In Gran Canaria, the winter months radiate a light that help you squeeze every second out of your day on the beach or in the mountains where blossoming flowers demonstrate that the island is a warm and permanent exception to the winter rules.
Gran Canaria lets you take a break from the relentless European winter. The difference is sometimes subtle, almost imperceptible, lying in the fragility of an oro de risco (Anagyris latifolia), a rare plant that is sheltered among olive trees, St John’s Wort, dwarf junipers and wild jasmine that bloom in the thick of winter to prove that life follows its own path on this island. The same goes for the blue tajinastes and the almond trees.
The sun conducts this winter symphony in Gran Canaria. It literally sets the pace of life. As it has since the beginning of time, when the first rays of the winter solstice announce the change in season, it projects its beams on to marks etched in the volcanic rocks or strikes sanctuaries in a certain way. In the case of the Ajodar Mountain peak, the sun sits right on the tip of the old volcano, like a huge fireball on a point dividing its slopes perfectly.
An ancient being that is born and dies in one day, this mythical sun also warms the Maspalomas Dunes and the rest of the sandy coast of Gran Canaria. This warmth practically ensures that you can always bathe in its waters or walk along the shoreline while the sea foam winds around your bare feet, free from the chilly tethers of other latitudes.
The sun also reigns over the summit of Gran Canaria, spilling over from there to the coast. The pine forests sieve its light, only letting chinks through the seclusion of the laurel forest. In the south, it brings out the twinkle in the walls of ravines that drop down towards the coast, sculpted over millions of years.
All these landscapes can be crossed during the winter, also accentuating contrasting micro-climates on an island that clambers up from the sea to almost two thousand metres, with slopes exposed to different wind conditions and where altitude makes all the difference. This makes it is possible to experience a gentle winter, autumn, spring and summer all in one day.
Winter in Gran Canaria is a mosaic made with shiny pieces of beach, green and ochre patches of countryside and good times shared during a visit to a winery, a local market or one of the island’s many traditional or avant-garde restaurants. Carnival also falls in winter although beyond those amazing costumes, Gran Canaria also gets dressed up to go to the theatre, museums or musical events.
Just like the oro de risco, the culture and open-air leisure options keep blooming through the Atlantic winter that keeps a low profile, as if wishing to go unnoticed.