The island of Gran Canaria is known for its beaches and climate, but there's more to it than that. The Canaries are a volcanic range of islands, complete with stunning, otherworldly landscapes, and Gran Canaria is one of the most interesting of them all. Known as the ""miniature continent"" due to the wide variety of its terrain and climate, the beautiful beaches of the coast give way to a mountainous interior, with wooded slopes and charming villages in the cooler north of the island. To the south and east, the land is flatter, and charming resorts hug the coast. With a complex cultural history and a tradition of arts and crafts, it's a place quite unlike any other.
The pull of the beaches in Gran Canaria is strong; Playa de las Canteras is ideal for families, and the vast expanses of dunes at Playa de Maspalomas are perfect for those who want to wander. The interior of the island also yields many delights. The stunning Caldera de Bandama, the crater of a dormant volcano, is worth a visit as is the intriguing rock formations and wonderful views of Roque Bentayga. With surprises around every corner, it's a good idea to see as much of the miniature continent as you can.
The Canaries have a long and storied history. Though now part of Spain, they were originally the home of an indigenous people: the Canarii. This mix of cultures and styles has led to an island with a wealth of museums, galleries and attractions of interest. The clear night skies above the Canaries have proven to be wonderful for astronomers, with a couple of observatories offering illuminating views of the night sky. Less cerebrally, one can get a true taste of the Canaries with a guided visit to a local vineyard.
There are a number of 5 star hotels on the island. The adult-only Bohemia Suites offer individual charm and tranquillity as well as an excellent spa. The beautifully designed Radisson Blu is perhaps better for families with a wealth of activities and attractions for kids. The Melia Tamarindos is right on the beach and the Seaside Grand Hotel Residencia is noted for its exceptional cuisine and personal service. All hotels have the range of rooms you'd expect, with most giving the option of booking suites to enjoy.