Gran Canaria is the most southerly of the seven Canary Islands and lies in the Atlantic Ocean 135 miles off the border between Morocco and Western Sahara, and 715 miles from the Iberian Peninsula. The highest point on Gran Canaria is Pico de las Nieves at 1,949m (6,394ft).
Gran Canaria is made up of 21 municipalities with the capital, Las Palmas located in the North of the island.
Gran Canaria is the Canary Island’s most populated and third largest island. In the north and interior you will find rolling green hills and flower-speckled meadows, whilst in the south the scene changes to arid plains and sweeping sand dunes.
The island has 122 miles of coastline with 50 beaches, the most popular being San Agustín, Playa del Ingles, Puerto Rico and Maspalomas with its famous sand dunes.
Winter temperatures very rarely dip below 16°C (61°F) and only occasionally rise higher than 32°C (90°F) in summer. The coolest month is January, with average daytime temperatures of 18°C (64°F). The warmest is August with an average daytime temperature of 26°C (79°F). The north of the island is slightly cooler and less arid than the south.
Location – 135 miles west of the coast of Morocco and western Sahara.
Time – GMT (GMT + 1 from last Sunday in March to last sunday in October).
Area – 602 sq miles.
Language – principal language is Spanish.
Religion – There is no official religion, but the majority of the population is Roman Catholic.
Currency – Euro.
WHAT TO DO AND SEE
Aqua Sur Water Park in Maspalomas is the biggest waterpark on the island and has over 6,340 sq ft of pools, 13 water attractions and 33 water slides.
Palmitos Park is a botanical and zoological wonderland with 200 different species of birds plus the Butterfly House, an aquarium, an orchid house and extensive cactus gardens. There is also Primates Island here which is home to a community of white-handed gibbons.
Sioux City Park has live shows such as Duel until death, Bank robbery, Town square hanging and Indian rain dance. The park also has a zoo and horse riding.
Maspalomas Beach (over 3.5 miles long) is considered the most beautiful of all the beaches on the island, with fine white sand backed by vast, wind-sculpted dunes.
Crocodrilos Park (Crocodile Park) is home to the biggest collection of crocodiles anywhere in Europe. There are over 300 crocodiles, monkeys, tropical fish and many other animals.
Holiday World is the largest funfair in the Canary Islands. Here you will find rides, a bowling alley, wellness centre, restaurants bars and arcades.
Museo Canario is in Las Palmas and houses the world’s largest collection of skulls and the remains of the island´s famous mummies.
To watch whales and dolphins in their natural habitat take a whale-watching boat excursion from Puerto Rico.
La Vegueta is the oldest part of the capital, Las Palmas. Here you can see the 17th-century Palacio Regental, now the High Court of Law, and the Gothic Cathedral of Santa Ana.
The Caldera de Bandama is a 660ft deep volcanic crater with an observation platform on its peak. Here you can get the best views on the island.
Puerto de Mogán (the ‘Venice of Gran Canaria) is a scenic harbour and is home to gleaming white yachts and playboy toys. Along the quayside you will find lots of excellent restaurants.