The history of the Canary Islands is shadowed in myths and legends. Early settlers believed the islands were the mythical, disappeared land of Atlantis. There are a handful of theories about its early settlers, but it is widely believed that Gran Canaria was populated by 500 BC. The natives, known as Guanches, are widely thought to have migrated from North Africa. They had primitive tools and weapons and lived mostly in caves.
After the Roman Empire collapsed, Europe neglected the Canary Islands for about 1,000 years. Mediterranean sailors rediscovered the region at the beginning of the 14th century. Until this time, 30,000 Guanches had been living peacefully. Then the Europeans travelled to the islands to obtain slaves and furs.
The Guanches successfully fought off Spanish invasion until Pedro de Vera, the leader of the Spanish forces, completed his country’s conquest of Gran Canaria by 1483. The Spanish killed many Guanches during this period, and the majority of the native survivors were forced to become slaves.
Calls for the independence of the Canary Islands began toward the end of the 19th century after Cuba won independence from Spain. In 1912, the Island Council’s Law brought about many infrastructural projects including the airport, a motorway network, and reservoirs. These projects led to the establishment of the tourism industry.
In 1927, the archipelago was divided into two separate provinces, Tenerife and Gran Canaria.
In 1982, the Canary Islands passed the Autonomous Government Statutes.
This park has 70 camels and a Swim with Sea Lions attraction. The beautiful property is full of avocado and citrus trees. There is also a bar and restaurant and small zoo on the property.
The Saltpans located here were originally known as the “Salinas de los Tres Molinos”, meaning “saltpans of the three windmills”. This is because when the saltpans were built at the end of the 18th century, there were three windmills that pumped the salt water to a higher level. It used to supply the fishing fleet as well as the locals. Today, visitors visit the saltpans and learn about the production process. Afterwards, they go to the Interpretive Centre where they learn about the importance of salt throughout history. The Interpretive Centre is housed where the salt workers used to live. Entry is free.
Learn about the agricultural history of the Santa Lucia region, especially the importance of the tomato crop, at this Gran Canaria museum. There are also exhibitions depicting the agricultural way of life and an original well that is 85 metres deep, as well as well-maintained equipment that is used to demonstrate how the well functions. Visitors can view the whole process of the packing and labelling of tomatoes.
Columbus’ house celebrates the Canary Islands’ role in the explorer’s European discovery of the Americas and the development of the transatlantic trade. The building is over 500 years old and exemplifies Canarian architecture.
The beaches are not the only natural wonder of Gran Canaria. Enjoy the lovely flora and fauna on the 27 hectares this garden has to offer. It is within walking distance from any of the downtown hotels. Conservation work has been carried out in order the preserve the area’s natural beauty.
Visitors will gain an idea of Gran Canaria’s prehistoric years by exploring this Site of National Interest. Visitors can get a sense of the daily life and culture of ancient villagers through prehistoric cave murals and archaeological remains such as utensils, pots and pans, and other items.
Tip * Booking your Tours, Transfers & Airport Parking before you go will save your money & time and ensure a stress free start to your holiday
Barcelo Margaritas Hotel is a magnificent hotel that is just perfect for couples and families. The beautiful structure has 490 guestrooms with balconies overlooking the stunning tropical garden or a turquoise swimming pool. There is a buffet restaurant, four bars to relax in, a miniclub and a playground for the children. There is a beauty centre and an entertainment program, as well as a nudist rooftop terrace for the adults.
Blue Bay Beach Club is the perfect holiday hotel, overlooking the sea. After you come back from the beach, you can soak in the Jacuzzi or lounge by the pool and then have dinner at the hotel’s restaurant, La Hacienda. The apartments are fully equipped and have terraces. There is also a health club and supermarket on site.
Iberostar Costa Canaria Hotel is a luxurious beachside resort. The adults-only hotel is perfect for couples and provides plenty of outlets for relaxation sans children, such as a spa and beauty centre and swimming pools. The Playa de San Agustín beach, with its fine sand, is just steps away. Since it is naturally protected from high tides, it is an ideal location for snorkelling and diving. The hotel also provides a wide array of entertainment options for adults.
Bahia Blanca Apartments Resort Hotel is a beautiful holiday resort. It has earned awards for its customer service and it is ideally located a short drive from the airport above the cliffs on the south coast of the island. All 108 apartments have breathtaking views of the sea and are fully furnished. For your convenience, there is wireless Internet, a swimming pool, and a restaurant.
So book a Gran Canaria hotel today!
There are two airports on Tenerife, but Gando Airport in Gran Canaria is the islands’ major airport. It is located 16 kilometres from Las Palmas. There are plenty of taxis at the airport and there are also Gran Canaria car hire offices. There is also a shuttle bus that travels from the airport to the major hotels and resorts on the island.
