Holiday Resorts in the Canarian Island Gran Canaria
Those who want to be on holiday in Gran Canaria will get one's money worth in many aspects. Due to the miold temperatures throughout the year, it is pleasant to hike through the interesting altitudes and canyons. Also those who want to do something more for their fitness will have many times a free way as a cyclist in the Massif Central as most vacationers are still more attracted to the southern coast for bathing. Here, the beach of a length of 8 kilometres at Maspalomas and Playa del Inglés and the bathing resorts located at the south-west and the south-east offer enough space for the more than 3 million vacationers per year.
Due to the weather conditions, all bigger bathing resorts are located art the south and the south west of Gran Canaria. The strong winds that fall on the east coast make this area only for surfers interesting. Even still in the south at Playa del Inglés and the dunes of Maspalomas, one has to expect some more or less strong blow sand. Therefore, the dunes that are almost endless offer a gorgeous panorama. In Maspalomas, dune hiking nearly becomes a kind of sports of its own and the excellent thing of these sand mountains is the space one can enjoy. this southern section of Gran Canaria is called Costa Canaria and extends from the area around Maspalomas alongside the east coast up to Bahia Feliz.
The beach bays of the holiday resorts in the south-west, also called Costa Mogán, also comprehend the places Puerto de Mogán, Puerto Rico and Arguineguín. They are totally located in a wind-protected area, but therefore, in the summer time, one misses a cool breeze there. the space on the beach is partly very narrow but therefore everything is a little more visible.
Puerto de Mogán or 'Small Venice of Gran Canaria'
The road leading to Puerto de Mogán was surrounded by building sites. The first impression was marked by a bigger hotel complex and a huge shopping centre; Not until getting to the centre of Puerto de Mogán, the charm of this small place was dismantled step by step.
The many partly arched bridges and the water roads remind on Venice, a thing that makes the nick name "Small Venice" understandable. Here, nothing appears showy, nothing padded, as the accommodations for the tourists in the centre are almost smaller apartment complexes that do not exceed 2 floors. Dur to their narrowness, the alleyways appear very lovingly with the brightly decorated small balconies with an abundance of flowers.
Some smaller places alongside the promenade invite to relax with their banks and at some spots, the view goes up to unspoilt rocky landscapes. The many grass strips generate a certain cozyness to which surely the clear size of the smallplace does contribute. Also if some day excursionists lose their way to Puerto de Mogàn, the ado seems to be here slowlier. The whole tranquility of this small place makes a walk slow down to a real comfortable loafing.
This walk is not comparable with the loafing at sme bigger promenades in Maspalomas or Meloneras, where a hectic ado can arise due to the many people or numerous boutiques animate one to get distracted.
Also the port complex of Puerto de Mogàn contibutes a lot to the beautification of the atmosphere. By loafing alongside the boardwalk, one has a fantastic view to the boats floating on the water. One can get here anytime to one of the restaurants located here. No matter if one is looking for a German schnitzel or fresh fish, one will find in any case what he wants. The impressive thing of this small village is that it is an interplay of originality and that what one wants to offer to the tourists.
The way to the beach is not far from the port. There is a nicely arranged mole with a fine goldden sand beach separated by a bridge. The water is shallow up to a wide distance and the bathing vacationers could still have enough space between each other. Also the boardwalk is nicely arranged in this area with some nice benchs with which it is possible to sit in front one of the nices cafés without having to drink or eat anything. Those who can should rent a deck chair or a parasol and get well equipped for a full day on the beach. The advantage of this area in the south-west is the relatively still air that is not possible to get at the eastern part of the island. Due to the situation at the lee of the trade wind, one has some optimal conditions for sun bathing, so that one has not to struggle with the blowing wind as it is the case for example in Maspalomas.
Puerto Rico: Bathing Resort for Sailing Fans
By taking the exit to Puerto Rico from the motorway, one first passes a nicely arranged glof court. One could almost think that this is the beginning of the posh area of Gran Canaria as by looking to the coast, we also saw the first catamarans and sailing boats. This picture was confirmed by getting closer to Playa del Amadores; We were approached by quite many posh cars so that we were almost reminded to the soputh of mallorca. The streets were surrounded by a verdant green meadow and flower terraces. We were respectively stunned by looking at the precipices that were completely covered by hotel buildings.
