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    Gran Canaria, the third-largest island within the Canaries’ archipelago, is known for its black lava seascapes and white sand beaches that give the essence of the Caribbean. Situated off the north-west coast of Africa, the Canary Islands are the southernmost islands of Europe. Full of excellent views and intriguing landscapes, there's no shortage of beaches skirting its coastline.

    From bustling urban beaches for an easy spot to cool off to secluded coves that reward ambitious hikers, you’ll stumble upon plenty of scenic spots to swim and relax. Boasting year-round sun and warm winter climes, Gran Canaria offers an abundance of sandy shores for beach lovers. We’ve gathered together some of the island’s best to make the choice a little easier.

    1

    Maspalomas

    For sweeping dune landscapes

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    Located in the south of Gran Canaria, Maspalomas Beach is more than just a great swimming spot. The magnificent sand dunes of the Special Nature Reserve of Dunas de Maspalomas are a fantastic point of interest for travellers. The sandy formations are shaped by the wind but protected by an enclave that preserves the area's natural habitat and biodiversity.

    Calm seas are ideal for family beach days and there's always space to find your spot on this 3-km-long beach. At the western end of the beach is the towering Maspalomas Lighthouse. Make your way closer to this part if you’re also looking for some watersports to enjoy during your holiday.

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    2

    Playa Las Canteras

    The best city beach

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    One of the best urban beaches in Europe, Playa Las Canteras has all the amenities and services you’ll need for a comfortable beach day. Hire umbrellas, get involved in watersports, or just frolic in calm waters. The beach is also very close to Gran Canaria’s capital, Las Palmas, attracting travellers and locals looking for somewhere to cool off right by the city. 

    Playa Las Canteras boasts 2 km of golden sand that stretches along the urban coastline. An excellent place for some winter sun, the sea remains warm year-round. it's also popular for snorkelling due to the natural offshore lava reef, which is home to exotic marine life.

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    3

    Puerto Rico Beach

    White sand and turquoise waters

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    Puerto Rico Beach's appeal is undeniable as one of the sunniest places in Gran Canaria. White sands and calm turquoise waters give off a Caribbean-like atmosphere, which is fitting of this beach’s name. Towering palms shade a beautiful promenade that gives way to enticing restaurants and a nearby pool surrounded by exotic plants and greenery.

    At only around 400 metres in length, Puerto Rico Beach quickly fills with travellers looking to while away the day on the sands. If adventure is calling, you can enjoy plenty of watersports, including jet-skiing, sailing, windsurfing and diving. For those looking for something more leisurely offshore, there are dolphin-watching cruises and glass-bottom boat excursions on offer.

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    4

    Playa de las Alcaravaneras

    A quiet alternative

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    Playa de las Alcaravaneras is an urban beach that has gained popularity in recent years. Mostly visited by locals, the beach offers a quiet alternative to other city beaches in Gran Canaria. Spanning 550 metres in length, the area close to the harbour is excellent for families as the waters are protected from large waves.

    The beach has permanent volleyball nets, along with easy access to a basketball court and a small playground, as well as bathroom and shower facilities. If you’re into sailing, head to the south of Playa de las Alcaravaneras for the Varadero Sailing Club. You can also enjoy a stroll along the pleasant promenade and stop for ice cream or refreshments.

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    Fotoattēla avots: Bengt Nyman (CC BY-SA 4.0) apstrādāts

    5

    Anfi del Mar

    One of the island’s prettiest beaches

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    Anfi Del Mar may be an artificial beach, but it's also one of the prettiest in Gran Canaria. Located in the south of the island, it’s frequented by locals and tourists looking to make the most of the Canaries’ year-round sunshine. Built by a Norwegian billionaire, the resort was once a hillside by the sea some 25 years ago. Thankfully, the Caribbean-inspired waterfront is available for everyone to enjoy.

