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. 

Published in Day Trips

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.

 

Published in Resorts & Places

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. 

 

Published in Markets

Tunte or San Bartolome de Tirajana market is a local affair held in the hill town early every Sunday morning. 

Published in Markets

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). 

Published in Markets

Faneroque beach makes the more famous GüiGüi beach feel like Puerto Rico on a busy Sunday afternoon. If you make it, and few do, you'll have it all to yourself except for the rusty bulldozer.

Puerto de las Nieves in north-west Gran Canaria is more famous for its seafood than its beach. A shame, as few realise that the area gets some of the best weather on the island and that PDLN beach is a calm, sunny haven with fishing boats on the pebbles rather than sun loungers.

The Canary pine (pinus canariensis) is a miracle tree. Its needles make rain from the clouds  and protect the tree from intense forest fires.

When the Trade Winds blow clouds and mist through the Gran Canaria pine forests the mist condenses on the long, droopy needles and falls as rain. This allows the pine forests to grow in areas with little rainfall, provided that they are high enough to get covered in cloud during the winter. The same long needles protect the trees from fires by burning fast before the heat damages the growing buds. 

Canary pine grows all over the mountains of Cumbres of Gran Canaria, as well as on Tenerife, La Palma and El Hierro. It can reach 45 metres with a trunk at least 1.5 metres in diameter. The island's pine forests are home to a number of endangered animals and plants, including the Blue Chaffinch.

Gran Canaria's forests are recovering after centuries of over-exploitation and most of the forest you see was planted after the 1960s: Big old pine trees are rare as most were cut down for timber and charcoal.

Canary pine trees have lots of other uses: The seeds are edible, and a needle tea treats colds, coughs and bronchitis. Canary pine oil from the needles makes a powerful rub for arthritis and rheumatism, as well as being antiseptic. Canary pine wood is excellent for making furniture, but is no longer harvested. 

The best way to see the Canary pine is to head up to Roque Nublo in the centre of the island. The whole surrounding area is covered with pine forest and there are plenty of walking tracks. Be careful with cigarettes, and never leave glass bottles behind,  as the pine forests catch fire easily!

Published in Alternative Tourism

Gran Canaria's sun is African and in the summer it fries pale northern bodies in minutes. If you want a tan, take it easy for the first couple of days until your skin has a chance to adjust. 

 

Published in Tip of the day

Arinaga's attractive promenade, a great natural swimming pool and decent seafront restaurants make it an excellent east coast lunch and swim stop. Just up the road is the world-famous El Cabron dive site and the unassuming but ecologically important Arinaga dunes reserve. 


Published in Resorts & Places
Page 59 of 68

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