Guide to Gran Canaria – Canary Islands, Spain
The island of Gran Canaria is third in size in the archipelago, after Tenerife and Fuerteventura.
It has a surface area of 1,532m2 and its most outstanding features are the ravines which come from the central peaks, at over 2,000m high, down to the shore.
There is no other place with such an eloquent variety of little-known scenery. There are desert and sandy areas as well as mountains with lush, tropical vegetation. In Gran Canaria, the steep cliffs of El Puerto de la Nieves and de la Aldea together with the rugged ravines of Tirajana, Moya and Azuaje alternate with pleasant valleys where thousands of banana-trees grow and which – like the Arucas – gently descend towards the sea.
Gran Canaria has not in vain been called a continent in miniature, because beginning by La Cumbre (a 2,000m peak) with its granite masses of El Roque Nublo, nature has provided for all kinds of scenery, where plants from Europe, Africa and America grow; the Tamadaba pine forests; Los Tilos (lime-trees), the El Monte vineyards, the coffee plantations at Agaete, palm forests, banana-trees, almond-trees, sugar cane and tomato crops).
Las Palmas is the capital of the province, the largest city of the archipelago and a prosperous, beautiful place with 370,000 inhabitants. It also contains the largest port in GRT in Spain.
The capital has the attractions of a large city, with excellent hotel and catering facilities, nightclubs, international shows, an intense social life and an ample calendar of festive occasions and celebrations throughout the year.
A must in this modern, active city, is the noble and peaceful old area of Vegueta, where one can find stately old houses with impressive, private inner courts and with artistically worked balconies facing onto narrow streets and sheltered squares. The Old city has the most important sights; the Gothic-neo-Classical cathedral, which was begun in 1497, Columbus House, the residence of the first governors of the island, which is a lovely building housing an interesting museum about the times of Columbus, the Canary Museum, which has the most complete collections of the traces left by the Guanches, the pre-Spanish inhabitants of the islands.
Interesting churches include San Francisco’s and the Hermitage of San Telmo, which has a Mudejar coffered ceiling. The Provincial Fine Arts Museum, the House / Museum of Perez Galdos and the Nestor Museum round off the treasure trove of local art, architecture and history in the city.
In the splendid Doramas Park, there is an area called the Canary Village, a creation of the artist Nestor. It is an impressive expression of Canarian architecture. Against this exceptionally beautiful background, popular dances and songs are performed on Thursdays and Sundays.
Las Canteras is magnificent, 2,600m long beach with a pleasant temperature throughout the year.
Places of interest in Gran Canaria
It lies surrounded by excellent orchards. Noteworthy are El Santo Cristo Basilica and the Parish Churches of San Juan Bautista – which has an exceptionally valuable Flemish retable, San Gregorio and San Francisco.
There is a splendid beach and harbour at Melenara. In the surroundings, Tara preserves marvellous caves of the original inhabitants of the island, and Cuatro Puertas has one of the most interesting spots to see on the island, dating from the palaeolithic period: the holy mountain of the Guanches.
After 45km on the road from Telde to Valsequillo and Vega de San Mateo, there is Tejeda, the centre and highest point of the island, in the vicinity of which the majestic silhouettes of Roque Nublo and Bentayga reach skyward: two enormous basalt rocks. La Cruz del Tejeda also comes into view there with its Parador. The scenery – a petrified storm in the words of Unamuno – is very beautiful, with almond trees, kitchen gardens and powerful summits, towering over a splendid panorama.
One of the oldest villages of the island and famous today for its crafts, especially openwork and embroidery.
San Bartolome de Tirajana
23km from Aguimes, after negotiating a winding road, there is San Bartolome de Tirajana in the mouth of a huge crater at the foot of the central massif. There are the highest points of the island: Pozo de las Nieves (1,965m) and Los Pechos (1,961m), from where there is a marvellous view of the scenery of La Galdera de Tirajana, the valleys of Ayacata and Fataga with their villages and the Guanche necropolis of Artenara.
A summer resort with beaches nearby. Agriculturally very rich. In Temisas, a lovely village amongst prickly pear and olive groves, there are traces of the historical Guanches.
A beautiful, typical harbour next to the promenade of the same name, from where there is a wide view.
A splendid beach in an area of perpetual calm. A magnificent housing development with many gardens, hotels, bungalows swimming pools and a recreational centre.
Playa del Ingles
With a length of 2,700m. A broad fringe of very fine, golden sand, gently leading to an always blue, peaceful sea. A large housing development with hotels, apartments, bungalows, etc.
A 6,000m long beach, an extension of the previous one, and one of the most beautiful on the island. Nearby there is a large oasis with dense vegetation consisting of palm trees and salt marsh brushwood. Next to the oasis, there is a small lagoon. The housing developments include hotels, bungalows, sports grounds, etc. and are very important. Two kilometres west of the Maspalomas lighthouse, there is Pasito Blanco beach with a yacht harbour and a tourist centre.
This little village lies near El Perchel Point. Patalavaca beach has fine golden sand. It is the best area for deep sea fishing and there are the service facilities necessary for this kind of sport.
A modern housing development with apartments, hotels, villas and bungalows, tennis, a bowling alley, horses and a yacht harbour for over 55 boats.
A beautiful valley where tropical fruit is grown. Lovely scenery all along the 12km stretch. A modern yacht harbour with numerous moorings, hotels and other accommodation.
It lies in the middle of an extremely fertile plain where the largest and most important banana- growing area is found. It is a clean village with beautiful gardens, such as the Municipal Park, a collection of exotic flowers and plants. It has an interesting parish church in pure Gothic. Close to the village lies the volcanic cone called La Montana de Arucas, from the top of which there is a wide, panoramic view, including El Puerto de la Luz and the mountains of La Isleta. The beautiful Banaderos coast lies at a distance of six kilometres. The whole coast of this township is full of beautiful scenery with cliffs, lovely coves and a breath-taking panorama.
This is an inland summer resort 11km from Arucas. The Countryside in the surroundings is bounded only by the impressive mountain massifs where a large hamlet with scattered houses lies. The village is most famous for the Sanctuary of La Virgen del Pino, the patron saint of the island, which attracts many worshippers.
It is a prosperous village in the north near Point Guanarteme. There are interesting carvings of the Canary image maker Lujan in the parish church. In the vicinity, the Cenobio de Valeron consists of a series of caves under a huge eave-like projection of lava.
A place of special interest from the point of view of history and archaeology. Traces of the Guanche culture, mainly in the cave, the Cueva Pintada, where geometric paintings in different colours are found. Interesting sights are the Town Hall with its age-old dragon tree in the courtyard, the parish church and Mayor Sq. the Plaza Mayor. It has sheltered pebble beaches.
Sardina del Norte
This small fishing village lies in picturesque surroundings. It has a small pebble and coarse sand beach.
It is a beautiful village with a long sea-faring tradition near Agaete valley. There is a long zigzagging canyon where bananas, coffee, papayas, avocado pear, maize, etc. are grown. Note the archaeological excavation site of Malpais, a sight of national interest. The Virgen of Las Nieves, depicted on a valuable Flemish panel, is worshipped in a beautiful hermitage. Las Nieves beach consists of pebbles and coarse sand, surrounded by rugged basalt cliffs. Seven kilometres away there is the health resort called Balneario de los Berrazales in the middle of lush vegetation. It has a spring with ferruginous water and there is a good hotel.