2020 certainly started in an unexpected way.
So when the opportunity to head to Gran Canaria as a family presented itself, courtesy of my parents, we jumped at the chance. It was an opportunity to get some sun and most importantly get some time as a family away from life demands. To get there it meant taking a 4 hour flight from Birmingham Airport to Las Palmas then a 40 minute drive to Taurito – our destination.
Thankfully my parents picked us up at the airport so we could get our holiday started the moment we landed. Annabelle had been great on the flight over but only slept for 40 minutes of the 4 hours. The rest of the time was spent running up and the aisle – with one of us in tow! We were exhausted after a 6am start! On arrival my Mum jumped in and took over the energetic bundle and we breathed a sigh of relief.
The apartment we stayed at was part of a timeshare my parents have access to in January. It was a two-bed self catering flat and worked well for what we needed. The large patio area gave Annabelle a safe space to run around and meet the local birds who landed on the balcony. It was also a perfect place for watching Annabelle’s favourite transport – buses – pass by below. The kitchen was ideal to keep Annabelle fed on demand and the downstairs bedroom was a good space for her to nap while we sunbathed outside.
The apartment complex had a communal pool that saw plenty of action. On the first day Annabelle was tentative but with frequent dips and fun games her confidence grew. On the last day she was happily swimming with help and running in and out of the shallow part on her own. It was amazing to see the change in her confidence in such a quick time-frame.
On a similar note the beach proved a big hit. One thing Gran Canaria has plenty of is beaches. From the vast sand dunes at Maspalomos to the picture perfect Amadores beach you have plenty of choice. Annabelle’s favourite beaches were Port Mogan, Taurito and Amadores. Port Mogan had the calmest sea and were the first place Annabelle ventured into the waves. Again with frequent trips to the beach Annabelle went from timid to tear-away and ended up making friends wherever she went. Her running up and down the sand giggling will be a highlight of the trip for me.
Gran Canaria offers something for everyone. While we focused on the pool, beach and sea with Annabelle we also had the chance to explore thanks to my sister and brother-in-law joining us for the holiday. They jumped at the chance to have Annabelle for a day. And we jumped at the chance to head out and explore. With my parents in the car we headed to Caldera De Bandama, an hour north of Taurito and 20 minutes from Las Palmas. It is a massive crater left from a volcanic eruption in the 70’s. looking like a sunken garden you can explore the area in a number of ways. It is possible to walk around the crater, or head up a steep road to get stunning views or even play a round of golf on a nearby course.
Once we had admired the view from a number of places – which involved me descending on to the path around the crater – we got back in the car and headed to Las Palmas. Spain’s 8th largest city and Gran Canaria’s main ‘centre’ this city has plenty to offer. Our visit was to the Vugueta area otherwise known as the historic centre. With cathedral de Santa Ana providing great views (if you take the lift for €1.50) you can take in the mix match of buildings that reach from port to mountain. There was so much colour around, on buildings, on doors, in the flowers, the taverns and wherever there was food. We spent two hours wandering around the area and would have happily spent more time. Our afternoon was finished with tapas in the grounds of the cathedral being serenaded- what more could you want?!
Puerto Rico was a great destination for an evening out. With a new shopping mall and a jam-packed bar and restaurant area you are never short of entertainment. We had dinner in one of the many restaurants before heading to an Irish bar to see a fiddler and watch my Mum do her Irish jig. A Gran Canaria tradition for her!
Amadores was our most frequently visited beach. With soft sand, plenty of families around – important when your child wants friends to play with- and restaurants than opened on to the beach. This was amazing as it meant we could enjoy a meal while Annabelle played. Win-Win.
Port Mogan was stunning. As the name suggests the area is built around a port, this provides spectacular scenery and plenty of things to see. From quaint bridges to arches covered in stunning flowers you can’t help but take pictures. Annabelle loved the fish that were swimming in the dock area – a local restaurant even gave her pizza crumbs to throw in. We loved the beach – soft sand, great views and a great play park. It’s fair to say Annabelle slept well that night!
Taurito. Our ‘home’ for the week. The location is quiet, and focused on the hotels in the area. There is a small water park and sport area surrounded by palm trees that is nice for a wander. Strolling a little further gets you to a black sand beach, this was quiet when we visited but did get messy! The area also provides access to a walks to explore the mountains. We choose to head up the (previous) road to Mogan. Sadly due to a rock fall the road is not officially open but that doesn’t stop plenty of people (us included) from walking to top.
For an easy, relaxing family getaway we would recommend Gran Canaria. The four hour flight was our only challenge. Once we got there everyone was super friendly. Every restaurant had a high chair and children’s cutlery. There were so many places to walk around and explore. We did have the advantage of a car but without it you can use the local buses that go frequently. Or in most location you find everything you need so can have a stay-cation. Also flights were super cheap (less than £150 per person) which meant it was perfect for a holiday on a budget!