Where To Stay In Gran Canaria
For a small island of just 29 miles across, Gran Canaria offers so much diversity to visitors that it's often been described as a 'little continent'. Whether you're looking for lively nightlife, family fun, a life-affirming brush with nature or an action-packed adventure holiday, there are plenty of resorts that will meet your needs.
Las PalmasImage by El Coleccionista de Instantes under Creative Commons license.
Las Palmas is the capital city of Gran Canaria, and being less traditionally tourist-oriented, it retains more of the traditional character of the island than many of the popular beach resorts. Located on the North Eastern corner of the island and home to more than half of its permanent residents, Las Palmas is the only truly 'urban' space on Gran Canaria and there are plenty of hotels and apartments to be found here. This is also where you'll find culturally significant sites such as The Columbus museum, Botanical Gardens as well as ornate churches such as the huge Iglesia de San Juan Bautista - as well as the great ports that shaped the island's character.
Best for: culture vultures, city breaks, business trips.
Playa del InglesImage by Marco Verch under Creative Commons license.
Playa del Ingles is one of Gran Canaria's biggest resorts and with its legendary nightlife, countless bars, pubs and clubs it's almost certainly among the liveliest on the island (if not in all of Spain!). This is not a family destination: some hotels and pools here are designated adults-only zones. But if it's all-night raving you're after with a spot of seaside action by day, you'll be in your element. Playa del Ingles is also home to Gran Canaria's thriving gay scene, and the majority of its gay bars and clubs are located here. Expect to see drag queens, regular Pride processions and dress-up nights galore in a part of town where partying is a way of life and almost nothing is off limits.
Best for: partygoers, LGBT travellers.
Maspalomas, at the Southernmost point of the island offers a great mix of beach activities, natural wonders and vibrant nightlife for the visitor who wants a bit of everything Gran Canaria has to offer. The area is best known for the extraordinary Dunes of Maspalomas; rippling golden sand dunes that stretch right down to the coast, giving the impression of a desert by the sea. Those wanting to get active need only to head to the beach to try their hand at jet-skiing, kite surfing, sailing or scuba-diving, or to tee off at the world class golf course located nearby. Due to its location in the extreme south, Maspalomas is considered to be one of the best destination for all-year-round sun.
Best for: sun worshippers, nature lovers, adventure holiday lovers.
Puerto RicoImage by Ben Sutherland under Creative Commons license.
One of Gran Canaria's largest and most popular resorts, Puerto Rico has a reputation of being a bit 'touristy', but this label is partly due to its suitability as a holiday destination for many travellers. Built in a valley between steep hillsides that offer spectacular views across the island's golden coastline, Puerto Rico has a good mix of hotels, shopping destinations, restaurants and entertainment spots. Two of the island's best-loved beaches are within easy reach: Amadores Beach and Puerto Rico Beach. Amadores in particular is great for families with young children, as the water in this crescent-shaped sheltered coastline are particularly clear and calm.
Best for: families, older visitors.
Puerto de Moganimg src="/images/holidayextras-blog/puerto-de-morgan.jpg" class="border" alt= "Puerto de Morgan, Gran Canaria">
For those looking for a quieter and more traditional Canary Islands holiday, the picturesque fishing village of Puerto de Mogan is an ideal choice. While this pretty town understandably attracts its fair share of tourists, you're likely to find yourself mixing with a more laid back crowd than those heading to the livelier resorts. Free from high-rise hotels and noisy nightclubs, Mogan is a maze of narrow, cobblestoned streets winding between whitewashed houses with a smattering of small, family-run bars and restaurants.
Best for: families and those looking for a relaxing holiday.
MelonerasImage by Christian Bortes under Creative Commons license.
Close to Maspalomas but safely tucked away the from rowdier Playa de Ingles, Meloneras is often considered to be Gran Canaria's classiest resort. As well as a cluster of luxury hotels, there are several casinos located here, along with some exclusive restaurants and bars. If you're looking to splash out on some designer swag, head here for the island's high-end shopping district, with its stylish boutiques selling pieces from the worldâs most famous labels.
Best for: honeymooners, couples, older visitors.
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