Winter Getaways:- Gran Canaria

This is a year when travel has well and truly gotten back underway, with many brits travelling abroad this summer for the first time since 2019.

Whilst we were very lucky to have been away twice in early 2020, it wasn’t until Jan of 2022 that we once again experienced the pleasures of a winter getaway.

So as we enter the last quarter of 2022, the nights are drawing in and its that time of year when you are wondering if its now time to turn the heating on. For us that’s also the perfect time to get some last minute rays, but where can you go in October for some decent sunshine.

Beer and Cocktails on Playa del Ingles Beach Front

Gran Canaria is one of a number of Islands which are part of the Macaronesia archipelago, of which 4 (5 including La Palma) are major tourist destinations. The four are Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, Tenerife and Gran Canaria, with the later being the furthest south.

The island has its very own microclimate, with the south being the warmest, with temperatures in October regularly hitting the high 20’s.

We headed over for an extra long weekend (4 nights) with Jet2, who fly directly from Manchester airport on a number of days. Whilst not the most comfortable of planes, the journey was hassle free and for once I even conceded to jumping on the included coach transfer to resort.

The coach transfer to the resort of Maspalomas takes approx 30 mins and is the most southern resort, made up of a number of hotels/resorts and the famous Maspalomas dunes.

The last time I visited Gran Canaria was around 25 years ago and the resort of Masapolamas was literally a few hotels dotted around the outskirts of the dunes, now however it is very built up with accommodation to suit all tastes and budgets.

As someone that likes to eat out and explore, we opted for accommodation that was set up as self catering, but also had B&B, HB, FB and All Inclusive options. Despite the price of the different boards not being that different, it was the bed and breakfast option that suited most.

Vistaflor Bungalows

Vistaflor bungalows was the name of the accommodation and it is made up of double storey bungalows located around a central pool. The downstairs was made up of a small kitchen area, a sofa (Doubles made up as a double bed) and a TV. Upstairs is bathroom and double/twin bed.

Upstairs Bedroom was adequate but quite tight space wise

Despite being advertised as sleeping up to 4, I found the space quite small and if there were more than 2 people in them, would be in each others way. Having said this, many of the other guests were made up of groups and families, all of varying nationalities.

For those wishing to spend more time at the accommodation, the pool space was ample and even at 11am there were a few spare sun beds. The pool bar served up drinks and snacks and for those on the HB/FB and All Inclusive options, there was a downstairs restaurant serving up breakfast, lunch and dinner (Breakfast, dinner and tea for the northerners) in a buffet style.

Poolside at Vistaflor Bungalows

To be honest the restaurant was the one thing about the accommodation that I couldn’t stand. As you walk down the stairs into the basement, you are welcomed ti a room which is fluorescent lit and teaming with people, seemingly eating as much as they can. At breakfast, queues form for just about everything from plates, cups, coffee, juice, eggs, that you basically move from one queue to the next.

Vending machine coffee and juice that tastes like water and no ‘black tea’ bags as I can only assume that people grab them to take back to their apartments for through-out the day. The only saving grace is I am only down there for a quick breakfast of eggs and coffee and I don’t have to go down to the room of doom again that day.

Located next to the botanical park, Vistaflor bungalows is about a 30 min walk into the beach area of Playa del Ingles , which has numerous bars and restaurants, many of which offering specials at reasonable prices and cocktails for those wishing to combine the winter sunshine with a few drinks.

Tapas with Jamon Ibérica

Enroute to Playa del Ingles is also the Yumbo Centre. A kind of market, shopping precinct by day, it comes to life at night with bars and restaurants, although this is definitely an area that caters for the tourists, so if you’re looking for something more authentic you probably wont find it here.

Having said that I do need to give a mention to one restaurant that appears to buck this trend. Wapa Tapa is a small tapas restaurant, that tends to get booked up days in advance. Unfortunately we couldn’t get in on Saturday which was our first evening actually going out (we arrived late on the Friday) and they close Sundays and Mondays, meaning we couldn’t experience it.

Although not trying it, when I spoke to them regarding recommendations they were so helpful and very apologetic that they couldn’t squeeze us in, which i totally respect, they appeared to be all about giving those that dine there the right level of service and don’t want to rush peoples evenings.

Close to the Yumbo Centre is Rias Bajas and its here that we choose to dine on day 1. Fantastic service and delicious food, a couple of starters and mains, with a glass of wine set us back around 75 Euros, however the quality would have cost you much more back home.

If the beach area of Playa del Ingles is a bit too ‘Party Vibe’ for you, then you can also head in the opposite direction to the beach area of Maspalomas.

If walking, it can take about 45 mins, alternatively a taxi will set you back less that 5 Euros and take less than 5 mins. If staying at the Vistaflor Bungalows, they also have a shuttle bus that drops off and picks up from Maspalomas twice a day.

We opted to walk down and it was a rather pleasant walk early evening (Around 6pm), as by this time it was cool and not uncomfortable.

There are a number of bars and restaurants close to the Maspalomas Lighthouse and we opted to try out the one that looked to have the most stunning views.

Views were the best thing about the restaurant

Right next to the lighthouse itself is the Blue Marlin Ibiza Sky Lounge. With DJ sets at the weekend, this rooftop location has stunning views and a real ‘Ibiza’ vibe. However we were there on a Monday and so it was a little more chilled back.

A great place to enjoy sunset and a cocktail, we also decided to try out the restaurant here.

We were sat at a table with the most beautiful view of the lighthouse and sunset and thought we had struck gold.

Unfortunately the food didn’t offer up the same quality as the location and apart from the Croquettes with Beef Carpaccio (Which were incredible), the rest was a little disappointing, especially my chicken dish that was incredible dry and so unenjoyable I didn’t even eat it.

But I guess you win some and lose some and to be honest, the cocktails, views and croquettes made it worth a visit, although next time I would probably try somewhere else for my main dinner.

The few days we spent in Gran Canaria flew by, the weather was superb and would highly recommend it for anyone looking for a few days (or longer) of sunshine before we head straight into the UK winter and what it brings.

As Jet2 fly to and from this location on a number of days, it also means that you can book the number of nights with complete flexibility to suit.


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