In Puerto Rico, the bathing vacationers can benefit from two bathing bays. The original bay of Puerto Rico was added by the Playa Amadores thsat first leads to a relatively new originated and quite posh disterict. Puerto Rico is not an expanded fishing village at all but arranged from the very beginning to a pure touristical place. The beauty of the bay of Amadores seemed respectively artificial to us. The golden yellow sand shined, was finely grained and if one believes what is written in the travel guide, it was specially imported. Also the water apparently shined more brightly in turquoise-light blue colour as it was the case in the other beaches of Gran Canaria. Although there were a lot of parking places free right at the beach, the view that was offered to us was more than deterrend: already now, one towel followed the next. Apparently, on this beach there was only enough space by closing the eyes and forgetting the reality around one.
The atmosphere at the beach of Amadores appeared to be very new. The blue-yellow parasols together with the yellow deckchairs provided a shiny new and very dapper impression, almost as in an ice-cream advertisement. For children, this environment is ideal, as right beside the beach, a children's playground is arranged and the paddleboar rent is not far. The beach goes very shallowly into the water and within the mole, it is protected by a fenced swimming area.
The original beach area of Puerto Rico is located together with the port area for sailors, surfers and divers and protected by a mole. Here, there is a strange busy atmosphere; At the back, the precipies are fully covered with buildings and also the narrowly limited space on the beach almost provides the first traces of claustrophobia. The feeling of wideness and distance that still can arise in this place, is apparently due to the many boats and the bordering port atmosphere. There are continuously some yachts or sport boats moving, so that even while being lazily hanging around, one can still take part to this sportive atmosphere. The way alongside the road is nicely arranged, so that one can also quickly get to the bigger sport and yacht port.
Arguineguín: Primary Harbour
Arguineguín means something like 'still water' and was originated in the 15th century as the oldest area in the south west of Gran Canarias. The emblem of this antique small cityis surely its harbour. Also if within the small place there is no sightseeing to discover, one can at least make an excursion to one of the many fish restaurants that surround the promenade.
Most of the vacationers use the possibility to have a small boat tour within the coastal places. by this way, the liner traffic that depeart from here is very suitable to have a side trip to Puerto de Mogán or Puerto Rico.
The place Arguineguín is less known due to its vacationers but rather due to the canyon Barranco de Arguineguín that begins there. In a tour of approximately 2 hours it is possible to have a tour around the canyon and at the end of the canyon one gets out at the reservoir Embalse de Soria. From there, it is also possible to start some nice hiking tours. Our tour through the canyon of Barranco de Aruineguín is described in our page Canyons of the South.
Meloneras: A Touch of Luxury
At the upper side of the light house of Maspalomas, the coast section that extends over a long promenade up to the small beach of Meloneras with a length of approximately 400 metres, begins. The whole atmosphere of this area is of a luxury arrangement.
In the water containers of the contuinuously visited restaurants, lobsters and langoustines patiently wait for their destiny. The posh boutiques are specialised on expensive fashion, jewelry and cosmetics. the high-priced hotels with their generous poolscapes provide satisfaction to those guests who are fine with the possibilities offered for swimming and sports, as the way to the beach of Maspalomas or Meloneras are respectively far. The promenade certainly runs alongside the coast but this coastal section is very stony. But anyway, it is fantastic to walk in the evenings alongside the promenade and watch the sunset. By this way, it in possible to end the day in a romantic way.
Also the many posters or the coulisses of the hotels continuously transmitted a touch of luxury and the people we met here were still pleasantly moderated. There was barely anybody overdressed. Here, it was also still possible to feel comfortable in jeans. And it is in any case also worthwhile to walk those metres from Maspalomas up to here, as the quality of these restaurants were clearly bettern than the one of those in Maspalomas. beside the many offers of fresh seafood it was absolutely ok to have pizza, spaghetti or a steak. Of course, a spanish italian restaurant could not compete with a real italian restaurant but therefore the food was very good. But I prefer not to talk about the prices as they were quiter steep.
Meloneras was not originated until the turn of the millennium; principally, it is the extension of the place Maspalomas. Beside numerous luxury hotels there are numerous comforts for the tourists: there is a casino, numerous shops and stores as also a shopping-mall of such dimensions we know from big cities but we never expected in a small island. Local people talk about the "golden mile" by mentioning Meloneras.
