Gran Canaria: things to see in and around Las Palmas

Las Palmas is the most popular city of the Canary Islands, and with a population of over 300,000 people, it is the ninth largest city in Spain. Nearly 20 per cent of the Canary Islands’ inhabitants live in Las Palmas, and it’s also the largest city of the European Union that lies outside of a continent. Located about 150 kilometres off the northwest coast of Africa, Las Palmas enjoys a sub-tropical climate, and according to some scientists, the most perfect climate in the world.

La Palmas on Gran Canaria Photo: Ricardo SB on Flickr

Street cafes in La Palmas on Gran Canaria

Founded as a city in 1478, Las Palmas was considered the only capital of the Canary Islands until the late seventeenth century and the birth of Santa Cruz. First named “Real de Las Palmas” by founder and head of Castilian forces Juan Rejon, Las Palmas has been a popular holiday destination for holidaymakers all over the world for hundreds of years.

Offering a variety of theatre, opera, concerts, cinema and dance, Las Palmas’ culture is something to be adored, and rarely missed by visiting tourists. Shore excursions to the island are also very popular, so visit Cheapflights.co.uk to find flights to Gran Canaria and experience Las Palmas first hand!

Sand dunes at Maspalomas in Gran Canaria Photo: Pedro Szekely on Flickr

Sand dunes at Maspalomas in Gran Canaria

South Western Delights

Setting off towards Playa del Ingles, you’ll be leaving the pier behind and arriving at the beautiful town of Maspalomas. The sand dunes, a local attraction and hot spot for celebrities, are admired throughout Las Palmas, and if you’ve brought a camera with you on your shore excursion, then this is the place to use it!

Moving on to Puerto del Mogan, you won’t find another town in Gran Canaria as picturesque. From its cobbled streets and traditional houses to the old harbour and fishing restaurants, you’ll certainly need an entire day to fit in all the culture this place has to offer.

Puerto del Mogan in Gran Canaria Photo: Anne Roberts on Flickr

Puerto del Mogan in Gran Canaria

Las Palmas and Bandama Crater

If you’re a lover of art, crafts and culture, then Las Palmas in Gran Canaria’s cosmopolitan capital. Your first point of call will be “Playa de las Canteras”, home to some of the most outstanding views in the Gran Canaria, as well as the best urban beach in Europe.

Once you’ve soaked in the sun, you’ll move on to Barrio Vegueta, the old Quarter of Las Palmas. This spectacular setting is a maze of old cobbled streets and historical stone squares, and why not call in at the museum of Christopher Columbus on your way through? Last but not least, you’ll end your shore excursion on one of Gran Canaria’s most beautiful and natural sights, the famous Caldera de Bandama. Not only is this an extinct volcanic crater situated in the heart of Gran Canaria, but it’s one of the very few inhabited craters left in the world!

Bandama Crater on Gran Canaria Photo: Erik on Flickr

Bandama Crater on Gran Canaria

Camel Trekking

Camels might not be associated with Gran Canaria, but that doesn’t mean you won’t find any on this magical island! The sand dunes are camel territory, and this is where you’ll be spending the afternoon with your favourite furry mode of transport. Not only will you have a tour guide teaching you the history of the local land, but you’ll also be able to stop off at the promenade, where you’ll be served refreshments on the seafront.

Camel Trekking on Gran Canaria Photo: alobos Life on Flickr

Camel Trekking on Gran Canaria

Surfing

In Las Palmas, you will also find nine official surf spots for all skill levels, making it the perfect destination for anyone keen on riding the waves. If you’ve never tried it before but are looking to give it a shot, head over to La Cicer at Canteras Beach. You’ll find a surf school here, where you’ll get trained professionals ready to teach you how to master the tubes.

However, if you feel in control of a board and are ready for a challenge, you should instead head down to El Confital – it is renowned around the world as having some of the best waves on the planet!

Surfing on Gran Canaria Photo: Juan Ramon Rodriguez Sosa on Flickr

Surfing on Gran Canaria

Local Restaurants

What’s the best measure of the quality of a restaurant? Well, to us, it is whether or not the locals like to eat there. And they love La Oliva, which is famous for its fantastic Mediterranean food. Sitting beneath the palm trees on the sea front, it has a great atmosphere, even better views, and even better food. Some of the best calamares fritos on the island are served here.

