Gran Canaria has become the Canary Island to have the highest number of beaches with blue flags, with a total of 16 beaches currently holding this award.
Gran Canaria continues to wave the Blue Flag. The international jury has recognised this fact by awarding sixteen of the island’s beaches with this distinción, making it the island with the most blue flags in the archipielago. The awards are made by the European Foundation of Environmental Quality once they have analyzed a series of parametres including water quality, environmental management, security and services, and information supplied to users.
Gran Canaria achieved top marks in these different categories. Now we are about to pick up our towels, sun-umbrellas and put on some sun cream, and we are going to see first hand –one by one- each and and every spot along the coastline, each displaying their own individual features, reflecting the huge variety of landscapes the island is blessed with.
Las Canteras Beach: The city of sand
The golden strip of sand along the coastline of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria makes up one of the finest beaches in the world. The fine, golden sands stretch out for over three kilometres, along with crystal clear waters, hordes of fish, plus a plethora of shops, restaurants and terrace bars. The lively bustle along the sea shore blends in beautifully with the gentle lapping of the Atlantic sea. Just a short distance from the shoreline is la Barra, a natural barrier reef that protects the bay, marked out in stone over a stunning blue canvas, creating unforgettable moments here at the city of sand.
Arinaga: Where life shines through
Locals taking their daily stroll along the seafront at Arinaga are quite used to seeing how the sun glistens against the sun and the sand. Everything glitters at this point along the coast of Gran Canaria. A sculpture respresents a young boy returning to land with two octopusses. At the jetty, just a stone’s throw away, looms another, bronze, sculpture. All this alongside rugged fishermen out there fishing and chatting. The terraces of the restaurants act as perfect viewpoints to cast our eyes over these dots of life.
Maspalomas Beach: The mirage becomes reality
The dunes are the shape of dreams. Maspalomas looks like a mirage of golden mountains with impossible blue streaks. But its true magic lies in the fact that it is real and is actually there, sheltered down at the south, just waiting for you. Maspalomas is the heart of a natural reserve also featuring a lush palm grove and saltwater lagoon, where birds from northern Europe come flying down to escape the harsh Winter, as do millions of tourists every year. They all come flying in, dreaming of coming back to a spot that seems to be plucked from a fantasy world. The lighthouse points the way back home.
Los Charcones Natural Pools: The eyes of the Atlantic
The ocean allows itself to be tamed by pools of Los Charcones, along the coastline at the municipality of Arucas. Huge crystal clear water pools lie peacefully, sheltered from the robust ocean waves, where bathers can easily be confused with fish. There are spacious esplanades with restaurants with their terraces overlooking the sea. The ancient undulating volcanic rocks have become the habitat for crabs, snails and other marine crustaceans who also enjoy the quiet of an enclave in which the Atlantic ocean laps peacefully and lets us unwind, while it gazes at us with its dark blue eyes.
Amadores Beach: a daily dose of sun and relaxation
The colour blue becomes especially intense at Amadores, another of the beaches to flaunt the Blue Flag in Gran Canaria, in this case along the Mogán coastline. The sky goes on for ever, the ocean spreads out lazily over the horizon and the sun is a permanent resident. Amadores is painted in gold and blue. It is one of those places where time seems to have come to a halt, as days repeat themselves, which is no problem at all, because it is just like an almost unreal blue, a perennial light, with kids building sandcastles from early morning until the sun goes down, and mum and dad dragging them away with the words: “Back tomorrow”.
Sardina Beach: A land between two kingdoms
The seabeds along the Gáldar coastline are home to real treasures. So is its seashore. Sardina de Gáldar is one of those spots midway between the coast and the sea, an amphibious space which entices you to bathe in its waters and also to discover its bars and restaurants in the area, whose menus are awash with salty, flavoursome splendours from the sea, all fresh from the morning’s fishing boats. Divers dive in and out of the great blue expanse, and always come back to the surface with a surprised look on their faces, joined by others who are transfixed by the reddish hues of sunset, or the face of delight of a little child who has just found a new fish in a small pool.
