. Gran Canaria is part of the Canary Islands. It has an area of almost 600 square miles and is considered to have the biggest land area among the other islands. It is famous for its unique terrain, beautiful beaches and the natural beauty of the place.
The capital of Gran Canaria is Las Palmas de Gran Canaria located in the northeast coast of the island. Gran Canaria is also considered as a miniature continent because of its diverse terrain and plant life. The northern part of Gran Canaria is lush and full of vegetation while the southern part is the complete opposite with a desert terrain. The inner part of Gran Canaria has a very mountainous terrain. The Gran Canaria coast is mostly coarse but there are a few beautiful beaches that can be found in Playa del Ingles and Maspalamos.
Europeans first came to Gran Canaria in the 15th century and turned the island into a trading port. Historical records show that Christopher Columbus stopped at the port of Gran Canaria during his voyage to America. The island has a few historical spots like the historic quarters of Vegueta and Triana. Also found on the island is the historic Cathedral of Santa Ana which was constructed over a period of three centuries.
Famous Tourist Destinations
Tourists visit Gran Canaria for its pristine beaches but there are also other attractions to be found on the island. Most of the tourist destination resorts are found on the coastline on the south end of the island. Maspalomas is an upscale resort that has several luxury hotels and a golf course right off the resort. The sand dunes of Maspalomas were declared as a National Park in 1994. The resort also has a couple of water parks namely Aqualand and Ocean Park. Just a few miles from Maspalomas is the Palmitos Park where tourists can view a wide collection of bird species, a huge aquarium, a reptile collection and a butterfly farm. For a taste of the exciting nightlife in Gran Canaria, tourists head to Playa Del Ingles which is the nightclub capital of Gran Canaria. Also on the south coast of the island are two great resorts namely Puerto de Morgan and Puerto Rico. Puerto de Morgan is a quaint town with charming houses, a small fishing port and a picturesque harbor on a sandy beach. Arguineguin is a historic quarter near Puerto Rico famous for its amazing seafood restaurants.
The beaches are not the only tourist attractions in Gran Canaria, there are also great places to see in the islands interior. Arucas is a nice little town that is known for its locally produced Aruhuecas rum. Tourists make it a point to drop by the local distillery for a tour and some rum tasting. Also found in Arucas is the cathedral of San Juan which was built in the 20th century and has a close resemblance to the prestigious Sagrada Familia of Barcelona. Just a few miles off the town are several botanical gardens where tourists can view a wide selection of local plants.
Tourists also flock to Gran Canaria to witness local festivities like the Fiesta de la Rama in the Agaete town. This festival originated from a historic rain dance. It is held yearly in the early part of August. The carnival of Gran Canaria is another tourist attraction. It takes place in Las Palmas each year, from February to March.