Gran Canaria, the miniature continent

Gran Canaria, the miniature continent

The Island of Gran Canaria is situated in the center of the Canary Islands Archipelago between Tenerife and Fuerteventura as the third-largest after the two aforementioned. Year-round, spring-like conditions with average monthly temperatures ranging from 18°C in January to 25°C in August make Gran Canaria an ideal destination. The dry south contrasts with the green pine forests of the mountainous interior and it is not unusual for there to be snow on the peaks while holidaymakers are sunbathing on the beaches below.

Gran Canaria (1)

Gran Canaria (1)

Let's take a look at different parts of this miniature continent:

Las Palmas

The island’s capital, Las Palmas, dates back to the 15th century and, with a population of nearly 400,000, is the biggest city in the island. The colonial architecture, shopping, bars and restaurants make this city well worth a visit. The 3km long Playa de Las Canteras, is often described as one of the best urban beaches in Europe.

Gran Canaria_Las Palmas_Playa de Canteras (2)

Gran Canaria_Las Palmas_Playa de Canteras (2)

Elder Museum of Science and Technology is a science museum with hands-on displays including replica space station, plus 3D cinema & planetarium.

Gran Canaria_Elder Museum of Science and Technology

Gran Canaria_Elder Museum of Science and Technology

Miller Building is a beautifully restored warehouse, located in the Parque de Santa Catalina, where today various cultural events are held.

Gran Canaria_Miller Building

Gran Canaria_Miller Building

Castillo de la Luz, as you see it now, dates back to 1494. It was built on the foundations of a wooden fort constructed by Juan Rejon, the captain of the conquering Castilianinvasion force in 1478.

Gran Canaria_Castillo de la Luz

Gran Canaria_Castillo de la Luz

Vegueta

This amazing twin-towered Santa Ana Cathedral sits at the heart of the beautiful Santa Ana Square. It's the first church of the Canarias, which was built on the orders of Los Reyes Católicos, Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon, after Gran Canaria was conquered in 1478.

Gran Canaria_Vegueta_Santa Ana Cathedral

Gran Canaria_Vegueta_Santa Ana Cathedral

Construction started around 1500 and was not completed until almost four centuries later, making the intervention of several architects and artists inevitable, the result of which can be seen in three basic architectural styles: Gothic, Renaissance and Neoclassical.

Cristopher Columbus House is one of the most beautiful and emblematic buildings from Gran Canaria. The museum has a section with some recreations from the expeditions which Cristopher Columbus did.

Gran Canaria_Vegueta_Cristopher Columbus House

Gran Canaria_Vegueta_Cristopher Columbus House

The Espíritu Santo Square is located next to the Consistorial Houses, old headquarter from the municipal offices until 1979. The fountain covered with a stone cupola is precious! In the same square you will find the Hermitage Espíritu Santo which was built in 1540.

Right behind the cathedral, Museo Diocesano de Arte Sacro is situated in a large colonial palace with a lot of chambers with paintings, small statues and other artifacts in connection with Spanish Inquisition or Catholic Spanish Religion.

Gran Canaria_Vegueta_Museo Diocesano de Arte Sacro 2

Gran Canaria_Vegueta_Museo Diocesano de Arte Sacro 2

The Pérez Galdós Theatre is a cultural institution with more than a century of history. The building was built in Triana, facing Vegueta, on the north side of Guiniguadaravine. Since then, it has been the reference of the scenic arts in Gran Canaria and the cultural heart of the city. Today, the Pérez Galdós Theatre is an architectonic symbol, asocial distinctive and an inescapable political reference of the city. It maintains a stable program throughout the year and it holds the Alfredo Kraus Opera Festival.

Gran Canaria_Vegueta_Perez Galdos Theatre

Gran Canaria_Vegueta_Perez Galdos Theatre

Don't forget to visit Vegueta Market, open everyday except for Sundays.

Gran Canaria_Vegueta Market

Gran Canaria_Vegueta Market

One of the liveliest streets in Vegueta, is Calle Mendizábal. As well as a number of buzzing bars and cool clubs, dining out in some of the capital’s finest restaurants and tapas bars are further nocturnal options. After-dark Vegueta attracts the young and the young at heart. Lose yourself in its warren of cute streets.

