Rising out of the Atlantic off the northwestern coast of Africa, the island of Gran Canaria is an eclectic mix of urban bustle and island wilderness, from the lively city of Las Palmas to the exotic landscapes within the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve that spans nearly half the territory.
Given the year-round balmy temperatures, one of the best ways to ensure that you see all of Gran Canaria is to explore the island by scooter. So put on your helmet, rev the engine and head to luxury hotel Parador Cruz de Tejeda for an unforgettable Canary Islands getaway in Spain.
View from Parador Cruz de Tejeda
One of Spain's most beloved tourism destinations, Gran Canaria is home to a variety of microclimates, which have earned it the nickname "el continente en miniatura" ("the miniature continent"). Stretches of the island are desert-like and covered in sand dunes, while other areas are positively tropical and contain rain forests. For its part, the seaside capital Las Palmas enjoys the title of world's best climate, awarded to the city in 1996 by Syracuse University in New York.
To move easily from microclimate to microclimate, scooters - as well as motorcycles and bicycles - are widely available for rent. The island has many well-paved, safe routes that lead you to and from its 32 protected natural spaces, which include wonders like the Azuaje Ravine, the Nublo Rural Park and the Doramas Jungle.
Make sure that you point your scooter in the direction of coastal towns like Maspalomas, a charming village in the south known for its iconic lighthouse and beautiful beachfront. Or stop at the looming 80-metre monolith called Roque Nublo near Tejeda in the centre of the island, which provides views of Mount Teide, the world's third largest volcano on the neighbouring island of Tenerife. To the southeast, Agüimes, the island's best preserved example of a traditional Canarian hill town, is popular with visitors. There, you can park your scooter, wander the quiet streets and visit any number of cave-like structures - ranging from a church to several bars and restaurants - built directly into the hillside.
A home in the heart of Gran Canaria
Located in the centre of the island, Parador Cruz de Tejeda makes the perfect base for your island adventure on wheels. This handsome hotel was built in the 1930s and features traditional architecture with a rustic touch.
The Parador is nestled in some of the island's rocky hills and is surrounded by pine forest, providing a tranquil escape for travellers. Relax in the outdoor swimming pool or fully disconnect in the in-house world-class spa, perhaps indulging in the Tejeda Stone body treatment, which incorporates the Canary Island's volcanic nature into an 85 minute hot-and-cold, aromatic experience.
Parador Cruz de Tejeda
Meanwhile, the Parador's restaurant boasts a menu full of classic Spanish cuisine from the Canary Islands, such as kid goat with almonds and papas arrugadas con mojo (boiled potatoes with spicy dipping sauce). Dig in with a glass of local wine and treat yourself to some bienmesabe canario (an egg and almond sweet) for dessert.
Interested in scooting your way around Gran Canaria? Contact Parador Cruz de Tejeda today!