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The resort of Maspalomas is the more sedate and upmarket neighbour of Playa del Ingles

Just five minutes to the east of Maspalomas is Playa del Ingles, literally "beach of the English", a purpose-built tourist resort, established in the late fifties.

It has grown into two square miles of self-catering accommodation, hotels, bars, restaurants, discos and nightclubs.

Playa del Ingles is very popular with the the British, Irish, Dutch, Germans and Scandinavians, particularly as they all try to escape the short, dark rainy days of our northern European winters.

Playa del Ingles has seven kilometres of sandy beach, offering watersports as well as sun-bathing and leads to the Maspalomas sand dunes further to the west.

A few more miles to the west, is the newer, growing resort of Puerto Rico at the very south of the island.

The beach here is at the mouth of a steep valley and is quite a sheltered sun-trap. It is loved by those who like their weather even hotter than the Canarian average.

This is a real fun resort, very popular with the British in particular.

If you are seeking a quieter, more secluded holiday, Playa Taurito, a little further west, fits the bill.

There is a frequent bus service to Puerto Rico and Playa del Ingles.

At the very western end of the south coast is the beautiful fishing village of Puerto Mogan, with its happy blend of old and modern buildings, all painted white.

The southern-Spanish style modern buildings, mostly two-storeys, with wrought-iron balconies, are grouped around a lovely yacht marina.

Puerto Mogan also has many paved pedestrian-only lanes with flowers cascading from overhead supports. It is a truly charming and beautiful little place.

The best way of arriving here is by boat from the busier resort of Puerto Rico.

The trip along the coast is stunning. It is my favourite memory of our holiday in the area.

In the north of Gran Canaria is the largest port in the Canary Islands.

This is the world-famous resort and duty-free port of Las Palmas, a favourite port- of-call for cruise ships over many years.

The harbour is on one side of a narrow peninsula and a beautiful sandy beach is on the other side.

Where better to escape our northern winters than Gran Canaria?