|Gran Canaria away from the resorts (Temisas town)|
Most travel articles about Gran Canaria mention its resorts in the first paragraph. It's as if the whole island is tainted because lots of people want to spend a couple of weeks in the sun. This travel industry cliché drives us mad but there are encouraging signs that things are changing.
The Lonely Planet, long the sneerer-in-chief, now admits that there is more to the islands than chicken and chips for €3.99. In its section about Gran Canaria's resorts it even manages a compliment:
"This is not Benidorm, or even Los Cristianos in Tenerife. In the centre you are more likely to stumble across expensive hotels or smart apartment blocks than Dot-and-Alf-style English pubs".
In fact, the Lonely Planet website is complimentary about Gran Canaria, stating that if you look past the "garish tiara of purpose-built holiday resorts", the island is, "a rare Canary Island where you feel that there are still secret places to explore".
Amen to that!
If anyone from the LP reads this, Las Palmas' old district of Vegueta is cracking but it isn't a UNESCO World Heritage Site (yet).
Condemning Gran Canaria because it has resorts is like arguing that the package and porn hell-hole that is Pattaya makes the whole of Thailand a lesser destination, or that London isn't worth bothering with because it is close to Bracknell.
You can visit Gran Canaria and not even step foot in the Maspalomas or Playa del Inglés. Or stay in a quality hotel (two island hotels made the Tripadvisor Top Twenty-five Most Popular Hotels in Spain list for 2013), rent a car and explore the rest of the island. Alternative Gran Canaria starts at the gates of the resorts.
From olive groves to cave restaurants and empty beaches to Spain's best outdoor shopping area, Gran Canaria surprises everyone who makes the effort to get to know it.
Gran Canaria's Olive Renaissance
Las Palmas: Europe's Latino City
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