Literary Cabinet of Las Palmas was initially constructed as a theater from 1883 and now houses a center for culture. Architecturally, it is one of the highlights of the oldtown of Gran Canaria.

Gran Canaria_Vegueta_Literary Cabinet of Las Palmas

Gran Canaria_Vegueta_Literary Cabinet of Las Palmas

Puerto de Mogan

Puerto de Mogan on Gran Canaria’s south-western coast, is nestled against a mountainous landscape. Visitors come here in swathes in all seasons, lured by beautifulbeaches and good weather. It is a fishing village, also known as The Little Venice of the Canary Islands on account of its small canals and bridges.

Gran Canaria_Puerto de Mogan (2)

Gran Canaria_Puerto de Mogan (2)

You’ll be captivated by Puerto de Mogan's charming white houses and the colourful gardens adorning pedestrianised streets.

Gran Canaria_Puerto de Mogan (3)

Gran Canaria_Puerto de Mogan (3)

If you are looking for something different, Gran Canaria also offers great hillwalking as well as excellent golfing with 6 Golf Courses and a long tradition of the sport on the island.

Gran Canaria_Golf Resort

Gran Canaria_Golf Resort

Arucas

San Juan Bautista is one of the main churches on Gran Canaria. The immensity of the church means that it has ended up being called a cathedral even though it does not actually have cathedral status.

Gran Canaria_San Juan Bautista Church (2)

Gran Canaria_San Juan Bautista Church (2)

If something stands out about San Juan Bautista Church, it is the Gothic Revival architecture. It is a fine example of stonework, and boasts large towers, pointed arches and a truly breathtaking façade.

Gran Canaria_San Juan Bautista Church (1)

Gran Canaria_San Juan Bautista Church (1)

Another local icon is the famous Arehucas rum. It is named after its original guanche name Arehucas, and is still made today in a factory dating back to the 19th Century. The oldest rum-maker in Europe is open for visits.

Teror

Town Hall of Teror is located on Plaza Muro Nuevo and houses town council chamber and one department. Originally it was a one-story building. Teror city council bought this building for the school purpose in 1909.

Gran Canaria_Teror_Town Hall of Teror

Gran Canaria_Teror_Town Hall of Teror

The Old Episcopal Palace is another sample of symbolic and memory of history in Villa Mariana de Teror. There is a high probability that Episcopal Palace was built in the same period as Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Pino (A.D 1876) or a little bit later. Currently, houses the parish office and a Cultural Centre.

Gran Canaria_Teror_Old Episcopal Palace

Gran Canaria_Teror_Old Episcopal Palace

Construction of Church of Nuestra Señora del Pino (Virgin of the Pine) was completed in 1767 by the architect Antonio de la Rocha. The church refers to Neoclassical and Portuguese Gothic architecture style. The celebration dedicated to Virgen of the Pine, the patron saint of the Gran Canaria island, takes place every September.

Hidden in the beautiful silence of the city, Teresa de Bolivar Square houses two fountains.

Gran Canaria_Teror_Teresa de Bolivar Square

Gran Canaria_Teror_Teresa de Bolivar Square

Maspalomas

The Maspalomas Dunes emerged hundreds of years ago and in essence are fossilised remains spread far and continuously sculpted by the wind. The dunes stretch from Playa de Maspalomas and its lighthouse to Playa del Inglés. They provide a unique habitat on the island for African fauna including the giant lizard and several bird species. This immensely beautiful and unique landscape is a popular spot at sunset.

Gran Canaria_Maspalomas Sand Dunes

Gran Canaria_Maspalomas Sand Dunes

Beaches

The beaches at Maspalomas are among the best in the islands and the resort of Playa de Inglés offers some very lively night life. My favourite beach of all time, though, is Playa de Amadores. More beach suggestions include Playa de las Burras with wide sandy beach featuring calm waters and a lively promenade with bars, restaurants and nearby lodging.

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