Playa de Maspalomas - Modern tourism meets unique natural spectacle
The heart of Gran Canaria's tourism beats right here, along the two most famous beaches on the island, Playa del Inglés and Playa de Maspalomas. With the affordable prices on its promenade, Playa del Inglés is mainly popular with families and younger visitors, whereas the chic hotels and classy lounges and bars in the west of Playa de Maspalomas tend to attract a more upmarket crowd. The two neighbouring beaches encompass the southern tip of the island and, at the same time, a unique wonder of nature - the dunes of Maspalomas. From the water, this desert landscape is particularly impressive and makes a fantastically exotic backdrop for Gran Canaria's vibrant beach life.
Although Playa de Maspalomas, like Playa del Inglés, is very easy to find thanks to good signposting, there's always a shortage of parking spaces here. It's best to drive right alongside the beach on the small streets with apartment complexes to find a space for your car. Watch out though - you need to buy a parking ticket wherever you park here! The south of Gran Canaria also has an extensive bus network, which will transport you to your favourite beach and back to your accommodation completely hassle-free.
The fact that the large and apparently endless promenade at Playa de Maspalomas seems almost made for visitors to relax and stroll along is not just a first impression. In 1961 the model for the town of Maspalomas and its beach won a contest held by the International Union of Architects - and the resort was built, true to the model, in grey and white stone with wide palm-lined avenues. As a result the character of Maspalomas and the streets and facilities around the beach are also reminiscent of other urban tourist centres, like Palm Springs in California or Palm Beach in Florida.
El Faro de Maspalomas lighthouse marks the most south-westerly point of the 12km long Playa de Maspalomas, which then merges into Playa del Inglés in the east. The western part of the promenade in particular is lined with elegant beach bars and beach clubs, such as El Senador. You can round off the balmy evening here with a cocktail. This section, which adjoins the "second-class promenade", with its more affordable restaurant alternatives, is popular even in low season and worth a visit, especially in the evenings.
There’s no doubt that after a romantic dinner there is nothing more lovely than strolling along here hand in hand with your beloved. Young or old, straight or gay, everyone can feel truly at home in this spot. It's not without reason that Gran Canaria is one of the most popular travel destinations for gay and lesbian couples and lots of hotels have even specialised in providing for these guests' wishes. Your first port of call for meeting new people is Beach Kiosk N7. Around Playa de Maspalomas in particular, the rainbow flag is always flying high, true to its motto: "Canarian Pride!"
To the far west of Playa de Maspalomas getting into the water is a little more tricky because after just a few metres of sand large stones get in the way. Needless to say, the bathing here is still wonderful and the water is lovely and refreshing right through until autumn. Small children, and possibly older bathers too, should plan to spend their day a little further east though. Beyond Annexo II the beach then gradually transitions into a naturist beach, where you can show as much skin as you like! If you'd rather go adventuring on the water then the water sports operator, Faro Excursiones, is the place for you. You can book a catamaran tour or dolphin-watching, for example, at the stand right on the beach.
If the crowd on the beach gets too much, you don't have to wander too far from Playa de Maspalomas. The dunes of Maspalomas, one of the landmarks of Gran Canaria, have been a nature reserve since 1897. The desert landscape is particularly impressive from the water. La Charca Lake in the west is also part of the dunes. Here you can settle down on one of the benches and watch the birds over the water. Halfway between the beach and the Riu Palace Hotel the impressive silence of the dunes awaits. One minute you are in the well-kept hotel complex, the next you are in the middle of the desert, surrounded only by the warm winds. Sunrise and sunset in particular are unique natural spectacles here. Be sure not to miss these very special moments!