Gran Canaria is located southeast of Tenerife and west of Fuerteventura.
The island is of volcanic origin, mostly made of fissure vents. Gran Canaria is the most populous island of the Canary Islands. Gran Canaria's surface area is 1,560 km² and its maximum altitude is 1,949 meters (Pico de Las Nieves). It has a round shape, with a diameter of approximately 50 km.
Gran Canaria is noted for its rich variety of micro climates. Generally speaking though, the average daytime high ranges from 20°C in winter, to 26°C in summer. Annual rainfall averages 228 mm, most of this falling in the cooler months, with July, August and September normally rainless.
This island is called a "Miniature Continent" due to the different climates and variety of landscapes found, with long beaches and dunes of white sand, contrasting with green ravines and picturesque villages. A third of the island is under protection as a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO.
The number of annual visitors is 2.2 million (2,200,000). Most of the tourists visit the southern part of the island.
The north tends to be cooler while the south is warmer and sunny. The east coast of the island is flat dotted with beaches while the western coast is rockier and mountainous.
Most tourists stay in the south of the island, which is sunnier and has less rain than the north. In the south there is a large bird park, Palmitos Park, as well as many beach resort communities. Resorts are concentrated in the central eastern part of the southern coast in the Maspalomas area, which includes the towns of San Agustín, Playa del Inglés, Sonnenland, Maspalomas and Meloneras. The Dunes of Maspalomas are located between Playa del Inglés ("The Englishman's Beach") and Maspalomas. Another tourist attraction is the lighthouse at Maspalomas situated at the western end of Maspalomas.
The magical island of Gran Canaria has 230 kilometres of coastline and some of the most beautiful beaches in Europe. Big ones, small ones, sandy ones, rocky ones, they come in all shapes and sizes and provide the perfect setting for a fun-packed holiday in the sun.
Gran Canaria has a variety of beaches to suit all tastes. There are beaches for young families, naturists, gays, watersports enthusiasts and plain old sun worshippers! The most popular tourist beaches can get over-crowded but if you\'re seeking a secluded spot there\'s enough sand on this coastline to give everyone their own bit of space.
Playa del Ingles, in the south of the island, is probably the most famous beach in the whole of the Canarian archipelago and is also one of the busiest throughout the year. It stretches for nearly three kilometres and is lined with bars, restaurants, hotels and shops.