Deciding where to stay in Gran Canaria
The location of Las Palmas on a narrow peninsula means that there are plenty of beaches and families will love the wide golden sands. Las Canteras beach is one of greatest city beaches of any Spanish capital and it is lined with discos, bars, pubs, ice cream parlours, restaurants and kiosks. For shopping and entertainment the Muelle Deportive is an ideal place to stroll and absorb the atmosphere of the lively marina.
The capital of Gran Canaria is split into districts and the oldest is Vegueta where the Casa Muse de Colon is dedicated to the great explorer Christopher Columbus. There are numerous other museums, churches and art galleries and the Pérez Galdós Theatre has a programme of events on 365 days of the year. The Santa Ana Cathedral with its vaulted ceilings is quite impressive and can be seen from most parts of the city and is worth visiting.
Santa Catalina area is crammed with shops bearing high street names and designer brands and it is here that the oldest hotel on the island can be found. Since 1890 Hotel Santa Catalina has been serving discerning guests who revel in five star luxury although there are plenty of alternatives for less well-heeled visitors.
The capital is also the island’s business centre and is attracting an increasing number of company visitors that come to take advantage of the excellent conference facilities.
Playa del Inglés
If you are looking for a fast-paced beach holiday with everything and more make sure you are staying in Playa del Inglés. The beach is the size of a small desert and the daytime activities make it a certified favourite for families. The promenade stretches for a couple of kilometres and is jam-packed with bars, shops, kiosks, pubs and a variety of attractions. Nightclubs and discos pump out throbbing music until the sun rises and as the clubbers go to bed for a few hours the families swarm out onto the golden sands.
For shopaholics Playa del Inglés is heaven on earth as there are 12 shopping centres which sell everything from electronic goods to tacky souvenirs. The centres are also home to many clubs and bars; the Kasbah Centre is home to the trendiest ones while the gay scene can be found in the thriving Yumbo centre.
There is no shortage of places to stay with accommodation ranging from luxury hotels with vast swimming pools to tiny studios tucked away in the side streets. For holidays that are apartment based there are more than enough supermarkets and food shops to cater to everyone’s needs.
The long beaches and sweeping sand dunes of Maspalomas make the resort stand out from the others in Gran Canaria. The beach is six kilometres long backed by some 400 hectares of rippling sand criss-crossed by camel tracks. The landmark El Faro lighthouse is set in lush gardens and draws holidaymakers to the long Boulevard El Faro where there are designer shops to browse round and restaurants and bars serving international and local cuisine.
Places to stay include superb hotels with all-inclusive offers to budget studios and private villas. For those on self-catering holidays there are numerous supermarkets and small shops selling everything necessary for a holiday in the sun.
Many of the tall hotels and large apartment complexes are built up on the hillside of Puerto Rico and offer stunning views down across the two beautiful beaches. Amadores Beach is great for watersports while the town centre beach is more family friendly backed by a promenade with two public swimming pools, tropical gardens and numerous bars and restaurants.
A world away from the hubbub of the main resorts is the picturesque fishing village of Puerto Mogan. The harbour is connected to the marina by a series of canals and the town has earned the nickname of “Little Venice”. Puerto Mogan is great for relaxation yet with everything close to hand for a great holiday. The busiest day is Friday when the weekly market fills the two plazas but other days it is a peaceful place to stay in.
It is a colourful resort with cascading hibiscus and bougainvillea at every turn and the accommodation on offer is mainly in low level buildings round the marina.
If you want to stay in a stylish resort that is only a short drove from the heart of the action on Gran Canaria then this is definitely the right choice. The pedestrianised square is very pretty, lined with restaurants and pavement caféterias and surrounded by Moroccan-style buildings that add to the charm.
The dark sand beach is big enough to find a secluded spot and the promenade behind it gives easy access to kiosks, snack bars and ice-cream parlours. Despite being a small resort there is a good mix of family friendly accommodation in a hotel right by the beach or in classy apartments and private villas.
It is a quiet resort and most of the entertainment is based around the hotel and a few of the bars. Small shops and supermarkets cater for everyday needs.
If you preference is for a more elegant resort for your stay in Gran Canaria then Playa Taurito should be top of the list. On the southwest coast this still sleepy resort has a handful of hotels squeezed up against the volcanic cliffs and a quiet beach to relax on.
The shops are more boutiques than run of the mill tourist shops and everything has a bijou feel to it. The accommodation is of a very high standard and is great if you want grandeur or are celebrating a special event.
This purpose built resort has a wide promenade that runs the length of the beach where there is a number of places to eat and drink. Meloneras is an upmarket resort and the hotels reflect this offering a very high standard of accommodation and facilities. Self-catering bungalows and apartments are available as well.
Everything comes with a touch of gloss. Shops go down the boutique route and hotels lean towards luxury. The resorts biggest and smartest hotel is in an excellent location in a quiet seafront area next to some of the island's most exclusive golf courses.