Earlier this Summer, I was lucky enough to be sent on a trip to Gran Canaria by Anfi resorts (read my review of the resort here). It was a fab stay and really opened my eyes to what an under-rated destination Gran Canaria is! There’s way more to do than you might think and even though I was just on a flying visit for a few days, we managed to cram in a ton of fab activities while I was there. I thought I’d share my highlights of the island with you – it’s a place that I’d definitely love to come back to again and maybe my 48 hour travel guide will open your eyes to Gran Canaria as a new holiday destination too!
1. Go to the beach
For me, the first stop on any holiday is the beach – I’m not on holiday until I’ve seen the sea! The Canary Islands are always known for their volcanic dark rocky beaches but Gran Canaria also has beautiful white-sand coastline too! Coupled with the amazingly clear turquoise water it’s ridiculously pretty and you can almost get away with pretending you’re in the Caribbean! Anfi’s resort beach was gorgeous, the perfect water for swimming in or staring at while you sunbathed!
2. Go shopping
Las Palmas has a pretty extensive shopping scene, whether you want designer bargains or one-off boutiques! On our first afternoon in Gran Canaria I was lucky enough to go and meet the lovely Susana Álvarez who runs style consultations & personal shopping to help you find out the colours that suit you and then go and shop for them! She took me to the most beautiful boutique, M by Maria which was full of such beautiful goodies – one off pieces by independent designers and just generally the prettiest beach garms ever! The boutique shopping scene is good in Gran Canaria and you can find beautiful original pieces for very low prices! I love the Ibiza-style Island vibes of the fashion over there – perfect for stocking up your Summer wardrobe with pieces that no one will have at home!
3. Drink Wine & Eat Tapas
Gran Canaria is a Spanish Island so when it comes to food…tapas is king! There’s tons of delicious local(ish) wine too that is super cheap – you can get a really nice glass for only a few Euros which makes a nice change from London prices! It wouldn’t be a trip to the island without trying a proper local bar for quick bite and sip of some of their specialities! We found a lovely tiny little place called Tienda Gourmet, a perfect spot in an outdoor square where you could sit and soak up the sun from the street while trying their extensive wine collection!
4. Watch the Sunset
Gran Canaria his seriously amazing for sunsets due to it’s generally cloudless skies, and we were lucky enough to be staying in the Tauro valley which boasts some amazing views down to the sea. Our balcony at Anfi Emerald turned out to be the perfect sunset-watching spot with views over the lush green hills right down to the sea, and a view of nothing but sky as you looked down the valley! There are tons of beautiful spots to watch the sunset in Gran Canaria though, and I’d definitely recommend that you do – we made sure we were in the right place in time for sunset each night just so we didn’t miss it! Other fab spots for sunset-gazing are Maspalomas Beach, Las Marañuelas beach or, if you’re feeling adventurous from one of the mountainous areas of the islands – try Tamadaba on the West Coast or the mountainous Las Cumbres area!
5. Get a Massage
Anfi resort are really upping their game with experience packages for your stay. Their resort is huge and there’s so much you can do there without ever having to leave! One of their facilities is a health club and spa so of course I was more than happy to be booked in for a massage while I was there! There’s nothing that says holiday like a little bit of pampering and this was a great way to start the day on our second day in Gran Canaria!
6. Eat Fresh Seafood
The great foodie thing about being near the coast is the amazing fresh seafood! Gran Canaria is no exception and wherever you go to eat, there are always plenty of fish and seafood options to try! We tried out the fabulous menu at Maroa Beach Club, a glam bar and restaurant next to the beautiful Anfi beach. Of course I had to go for the catch of the day, which was a local white fish and also came with the Canary Island’s speciality potatoes Papas Arrugadas which come with a delish red mojo sauce (La Palma red peppers and paprika). It was yummy! The sad thing about being on a short trip somewhere is that you don’t get a chance to try more of their food, I would have loved to come back and try more of Maroa’s meals or head to another seafood restaurant inn my time on the island, they’re everywhere!
7. Sunbathe at a Beach Club
It wouldn’t be a holiday without some cocktails in the sun! Gran Canaria has got the island beach club thing down and there are some gorgeous spots to to chill, drink and catch some rays! We headed to the beach beds at Maroa Beach Club for an afternoon of relaxation and yummy Mojitos! As dusk fell, the restaurant filled up with people having dinner overlooking the sea, the music got louder and the dance floor got fuller as the night went on! The perfect day to night bach club to spend your holiday evenings in!
8. Try a watersport
I had no idea that Gran Canaria has such a big waterspouts scene. And no, I’m not talking about banana boating from the beach (although you can do that too…I had to be talked out of hiring a pedalo with a slide quite a few time!) But the actual watersport is where it’s at. Surfing, diving and kite surfing are all big here, and windsurfing is the biggest of all, with tournaments being held and world champions born in Gran Canaria! We thought we’d better give it a go while we were there, so I had my very first windsurfing lesson on our last day (don’t want to boast, but I was a bit of a natural). I love trying out new sporting activities, especially on the water so this was just perfect. We were taught for half a day and by the end of it could surf around the bay pretty easily. It was so much fun and an exciting addition to the holiday to do something active (not just sunbathing!) and try out something completely new.
9.Visit the Maspalomas Sand Dunes
On the way back from windsurfing, our taxi driver suggested that we stop off at Maspolomas Dunes – a sightseeing spot that I’d never heard of. When we got there, I couldn’t believe it. The landscape gives way to these amazing sand dunes that stretch all the way to the sea. You get there through a hotel with beautiful palm-tree’d walkways, then when you reach the end it’s like you’ve walked out into the desert in Dubai or something! It’s such a surreal landscape, it blew me away! Of course I had to run straight into the sand and dance around for some photos (we only had a 15 minute stop off!) Turns out, its quite an iconic location for movie filming and lookbooks and funnily enough I actually ended up heading back there only a few weeks later for a fashion shoot with work as it’s obviously a great alternative location to flying to the desert!
Needless to say, I had an amazing time away in Gran Canaria with Anti resort – it really is such an underestimated holiday venue and I’d recommend trying it out if you’re looking for year-round sun and hot weather, beautiful beaches and a perfect mix of chill out vibes and activities. There was plenty more that I didn’t see too – Las Palmas town has a lot more to do – shops, restaurants and more and the other areas of the island are home to some incredible mountains, cacti and desert scenery! Flights are usually pretty cheap too which is an added bonus. I’m sure I’ll definitely be back again before too long….I’ve been dreaming of the turquoise seas and beautiful sunset views ever since!
Thank you to Anfi for hosting me in Gran Canaria and covering the cost of my trip. To find out more about Anti, read my review of the resort here. To find out more about Gran Canaria visit their tourism site here.