Gran Canaria is a beautiful island where you can fly over water on kiteboards that you can rent out, where you can chart a boat, feel the warmth of the Maspalomas sun, discover (and swim!) in a weird jungle, and see the lunar-like landscapes of parts of Gran Canaria that might just make you feel like an astronaut.

The sunset at Puerto de Mogán is one of the most beautiful in the world. Gran Canaria is such a hugely popular destination for families all over the world in part because of the quality of its beaches — everything from intimate coves to long beaches. There’s good weather all year around. Blue skies offers you the chance to lighten you mood, dance the night away in the evenings, and spend your days seeking thrills including rock-climbing, scuba-diving and mountain-biking.

Pro Surfing Company at La Punta on Playa del Ingles offers an incredible opportunity to try your hand at surfing. Even though it looks difficult, it’s actually very easy for beginners to get up and running, to be able to stand-up and move on a wave, in just a few short hours. Plus, Gran Canaria gets much more consistent surf that most of Europe, so it’s a good place to go if you’ve done it before as well.

Unlike so many extreme sports, the only damage that you’ll probably do to yourself is to get wet, so it’s an activity that suits the whole family, and it’s a good way to work off eating so much good food. Teachers have a vast amount of experience, and they’re experts in helping beginners get started on the board.

For those who’ve had enough of the ocean, then sand-boarding offers an even more unusual way to spend a few hours. It might just be the start of a life long passion — though you’ll have to keep coming back to Gran Canaria if you want that quality of wave outside of Europe.

The capital city of Gran Canaria is the beautiful city of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is unusual in that the old town, the old and beautiful and historical part of the city that would in many other places be preserved as a relic is in fact in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria the commercial centre — which means the city continues to evolve, rather than stagnating. A must see is a mansion that Christopher Colombus visited in the 15th century, a beautiful mansion.

If you are the sort of person who likes to make a day of it by seeing all of a cities sights, then the cathedral should be your next stop in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria — that is as long as the weather doesn’t make wandering around the city such a chore. You won’t struggle to find the Santa Anna Cathedral as it’s largest landmark in the whole city, with two loud bells.

Close by is the City Hall, which is also worth seeing and wandering around. Parque Santa Catalina is a good place to begin if you want to walk around and get lost — there you are able to stock up on drinks and food from the kiosks and stores, as well as sitting in a cafe after your walk looking out over the port and the ocean. As one of the few places in Gran Canaria that has the feel of a big city, it might be the sort of place that could be a good antidote to days spent lazing on the beach.

Castillo de la Fortaleza, located in the middle of the island is a strange building. It’s not actually an ancient building, but one built 50 years ago as the home for a local archeologist Vicente Sanchez Araña.

The castle includes a museum that features ancient artifacts, while another room focuses on the botany that’s local to Gran Canaria. With an art-gallery on the top floor, it’s a good opportunity to take a sneak peek inside someone’s old home and the folly that they built there. And since it only costs €2 it’s a nice stop off, perhaps just as a way of exploring and getting to know the island a little better.

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