Gran Canaria is the 3rd biggest island of the Canaries and while I was hithhiking a boat to cross the Atlantic I had 2 months to explore what it had to offer.
The name “Gran Canaria” has nothing to do with fish canaries or the canary bird. It is presumed that it’s name derived from the Latin word Canis(dog), because the island used to be inhabited by dogs. Same likely is, that its named after the African tribe of the Canarii.
Because the island got conquered by Spain in the 15th century especially its capital Las Palmas has a lots of colonial architecture which you can encounter a lot and well preserved in the old town.
If you are walking around a bit you will also register the very pretty looking, traditional, wooden balconies everywhere.
The capital in general is very colourful and clean and it makes a lot of fun to just walk around and explore it but because of its 377.000 citizens it can also be very stressful.
Las Palmas is said to have unofficially the best average weather in the world.(25°C/77°F every day), so when you got enough of the busy city you can enjoy one of the perks of an island and go to the beach to relax, swim and/or surf, any day of the year. And if you are not satisfied with the waves, you can just walk half an hour to the other side of the island and surf there.
After a long day you can go to have a beer or two in the Canarian nightlife with the locals and people from around the world.
Of course the capital is not all what the island has to offer. It is full of little villages along the coast and in the mountains.
One of those villages is called “Teror”. Yes you read right! This village is the prettiest one of them all and has a lot of old architecture and people who are trying to preserve their traditional way of living.
For that reason they are having a Market every Sunday and many of them dress up in traditional clothes.
Before the colonists, from 500BC until the 15th century, the island was inhabited by the tribe of the Canarii, who were living in caves and round houses build of stone in a stone-age-like culture.
You can learn a lot about their history in archeological sites and some museums on the island.
Because of its 14 micro-climate-zones on an area of 1500km²/580mi² the island is often described as a micro continent.
It has cliffs,…
…canyons and many other different landscapes.
To see as much as I could of the natural side of the island I left the big city and walked until the paved road ended and there was nothing left but stunning nature.
On one of those hikes I crossed the island from south to north and made 140 km’s/87 miles in one week. In this week I barely met anybody and the scenery radically changed every day.
Because there are no dangerous animals on the island and the weather was nice I could sleep everyday under the stars without a tent.
After that hike I made various other ones to different other parts of the island, like the hidden beach that you can just reach by walking over a mountain range for 5 hours.
Another important memory of Gran Canaria are the friends that I made and I’m still in touch with.
They helped me have a good time,…
…invited me to parties,…
…cooked traditional meals for me…
…and took me to places that are not in the standard tourist guides…
…like to the highest cliff of Europe.
To get there we had to walk on this path with a 1000 metre drop and hope to not fall.
On our way we also saw a suicide goat jumping around like there is nothing to be scared of. It’s somehow ironic because the Canarii tribe leaders and the last members of the resistance jumped to their death right here to avoid to be enslaved. They were shouting: “Atis Tirma!”(For my Land!)
When you reach the edge of the 1027m/3370ft high cliff you get a breathtaking view of the infinite ocean.
And if you dare to stay over night and crawl to the edge of the cliff you can see what they call “The end of the World”.
After two months I finally got a boat to cross the ocean and had to leave this marvellous place in tears. Until today Gran Canaria is one of my favourite two places in the world. One day I will return and build a house there…
If you want to see more, here are two videos of my adventures on Gran Canaria: