A different kind of Christmas in Gran Canaria is like you and your family: it knows no limits.
1. Sand for building a whole new world
Magic exists, and it is called art. That’s what it looks like when you come up close to the sculptures that make up the Sand Nativity Scene in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, on Las Canteras beach, the largest of its kind in Europe and modelled by some of the finest artists around the world in this kind of display, as fleeting as it is magnetic for our eyes. Eight American, Russian, Italian, Lithuanian, French and Belgian sculptors have given body and soul to almost 2,000 square meters of sand to recreate a Nativity scene whose central image, The Renaissance, represents a hand that grabs a leaf and saves it from the fire. Remember you can check out other Christmas and family events, or any other kind of events throughout the year, at the Gran Canaria Tourist Board events calendar.
2. A family adventure between two seas
Imagine now a place containing two seas. On the one hand, a blue, immense and noisy one packed with stories and legends. This is the Atlantic Ocean, which laps to and fro at the south of Gran Canaria, along a bright coastline where sailors from the seven seas have been landing for centuries. On the other hand, there is another sea, made up of sand dunes, like mountains that move around slowly, stealthily and almost unnoticeably, but steadily all the same. Winter in Gran Canaria is especially mild on its southern side, and invites visitors to partake in an adventure in which some members of the family can be pirates or discoverers, while others can be the inhabitants of a desert which changes its appearance every single day. You can either walk or run along the sands, let yourself be gently rocked against the waves, and after that jump and slide down the silky slopes of the Maspalomas Dunes, the perfect spot to create an unforgettable family story.
3. A route around the enchanted forest
This place oozes so much magic that you get the feeling you might bump into an elf at any moment amongst all the lush greenery. This is Tilos de Moya, part of what was formerly the Doramas Jungle, a thick woodland that used to cover the north side of Gran Canaria. The vegetation at Los Tilos comprises endemic species to this humid forest, with names that seem apt for characters in a fairy tale: barbusanos, aceviños, fayas, palos blancos, laurels and of course, los tilos. The moss and little bell flowers on the bicácaro plants are the stars of the island’s luxurious natural setting. The pathway that runs along the Barranco del Laurel ravine is well sign-posted and even has information boards allowing visitors to identify the most significant plant species, rather like an open air classroom at the heart of this Special Natural Reserve. We are at the start of a circular route covering some two kilometres, which is highly accessible for all members of the family. Have you thought yet what you would say to an elf if you did come across one?
4. Christmas with a theme
Gran Canaria stands out for its huge range of theme parks which add to the excitement around the festive period. Those that are located in open areas can also be enjoyed during the winter time here. You just need to sit down with the family and choose your destination. Which one shall we go to today?
5. A seat is waiting for you at the theatre
A both intense and extensive cultural and leisure range in Gran Canaria shines through at this festive time, and includes endless possibilities for family fun at the theatre. Some of the top places to go to for these kinds of activities are the Pérez Galdós Theatre and the Guiniguada Theatre, in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, and at the municipal auditorium in Teror and the Víctor Jara Theatre in Santa Lucía, Vecindario, providing a good choice of venues at the capital and around the rest of the island.
6. The time machine
Gran Canaria even has its own time machine, at the Painted Cave Museum and Archaeological Park in Gáldar. Every single day they launch missions to the pre-Hispanic and colonial past of Gran Canaria from here, with a spectacle that is especially attractive for a family audience, including as it does a 3D show and another panoramic one, together with a selection of archaeological materials and a visit to the famous multi-coloured chamber which gives the museum its name. The site also includes a tour around some sixty archaeological structures from the ancient settlement of Agáldar, where an area has been set up to recreate several different living quarters of the time, which we have travelled back to in this particular time machine.
Perhaps we haven’t given you the most important piece of advice yet… Christmas in Gran Canaria is above all an endless festive display that spreads far and wide over the island and provides a wonderful insight into the rich historical, craft-making, pastry-making and culinary traditions here at a unique territory that possesses many different attractive sides to it. Just set a point on the map and take your family around cobbled streets decked out in garlands, cafes, restaurants, beaches, fairs and footpaths. The roots of Christmas trees in Gran Canaria know no limits, just like your family.