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World Travel Guide > Guides > Europe > Spain > Canary Islands > Gran Canaria > Playa del Inglés Beach

About Playa del Inglés Beach

Playa del Inglés is Gran Canaria’s busiest tourist resort and clusters around a concrete jungle of 12 centro comerciales (shopping centres). It is a magnet for gay holidaymakers and indulges in a heady nightlife. Merging into the resort from the west is Maspalomas, famous for its photogenic giant sand dunes, which provide the backdrop for a magnificent beach shared by Playa del Inglés. Merging from the east is the quiet, relatively upmarket resort of San Agustín.

Beach:

Stretching for some 4km (2.5 miles) and backed by the Sahara-like Maspalomas dunes, the fine white sands of Playa del Inglés faces east whereas the Playa de Maspalomas faces south. Together this stretch is regarded as the most beautiful beach on the island. It is informally divided into distinct areas for families and children, nudists and gays. Watersports include parasailing, jet-skiing, waterskiing, and rides on speedboats and inflatables.

Beyond the beach:

There are three first-class golf courses close by. At neighbouring Maspalomas, the long-established Campo de Golf de Maspalomas is actually surrounded by the dunes, which makes a round here a unique experience. It has hosted several international events. Just outside the resort, Salobre Golf and Meloneras Golf are relative newcomers, each enjoying a splendid, typical Gran Canaria setting among ravines and volcanic landscapes. A camel trek, particularly at sunset, is a great way to see the magnificent dunes. At Rancho Park (on the road to Palmitos Park), riding lessons and trekking tours can be arranged.

Family fun:

Aqualand (also known as Aquasur) is the biggest water park in the Canary Islands, boasting around 50 slides, flumes, rides and attractions including children’s and adults’ swimming pools and mini-golf. It is located 3km (2 miles) north of Playa del Inglés, on the Carretera Palmitos Parque. Holiday World (Avenida Touroperador Tui, Maspalomas) is a large amusement park complex with fairground rides, 10-pin bowling, bars, restaurants, two nightclubs, gym and spa. Another water park, Ocean Park, is situated very close by at Urbanización Campo Internacional. It offers 15 different slides, several swimming pools and a large wave pool.

Exploring further:

The south’s most visited family attraction, Palmitos Park (www.palmitospark.es) lies 10km (6 miles) northwest of Playa del Inglés. Set in a verdant valley, this beautifully landscaped oasis features 150 species of birds, a gibbon island, an aquarium, a butterfly house, a cacti garden, an orchid house, crocodiles and more. Sioux City (in San Agustín) is a very popular re-creation of the American Wild West complete with gunfights, bank robberies sheriffs, saloon gals, Can-Can dancers, barbecues, and Country and Western music. The Gran Karting Club (in Tajaralillo) features the largest go-karting track in Spain and was designed both for adults and children. Mini-karts cater for children from the age of five, there are mini-bikes for 10 year olds and a junior track for 12-16 year olds. Adults can race along at up to 80kph (50mph).

Splashing out:

Enjoy a gourmet meal in the Le Jardin restaurant at the Hotel Riu Grand Palace Maspalomas Oasis (www.riu.com). Japanese cuisine, Spanish specialities and ‘gourmet dinners’ are served on alternate days. Visit the casino inside the Meliá Tamarindos Hotel at San Agustín. Even if your numbers or cards don’t turn up trumps, there is a dinner show and cabaret to enjoy. For the thrill of a lifetime take a 20-minute flight over the Maspalomas dunes then sky dive (in tandem with an instructor!).