It's not hard to see why, nearly half a century ago, Maspalomas became Gran Canaria's first tourist town - the fine 6km beach is a huge draw in its own right. But despite luring travellers as an established resort for the last 40 years, time has not dulled the shine on this Canary Islands jewel, which has instead been enhanced by the passing decades.
With a transfer time of just half an hour from Gran Canaria Airport (LPA), Maspalomas holidays have all the ingredients for a great sunshine break. The climate of the Canary Islands offers year-round sunshine and the local welcome is as warm as the weather.
For those seeking relaxation, the massive beach stretches out almost as far as the eye can see, with lots of space for sunbathing and water sports such as windsurfing, snorkelling and parasailing. And away from the sun-baked shore, the town of Maspalomas is crammed with tempting venues offering everything from sleepy lunches with a quiet glass of wine and a bit of tapas to rowdy karaoke and pumping dance music.
Maspalomas has developed a real knack for making sure it can satisfy every need, but as always in Spain, family comes first. Children of any age will be welcomed at all restaurants, and the resort has a wealth of activities especially designed for youngsters. For grown ups, meanwhile, there are shopping arcades at every turn to complement the myriad pleasures described above.
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Just like the rest of the Canary Islands, Gran Canaria is one of the best short-haul destinations for year-round sunshine. Daytime winter temperatures rarely fall below 18C, and in summer you can expect an average of about 29C. Summer evenings are warm, but if you're visiting in winter make sure you bring a jacket for nights out.
International Football Tournament; January: Football fans won't be disappointed by this fantastic annual contest, which has been attracting big names since 1984. Teams such as Ajax, Galatasaray, Hertha Berlin and Bayer LeverKusen have all taken part.
Carnival; February: Like any large town in Spain, Maspalomas plays host to the biggest annual party on the Spanish calendar. Each carnival has its own unique stamp, but they all involve parade floats, fancy dress, dancing, eating and drinking until the small hours. And the good folk of Maspalomas always seem able to make their celebrations last for a whole week.
La Rama Festival; August: This ancient tradition, which harks back to the days of the Guanche people who inhabited the Canary Islands a long, long time ago, has to be seen to be believed. Take a 35-minute drive up to the village of Agaete and you will witness around 35,000 people parading to the sea holding green branches before they start thrashing them in the water. The Guanche believed this ceremony would ensure a fertile harvest for the coming year and much drinking and dancing can be expected.
Best of Maspalomas holidays for...
Relaxation: Whether it's floating about in a pool, lounging on the beach, or pampering yourself at one of the resort's several spas, Maspalomas is a fantastic place to unwind.
Shopping: The town is peppered with so many shopping arcades and boutiques, you're bound to find all the items on your list.
Nightlife: Lively bars and pulsating clubs keep the party going until the sun comes up.
Kids and teens: If you're looking for a family adventure, don't miss out on a bumpy camel ride over the rolling dunes.