Gran Canaria - miniature continent
You can pack a lot into a trip to Gran Canaria - from sand dunes to dense forests, parks to beaches, Gran Canaria is known to some as the 'continent in miniature', owing to the variety of landscapes, cultures and activities the island boasts.
The best time to visit Gran Canaria
Gran Canaria enjoys a warm, sunny climate all year round, although the winds do pick up between October and March, which cause it to feel a little bit cooler. 30th May is a national holiday across all the Canary Islands, known as 'Dias de las islas Canarias', celebrated with concerts and parties, and Colombus Day, on 12th October sees parades and events for all the family take place all over the island.
Hints and tips before you travel
The north of the island tends to see more rain than the south, with slightly lower temperatures, so the majority of tourist resorts are along the south coast - Playa del Ingles, Amadores and Maspolomas are a few of the main ones. There are lots of surf schools on the island for those interested in learning the sport and plentiful opportunities for hiking and mountain biking too. If you get the chance, try to sample the local cuisine of 'papas arrugadas con mojo', a dish of salted potatoes with red or green sauce, which is usually eaten with fish. The general cost of living in general is cheaper on Gran Canaria than in the UK, and this is reflected in the cost of eating and drinking out. A good set menu lunch should cost about EUR 10.
Where to stay and how to get there
Most of the main resorts have a good range of accommodation to choose from. Hostels are available from about EUR 20 a night and three star hotels from EUR 30 per night. To reach the resorts from the airport, you can take bus number 1 to Puerto de Mogan for around EUR 7; bus number 5 or 66 to Faro de Maspalomas for about EUR 5; bus 11 to Agüimes for roughly EUR 2; buses 36 and 90 to Teide, also approximately EUR 2; number 60 to Las Palmas for about EUR 3 and bus number 91 to Playa de Cura for roughly EUR 6. For day-to-day travel, single tickets on local bus services cost about EUR 1.40, and taxis start from EUR 5 for three km.