So you've arrived in Maspalomas, the sun is shining (hopefully) and you want to get your bearings. Here's how to explore the resort on your first day.
So you've arrived in Puerto Mogán checked in, located the hotel bar and now you want to go out and explore the resort. We've got good news: You've picked a gorgeous spot and it's easy to get to know.
Gran Canaria sells itself as a Miniature Continent, but this can make the place sound like one of those model villages that nobody visits. Be in no doubt that Gran Canaria's top sights are epic in scale and well worth visiting.
Gran Canaria wines are just like the island: Intense and with real character. The more you try them, the more you love them.
Whether you surf, swim, run or drive, there's a Gran Canaria competition that you have to watch or try to win. Here are the Top Ten annual sporting events in Gran Canaria.
With everything from drag queen galas and wailing widows to tapas stands the Las Palmas carnival is an epic fiesta. It's got be Europe's biggest outdoor party and stretches out over three weeks, four if you count the times it takes to clear up the sequins.
With warm, clear water and a huge range of African, Atlantic and Mediterranean fish Gran Canaria is a top class snorkeling spot. However, you need to know where to go because the sandy beaches, where most people jump in, aren't the best place to meet the marine life. Here's our guide to the best places to snorkel in Gran Canaria.
Some people say that Las Canteras is one of the top city beaches in Europe. We say it's number one. In fact, we'll go further and say that Las Canteras deserves to be at the top of any "best city beaches in the world" list.
You can't visit the white village of San Pedro, about half way up the Agaete Valley, without looking up: it's right under the highest cliffs in the Barranco and looks more like an alpine village than a Canarian one.
Bloggers and travel writers obsess about the real Gran Canaria. They write about exploring hidden beaches and finding secret villages. It's silly, to be honest.
Tourist rental law changed in Gran Canaria (and all of the Canary Islands) in May 2015. It is now legal to rent residential property to tourists on a short-term basis.
Tiny Carrizal de Tejeda is Gran Canaria's Masca hamlet but without its Tenerife twin's souvenir shops and coach queues.
The only access, unless you hike or bike in, is via the tortuous GC-606 road between the Cumbres and La Aldea. It's narrow, windy and barrier-free in parts but well worth the effort.
There's not much to do in Carrizal de Tejeda except wander about and enjoy the tranquility. Have a drink at the bar and enjoy the view from its rooftop terrace.
Stop at the viewpoint just above the hamlet for a bird's eye view of Gran Canaria's least known volcanic monolith: Roque Palmes is a stunning mini Roque Nublo sitting right in the middle of a steep gorge.
The GC 15 is the main northern route up from Las Palmas to Cruz de Tejeda and the Gran Canaria highlands. It's windy but wide and runs through the green valleys and hillsides of northeast Gran Canaria and a series of interesting towns and villages.
The GC 200 has it all from hairpin bends to sheer cliff-edge drops. It's Gran Canaria's most spectacular road and takes you right through the Biosphere Reserve along its most remote coast.
Steep and hair-raising, the GC 210 road drops from the pine-shrouded cumbres right down to the west coast town of La Aldea de San Nicolas. It's the kind of the road that fries brake pads and makes grown men cry (we've seen it happen).
But wow, is it spectacular.
GC 210 starts between Cruz de Tejeda and Tejeda on the GC 60. First you drive through Artenara, Gran Canaria's highest village: Stop for views of the island's central caldera and its iconic rocks. Further on the road drops steeply in a series of hair pin bends and get glimpses of the cave village of Acusa Seca (look behind you) and the emerald green Presa de Parralillo reservoir.
The most famous viewpoint here is by the renovated old windmill: A great spot for the photos without having to stop in the road.
This is Gran Canaria at its wildest with huge masses of volcanic rock cleaved by deep ravines. Nobody has lived here since pre-Hispanic times apart from a few goatherds.
The GC 60 links up with the GC 606 that takes you back up to the main road, but it's a steep old climb with huge drop-offs and no barriers.
Otherwise, you come out in La Aldea and have to choose between going north or south along another lunatic road: The GC 200. North takes you along the cliff edge route up the west coast to Agaete and south heads inland through the steep Degollada de Tasarte back to the south.
Gran Canaria's least-driven road takes you to white villages surrounded by palm and almond trees and past Roque Palmés: Little brother to Roque Nublo.
The GC-606 road is only 12 kilometres long according to Google Maps but takes a good hour and a half to drive as it is barely wide enough for a car and long stretches are barrier-less. It's spectacular or terrifying, depending on how you handle heights.
Starting as a fork on the GC-60 between Tejeda and San Bartolomé (Tunte) it winds downhill to the tiny hamlets of El Toscón and Carrizal de Tejeda before linking to the GC 210 that links Tamadaba with La Aldea. Between the two is a viewpoint overlooking Roque Palmés.
The lower half of the road is the scariest as there's nothing between you and the Barranco bottom hundreds of metres below. Stop for great views back towards the Tamadaba massif and the Presa de Parralillo reservoir in the valley.
This pie slice of the island tucks into a fold and is hidden from the main Cumbre roads. That and the fact that it links up to another crazy road: The GC 210 between Artenara and La Aldea, make it Gran Canaria's least driven tarmac route.
For an idea of just how wild and rugged west Gran Canaria is we recommend it: Just takes things slowly and use the horn on the blind bends.
Santa Lucia has quietly become south Gran Canaria rural tourism centre. With its palm-filled valleys, traditional houses and mellow way of life it deserves to be better known. Perhaps it's best if it stays out of the brochures.
If there's a rural idyll in south Gran Canaria, then it's Santa Lucia with it's mountain scenery and palm-filled valleys.
The Sunday morning market is a local affair and there's always seasonal produce on offer at superb prices.
Tunte or San Bartolome de Tirajana market is a local affair held in the hill town early every Sunday morning.
San Fernando market is one of the big three in south Gran Canaria along with Puerto Mgán and Arguineguín. The location isn't as pretty as its rivals but it's far more convenient if you're staying in Playa del Inglés or Maspalomas.
The stalls here sell everything from local produce to Moroccan leather (most are also at the other markets).