Las Palmas Cruises
With its feel of mainland-Spain, spiced up with an eclectic mix of Asian and African cultures, Las Palmas is one of the Canary Island's most popular destinations, attracting sun-seekers who come to relax on its golden-sand beaches and soak up the gorgeous, year-round climate of Gran Canaria.
Founded over 500 years ago, Las Palmas is the largest city in the Canary Islands, and has three gorgeous beaches, including Playa de las Canteras, regarded as one of the world's best beaches, to enjoy.
Vegueta, the oldest quarter, is both atmospheric and fashionable, with extensive historical architecture plus a fine selection of boutiques and smart bars. At its centre stand the twin towers of Santa Ana Cathedral; started in 1500 but still unfinished, the cathedral has a unique mix of Renaissance, Gothic and Neoclassical styles in its construction. In Plaza Santa Ana, bronze statues of dogs – the Romans named the islands after legendary canines – stand guard over the 17th-century Palacio Regental, the Town Hall and the Bishop's Palace.
The sweet arc of Playa de las Canteras at the town’s other end offers the tantalising possibility of taking a dip between sightseeing and shopping. The bewildering maze of streets behind the beach hides many fine restaurants serving an array of wonderful Canarian cuisine.
Sand Dunes at Maspalomas
This 400 hectare stretch of sand dunes was designated a national park in 1994, and is part of a beautiful coastline of sandy beaches and shallow waters. The only way to cross the dunes is on foot or by camel – making it a desert-like experience. Rare plants grow here, and thrive alongside lizards and rabbits.
One of the biggest and most pristine areas of Gran Canaria is the Tamadaba Natural Park, known for its beautiful pine forest. It is located close to the Atlantic coast, more than 1000 metres above sea level. The 7,500 hectares of land stretches from the town of Agaete in the northwest and extends down to the towns of La Aldea de San Nicolas and Artenara. You can choose between forests of indigenous Canary pine trees, the steep, almost inaccessible, cliffs of the west coast and rich biodiversity of its valleys.