I spent one week on Gran Canaria in the middle of March. I had wanted to go to a tropical island for my birthday but I live a bit off all the tropical places and routes so in the end I settled for the only place I could get a direct flight to from the town where I live. I had looked at pictures and read a little and didn’t have such high expectations – it just didn’t look like the tropical place I had had in my mind. However, it did turn out quite a pleasant surprise. I wanted to avoid the very touristy places full of hotels and concrete and ended up in a small place that had a local fishermen’s village at a 10 min walk from the hotel. Arguineguin is a really nice town with a calm vibe and nice seafood. We did end up eating fish half of the time I was also pleasantly surprised by the local flora. They had planted a lot of palm trees along the roads and in towns to create more tropical feeling but apart from them there were a lot of cacti and other local plants such as the gorgeous dragon tree.
Since neither me or my boyfriend are beach people we spent half of the time discovering the island. We went to the local market (happening every Tuesday) where we had yummy smoothies and bought local strawberries. We also visited the nearby giant sand dune beach – Playa del Inglés. It might be the most touristic place on the island but it is still an amazing experience to walk for hours between golden sand dunes and the mighty ocean and that’s exactly what we did – from Faro de Maspalomas to the overbuilt Playa del Inglés.
Another day was spent driving through the mountain and exploring the small beautiful villages cuddled between majestic peaks. Our first stop was for an early coffee enjoying spectacular views, followed by the unavoidable stop by the road to admire the mountains bathed in the morning sun.
Our next stop was for a short hike to the second highest point and a sacred island place – Roque Nublo. We had no luck with the weather since there was a haze covering the distant peaks and Tenerife but we still enjoyed spectacular mountain landscapes.
Soon it was time for lunch and a visit to a village claiming to be one of the most beautiful in Spain – Tejeda. I got to try a delicious goat stew there and we left with a jar of the local sweet almond delicacy – Bienmesabe.
The next village was just as spectacular. It had an interesting name (Teror) and breathtakingly beautiful old town part.
Our next stop was Arucas. At first we had chosen to visit it because of the rum factory they have there but it offered a lot of other pretty views and a majestic dark-stone cathedral.
Our last stop for the trip was Las Palmas. At first we had thought we could spend another day there but had then decided to squeeze it in our day trip so that we could enjoy another lazy day of sun and pool and good food in Arguineguin. Las Palmas definitely felt like a big town (we had a problem with parking and finally left the car in a long line of parked cars along a major road) but it still had a lot of charm with its old buildings in Vegueta (like Santa Ana’s cathedral and Columbus’s house museum), the shopping district of Triana as well as the hills with pretty colorful houses.
The rest of the days were spent sitting by the pool, enjoying the sun and the warm water and taking long walks around the area to discover yet another restaurant with delicious local food.
I can say that all in all it was a great vacation and I was happy with its choice in the end. I would definitely recommend stepping off the big tourist centers – there are a lot of pearls hidden in the mountains and around the island! And what better end of the vacation than to spend the last two evenings enjoying the sunset over the Atlantic ocean.