Gran Canaria in April. One week full program. Off to the island!
In April we spent a week in Gran Canaria. We’ve both never been to the island before, although the “half world” feels like it’s already doddled through the dunes of Maspalomas. So the week before Easter was supposed to be Gran Canaria for the first time and the island didn’t disappoint us!
The following questions can be answered well after the week:
- What will the weather be like in Gran Canaria in April?
- What places of interest does Gran Canaria have to offer besides the dunes of Maspalomas?
- Can you see the island in a week?
- Which hotel can you recommend in Gran Canaria?
- Where is Gran Canaria’s most beautiful place?
As the third largest of the Canary Islands, Gran Canaria is just over 4.5 hours flight time away from Hanover in the south. And so the airline brought us safely to the island. Luckily, we had enough food in our pockets as there were no snacks or drinks in the aircraft. After landing at the “Aeropuerto de Gran Canaria”, the transfer was relatively fast. The airport is located relatively centrally on the east coast, which means that travel times are relatively short.
Check in at the Lopesan Villa del Conde
Our hotel was the Lopesan Villa del Conde, which scored above average in the usual hotel rating portals for Gran Canaria. Coming from the highway we could already see the two towers of the entrance hall from a distance at the exit “Sonnenland” (it’s really the name of the settlement). What a sight compared to the broken hotels in the famous Playa del Ingles, which look like prefabricated buildings. A relaxing week on Gran Canaria could begin. The suitcases were unloaded and taken over directly at the bus, so that we could go directly into the large reception hall of the hotel and toasted with a champagne directly to our holiday. The entrance hall with the big chandelier makes a lot of impression. We were looking forward to the rest of the hotel after the many good reviews.
The torture of choice at the buffet
Due to our late arrival we brought our hand luggage into the room (you could also say small apartment) and went directly to one of the two buffet restaurants. After the sandwiches in the plane, the hunger was already great… After the first glance and the great hunger, we were spoilt for choice at the buffet and the cooking stations – steak or salmon, chicken or squid, pork or mussels, turkey or dorade? And how to combine all this after a Spanish starter with Serano ham, Spanish cheese & sausage and olives? Is there still room for dessert with the fresh fruits, refined on the chocolate fountain and a bowl of Crema Catalana? And how much hunger should one still be able to have for breakfast the next morning after such a meal? The only questions left to be answered are: Why candles are placed on the tables of such a chic hotel and why they are not lit because of the wind, and why the waiters want to carry the plates to the table with exaggerated eagerness. The choice of food was really overwhelming and so we went for a walk through the grounds after dinner.
The hotel complex of Villa del Conde
The entire hotel complex is “picobello” clean, very well-kept and well laid out. Villa del Conde is built in the style of a village, contrary to the old hotels (panel houses) and thus different sized, angular buildings alternate on the grounds. You can’t speak of a small village at the hotel either. The signs in the hotel are a bit confusing and do not necessarily help you to find your way around. Due to the direct location at the promenade of Meloneras you can also go for walks after the meal and have a drink in the (stylish) bars at the promenade for one or the other cocktail. In Meloneras there are a lot of chic hotels lined up like a pearl necklace up to the lighthouse behind which the famous dunes of Maspalomas start. In the opposite direction to the lighthouse you can also walk from the hotel to the nearby small sandy beach of Meloneras (5 minutes). The hotel itself has no beach. Those who want to stay in the hotel can refresh themselves at one of the four large pools (with a “half” Infinity Pool towards the promenade). We tested both the sea and the pools and were very enthusiastic about both. The Atlantic Ocean near Gran Canaria is already warm in mid-April. If you are on the move and don’t want to swim, you can use the hotel’s great fitness room (very well-maintained, new equipment) or take part in the courses of the animation team (pilates, yoga, water gymnastics). There is also a tennis court.
The island – Gran Canaria – so many impressions
Even if it was not the stated goal of the vacation we have felt completely departed with the rental car the island. It’s nice to know that Gran Canaria is not very big. Unfortunately, we had missed renting the car in advance in Germany to spare us the transfer. We did this on site via a rental car portal and rented a car from Orlando Rental – what an experience. After the inspection, the car had almost no free marking left on the rental contract…. even the operator at Orlando was well trained and wanted to sell various insurances that were already covered by the portal.
Day 1 of the trip led us along the south coast in a westerly direction. The first stop was Puerto Rico de Gran Canaria with the small marina. It’s amazing how many hotels and apartments you can build on two mountain slopes, but the local construction industry has done its best. Fortunately, they at least stopped in front of the beach, which was “filled up” by the tourists. Afterwards we quickly continued on the coastal road GC-500 towards Taurito. Puerto Rico de Granaria is not a nice place, even though many boat trips start from the small harbour. On the small coastal roads with the many serpentines, careful driving was called for. The next town on the way was similar to Puerto Rico, so we ran over it directly. The goal on day one was the small “Venice” of Gran Canaria with Puerto de Mogán. The place is artificially constructed and was built between 1983 – 1988. In the village at the harbour, a few canals pass through the houses, which gave the town the name of the Venice of Gran Canaria. The center is really beautiful. So I had imagined more Gran Canaria, after the first two places were rather a disaster. Strengthened with a pizza on the beach of the village we drove towards Mogán into the mountains, which was the final destination on that day. From Mogán we continue on two exciting roads to the north and the centre of the island.
