Desperately seeking sunshine- Canary Islands: It’s this time of year when I start dreaming about sunshine, the weather is into minus figures, wardrobe decisions are made based on level of insulation and I’m getting through vitamin D supplements at a rate of knots, oh and did I mention our boiler broke down last night leaving us without heating or hot water?! winter holiday anyone? who’s with me?
Sun seeking in mind I thought I’d share a few posts highlighting destinations that are accessible from the United Kingdom offering that much needed sunshine whilst avoiding a long-haul flight! To name a few Malta, Morocco, Egypt and of course the beautiful Canary Islands. Despite their geographical isolation since the 1960’s the Canaries have developed a thriving tourism industry, which represents 80% of the revenue. Gran Canaria is the second most populated Islands in the Canaries located in the Atlantic Ocean between Africa and Europe.
Having only visited Gran Canaria once as a teenager (on a rather questionable package holiday), it may be time to pay the Canary Islands another visit, this time I’d avoid the party night life of Playa del Ingles and instead opt for a more relaxing peaceful break at the picturesque fishing village of Puerto de Mogan, explore the Island and sample the local cuisine. There are a number of reasons visitors travel from far and wide each year to visit the Island, here are just a few:
The Sunshine: Famed for it’s ‘eternal spring’ all-year-round sunshine, the average daytime temperatures on Gran Canaria in winter range from 20 °C (68 °F) to cooler nights of lows of a mere 10 °C (50 °F) – so a winter sun fix is pretty much guaranteed!
Luscious landscape: Gran Canaria is called a “Miniature Continent” thanks to the different climates and variety of landscapes found, with long unspoilt beaches and dunes of white sand, contrasting with luscious green ravines, mountainous rock and quant picturesque villages. UNESCO declared a third of the Island a Biosphere Reserve so there’s a wealth of off-the-beaten track adventures to break up the usual sun, sea and silliness. Boasting the best of both worlds you’ll find spectacular mountains, almost like the Himalayas, unbelievable considering how small Gran Canaria actually is and a great variety of classic beachfront destinations. Some of the pristine beaches were especially made of sand shipped in from the Sahara desert and coral from the Caribbean!
The great outdoors: Gran Canaria has a heap of places to enjoy day trips and new experiences, like hiking the 200 metre deep volcanic crater of Caldera de Bandama or the trekking the snow capped mountain of Pico de las Nieves 2,000 meters above sea level. If hiking sounds a bit strenuous there’s always bicycle rides or horse riding to be done through the incredible Cumbres National Park.
Weird & wonderful: For those with a penchant for the slightly unusual you could head to ‘Lucha Canaria’, which is a Canarias traditional wrestling, like a bizarre form of Sumo. If you’re taking the little ones they might like a day at the Crocodile Park or the Wild West theme Park of Sioux City. Local Food: The surrounding ocean provides fresh fish, the landscape produces the fruit and vegetables needed to create traditional Spanish cuisine found in family run restaurants and fine dining establishments across the Island. If you love fine dining in a tranquil setting you might wish to stop by Casa Montesdeoca, formerly a 16th Century merchant palace where you can dine out in the small courtyard surrounded by stunning historic architecture. Alternatively La Aquarela Restaurant is claimed one of the Islands finest restaurants offering true haute cuisine and is conveniently positioned just a stones throw from the luxury Anfi Del Mar Resort. For me there’s nothing better than enjoying fresh local ingredients lovingly prepared in a picturesque setting.
Where to stay: Your choice of accommodation can truly define your travel experience. Learning from the mistakes of my teenage self I’d avoid the high-rise, non-descript apartment block beach hotels and opt for something much more charming! Casas Rurales (country cottages) offer a wide variety of accommodation with real character or I’d choose a villa in the chocolate box fishing village of Puerto de Mogan from airbnb.
“Travel brings power and love back into your life.” ― Rumi
(Images courtesy of christasurdu.com)