Thinking about the holidays I can’t go on anymore made me think about the only sunny holiday I had last year: to Gran Canaria. Not a first choice, I must admit, I went with friends who wanted to go somewhere warm and sunny for some vitamin D. It was a great holiday, but man, so many stressful moments.
On day 1, hour 1 even, we ran to the gate after the last call as we didn’t realise we had to get a train to the gate. After landing we then took ages getting the hire car we pre booked and didn’t know how to start the car. Turned out you have to put the clutch down before turning the key.
Then driving to our accommodation was no small feat: figuring out the mechanics of the car with the gear box on the right instead of the left and driving on the other side of the road. But we managed it all in one piece. Needless to say that dinner on the first night was walked, not driven. On the bright side: it was the same timezone as the UK so no hangriness.
Situated in the north of Gran Canaria, it was a very hilly, windy, and bendy drive to Firgas Village; but the views here were amazing. The viewpoint of Las Madres was breathtaking.
Known as the village from water, Firgas still bottles water here. We walked around the town hall area near a church, where the views were also amazing. The highlight in Firgas was definitely the mural to the Canary Islands, which was really pretty.
There was also a waterfall with tiled seating nearby. When we were there the water wasn’t running, but it was still lovely to walk along.
Not far from Firgas was a larger village called Teror, with more shops. As you walk down the main street you can see mountains looming over the village.
There was a tranquil church at the end of the main street that was free to enter, and a little exhibition at the back which was approximately €10.
Behind the church was a lovely peaceful area to sit and just bask in the sun. It was such a lovely day with no clouds in the sky.
Nearby we realised there were Spars absolutely everywhere. And I never knew siestas were a real thing: just after lunch almost all supermarkets were closed. We found an ice cream place made with goats milk, called El Canario, and it was a lovely reprieve from the scorching sun.
Surprisingly better than expected, the Botanical Gardens are free to enter and much larger than I expected. It had a nice variety of zoned flora and many cacti.
One of our favourite parts was the cactus garden. So many oddly shaped cacti. We also came across this amazing tree. It was awe-inspiring, like the tree of life. It was a shame that as you stepped closer to the trunks you could see the tree was carved with names and graffitied. It was so peaceful here, with ponds and fountains and their water streams lulling you to a place of safety. It was quite green, a contrast from the dry heat we were experiencing.
We walked a little along the pine tree trail, and had a mild hike upwards. One part didn’t have banisters or much to hold onto, but there was a pregnant lady walking down the steps as we walked up, so it was definitely doable with the right footwear. One can go up one side and then down the other side so there is no backtracking.
Up near the top there were good views of the viaduct down below. It was such a beautiful day, worth the hike, and it was shady at the top.
Bandama crater volcano
I must admit there was a large expectation gap here: the opposite of the Botanical Gardens. I expected it to be a more natural volcano, much like Edinburgh’s Arthur’s Seat, but it was quite touristy with a little building at the top. The views were pretty good though.
The next day we went to Las Palmas, the capital, situated north of the island. This was the main place for shopping. There was also an Old Theatre and a cathedral with a fountain behind it. It was a lovely atmosphere with music playing nearby.
At the front of the cathedral there was a plaza that had a helpful tourist centre. There were also lots of dogs too.
Around the plaza there were fountains and lovely colourful buildings.
Not too far we walked to a market inside a building that looked like a train station – but wasn’t a train station. Lots of fresh produce inside, the hustle and bustle was great.
We found a lovely restaurant, where you wrote down your non-material wishes on a wine cork and placed it with everyone else’s in the glass wall. That was a nice touch.
Not too far from Las Palmas was a more historical town called Arucas. We passed the Town Hall in Constitution Square and the vibe was completely different here, everything was more relaxed and chilled.
There was a park nearby where we took a very relaxing walk. There were some interesting looking statues where some were carved into the trees.
There were also some beautiful colourful flowers around.
Through the shaded trees you could see far into the distance of sunnier places.
Nearby was the Church of San Juan Bautista, which was beautiful both outside and inside. It looked massive and foreboding on the outside, whilst inside the beautiful stained glass windows created a quiet and peaceful atmosphere.
The sun streaming in was beautiful.
En route back to where we were staying we had a quick stop near a beach, going through some very windy and bendy roads. Not my favourite type of road! Dinner was in a nearby town, the place had a nice atmosphere and great food.
Pico de las Nieves Peak
The third day was a car day. We drove to the second highest peak on the island and stopped every now and then to see some amazing views on the way up to the summit.
The views were spectacular, you could see mountains and greenery everywhere.
We finally meandered our way to the top, and man, it was very very windy! There was a truck at the top selling refreshments and it was essentially a car park at the top and people got out of their cars to take pictures and see the amazing views. It was so windy I couldn’t bare to let go of the sturdy sign anchoring me!
Presa De Las Niñas
After spending a little time at the peak, we set a course that got diverted several times due to falling rocks. It was too dangerous to continue our original route so we redirected and managed to find a beautiful lake, which turned out to be Presa De Las Niñas. There were facilities and benches, with families having BBQs.
Closer to the lake and away from the cooking campers, it was so tranquil and quiet. It made me think of all the times I wanted to get somewhere in life, but was detoured and thought I would never get to where I wanted to be. This trip helped me realise that you can be flexible in the journey or the route and still end up in the designated destination. If we didn’t get diverted then we wouldn’t have found these amazing views.
The water was so sparkly.
As we continued along our diverted route we also came across the Mirador El Mulato observation deck. There was space to park the car and walk close to the edge for some amazing views. Again, it was a little windy so I stayed near the car, but I managed to see some beautiful views.
Along this diverted route we also found the Las Canadas restaurant, where they give you your bill with shots. The food was really good too, of course.
At the back of the restaurant there were turtles, an iguana, and donkeys. There was also a little museum show room near the animals. An interesting find indeed.
We finally made it to the rocky beach to catch the sunset. This was the destination we wanted to get to, and in retrospect, I’m really glad we got diverted and saw all the other wonderful places this day. Near the beach we saw a field of sunflowers but didn’t know how to get there. The beach itself was really rocky so you had to be really careful with footing. I was so glad to finally get to the beach, sit down, and not worry about my next step! So happy to finally reach the rocks!
It was lovely hearing the sound of the waves crashing against the rocks. Ah, it was so peaceful. You could see the town of Agueta nearby too.
And we finally saw the sun set on our last day of the trip. With so many diversions, we didn’t know if we were going to make it for the sunset. Everything worked out in the end though.