Gran Canaria Center
After we had already been to Mogán and enjoyed the view of the mountains of Gran Canaria in Ursula Goebel’s wine cellar over a cup of coffee, we were drawn in the same direction on the second day. Ursula Goebel’s husband gave us some good tips in the most friendly Bavarian language for a tour in the mountain region. Our destination was the Presa De Las Niñas reservoir, which can be reached via the GC-605. The GC-605 is one of the most demanding roads in the world, as our guide says, and has been shown in endless serpentines. It was a great route due to the view over the southwest of the island. Unfortunately, the GC-605 was closed after a few kilometers, so that we could not drive the full distance. Here, the path is literally the goal. At the reservoir you can have a picnic and enjoy the landscape, which is completely different from the barren and almost desert-like south. For us we went then because of the blockage over the GC-505 (also interesting to drive) back to the hotel.
The North of Gran Canaria
The north of the island should be our destination for the third day. I had already watched some great pictures of natural pools via Pinterest, which I wanted to test. From Meloneras it is relatively easy to reach the island via the island highway. Before the test of the Atlantic Ocean, the visit to Las Palmas was scheduled. Las Palmas is the largest city on the island – we visited it quickly. The centre can be easily explored on foot. We parked our car in the centre of Aparcamientos Triana, from where you can walk directly into the pedestrian zone. You will not find any shops that you have not seen in the local pedestrian precincts. The surprise is very limited. More interesting in Las Palmas is the market hall (Mercado de Vegueta) with the old town, the Casa de Colón, in which Columbus has probably already been, and the cathedral “Santa Ana”.
Along the coast of Gran Canaria
After the visit, we drove by car along the coast in the north. As a change to the supposed shopping we had chosen the high ropes course GrancAventura, which unfortunately was closed that day. So we drove a few kilometres further on the coast highway until we reached one of the most northwestern points of Gran Canaria with the village of Agaete or Puerto des Las Nieves. The ferries also go from the village to Tenerife, which could be seen on the horizon. In the whole north of the island you can already see that the Atlantic is much rougher than in the south. It was therefore great that the “Agaete Piscina Natural” was a limited, safe natural pool on site. The pool is filled with fresh seawater due to the surf. It was a great opportunity to swim, even if the comfortable sunbathing places on the stone field are very limited. If you are more on a sandy beach, Playa El Puertillo in the north is recommended, where you can swim directly in the sea.
GrancAventura – Zipline parc with a view of the Atlantic Ocean
On our list we still had the zipline parc. Where can you climb through the opposite side of the Atlantic at an airy height? The way on day four was clear and the GC1 was as fast as on the days before. Arrived at the park GrancAventura we started with the first parkour after an instruction in English and climbed up to the top floor. After almost three hours we were on the safe ground again. The park was beautifully laid out and not crowded. A local female climbing companion was very surprised that we as tourists were hanging in the ropes there. The climbing park seems to be used mainly by the islanders only, which is also confirmed by the limited opening hours. We can highly recommend the park. With 22, – Euro / person for the complete park the price is normal / reasonable compared to parks in our vicinity.
Teror – an idyllic market place
After our little climbing trip we took the chance to visit the village of near Teror he climbing park. Somehow we had a lot of luck with the visit, because only very few other tourists have made it to the place. The city centre and the market square are said to be among the most beautiful places in Gran Canaria. With its small alleys and old houses, the village already had a special charm.
The west of the island
On our last day with our rental car we went west again. The destination should be the much-described “Mirador del Balcón”, from which you can look down almost 400 metres. On the way we went over the GC-200 towards La Aldea de San Nicolas de Tolentino. The drive was very similar to the GC-605 because of the serpentines and we arrived in San Nicolas but decided spontaneously to take the beach with us. Playa de la Aldea is a pebbled beach, unlike the other beaches we’ve tried before. Friendly enough, many other visitors of the beach had already created small sheltered places, from which we used and extended a place. After our break at the beach, we had the “Mirador del Balcón” on the agenda, which is only about 10 minutes away from the beach. The vantage point is also the final stop on the GC-200 in a northerly direction. The evaluation of a vantage point is literally in the eye of the beholder, so that we drove back to the hotel with two different views. If you happen to be in the area, I would recommend a visit. The steep cliffs, which fall almost vertically into the sea, already give a great photo and reminds me of the great landscapes from the “Lord of the Rings” movies (and the visit to the Cabo de São Vicente in Portugal). Combined with a visit to the beach, it was an ideal trip to the region. Keep in mind that the driving (apart from the motorway GC-1) is not comparable to driving times in Germany. Even if it is only a few kilometres away, you can spend a good time in the car.
Our conclusion about Gran Canaria
We will surely go to Gran Canaria again. April is already so pleasantly warm that you cango swimming in the sea and sunbathe. Next time we would rent a rental car for the whole time and pick it up directly at the airport. In addition to the described destinations, the Playa de Guigui or the Roque Noblu as the highest mountain and landmark of the island would be on the list and also diving in the Atlantic Ocean. One week was indeed too short to see everything.
The beaches on the island were beautiful but not as good as in the Algarve or Sicily.