When in Gran Canaria
…… stay in the North West and avoid the South
Gran Canaria is a funny little island – we really weren’t sure what to expect, knowing Spain so well, but looking at the very southern location of Gran Canaria, we were intrigued. The rumours are true though – the south is the tourist trap from hell. Glad that I did my research and we stayed in a the tiny fishing village of Agaete. A 1 hour drive from Las Palmas, this sleepy village, called the White Village, sits snug in a valley close to the Parque Natural Tamadaba. The island itself is one big volcanic rock, but the valley of Agaete is a lusciously green oasis with fields, palm trees, cacti and a sea of flowers in spring. Perfect location if you like to hike. We stayed in a small apartments in the Urb. La Suerta with a wonderful view of the valley from the terrace. Not within walking distance to the town, there 2 restaurants nearby which are very local and not frequented by tourists – my kinda spot 😊 Casa Lolo and En La Suerte.
….. climb the mountains
As we were staying in the Área recreativa Tamadaba near Agaete, there were plenty of hikes and plenty of mountains to climb. Signage is very good in this part of the world, you don’t need a guide book but just follow the markings on the path. Passing waterfalls, cave houses and meadows dotted with goats you don’t hear a sound and only see the occasional fellow hiker. Again, mostly local, and mostly past the 60 mark. Must be the climate.
….. drive through the inland
The inland of Gran Canaria is absolutely beautiful, very very green, very mountainous and full of agriculture. You can really see how fruitful this little island is and how healthy a life style can be here. I wish we would have had a few more days to discover the inland and also climb Pico de las Nieves. We had an afternoon to kill before catching our flight home and drove aimlessly through the beautiful inland of the island, up to Teror for a late lunch break. Teror has a great farmers market on Sunday, attracting a lot of locals from the surrounding villages to stock up on weekly groceries. The market square around the local church is very quaint with lots of little traditional tapas bars. We visited on a rather quiet Monday and enjoyed a relaxed lunch in the sun.
…… visit the sand dunes in Maspalomas
As said before, the south is to be avoided. Unless you like resorts, beach lounges, curry houses and brothels. It’s a very weird atmosphere down south and maybe because we don’t do package holidays we cannot relate. BUT worth visiting are the sand dunes in Maspalomas, right at the tip of the island. You really get the feel of the African influence here, if you wouldn’t know any better you’d think you are in the Sahara. The dunes are vast, not just a few heaps of sand here and there but really translate the feeling of the desert. Some great photo opportunities here! After that, best to jump back into your car and escape northwards.
.… visit the small town of Galdar
Agaete is a little on the quiet side and a little to over-run by the beach, so we very happy to discover Galdar, 20 minutes down the road with lots of small tapas bars, quiet squares to sit outside and enjoy some tapas, and some amazing local bakeries with local cakes and donuts. It has a very local feel and you don’t come across very many tourists. Galdar is a very historic town with a lot of history and baroque influence.
….. catch some rays on the beach of Sardina
In the north, it’s not always that easy to find a beach – you don’t have the long sand banks as in the south with white sand and crystal water. Agaete is a little too small and a little too busy as it is the favourite holiday spots for the locals. So we drove a little further north to Sarina, a tiny village perched at the edge of a cliff with its colourful houses. The beach is small and pebbly but a very nice suntrap with very clean water and mainly locals. It’s a great spot to watch the sunset and has the feel of a calm family weekend by the beach.