The Finnish winter is long, dark, and cold, so it’s no wonder that many Finns dream of escaping it to a warmer place, even just for a week or two. For over 50 years one the most popular destinations has been the Canary Islands.
Within the EU it’s hard to find a better place climate-wise during the winter months of January and February. The temperature is around 18-20 degrees celsius, there’s lots of sunshine, and you can still swim in the sea. The flight from Helsinki takes only about six hours, which is peanuts compared to Southeast Asia or California.
Of the seven main islands, Gran Canaria has been especially popular, with over 150 000 Finns visiting it each year. That’s probably one of the reasons I’ve avoided Gran Canaria for so many years. I’ve also had the misconception that the Canary Islands would be a bit too shabby, which is probably based on stories I’ve heard from people who visited the islands in the 1980’s (but not later).
In any case, Gran Canaria was a hugely positive experience for me. Clean, warm, and welcoming. Most of the time I spent in the capital city of Las Palmas, which is not some tiny place, but instead a vibrant city with a lot to offer both in terms of culture and activities.
I highly recommend that you rent a car (e.g. from CICAR) for a couple of days to explore the island. There’s a lot of interesting places to visit and you should definitely check out some idyllic villages (like Teror and Agaete) and visit Pico de las Nieves, which is the second highest volcanic peak of the island with a height of of 1 949 metres above sea level.
If you need to work during your stay in Las Palmas, I recommend you try out some of the co-working spaces on offer. I spent quite a few days at Coworking Canary Islands (CWC) and found it to be nice with fast and stable internet connection and a good vibe.
Below a selection of my favorite shots from Gran Canaria.