No matter what brings you to the Canary Islands, you’re sure to find something you enjoy in Gran Canaria. From mountainous hiking trails to expansive sand dunes, the island offers new scenery at every turn alongside some of the archipelago’s best beaches.
It’s become something of a cliché to describe the Canary Islands as small continents rather than an island chain. But how else to explain that this small island contains desert dunes, verdant forests and rugged mountains all at once? Whatever you call it, Gran Canaria is the perfect getaway, whether you want to dive in crystalline waters, go surfing or just relax on the beach.
And yet Gran Canaria is so much more than a beach getaway. The rugged mountain vineyards, centuries-old rum distilleries and market squares guarantee every visitor a unique, exciting experience. Head inland from the beaches and discover a hiking paradise in the island’s mountains where you’ll feel like you have the whole place to yourself.
Fly from Zurich to Gran Canaria with Edelweiss and experience the second-largest island in the Canaries.
- All timetable details may be subject to change. Insofar as is permitted by law, SWISS accepts no liability for the correctness and completeness of the details provided.
When is the best time to visit Gran Canaria?
If you’re looking for sun-soaked beaches without a cloud in the sky, then your best bet is to go in the summer, from May to November, when you can enjoy pleasant temperatures hovering around 25°C. However, temperatures will be pleasant even on a winter trip, though the evenings can be cool. Arriving in the spring or autumn months can help avoid the tourist crowds – which are considerable, as Gran Canaria is the second most frequently visited island in the Canary Islands.
How do I get around Gran Canaria?
The first thing to consider is that your flights will touch down some 19 km outside of the main city of Las Palmas. If you’re travelling reasonably light, the bus is a good option to get from the airport to Las Palmas, as well as to most major tourist centres around the island. Tickets can be bought in discounted groups of ten if you will be travelling a great deal. Las Palmas itself is quite walkable, especially in the historic Vegueta neighbourhood. Las Palmas is also convenient to bike around, with plenty of bike hires and a handful of bike lanes. To move between the islands, ferries leave from Las Palmas to all the other Canary Islands.
What time zone is Gran Canaria in?
The Canary Islands are located in the Western European Time Zone (UTC±0), which is one hour behind the rest of Spain and the same time zone as Portugal, the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Attractions of Gran Canaria: Time to adventure
With over 80 beaches, lush forests, arid dunes and rugged mountains, it’s no surprise that Gran Canaria has a special place in adventure seekers’ hearts. Learn to surf or body board at Las Canteras beach in Las Palmas, or head to the south of the island to dive among shoals of fish in the crystalline waters of Puerto el Mogán. The interior of the island boasts impeccable trails for hiking and mountain biking.
Explore the neighbourhoods of Gran Canaria
From its beginnings as a conquistador port to its current status as a tourist mecca, Las Palmas is a city with much to show its visitors. The Santa Catalina neighbourhood boasts the city’s best beaches and the harbour, where you’ll catch ferries to the other islands in the Canaries, while the historic Vegueta neighbourhood has a variety of sights that are worth exploring:
- Casa de Colón (Columbus House)
- Museo Canario (Canary Islands Museum)
- CAAM (Atlantic Modern Art Centre)
Discover the best beaches
Of course, if all you want is to catch some rays and relax on one of the island’s many beaches, you have no shortage of options. Las Palmas itself boasts the popular Las Canteras beach, with plenty of space for the crowds at 2.8 kilometres in length. The drier southern side of the island has some truly impressive options, from laid-back Puerto Rico beach to Playa de los Amadores. The beaches of Maspalomas are in a league of their own, with an expanse of seaside sand dunes that recall nothing so much as the depths of the Sahara Desert.
Whether it’s to wander the avenues of Las Palmas, relax on the beaches of Maspalomas or dive among the reefs, Gran Canaria has what you need on your next holiday. Book your travel with Edelweiss from Zurich to Gran Canaria today.
Gran Canaria: a seafood lover’s paradise
Situated in the rich waters of the Atlantic, the Canaria Islands are ideal places to try a variety of seafood recipes. Try sancocho canario made from local fish – wreck fish and corvina are favourites – and potatoes. Or try fresh-caught lobster or crab: restaurants often send out their own boats. A local delicacy are the sardines caught around the town of Sardina – you can guess where the name comes from.
Indulge with Canarian rum
Since the time of the conquistadores, the Canary Islands have been first-rate sugar growers. Centuries of experience with sugar cane has allowed them to perfect the art of rum making. The island’s “ron miel”, or honey rum, is a sweet delight that is great on its own or as an addition to a good cup of coffee. The Arehuecas Distillery, Europe’s oldest rum distiller, is an excellent place to see the craft behind the drink. If you’re ready to kick it up a notch, then head out to the bars around Plaza de España in Las Palmas where many stay out until dawn. Outside of Las Palmas, Playa del Inglés, Maspalomas and Meloneras also offer vibrant nightlife.
Retail therapy under the sun
From historic market towns to brand-new shopping centres, Gran Canaria has you covered no matter what you’re looking for. For handicrafts and local delicacies, you’ll want to head to Teror, home of the island’s patron saint and the island’s oldest market – try the spicy chorizo sausage while you’re there. In the island’s south, check out the Costa Canaria walkway where you can shop for brand-name fashion while enjoying views of the sea and the Maspalomas sand dunes.
Zurich - Las PalmasFlight duration: 04:35 hrs total, Frequency: 1 x daily
Departure ZurichTerminal: 1 / 3Counter opening time: 24 h prior to departure
Airbus A320-214Height: 11.80 mLength: 37.60 mSeats: 136-168
Crew:Pilots: 2Cabin crew: 4
Arrival Gran CanariaDistance to city centre: 24 km