Although the island of Gran Canaria is a tourist hotspot for seekers of sun, beaches and water parks, it is actually a very diverse place to visit – even for those seeking peace and quiet or off the beaten track quirkiness. |
Independent travellers can explore a whole range of cultural, historical or transcendent options on their trip to the east Atlantic and truly find out what makes up the real Gran Canaria. Transfers from the airport in the east of the island make the process of discovery so much faster too.
Descending into a Volcano
Let’s start with the most dramatic! This activity sounds a lot more dangerous than it actually is because the volcanic crater is ancient and long extinct. Nonetheless there is always something gratifying and strangely spiritual about being so close to a site that has witnessed incredible power. And La Caldera Bandama is certainly that.
Rather than simply an ashen, rocky crag though, this caldera is lush and green. A beautiful variety of trees and shrubs have made their home in the fertile volcanic earth, lending this spot an idyllic quality. It is protected from the development of the rest of the island by the steep crater walls that surround the curious ecosystem.
Measuring a kilometre, a public trail leads 200 metres down into this isolated world of eucalyptus and orange trees. But, be warned: it is a tough descent for those without proper shoes, or unused to the rigours of hill climbing. Go prepared.
Hike Through Deserts and Forests
The island’s interior is a place of stunning natural beauty – although it’s a side of the sun-soaked destination that few visitors get to explore. The area boasts remarkable ridges, valleys and woodlands that are ripe for hiking, and there are footpaths that spread through these landscapes like veins. They reach into transcendent corners, far away from the crowds and provide a wealth of spots for contemplation and photography.
Fataga valley is one of those trails. Known as the ‘valley of a thousand palms’, this route is marked by the eponymous village of Fataga, home to a number of excellent restaurants. Over in the east of the island you can visit Barranque de Guayadeque, another haven of arcadia and exotic plants.
Alternatively, you can hike through the Maspalomas Desert in the south of the island to challenge the dune chains that comprise this small desert of sand, which is lifted straight from the Sahara by the strong eastern winds.
Discovering Las Palmas
The Canary capital, Las Palmas, is a city of charm and curiosity. The old town is made up of endlessly photogenic alleyways and side streets that lead to quaint restaurants and bars, while and the newer districts are full of movement, life and great shopping. Arenales and La Isleta are particularly worth checking out, for their history and architecture.
How to Get There
The airport, just south of Las Palmas, is a well-serviced flight destination from Heathrow, and it takes around four and a half hours to arrive. The best way to ensure a smooth transition to your accommodation is on one of the convenient Gran Canaria transfers that you can pre-book before you leave home.
Lukas Johannes is a driver for Shuttle Direct, the number one provider of shared and private airport transfers all over Europe and northern Africa. If you’re looking for affordable Gran Canaria transfers, Lukas and his colleagues can make sure that you and your luggage get to and from the airport swiftly and safely.
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