Playa del Inglés: Walks in heaven
Playa del Inglés is a pleasant and gentle beach, and is always looking to cater for the needs of its visitors. If you want to lie back and sunbathe it offers you a springy patch of fine sand just for you and your nearest and dearest. If you want to go for a stroll you have miles of sand along a strange little trail that appears and disappears depending on whether the waves are coming in or out. A little secret for you: this sheet of water reflects the colours of nightfall, so you will feel you are walking in heaven itself. Fancy a coffee or an ice-cream? An Asian restaurant, or perhaps some typical Canarian food? No hassle, its all just one minute away. At Playa del Inglés it is as easy as walking in heaven.
Salinetas Beach: The volcano’s daughter
Salinetas is the daughter of the volcano. Its toasted sand hides a myriad of tiny mineral particles which are lit up by the sun. Two lengths of volcanic stone wrap themselves around the sandy area like protective arms. The gaps under the stones create another micro-world of tiny pools. There is a pathway all around its perimetre, like a modern collar. The colourfully painted houses merely add to the daily spectacle of Salinetas, combining perfectly with the elegant black suit so cleverly designed by nature.
Patalavaca Beach: The treasure hidden by time
Between Arguineguín and Puerto Rico, at the foot of a ravine and where the sun is in permanent residence, is Patalavaca Beach. If treasure-seeking pirates, like those who used to sail the seven seas, were still around today, undoubtedly some of them would choose a spot just like this one to bury their treasure chest. But pirate flags are no longer flapping around here. The only flag waving in Patalavaca is the Blue Flag that marks the spot where the real treasure of modern times is to be found: peace and quiet.
El Puertillo Beach: Breathe in peace and salty air
We go back up to the north coast along the stunning Gran Canaria coastline. At this stip of seashore surfers tell tales of legendary waves, some of which have even got names. Those who simply want to take a dip into peace and quiet and enjoy a relaxing day on the beach find a perfect refuge at Puertillo. For this reason we stop off here at this tiny bay of tranquility that is on the edge of a town where calm is the watchword. Oh yes, and that lovely aroma you can smell is a delicious piece of fried fish.
Meloneras Beach: One step beyond the south
Meloneras Beach has a personality of its own. It marks out its territory and turns it into something quite exclusive. If you are approaching from Maspalomas Lighthouse, this area opens up a whole new dimension in this ever vibrant south of the island. Meloneras is the choice for those who want to go one step further. And taking the extra step is always worth the effort, as Meloneras will prove.
Hoya del Pozo Beach: A touch of the wild
Can you see it? Over there, where it looks like there isn’t anything in particular, rises another Blue Flag. On our arrival our eyes are treated to a beach in the shape of a shell which signifies a touch of the wild along the generous and endless coast of Telde. The sand is like a silky carpet formed by Mother Nature back in a time when there was never any hurry to do anything. Perhaps for this reason the place seems to have stopped in time and the rocks that straddle either end are like brackets in which only words like relaxation, breeze, foam and beach umbrella can be written between them.
San Agustín Beach: The beach that will put a smile on your face
The waves come crashing in happily at San Agustín. People are just as happy too. There is a harmony between what humans feel and what nature transmits. This space is a beach theme park, because it brings together everything you could ask of a beach. San Agustín is one of the gateways to the prodigious and sunny south of Gran Canaria. Its name is by rights synonymous with the history of tourism on the island. Today just the mention of its name makes us think of a beach, a sun umbrella and a wide smile we come along with and leave with.
Melenara Beach: Under the shelter of Neptune
Neptune welcomes us to Melenara. This four metre plus sculpture reminds us that we are entering a kingdom that has its own rules. One such rule is pausing. Pausing to feel the warmth of the sand. Pausing to feel the caressing of the sea on your feet. And why not, pausing before heading off to one of the terrace bars to enjoy a cherne sea bass, abae or sama roquera. Melenara is right next to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, near to the south and right where you need to be, right now.
Mogán Beach: Flagging up positivity
Mogán beach is a daily meeting point. Its crystal clear waters are a saline heart which pumps life around the harbour and canals bustling with shops and eating establishments that compete happily with eachother. The beauty of the surrounding area deserves no less. Here it is only natural to look on the bright side of things. This is also its flag.
La Garita Beach: Another pearl
Another of Telde’s coastal pearls, on the southeast slopes of Gran Canaria, is La Garita Beach. In a way, all local roads lead to La Garita along a promenade with inviting benches that encourage you to stop the hands of your watch and contemplate the majestic simplicity of the sea. It is flanked by rocky strips with water pools that enhance the range of possibilities at an enclave you will always get to right on time.
An ocean of beaches