While some travelers are counting the days until they can indulge in a cup of hot cocoa and take in the views of snow-laced peaks, others are dreaming of a warm beachy escape that’ll provide a much-needed break from the plummeting temperatures back home.
If that sounds like you, there’s one particular European island that should be moved right to the top of your travel bucket list.
Gran Canaria, part of Spain’s iconic Canary Islands archipelago, is one of the region’s crown jewels, beckoning travelers with open arms and sunny shores despite winter being just a hop, skip, and jump away.
So, if you’re still on the search for your next travel destination, what you’ll find below might just persuade you to head off to Gran Canaria this winter.
One of the most defining features that sets Gran Canaria apart from other winter getaway destinations across Europe is its dreamy weather that continues to keep travelers warm even this time of year.
According to TUI, the UK’s largest tour operator, average temperatures on the island are expected to hover around 20°C (68°F), which, while not quite ideal for sunbathing, are perfect for pleasant sightseeing excursions where you won’t have to wear anything more than a light t-shirt.
However, beach enthusiasts will be delighted to learn that swimming is still very much on the table, as the part of the Atlantic that meets the island’s shores is remarkably warm, even as air temperatures start to drop.
This upcoming month, water temperatures are expected to average 21° C (70°F), making it the best time to go in for a pleasant yet refreshing swim.
Moreover, predictions speak of a 63% chance of a perfect sunny day this December and a 37% chance of seeing a few clouds, so chances are that you’ll get to soak under the Spanish sun more than once during your time here.
So Much To See
One of the main reasons why you’ll come to appreciate the pleasant weather in Gran Canaria is the fact that you’ll have a long itinerary to complete before you leave the island.
The region is a microcosm of diverse landscapes and ecosystems, and the island’s interior, a Unesco Biosphere Reserve, is home to the iconic Roque Nublo, a towering volcanic rock formation whose panoramic views are not to be missed.
On the other hand, those looking to get a tan this winter can still take advantage of Gran Canaria’s 146-mile-long (236 km) coastline.
Here, you’ll find the idyllic gold-sanded beaches of Playa del Ingles and Maspalomas, where you can not only take in the spectacular views but also explore the buzzing underwater world of the region.
An Event-Filled Winter
If hiking or diving isn’t really your thing, you can always stick to the cultural events that take place all over the island this time of year.
Attend the Christmas Eve concert at Santa Ana Square, experience the exhilarating music played at the concerts on Las Canteras Beach, walk through the old town of Las Palmas, or visit one of the many Christmas Markets scattered across Gran Canaria – the choices are virtually endless.
Though this might be expected when visiting Southern Europe, it’s still worth mentioning – Gran Canaria’s culinary scene is a marvel waiting to be explored.
Drawing inspiration from Spanish, African, and Latin American cuisines, the bold, flavorful dishes served by local tavernas serve as a testament to the island’s diverse influences throughout its past.
From fresh seafood caught right off the coast to arrugadas, mojo sauces, and the renowned Canarian black pig, the region promises to take every palate through the journey of a lifetime.
A Gateway To Other Idyllic Islands
If you’re looking to indulge in an island-hopping experience this upcoming winter, setting up base in Gran Canaria is one of the best choices you can make.
Whether you want to explore the volcanic landscapes of Lanzarote or the lush forests of La Gomera, the island serves as the perfect gateway to an exciting, well-rounded exploration of the entire Canary archipelago.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com