Rather sceptically I decided to venture to Gran Canaria for a bit of winter sun. I'm a bit of a fan of getting back to nature on holidays, experiencing a bit of culture, discovering the history of a place, you know what I'm talking about. So I hadn't heard much about Gran Canaria, or indeed any of the Canary Islands, that seemed attractive to me. Much internet research took place before I committed to booking the week long break. Even though I selected Puerto de Mogan very carefully, scanning all images online and reading every possible travel blog and review site, I was still sure that I would find a built up, ugly resort and a black sand beach full of English people roasting themselves by day and scoffing McDonald's by night. I'm English so I feel I'm allowed to make such a sweeping generalisation.
Puerto de Mogan could not be further from the concrete and culture-free Canaries that I had conjured up and filed away in my "never going there" holiday scrap book. However, it was fortunate for me that we arrived and drove through the rest of Gran Canaria at night - on the way back to the airport after a week in heavenly and delightful Mogan, I saw exactly the kinds of resorts that I had dreaded. But that's another blog-post.
Back to Puerto de Mogan. We stayed in a huge complex of apartments built into the side of the valley. We had everything we could possibly need in our self catering apartment, including peace and quiet, views, and a touch of luxury. Check them out here. The town itself was a charming and unique little place, with a modern harbour and colonial style painted buildings and bridges that would have been tacky anywhere else. The relaxing atmosphere and beautiful beach, sea, and sunny weather made us forget about everything back in icy Britain. For a completely chilled out break, I recommend a few days sunning, eating and drinking on the seafront in Puerto de Mogan.
So, things to do. Aside from enjoying and indulging in Doing Nothing, there seemed to be loads of water sports / boat trips / fishing type excursions going on. The white sandy beach and swimming bay are really beautiful, if a little crowded. The sand is imported from the Sahara apparently! There are lots of cafes and bars for coffees, drinks and ice creams. We also went for an amazing walk up the side of the valley opposite the apartments. Many people, including some locals, did the same first thing in the morning before it got too hot but the paths weren't at all signposted or advertised (in fact, there was one sign saying private and no entry, but everyone was ignoring it so we followed suit). One crazy woman ventured off the track for a little "run" up a near vertical path - more like a stagger or climb but her leg muscles must have been like rocks afterwards! Once over the top of the mountain we had the most incredible views of lush greenery against red rock. The flowers and cacti dotted around the edges of the cliffs and roadside were so beautiful. The best thing, however, was the breathtaking view of the bright blue sea for miles around and the absolute silence and isolation. It was bizarre that ten minutes walk from Mogan could take you to an idyllic haven with no trace of civilisation. We walked on much farther than most other people out for a stroll and would have gone on to the next resort quite easily if we had taken some food and water with us :-).
That leads me to the best part of the holiday - the food. The restaurants and food in Puerto de Mogan were fantastic. I did not have a single bad (or even slightly poor) meal during the whole week - even the supermarket food is good there! If you don't want to take my word for it, see my restaurant diary blogs for photos and links.