As the cold winter weather well and truly hits, slip away to Spain's sunny Canary Islands for one last holiday before you put your winter wardrobe on for another year. As one of its most beautiful and most populous islands, Gran Canaria has plenty to offer even the most seasoned traveller, and is the perfect retreat whether you're travelling as a family or sneaking in some quality time with a few of your closest friends.
The small island packs in a lot of excitement; you can explore its surface area in an afternoon but will spend weeks trying to enjoy all that's on offer here. Set up base camp somewhere central - our Radisson Blu Resort, Gran Canaria offers a home away from home on the water and is just a half an hour further along the coast from the airport.
Need inspiration? Check out our list of the best things to see and do in Gran Canaria…
- Hit the beach - Gran Canaria is famous for its beaches, and with good reason. Every inch of the island's coastline is surrounded by sparkling blue waters and warm weather year round guarantees the area's best beaches don't stay quiet for long. Start with Maspalmoas on the south coast; this beach is famous for the old lighthouse that guards it and the big, fluffy sand dunes that tumble down towards the water. Away from the beach there's also a bustling promenade where you can stock up on everything from water toys to ice cream - everything you need for a proper beach holiday.
- Go climbing - Adventure abounds in the heart of the island thanks to the stunning mountain range and natural wildlife that have even been recognised by UNESCO as a World Biosphere Reserve. There is an extensive network of trails for walking and mountain biking - you can go on your own or sign up for guided activities through outfits like Aventura en Canarias and Gran Canaria Viva.
- Sample the local cuisine - Spanish food is famous all over the world for its simple dishes with rich flavours, so it's no surprise exploring the island's culinary wonders is high on our list of things to do. Gran Canaria's bustling cities and towns have plenty to offer on any budget, or if you want to stay close to home, you can find a selection of the area's best Spanish dishes right in the hotel restaurant.
- Get cultured - Learn more about the island's unique history and culture with a visit to one of Gran Canaria's many museums, galleries and monuments. Sites like the Iglesia de San Juan Bautista in Arucas and the Casa de Colon in Las Palmas offer the opportunity to see history come to life and enjoy some stunning architecture along the way.
- Practice your swing - Tee off in picture perfect surroundings at one of the island's golf courses. With more than 8 to choose from, you can practice your swing year round on some of the most celebrated courses in Spain. In 2013 the International Association of Golf Tour Operators named Gran Canaria the best European destination for Golf, so there couldn't be a better time to grace the greens while on holiday.
- Head out on the water - When you're surrounded by so much ocean, it's only natural that water sports are a huge draw for travellers who come to Gran Canaria. From snorkeling to scuba diving, swimming to waterskiing, there's no shortage of adventure for adrenaline junkies. There are dozens of tour operators around the island who will take you out on the boat for the day and show you the island from another view, as well as surfing courses designed to help you get up and ride the waves in style.
What are your favourite holiday activities?