Another popular one is Restaurante Bosmediano. An authentic, traditional fish restaurant, it specialises in massive dishes of seafood alongside Canarian dishes such as papas arrugadas. For a unique experience, try the fried moray eel!

Papas Arrugadas on Gran Canaria Photo: by espinr on Flickr

Papas Arrugadas on Gran Canaria

Many thanks for this article to  Cheapflights.co.uk, the UKs leading flight deals publisher.

Photo credits: Sand Dunes by Pedro Szekely, Puerto Mogan by Anne Roberts, Las Palmas by Ricardo SB, Bandama Crater by Erik, Camel Trekking by alobos Life, Surfing by Juan Ramon Rodriguez Sosa, Papas Arrugadas by espinr

For more holidays in the Canaries

Plan your winter sun holiday – time to head for Bali, the Canaries or the Caribbean
Discover the secret side of Lanzarote
César Manrique and the volcanic island of Lanzarote

This article is originally published at Heatheronhertravels.com - Read the original article here

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You’ll also find our sister blog with tips on how to build a successful travel blog at My Blogging Journey

Lanzarote for Foodies – Where to Go and What to Eat

If you love food, you’ll love Lanzarote. The islanders take a great pride in using locally grown, specialist ingredients to create a unique and rich fusion of food for which the island is renowned. From the freshly caught shellfish to the delicious vegetables grown in volcanic gravel, the flavours and quality of the food in Lanzarote are set to surprise many of the tourists who visit.

Lanzarote seafood dish Photo: Kent Wang of Flickr

Seafood platter on Lanzarote

Tastes to try on Lanzarote

There are a few ingredients you’ll see popping up frequently on menus and as accompaniments to dishes. These are the key ingredients for Lanzarote chefs, and should definitely be experienced when taking holidays to Lanzarote.

Try some fresh fish for lunch on Lanzarote Photo: Ian Lloyd of Flickr

Try some fresh fish for lunch on Lanzarote

Fish: The most frequently served fish on the island are cherne (sea bass), vieja (parrot fish) and delicious dorada (sea bream). In the majority of restaurants these will have been caught the same day or certainly very recently in the same seas you’ve been dipping your toes in.

Papas arrugadas: These funny looking wrinkled potatoes are a must-have with any meal on the island. These potatoes have a distinctly nutty flavour and are sourced from the black gravel fields inland.

Papas arrugadas con Mojo Photo: Martin Alvarez Espinar of Flickr

Papas arrugadas con Mojo – speciality of Lanzarote

Mojo: These sauces are readily served with the papas arrugadas and come in a red or green variety. Essentially a rich sauce of garlic, olive oil, herbs and spices, the red version is rather spicy with chillies and peppers incorporated, whereas the green mojo is flavoured with coriander or sometimes parsley.

Gofio: Created from maize flour and toasted corn, gofio was once a staple of every meal in Lanzarote, back in the days when bread was a luxury. Today it is used in soups and stews to add flavour and to thicken the liquid.

Great restaurants on Lanzarote

The island is dotted with incredible gastronomic delights, and you could very well find a superb restaurant in the most unexpected of places. Head away from the tourist spots and into the smaller villages or old towns to experience true Lanzarote cuisine at its best. Here are a few recommendations to start you off;

Castillo De San Jose, Arracife

One of the best restaurants on the island, this place specialises in fish dishes and has an enviable portside setting, letting diners watch the ferries and cruise ships dock just steps away from the 18th-century Castillo. Try the house special shellfish soup, flavoured with locally grown saffron.

Monumento al Campesino Photo: guillenperez of Flickr

Monumento al Campesino on Lanzarote

Casa-Museo Al Campesino, Mozaga

Serving a wide range of traditional Lanzarote dishes, this restaurant offers more than just a great dining experience. Diners get to eat their meals in a vast cave-like space which was formed during volcanic eruptions, known locally as a jameo. Try the sancocho too, a rice dish with sweet potatoes and salty fish which is a specialty of the house.

El Diablo restaurant, Timanfaya National Park Photo: Sonia Baptista of Flickr

El Diablo restaurant, Timanfaya National Park

El Diablo, Timanfaya National Park

This stunning restaurant right on the viewpoint of the National Park is only open for lunch – but it’s worth making the effort to get there in time. You will be rewarded with delicious sweet potatoes and chicken dishes, all grilled by superheated 300-degree air from the volcanic vent below!