There are ferries and jetfoils that connect Gran Canaria with nearby Tenerife, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote by the ports in Agaete and Las Palmas.
There is a network of air-conditioned buses on the island, although service to rural areas is not very reliable. There are turquoise, green, and blue Global buses and yellow buses in Las Palmas that provide efficient service within the city. To travel between Maspalomas and Las Palmas, the quickest bus route is the 50. Discounted bus passes are available and provide for ten trips.
There are many taxis in Las Palmas and in tourist areas. Fares are relatively cheap for local trips.
There are also day trips that can be planned through your hotel or a local operator so that you do not have to worry about navigation.
Photos of Spanish celebrities adorn the walls at Casa Pablo (Calle Tomás Miller 73) who come for its delicious, traditional Spanish cuisine. There is a wonderful tapas menu to satisfy desires for something light and fresh.
The vegetarian restaurant Hipócrates (Calle Colón 4) is a hit with vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. In a picturesque old cottage, surrounded by a gurgling fountain and pristine green and white décor, enjoy scrumptious fresh vegetarian lasagne, unique salads, seitan kebabs, or the hearty set menu.
For delectable seafood, look no further than Restaurante Casa Montesdeoca (Calle Montesdeoca 10 S). The restaurant is housed in a lovely old 16th century home, setting a romantic ambiance that is perfect for couples. There is also a beautiful patio surrounded by lush greenery and charming wooden balconies. All of the meat and seafood dishes are divine.
A memorable meal fit for royalty will certainly be had at Restaurante Amaiur (Calle Pérez Galdós 2), which adjoins a 19th century palace. The elegant high-ceilinged dining rooms are the perfect setting in which to savour codfish-stuffed peppers, caviar, and monkfish served with prawns.
For authentic Italian cuisine, head to Molinet (Paseo Canteras 6), which is owned by Italians. The restaurant features originals like ostrich enhanced with muscatel sauce or homemade pasta topped with porcini mushrooms. Enjoy the amazing view of the sea from the tables outside.
The weather is always great on Gran Canaria, so a round of golf can be enjoyed any day. The island’s golf history is impressive; the first course opened in Las Palmas in 1891. Today there are nine golf courses, including Real Club de Golf de Las Palmas—the oldest course, at its new location since 1956--El Cortijo Club de Campo and Las Plameras Golf.
Gorgeous beaches and water sports are plentiful on the island. Amadores Beach is a smaller manmade beach that is ideal for families. There are many restaurants and cafés close by. Maspalomas Beach has fine sand that is almost white with dunes behind it. Stretched over several kilometres, one end is for nudists and the other one is for families with children. This is a perfect beach for windsurfing, sailing, and surfing.
This is a popular activity and the island offers many great spots in its mountains. Roque Nublo has 12 routes with varying difficulty. There is also El Palmes in El Toscan de Tejeda and Betancuria located in Ayacata. In the northwest, Tamadaba boasts cliffs of up to 1,000 meters.
Boat trips can be taken from Puerto Rico in the south to look for dolphins. There are about 27 different species of dolphines in the waters around the coastline.
The island’s terrain is ideal for those who would like to enjoy nature while getting some exercise. There is a large network of trails and guidebooks you can find locally so that you will never get bored of walking around in the great outdoors of Gran Canaria.
Gran Canaria is a perfect place for diving because the water is clean and clear and bursting with many species of marine life; it is listed as one of the world’s top 100 diving destinations. It is perfect for recreational diving because a shelf about 20 metres deep surrounds most of the island. You can even go on exciting night dives!
There are no compulsory vaccinations. Recommended vaccinations include boosters for: tetanus, pertussis, polio and diphtheria, measles. For travellers over 25 who are not vaccinated, the risk should be assessed on a case-by-case basis, including hepatitis A only for risky journeys. Rabies vaccinations are not recommended, but post-exposure treatment is necessary in the case of a bite or scratch from a suspect animal.
Children should be given boosters for vaccinations in the vaccination schedule, but sooner: They should have measles in combination with mumps and rubella (for babies aged nine months, a booster should be given six months later).
The water is potable. Bottled water is recommended, especially for infants. The health infrastructure is very good. Before you leave, ask your local Social Security centre for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).
In case of emergency, dial 122 for all emergency services. Dial 091 for the police of Santa Cruz or Tenerife.
Do not walk alone at night or in poorly lit areas wearing expensive jewellery or carrying large quantities of cash. Do not leave personal belongings in parked vehicles and do not accept food or drinks from strangers in bars.
Avoid driving at night and do not pick up hitchhikers.