The best plans to discover the island with the family.
Gran Canaria has all the attractions of a huge amusement park. There are several kilometres of coastline, a green landscape, and a favourable climate which has been labelled an “eternal spring”. The whole family will enjoy searching for treasure in Gran Canaria, which is part of the Canary Islands, a paradise in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
The list of adventures that can be had in Gran Canaria include: diving to the bottom of the ocean in a submarine, riding on the back of a camel or donkey, trekking through a safari, sampling amusement and theme parks, visiting a “Wild West town”, dolphin spotting, going water sliding, visiting a giant aquarium, spending time with the animal world in a zoo, and discovering plant life in a huge botanical garden with plant species from all continents. There are also museums where mummies and archaeological remains from the aboriginal era are displayed.
Playing in the ocean
Gran Canaria is a great place to observe dolphins and other cetaceans. Because the island is located on the north to south maritime route of these mammals, the whole family will get the chance to watch these beautiful animals swimming freely in open waters. An excursion to visit dolphins and other cetaceans can be completed with a swim in one of the beaches on the southwest of the island. There are also options to visit a water park, go snorkelling or learn to surf.
In Gran Canaria there are are numerous schools for surfing, windsurfing, sailing and other water sports. Gran Canaria is a well known surfing spot all over the world and world championships and other important events are held on the island. Gran Canaria also has one of the best urban beaches in Europe. Las Canteras is just over three kilometres long. It is close to the port where cruise ships dock and contains an avenue which offers shops, bars, and restaurants for visitors. The waters are very comfortable for children swimming thanks to the “barra de las canteras”, a breakwater which creates a low swell.
In Puerto de Mogán there are also fun experiences. There is a yellow submarine which is 18 metres long and 4 metres wide which allows visitors to plunge to the depths of the ocean. 25 metres underwater there is one of the clearest sea beds along the Gran Canaria coast, so through the porthole windows visitors can watch the incredible marine fauna that inhabits this part of the Atlantic. There is even a sunken ship to stare at!
The desert experience
In Sioux City Park in Gran Canaria visitors can play cowboys and indians. After duelling with pistols and strolling through this wild west town, tourists can walk out into the desert. In the authorized area of the Special Nature Reserve of the Dunes of Maspalomas, a place of great natural beauty, there are opportunities for safari style camel trips. Passing on the back of a camel along brackish water pools which are home to amazing bird species will be an unforgettable experience.
For more fun, there are theme and amusement parks nearby. In the Maspalomas area there is one of the best zoological parks in the Canary Islands: Los Palmitos Park contains a large number of local plant species as well as plants from all over the world. There are also animals such as birds (including raptors and other exotic vertebrate animals) and dolphins on show. There is even an aquarium with a large number of fish!
The heart of the island
In the middle of Gran Canaria there are impressive landscapes such as those found in Tejeda, Artenara, Gáldar and Agaete. There is Risco Caído, an archaeological site, and las Montañas Sagradas de Gran Canaria, or, in English, the Sacred Mountains of Gran Canaria (which has been designated a Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO). During a trip to the heart of Gran Canaria visitors can stop at Cruz de Tejeda for a donkey ride or experience some of the ancient Canary Islands rituals in caves at the Artenara Interpretation Centre.
Close to Artenara is the Tamabada pine forest which is one of the most well preserved Canarian pine forests in the Canary Islands. Children will have great fun hiding amongst the trees and playing at being explorers. The Tamabada pine forest has a peak from which one of the best panoramic views of Gran Canaria can be enjoyed. The series of impressive cliffs which run down the northwest coast of the island are known as the “cola de dragón”, or, in English, “the dragon’s tail”. Views of these mountains will ignite children’s imaginations.
All the attractions of a big city
The Viera and Clavijo Canarian Botanical Garden is a place to enjoy nature in all its splendour. It is located in Tafira, near the city of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, and is the largest garden of its kind in Spain. It is an important place for the conservation of local plant species. The botanical garden offers a large amount of space for children to run about. There is plenty of fresh air and a large number of amazing plants from the Canary Islands and other parts of Macaronesia that will impress young minds.
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is a big city with many attractions to keep young people happy. Children will love to climb up to the top deck of a double-decker tourist bus and watch the magic of city life move about around them. During the tour of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria there are many things to see: there is the historic district of Vegueta with its cathedral and other large stately buildings; there is the Elder Museum of Science and Technology in the Santa Caralina Park; there is the Alfredo Kraus Auditorium which sits imposingly at the end of Las Canteras Beach; and there is the Altavista viewpoint which offers a panoramic view of the city and the Atlantic Ocean. The good thing about a bus tour is that visitors can get off and on at any of the 11 stops. There is also an audio guide in 8 different languages.
Gran Canaria offers visitors young and old the opportunity to see an authentic mummy up close. Ancient inhabitants of the Canary Islands used ceremonial wrapping to preserve their bodies through the passage of time, and these techniques can be observed in the Canarian Museum in the city of Las Palmas. There are guided tours for children with a specially designed programme for young people to learn about the fascinating world of the Canarian aborigines, a population about whom we are still learning today.