Photo credits: Seafood dish by Kent Wang, Corvino fish by Ian Lloyd, Papas arrugadas con Mojo by Martin Alvarez Espinar, Monumento al Campesino by guillenperez and El Diablo by Sonia Baptista.

More things to see on Lanzarote

Discover the secret side of Lanzarote
César Manrique and the volcanic island of Lanzarote
Make it Lanzarote this Summer

This article by Heather Cowper is originally published at Heatheronhertravels.com - Read more the original article here

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You’ll also find our sister blog with tips on how to build a successful travel blog at My Blogging Journey

Make it Lanzarote this Summer

The Canary’s fourth largest island is just a short flight away from the UK making it an ideal cheap holiday destination. Lanzarote is great for families and couples looking for beach fun, dramatic scenery and a friendly atmosphere. Whilst you’re there, see how much of this you can pack in!

Lanzarote landscape Photo: @Doug88888 of Flickr

The Volcanic landscape of Lanzarote

For the kids

It will be hard to keep the Rancho Texas theme park and the Aquapark at Costa Teguise a secret from your kids, so bite the bullet and give them a treat! Rancho Texas in Puerto del Carmen is open from 9.30am to 5.30pm, so there’s no excuse not to squeeze in a visit. The admission price includes three animal shows -  Parrots and Sea Lions, the Lasso Show and Birds of Prey. Also on display are pumas, white tigers, Nile crocodiles, buffaloes and exotic birds. For a few extra Euros you can make a splash in a canoe or take a pony ride. Just think Blackpool but with better weather!

Crocodiles at Lanzarote Rancho Texas Park Photo: Rancho Texas Lanzarote Park of Flickr

Crocodiles at Lanzarote Rancho Texas Park

If your kids are more into exhilarating water rides then Costa Teguise’s Aquapark should meet the brief nicely. But don’t worry, there are slow as well as fast rides so the whole family should enjoy the day out. As with all good attractions there are restaurants and shopping opportunities here too.

Costa Teguise Aquapark Lanzarote Photo: mariomenti of Flickr

Costa Teguise Aquapark Lanzarote

For the inquisitive

Lanzarote’s dramatic volcanic landscape is hard to ignore, so why not embrace it and explore its hidden secrets. You should definitely check out Jameos del Agua. This ‘has to be seen to be believed’ 300ft lava bubble houses a concert hall and a lake. Who knew?

How about braving a camel ride up Fire Mountain in the Timanfaya National Park? What if we told you you’d also get lunch at the top? Now you’re interested. And not just any old lunch, but food cooked by volcanic heat – not what you may expect from cheap holidays to Lanzarote but it certainly will live long in the memory!

Camels at Timanfaya National Park, Lanzarote Photo: desmetjes of Flickr

Camels at Timanfaya National Park, Lanzarote

For the lazy

If all you crave is beach time and amenities at your suntanned fingertips, there are a number of great beaches and resorts to enjoy. You’ll find seclusion at the Papagayo beaches, white sand at Playa Blanca and golden sands and palm trees at El Reducto. Head to Puerto del Carmen for endless bars, restaurants and a lively nightlife.

Beach in Puerto del Carmen, Lanzarote Photo:  Gienepien of Flickr

Beach in Puerto del Carmen, Lanzarote

This article is brought to you by BeatTheBrochure, who offer the very best priced travel services available on the internet for many destinations worldwide.

Photo credits: Lanzarote landscape by @Doug88888, Lanzarote Park by Rancho Texas Lanzarote Park, Aquapark Lanzarote by mariomenti, Timanfaya Lanzarote by desmetjes, Puerto del Carmen by  Gienepien, and Papagayo beach by luc.viatour.

For more holidays in the Canaries

Plan your winter sun holiday – time to head for Bali, the Canaries or the Caribbean
Discover the secret side of Lanzarote
César Manrique and the volcanic island of Lanzarote

This article by Heather Cowper is originally published at Heatheronhertravels.com - Read more travel articles at Travel Blog Home

You’ll also find our sister blog with tips on how to build a successful travel blog at My Blogging Journey

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