Beaches, nightlife and tapas without the high price tab
Gran Canaria has been nicknamed the ‘miniature continent’ as an ode to its diverse climate and landscapes – there are Sahara-esque sand dunes, beautiful beaches and rolling hills that make it easy to understand why parts of this island might be a UNESCO World Heritage Biosphere Reserve.
Just as the island wears many geographical hats, it’s pretty diverse when it comes to holiday types, too – you’ll find just as many ways to enjoy a cheap holiday as you will anything else. Travel here from November to May when the island quiets down for off season, and you’re bound to find even better deals – flights from England to Gran Canaria are only four a half hours, too.
True to form, the island’s resorts come in every shape and size. Playa del Ingles is an everyman’s resort with a bustling coastline comprised of four beaches and lined with tapas-laden restaurants. Puerto Rico is known for its carefully created Caribbean-like sand beaches, while Amadores is downright comatose – in a good way. Loud music and ball games aren’t allowed at this beach, so if you’re looking for quiet days with little cash necessary, this peaceful resort has your name on it.
Cheap days out in Gran Canaria
Days in Gran Canaria can cost as little as you like, especially with such a wide range of natural, outdoor activities on the menu. Resorts like Playa del Ingles are cosmopolitan in their offerings, with a gorgeous beach and popular nightlife scene. Affordable days here are spent lounging by the water, snorkelling with the area’s array of tropical fish or wandering through the local nature reserve. The area is also known for its wealth of shopping with shopping centres and nearby Maspalomas’ shopping street, Faro Boulevard. You won’t necessarily need to splash cash here – window shopping is an activity of its own.
In Maspalomas, it’s the sand dunes that take over. You can explore on foot or via a camel ride, ending the day with a trek to the towering El Faro lighthouse. Amadores, on the other hand, is all about the atmosphere. Here, you can spend days along what’s been nicknamed ‘lover’s beach’ for its romantic vibes, posting up shop for the upcoming sunset with a cocktail in hand, and never having to break the bank in the process.
Other popular holidays in the Canary Islands
You won’t just find cheap holiday offerings in Gran Canaria – the Canary Islands are rife with affordable opportunities. Check out other islands like Lanzarote and Tenerife, but if your heart is set on Gran Canaria, take a look at our travel guide for more information on planning a budget trip to this slice of Spain. To get you started, here are three top choices for cheap hotels in Gran Canaria.
Splashes of bright purple accent the Mediterranean decor at this 4* hotel, where the modern pool scene is the star of the show. There's a buffet restaurant, an a la carte spot, a lounge bar and evening entertainment for you to take advantage of. Staying here will also give you a central location, which means you won't have to spend money on cabs to get to area nightlife or restaurants – plus, the hotel offers a free shuttle bus to the beach.
The Cala d'Or Apartments are a smart choice for bargain-hunting holidaymakers, boasting free day and evening entertainment alongside an on-site pool and selection of comfortable suites, many of which offer ocean views. Situated only 400 metres from Puerto Rico's resort-centre bars and restaurants, these apartments also give you your very own lounge and kitchenette, meaning you can start the night in budget-friendly style in your room before a leisurely stroll to the nearby nightlife. The beach is also just a few minutes' walk away, so there's no need to splash out on transport to enjoy the sea and sunshine.
This modern, 4* hotel is wedged up into the hillside and overlooks the gorgeous bay below. On offer here are infinity and lagoon pools, a buffet restaurant and a themed poolside restaurant, plus fitness classes and beach volleyball. Come nightfall, you'll be set with live entertainment and a mini-disco for kids. And if you aren't just content to stare down at the sea, the hotel offers a free shuttle bus service to the beach, too.