My trip to Gran Canaria blew my expectations of a bucket and spade destination apart on my five day visit in June 2015 as part of a tourist board sponsored Travel Counsellors trip.
We flew with Norwegian Airlines from London Gatwick, with easy self check-in and free wifi onboard. The legroom was comfortable and the crew were polite whilst offering food and drink for purchase onboard.
On arrival, we transferred to the Seaside Palm Beach Hotel, a member of Design Hotels which was to be to be our base for the next four nights. The hotel is fairly contemporary in design and colours. With boutique shops in the reception area, three pools including a freshwater, a childrens and a spa pool, two bars (one pool and one inside with dancing area) and a lovely spa, the hotel has lots to offer clients looking for plenty to do and excellent service.
We dined al a carte that night and the food and service was excellent. A member of our group had a dietary requirement and was presented with a separate menu to choose from. We found the dietary requirement was well covered in every place we ate and were told it is easier to be gluten free than vegetarian in Gran Canaria.
The next day, we headed for the north of the island. Almost half of the territory of Gran Canaria is protected by UNESCO as Biosphere Reserve. An immense, deep crater Tejeda dominates the centre of the island allowing spectacular views. It was stunning and to see three different types of landscapes in one day was spectacular,
We had a late lunch of tapas, including canaria potatoes, Mojo sauce, olives and parma ham at Finca La Laja in Agaete, known for its coffee production, exotic fruits and wine.
That evening, we dined at the Seaside Grand Hotel Residencia -Member of The Leading Hotels of the World. A beautiful property and the nicest on the island. Families are welcomed, however there are no facilities for children, so more couples tend to stay here than families. Dinner was a buffet style that night, with fresh lobster and fish, fresh pasta and meats and plenty of salads and desserts to choose from.
The next day, we visited Vegueta, the lovely old quarter of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria with its most important historical buildings which have been standing for the past five hundred years. We visited Columbus House Museum, Plaza de Santa Ana Square and the Cathedral.
Lunch today was cooking experience where we were taught how to make Mojo sauce and a fish dish with coriander, leeks, carrots and peppers.
In the evening, we arrived at the Sheraton Salobre Hotel in time to watch the sunset in a privileged spot high up above Meloneras. Again, dinner was a buffet but of a very high quality with lots of choice and 5* service.
The next day, we strolled along Meloneras promenade towards 5* Lopesan Villa del Conde. Meloneras is considered Gran Canaria's main tourist area with wonderful ocean front 2km long promenade with high-quality 4* and 5* hotels from Lopesan, RIU and H10 Groups, bars, restaurants, boutiques, casino, conference centre and golf club. Visitors have a choice of two beaches located on both edges of the promenade fantastic Maspalomes dunes and beach and smaller Meloneras beach.
And then it was time to fly home after a great introduction to the island, showing me that not only are there beautiful beaches, but culinary treats, stunning views and a beautiful old town to explore.
Gran Canaria is a wonderful spot to rest and unwind but if you are willing to hire a car, there is so much more to Gran Canaria to explore and experience outside of the beach resorts.