Here in the south of the island where all of the holiday resorts are situated, we have a winter and a summer. In the winter daytime temperatures drop to around 23C and in the summer they hover around the 30C mark and above all day. Winter sees around 4 out of 7 days a week with perfect sunshine whilst in the summer it's pretty much every day.
It rains less in the south than it does in most deserts around the world, perhaps a half dozen days each year and usually between October and February. Want to see how we welcome the New Year in the capital up in the north? 01/01/2016
In 2015 thirteen of our beaches were declared blue flag beaches, more than any other Canary Island. From the spectacular dunes of Maspalomas beach (some 6 kilometers long) to the smaller, deserted coves scattered around the island, Gran Canaria has over 100 beaches to choose from. Top family beach is probably Puerto Rico rivalled only by Mogan; Playa del Ingles, Maspalomas and Amadores the more popular with adults, Anfi a hidden gem and on the other side of the island, Las Canteras my personal favourite (see video above) for facilities and atmosphere.
The second largest carnival in the world after Brasil (alongside Tenerife) is celebrated here in Las Palmas at the beginning of each year. The day of the big parade can see a half million people coming out to join in the fun during the day and evening. After three weeks of celebrations in the north a second carnival starts down in the south (Playa del Ingles / Maspalomas) with over 100,000 people lining the streets and partying through the night after the main parade. Gay Pride in May sees similar numbers then there's the "Romerias" - traditional Canarian fiestas which usually start with a pilgrimage for a local saint and end with music and dancing through the night. These can often sees numbers in excess of 20,000 attending and are almost weekly around the island during June to September. We certainly know how to party here so be careful chosing your dates.
The southern part of the island is mainly beaches and purpose built tourist resorts but the further north you travel, the greener and more spectacular the scenery and views. The center of the island is allmost 2000 meters above sea level offering views over the mountains and clouds accross to neighbouring Tenerife or on a good day to Fuerteventura. Tiny Canarian villages untouched by tourism and dating back hundreds of years are a great place to stop for refreshments or lunch. Join a guided walk through one of the many forests on the island or down to one of the resevoirs for a swim. Gran Canaria is known as the "Continent in Minature" because of its diversity.
Golf and other Sports
With seven challenging 18-hole golf courses around the island and an average anual tempperature of around 25C with sunshine almost every day of the year, Gran Canaria is an ideal destination for the golf enthusiast. That's not all, the island has become extremely popular with mountain biking (especially during the winter months), wind surfing with world championshipps held here July each year, cross country running with a major race or more being held monthly during the winter, sailing, all water sports and pretty much any oother sport that doesn't involve snow or ice.
First of all getting there and back for most of the year (other than school holidays) is very economical with several low cost airlines continually bringing the price down. If you can be flexible on dates you can always find a great deal. Once here, the island has been voted one of the cheapest destinations in Europe. Whilst resorts such as Meloneras cater to those looking for high class resort hotels much of the larger resorts offer 0 to 5 star properties and again, if you pick the right dates you could easily find a centrally located, self-catering apartment for around 20 euros a night. Then there's the food and drink. I'm from the UK where they measure out the alcohol I believe we get 25ml in a shot. Here in Gran Canaria a shot is around 3/4 of a tall glass. If you find a local restaurant down a sidestreet as opposed to an international restaurant in a shopping center then you can often find a 3 course meal with a drink for around 10 euros. Finally for those that drink and smoke the whole island is duty free, not just the airport so booze, cigarettes, perfumes ..... are much cheaper than many other European destinations.