Gran Canaria

Great scenery

It might only be the Canaries’ third biggest isle, but for somewhere the size of Greater London, Gran Canaria packs a lot in. With soft sands in the south, lush forests in the north and huge mountains in the middle, it's is a place that covers all the bases.

Buzzing beaches

Playa del Ingles in the south is the island’s most popular holiday spot. Along with a big golden beach, the resort has the lion’s share of shopping malls and neon-lit bars. And on top of traditional places to eat, you’ll find loads of restaurants that cater for the British crowd. Maspalomas, just next door, moves at a slower pace. Its beach is a bit of a legend thanks to the miles of Saharan-style sand dunes. And it’s backed by a strip of smart hotels and open-air restaurants. There’s a handful of bars, too, although it’s more about cocktails at dusk than rip-roaring nights on the tiles.

Laid-back resorts

If you’re keen to get away from it all, Puerto Rico, also on the south coast, makes a great base. With its horseshoe bay and waterpark, it’s a bit of a family magnet. Plus, it lays claim to the best sunshine record in the whole of Spain. Bahia Feliz, meanwhile, may not have the soft sandy beaches but it makes up for it with charm and character. It's spread out nicely with gardens and parks, and there's a 7-kilometre prom running from top to toe.

Things to See and Do in Gran Canaria

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Playa del Ingles

Back in the Sixties, there was an empty strip of coast going spare on Gran Canaria’s southern tip. So Playa del Ingles jumped in and grabbed it. They shipped in golden sand from the Sahara, rustled up some shiny, new shopping centres, threw in a stash of bars, restaurants and clubs – and got themselves the biggest, boldest resort on the island.


Set on Gran Canaria’s south coast, Maspalomas is a sprawling resort with pockets of shops and eating places dotted about. On the nightlife front, it’s more of a family player than its partying neighbour Playa del Ingles. It might be a quiet customer but it’s got at least a couple of things to shout about – its famous dunes and a whopper of a waterpark.


As resorts go, Meloneras is a relatively new kid on the block. Set on the southeast coast of Gran Canaria, it’s a purpose-built place that popped up to take advantage of the sheltered beach here. While it had the builders in, it decided to throw in some modern cafés and shiny, new shopping malls – and it also swung it to get the island’s biggest waterpark right on the doorstep.

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Top 5 resorts in Gran Canaria

Top 5 hotels in Gran Canaria