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Jet2.com to Gran Canaria from £49.99*

Neil Sowerby shows why the Canary Islands are a great destination for more than just sun

Published on June 3rd 2011.

Jet2.com to Gran Canaria from £49.99*

The new Jet2.com route to Gran Canaria from Leeds Bradford is now on sale for Summer 2012. Flights are from £49.99* (Jet2.com), and holidays are from just £245 per person with Jet2holidays†. So what are you going to do when you get there?

Gran Canaria’s biggest plus is guaranteed year-round sunshine. No wonder when this gem is only 150km from the African continent. Yet in the distance from your glorious suntrap beach you might catch a glimpse of snow-tipped mountains.

Such is the nature of this unique island, famed for its package holiday value but packing in a varied landscape that has earned it the nickname “Miniature Continent”.

Still, and quite rightly, most visitors come to the island in search of sun and sand. Some 128 beaches of gold, grey and black sand more than satisfy that craving and make it a perfect family destination and a fabulous water sports venue.

The south is the warmest which is why it attracts so many tourists, particularly in Playa Del Ingles and Maspalomas with its awesome Sahara-like sand dunes. 

LPA_GRAN_CANARIA_0111_02_ISTRF_S.jpgThe beaches and resorts to the north are cooler and more suited to visitors wanting an active inexpensive holiday. This is where visitors will find the capital, Las Palmas, which has beautiful golden beaches (notably Las Canteras) and plenty of bars and clubs to dance the night away in.

Visitors staying on the west of the island will find a rugged and mountainous landscape with quieter, more shaded beaches, often made up of black sand. It is here, and particularly in the towns of Mogan and Puerto Mogan (dubbed Little Venice) that visitors will find traces of the island’s volcanic past.

In the interior are various nature parks protecting Gran Canaria’s unique flora and fauna. Ramblers will head for Pozo de las Nieves, at 1,949 metres above sea, and El Dedo de Dios, ‘God’s Finger’.

Some of the best walking is to be found in the Parque Natural de Tamadaba in the central caldera and in the green ravines around Moya, Firgas and Valleseco. 

Youngsters will be thrilled by a more artificial close-up with nature – the Parquet De Los Cocodrilo in Playa Del Ingles has a staggering 300 crocodiles and alligators.

Las Palmas still shows traces of its elegant past, notably in the tropical gardens of the Santa Catalina hotel and at the British Club – the British kickstarted tourism here in the 19th century – but the history goes back much further. 

Aboriginal tribes called the Guanches arrived here from the mainland, perhaps more than 2,000 years ago. Among Gran Canaria’s most fascinating archaeological sites are the hundreds of Guanche caves, including the celebrated Painted Cave at Gáldar.

The core of Las Palmas, Vegueta, is one of the oldest Spanish colonial towns in the world, among the first of hundreds that later sprang up all over South and Central America during the 16th century. Casa Colon, the house where Columbus is said to have stayed prior to his voyage of discovery westward, is now a museum featuring a life-sized recreation of his cabin aboard the Santa Maria.

Las Palmas is also a thriving contemporary cultural centre with an opera house and a modern art museum which, when it was opened in 1989, sparked a revival in modern architecture that spread throughout mainland Spain.

On Sundays, the city’s cobbled streets are alive with one of the best street markets on the island. 

Or if you fancy a round of golf, Gran Canaria’s eight golf courses are rated among the best in Spain. Indeed the Real Club de Golf is the country’s oldest club.

The new Jet2.com route from Leeds Bradford Airport from May 28 2012. Flights   from £49.99, holidays from £245 per person* with Jet2holidays (www.Jet2holidays.com). And even at such bargain prices you get all the amazing advantages Jet2.com offers as standard: great flight times, allocated seats, 22kg baggage allowance, points for free flights.

*One way including taxes

†Includes flights and accommodation

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