    White sand and coconut palms only add to the appeal of Anfi del Mar. The beach can be reached by road or by ferry from marinas in the south of Gran Canaria. Take your time strolling around the grid of whitewashed houses, which are draped in colourful bougainvillaeas.

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    Fotoattēla avots: El Coleccionista de Instantes Fotografía & Video (CC BY-SA 2.0) apstrādāts

    6

    Playa de Amadores

    Great for sun-seekers

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    The tranquil waters and crescent bay of Playa de Amadores is ideal for those looking to make the most of the sun. The 800-metre-long beach is modern and busy but doesn’t offer any beach or water sports. Instead, it provides an opportunity to relax on sun loungers or under parasols. The beach is manmade and similar to a pool, enabling families to venture relatively far out into the water.

    Playa de Amadores is incredibly clean, earning Blue Flag status in 2004 for its high-quality facilities and surroundings. Two protective levees and the beach’s south-west position protect the bay from the North Atlantic currents, making it a safe swimming spot. Disabled travellers can enjoy easy access to the beach, with amphibious chairs, handrails and buoys assisting for an enjoyable swim.

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    7

    Gui Gui

    Be rewarded after a long hike

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    The scenery that rewards those who make the effort to visit Gui Gui Beach is worthwhile. While it may not share the same Caribbean feel with other beaches of Gran Canaria, it's unique and excellent for those who enjoy a dip after a challenging hike. With few attempting the journey to Gui Gui, you'll probably have the entire beach to yourself.

    Dark sands stretch across the length of Gui Gui. It's also an ideal place for sunset viewing, minus the crowds. Pack plenty of water and supplies for your hike as there are no stores nearby, but that’s half the beauty of this secluded beach.

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    Fotoattēla avots: Lexthoonen (CC BY-SA 4.0) apstrādāts

    8

    Playa del Inglés

    The epicentre for partying

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    One of Europe’s busiest beaches, Playa del Inglés is a popular choice for tourists. Located next to the dunes of Maspalomas, the beach merges with the shorefront, resulting in 6 km of golden sand that sprawls into a desert-like landscape. Ample space makes for a convenient day out for families or those looking for their own patch of sand to relax.

    While jet-skiing, windsurfing and waterskiing are all activities of choice during the day, there’s another side to Playa del Inglés after sunset. On weekends, the promenade and nearby complexes come alive with the party crowds. Nightclubs and the promenade offer live music and dancing, while bars and restaurants stay busy until late.

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    9

    Playa de Mogán

    Set by a picturesque town

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    Playa de Mogán is the westernmost resort in the south of Gran Canaria. Affectionately named ‘Little Venice’, this manmade beach sits next to a picturesque port and marina, leading to bridged waterways which give its likeness to the Italian city. 

    The charming fishing village has blooming bougainvillaea hanging from wrought-iron balconies throughout the summer. Breakwaters create ideal sheltered waters for swimmers and snorkellers, with an abundance of fish to see. Surrounded by hills, Playa de Mogán is a suntrap ideal for those looking to laze away the day on sun loungers. For a unique look at life below the surface, take a ride in the yellow submarine to admire views of fish, aquatic plants, and even shipwrecks.

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    10

    Sardina del Norte

    Great for diving

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    The port town beach of Sardina del Norte is an exceptional place for diving enthusiasts in Gran Canaria. Excellent coves and rocky outcrops make for great dive sites for those looking to explore life underwater. The area around Sardina del Norte has incredible natural surroundings and fertile farmland. It was once the main port for handling farming produce. It’s no surprise divers enjoy exploring its blue-green waters, which are home to octopuses, lobsters, and seahorses.

    For those who prefer to spend time on the shore,  Sardina del Norte has been awarded a Blue Flag for its excellent facilities and cleanliness. The golden sands of the 80-metre-long beach can fill quickly when the tide is high, though. Exploring the colourful streets of its namesake town can help break up a busy beach day.

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    Fotoattēla avots: Wolfgang Sauber (CC BY-SA 4.0) apstrādāts

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