the oldest quarter in the city and is home to the Santa Ana Cathedral.

This twin-towered building was the first church to ever be built on the Islands.

Snorkel under the sea

Gran Canaria’s aqua blue waters are perfect for snorkelling. The sea here is full of African and Atlantic fish, octopi and anemones, but you need to know where to look.

If you stick to rocky areas, the water will be clearer and better for snorkelling – try to avoid sand dune-backed beaches.

If you’re an experienced snorkeler, spend an afternoon at the reef by Playa Chica. Meanwhile, the sheltered beach at Amadores is great for beginners.

Hike and bike through the mountains

If you’re a fan of the great outdoors, you’ll love Gran Canaria.

These volcanic peaks and lunar-like valleys are perfect for cross-country activities. Don your hiking boots and walk along deep craters and hike through pine forests.

For a real challenge, why not climb the island’s highest mountain, Pico de las Nieves? Or you could hire a mountain bike and have an intense two-wheeled workout.

These winding uphill roads are not for the faint-hearted, but the views are well worth the effort.

Unwind on a sandy beach

Does cycling up a mountain sound like your idea of a holiday nightmare? Don’t panic. Gran Canaria has the solution – miles and miles of sandy beaches.

Those who live by the ‘bigger is better’ motto will love Playa del Ingles. With a whopping three kilometres of sand, this stretch of beach has endless bars and restaurants.

At the other end of the spectrum, there’s peaceful Playa Taurito. A black-sand bay tucked between two cliffs, this place is perfect for family picnics and paddling.

Read the digital editions of the Dublin People Northside East, Northside West & Southside here