Top Outdoor Activities

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The possibilities are endless, ranging from short and easy hikes to the more challenging routes of the caminos reales (“royal ways”) that were once the only way to negotiate the island. Always check locally to ensure that routes are safe or better still, join an organized group.

Golfers are well catered for on the island, with six 18-hole courses, plus a handful of nine-hole pitch and putts. The mild climate has made the sport a major draw. Most courses are in the south, although the prestigious Real Club de Golf is just outside Las Palmas and the Las Palmas Golf Sport Urban Resort is in Las Palmas itself.

The volcanic terrain is a dream for climbers, in particular the central peaks. Roque Nublo alone boasts 12 routes, while Ayacata is another top spot more suited to beginners.

You don’t need to be super-fit to practice this adrenaline sport, but you do need a head for heights. Beginners can try a tandem jump.

For an alternative view of the Maspalomas dunes, try jumping out of a plane at 3,500 m (11,480 ft) above the resort-strapped to an instructor, of course.

Helicopter Rides
You can book a 25-minute helicopter flight for a unique view of Gran Canarian landscape. See the craggy west, the lush north, or the southern resorts.

Camel Riding
Explore the scenic Fatage ravine or the Maspalomas sand dunes on the back of a camel.

Hardcore cyclists lap up the challenge posed by the island’s mountain roads. Favourite routes are the Barranco de Arguineguin, Agumes to Santa Lucia, and a tough circuit through Puerto de Mogan. The less committed head for the high peaks by bus and free-wheel back. Join an organized group tour or just hire your own bike.

If you want to get to known parts of the island untouched by most visitors, take an excursion that includes hiking through dense vegetation and lowering yourself into rocky clefts. The varied terrain of the island makes it an ideal place for both novices and experienced canyoners.

Most Spaniards love the “beautiful game”, and Canarians are no exception. Even if you’re not a habitual football fan, watching a match can be wonderful way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Gran Canaria’s biggest team, UD Las Palmas, has suffered a run of bad luck in recent years, but loyal fans still turn up at the impressive stadium to cheer on “the Yellows”.

Few European destinations offer such a good surf, a fact made clear by the number of blond-streaked enthusiasts in search of the perfect wave. Schools operate in the south of the island, while the rougher northern coast has more appeal for experts.

Whether interest is marine like or sunken ships, diving in the seas off Gran Canaria is a satisfying affair. Marine species from Europe, Africa and even the Caribbean mingle here, and the high number of ship wrecks adds extra interest. Playa del Carbon, Pasito Blanco and Sardina all offer superlative dives, while the bulk of the wrecks are off the coast of Las Palmas.

Professionals can’t get enough of Pozo Izequierdo, host to an international competition in the summer, though its water are not suited to novices. The school here takes those starting out in the sport to calmer seas until they are up to windsurfing with the experts.

Whether you want to hire a boat and go it alone or learn how to sail, Gran Canaria offers plenty of possibilities. The season is from April to October, though enthusiasts can be catered for all year round.

This soothing treatment massages away aches with jets of heated seawater. There are centres in Las Palmas, Maspalomas, Agaete and Amadores.

Gran Canaria is a superb Snorkelling destination. There’s no need to stray further than the capital’s beach, Las Canteras, for encounters with parrot-fish, octopus, wrasse and countless species of bream.

Canarian waters are blessed with a lack of anything that bites. On the other hand, do not expect warm seas, as this is the Atlantic. The south and east coasts are generally safe, though currents and strong plaque the north and west. If you fancy a dip in the north, head for one of the natural pools.

Whether it’s side by side with the locals on the wharf, or sea fishing, there is fishing aplenty. The best deep-sea trips are out of Puerto Rico, where tuna, marlin and swordfish abound in summer.

Boat Trips
Charter a luxury yacht, gaze down into the ocean from a glass-bottomed boat, or live it up on a booze cruise. Puerto Rico is the best place from which to set sail, but there are also trips from Las Palmas and Playa del Ingles.

There is no better way to appreciate the island’s diverse coastline than from a kayak. Beginners can get started at Playa de las Canteras, while the more adventurous may like to join a tour of the southern coast, stopping off at normally inaccessible beaches.