Photo by Carlos A. Rodríguez  –  Link

Gran Canaria

Spain

This Canary Island off the coast of Africa was once covered in sugarcane plantations. Nowadays though, it's one of the top beach holiday destinations for European travellers, thanks to its pristine white beaches and stunning landscapes. A third of the island is protected as a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, a testament to its natural beauty.

What to do in Gran Canaria

Gran Canaria beaches tend to be the island's main draw. Here you'll find a beach to suit everyone's tastes - from the bustling Playa del Ingles on the south coast, to the super secluded Güigüi beach, located at the bottom of the Grande ravine. Beach-goers in Gran Canaria can take part in any number of watersports: sailing, paddle-boarding, scuba diving… you name it.

If you venture inland, the outdoor activities are also rife. You can go mountain-biking, take a horse-riding tour, embark on a jeep safari, or trek through the mountainous terrain on foot.

Gran Canaria sites

It's not just the natural beauty of Gran Canaria that makes it a worthwhile place to visit. The island also has an interesting history.

The capital, Las Palmas, was once home to Christopher Columbus, the explorer who discovered America. The ornate House of Christopher Columbus, where Columbus apparently lived, houses a museum for those who want to learn more it.

There are also caves dotted around the island, which are leftover from an ancient civilisation that lived on Gran Canaria from 500 BC. Visitors who want to learn more about these people can visit the Guayadeque Museum in Las Palmas.

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