Maspalomas: A Dream of Dunes
By browsing the holiday catalogues about Gran Canaria, one starts to gush by looking at the dunes of Maspalomas. The beach area that extends more than 8 km up to Playa del Inglés fulfils all holiday longings for sun, beach and sea. The area is at the very south of Gran Canaria ans marked by a light house (Faro de Maspalomas), is located amiodst a natural protected area and borders to a natural plam oasis.
This area is really unique and simply ideal for those who want to sunbath and bath. The beach of Maspalomas is never crowded, not even during the high season. There is always a free place with enough space up to the neighbour, and for beach sportsmen there is enough space for playing volleyball or beach-tennis. At some spots there are deckchairs and parasols available for rent and right behind the beach there are all kinds of shopping opportunities as also a chemistry and sanityry facilities.
It is a must for the tourists of Maspalomas to make at least one hiking tour on the beach. On a length of approximately 7-8 km one can hike alongside the sea around the dunes up to Playa Inglés and one continuously has some views to the sea, the dunes and the heartland. As soon as one is approximately 500 metres far from the straight access to the beach, one is among few tourists in this wide dune landscape. By walking a little further, one gets to the nudist area where one can watch some naked people playing volleyball... and those who want to enjoy their beach holiday in a totally calmed way will find on the middle of the way between Maspalomas and Playa Inglés absolute clamness and can set their own quarter in the landscape of dunes.
Maspalomas is not a place of tradition but a place purely marked by the toourists; Respectively, alongside the beach section up to the light hopuse, there is a touristical food concourse.There, one either can get some Chinese, Italian, Spanish or German dishes. But the quality of some dishes is not good. As we were every day out for dinner and we did not immediartely discover the restaurants of Meloneras, we got lost in several restaurants of Maspalomas and most of the times we were not satisfied. There is not much to expect from the restaurants that are so crowded by the tourists. Thus, there is to drive a mile in any case with the rented car.
Those who are from another place and want to have a side trip to Maspalomascan do this, for example, by bus. The buses stop in Maspalomas at a distance of approximately 500 metres from the beach. those who come by car will find only a few parking places in the proximity of the beach and those who park in a prohibited parking area or in delivery zones will be mercilessly towed. Therefore, there is a huge parking garage at the bus station from which one can get to the beach of Maspalomas in 5 minutes.
Playa del Inglés: Beach, Beach, as far as the eye can reach
Playa del Inglés: this place at the south of Gran Canaria stands for a welll organized holiday; Everybody who is looking for sun, beach and sea with a lot of entertainment will be happy here. Playa del Inglés is the only place of Gran Canaria or of the Canarian Islands at all, that is known by many people even though they have never been there. What is the beach El Arenal in Mallorca that is Playa del Inglés ist in Gran Canaria. While in the neighbour places Maspalomas and Meloneras there are mainly 5-stars hotels, Playa del Inglés is rather a holiday place for the smaller budget.
Those who are on holiday in Playa del Inglés shopuld not feel deterred at all by the mass tourism. The hotels are available in any price category but mainly in the area up to 4 stars. principally, ne can say that the less one pays, the more far is the way to the beach. but therefore there are plenty of parking places at the upper side of the beach so that one can comfortably drive to the beach.
Those who think now that the beach of Playa del Inglés is totally overcrowded are wrong. of course, at the part of the beach that is right on the spot, there is hustle and bustle. But those who take their towel and rucksack and walk some hundred metres alongside the beach in direction to Maspalomas will find some calm beaches and with each further metre walking it gets more calmed. Those who do not care not being close to the sea can simply set theiur quarter amidst the dunes so that one has a place like being on a lonely island.
Also those who do not spend their holidays in Playa del Inglés should in any case make a side trip to there. A walk alongside the boardwalk is very nice and with a lot of excellent views. From the boardwalk that communicates the whole Playa del Inglés with the surrounding beach sections one has a fantastic view to the dunes that extend up to Maspalomas. only the red-blue deckchair areas spoil the view a little. but therefore, one can be sure to be observed by the beach guards and that they would help in case of emergency. by leaving these deckchair areas behind and starting to hike on the dunes, one almost has the feeling to stand in front of some sand mountains of a desert.
Playa del Inglés is without doubt a place where the masses go for holiday. by driving on the main roads of Playa del Inglés, one finds one bar after the other, numerous nicht clubs, discos,music clubs and of course supermarkets and shopping centres. one will not find anything idyllic, this is a purely touristical place; Good to see that these huge masses are well spread on the huge beach.
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Copyright: Patrick Wagner, www.tourist-guide.biz