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World Travel Guide > Guides > Europe > Spain > Canary Islands > Maspalomas Beach

About Maspalomas Beach

Sunny southern Maspalomas is famous for its photogenic giant sand dunes, which provide the backdrop for a magnificent beach. The resort was created by package-tour operators and in recognition of this its streets are named after them. Although it is not large, it lacks a focus and comprises a number of discrete small low-rise developments. The latest of these, Meloneras, to the west, is a quiet away-from-it-all upmarket enclave that contrasts with the more hedonistic eastern side, which merges with Playa del Inglés.

Beach:

Stretching for around 2km (1.2 miles) and backed by Sahara-like dunes, the fine white-sand Playa de Maspalomas is regarded as the most beautiful beach on the island. It is informally divided into distinct areas for families and children, nudists and gays. The areas where the sun loungers are located can get very busy. The south-facing Playa de Maspalomas adjoins the east-facing Playa del Inglés at the Punta de Maspalomas. At the western end of Playa de Maspalomas is La Charca lagoon and Faro de Maspalomas. Farther west beyond this is the rocky Playa de las Mujeres, good for surfing and windsurfing. Next is Playa Las Meloneras, a long coarse sand-and-pebble beach. Watersports in Maspalomas include parasailing, jet-skiing, water-skiing, plus rides on speedboats and inflatables.

Beyond the beach:

There are three golf courses at 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 is a newcomer, also enjoying a splendid, typical Gran Canaria setting among ravines and volcanic landscapes. Likewise, Meloneras Golf is a new kid on the golfing block, providing an ever-increasing challenge along its sea-view fairways.

A camel trek, particularly at sunset, is a great way to see the magnificent dunes. The camel drivers pitch their tent next to the landmark Faro (at 56m/183ft the tallest lighthouse in the Canary Islands). Also here is La Charca, a sea-water lagoon bordered with palm trees. Providing a literal oasis amid the dunes, it hosts many species of nesting and migratory birds. At Rancho Park, near Playa del Inglés, riding lessons and trekking tours can be arranged. Family attractions include two water parks and an amusement park.

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 Maspalomas on the Carretera Palmitos Parque. Holiday World (Avenida Touroperador Tui) is a large amusement park 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 popular family attraction, Palmitos Park (www.palmitospark.es) lies 10km (6 miles) northwest of Maspalomas. 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.

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. Or for the thrill of a lifetime take a 20-minute flight over the Maspalomas dunes then sky dive (in tandem with an instructor!). Contact Skydive Gran Canaria (where the dunes begin).