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  • Sarah Reeves

    It may only be the third biggest Canary Island, but Gran Canaria has plenty to sing about. Check out its top holiday attractions…

    Gran Canaria holidays serve up round-the-clock sunshine, top-notch beaches and family-friendly resorts. So it’s hardly surprising that over 700,000 Brits flock there every year to top up their tan. But if you think Gran Canaria is just about fly and flop holidays, think again. This place has plenty of things to do – take a look at our pick 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 it’s been made 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.

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    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 Canary Islands.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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 3 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.

    Ready to explore Gran Canaria? Book your holiday now.

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