Sleeping beauty lies off the beaten track

Sleeping beauty lies off the beaten track

effort to explore, you can find a Gran Canaria of surprising charm and character.

The largest of the resorts is Maspalomas at the southern end of the island, which i lies adjacent to San Augustin and Playa del Ingles.

Maspalomas itself is a bustling town but holds little appeal.

There are countless shopping centres, most of them themed by country, which are colourless sprawling precincts.

But you can pick up some bargains if you are prepared to haggle with the shop owners.

By far the most tranquil area of Maspalomas is the sand dunes, a mini desert dotted with trees and bushes whichstretches almost as far as the eye can see.

As part of a nature reserve, the dunes are protected from unsightly development and offer a welcome retreat from the blustery winds that whip off the Atlantic Ocean.

They are so vast that you can easily find a secluded spot, sheltered from the breeze - one reason why the area is popular with nudists.

Nearby, camel safaris take you over the dunes and even further away from the crowds.

A little further along the seafront is the more predictable and tacky side of Gran Canaria still exists - greasy cafes with menus featuring faded picture of various inedible-looking burgers.

However, a little perseverance and it's possible to find more wholesome restaurants.

About 19 miles to the west of Maspalomas is Gran Canaria's most charming village, Puerto de Mogan.

Situated at the end of the verdant valley, it is a small fishing port with a mountainous backdrop - a strong contrast from the concrete of Maspalomas and Playa del Ingles.

Around the harbour is a wonderful array of boutiques, bars and restaurants while a hotel, built around the marina, is surprisinglytasteful. It is a remarkably tranquil setting and has been dubbed Little Venice for its mini canals and bridges.

The only disappointment is the beach which has black, gritty sand.

Hiring a car gives you the chance to explore the inland delights of Gran Canaria. Here the mountainous terrain has a rugged beauty.

The roads wind their way through several small villages, including Ayacata and Tejeda, with various vantage points providing stunning views.

Tejeda in particular is a world away from uninspiring Maspalomas, its quaint shops tucked in between the whitewashed cottages selling a range of local pottery and crafts.

Restaurants with outdoor terraced seating and genuine Spanish dishes also provide a welcome retreat from the British and German-influenced menus on the coast.

The island holds enough points of interest to explore for a few days and this, together with the good year-round climate, makes for an ideal short-haul winter getaway.

BEFORE heading for a week-long winter break in Gran Canaria, I was warned by a previous visitor that the island resembles one enormous characterless shopping centre.

While it's fair to say there are places of far greater beauty and interest, the comparison was hardly just.

If you take the time and effort to explore, you can find a Gran Canaria of surprising charm and character.

The largest of the resorts is Maspalomas at the southern end of the island, which i lies adjacent to San Augustin and Playa del Ingles.

Maspalomas itself is a bustling town but holds little appeal.

There are countless shopping centres, most of them themed by country, which are colourless sprawling precincts.

But you can pick up some bargains if you are prepared to haggle with the shop owners.

By far the most tranquil area of Maspalomas is the sand dunes, a mini desert dotted with trees and bushes whichstretches almost as far as the eye can see.

As part of a nature reserve, the dunes are protected from unsightly development and offer a welcome retreat from the blustery winds that whip off the Atlantic Ocean.

They are so vast that you can easily find a secluded spot, sheltered from the breeze - one reason why the area is popular with nudists.

Nearby, camel safaris take you over the dunes and even further away from the crowds.

A little further along the seafront is the more predictable and tacky side of Gran Canaria still exists - greasy cafes with menus featuring faded picture of various inedible-looking burgers.

However, a little perseverance and it's possible to find more wholesome restaurants.

About 19 miles to the west of Maspalomas is Gran Canaria's most charming village, Puerto de Mogan.

Situated at the end of the verdant valley, it is a small fishing port with a mountainous backdrop - a strong contrast from the concrete of Maspalomas and Playa del Ingles.

Around the harbour is a wonderful array of boutiques, bars and restaurants while a hotel, built around the marina, is surprisinglytasteful. It is a remarkably tranquil setting and has been dubbed Little Venice for its mini canals and bridges.

The only disappointment is the beach which has black, gritty sand.

Hiring a car gives you the chance to explore the inland delights of Gran Canaria. Here the mountainous terrain has a rugged beauty.

The roads wind their way through several small villages, including Ayacata and Tejeda, with various vantage points providing stunning views.

Tejeda in particular is a world away from uninspiring Maspalomas, its quaint shops tucked in between the whitewashed cottages selling a range of local pottery and crafts.

Restaurants with outdoor terraced seating and genuine Spanish dishes also provide a welcome retreat from the British and German-influenced menus on the coast.

The island holds enough points of interest to explore for a few days and this, together with the good year-round climate, makes for an ideal short-haul winter getaway.

Comments

This is a community-moderated forum.
All post are the individual views of the respective commenter and are not the expressed views of Travel Weekly.
By posting your comments you agree to accept our Terms & Conditions.

More in News