My legs pedal as the breathtaking view of the beach unfolds to my left and rocky mountains to my right.
With one last puff and puff, I reach the top of the hill. A second later, I’m flying down the descent, my wheels spinning freely.
I’m in Gran Canaria enjoying the beautiful winter sun of Spain.
Biking on the sand might not be what you would expect from a trip to the island, better known for its fly-and-flop breaks.
But the steep hills make it a popular training ground for keen cyclists, and British superstar Chris Froome reveals on Instagram that he’s training on the same roads my husband and I ride this weekend.
I squint at the cyclist rushing past me and hope against hope it could be the four-time Tour de France winner. But I’m disappointed because the curly hair under the helmet shows it’s not the champion. Oh well.
A four hour easyJet flight from Gatwick brought me to this Spanish island. While it may be a favorite for cyclists, it’s also the perfect spot for families to play with their little ones and empty nesters to enjoy lazy days.
We spend our first day cycling with Free Motion, a rental company that can set you up with a bike from £25 a day.
For a bit more you can join them on a tour – from £20 – and our lycra clad peloton will race down the coast road in search of a coffee break.
Departing from the Seaside Sandy Beach Hotel in Playa del Ingles, we are treated to the beautiful scenery of the island on a journey powered only by our legs.
There are different types of tour groups, from the more advanced road cyclists looking to trek 100km, to the ‘hobby’ groups willing to tackle more manageable 60kms.
Mountain bikes and e-bikes can also be rented, and there are tours for these riders too. Free Motion seems to be popping up at every big hotel, ready to get you on a bike.
But if cycling isn’t your style (or you just need a day off cycling), there’s plenty more to do.
The Gloria Palace San Agustín Thalasso Hotel in Las Palmas has undergone an almost total renovation during its forced closure at the height of the Covid pandemic to boast sparkling pools and stunning views of the beach below.
The main attraction of this hotel is the thalassotherapy. Designed to cleanse, soften and soothe your body, the saline pools at the island’s largest treatment center are open to guests and visitors alike.
This, combined with a dinner at the gorgeous Gorbea Restaurant on the top floor of the towering hotel, makes for a day in luxury. But we were just as happy at our second home for the week – the 4H Hotel Cordial in Puerto de Mogan.
Set in a dramatic landscape of towering cliffs and beautiful botanical gardens of cactus and palm trees, it is also just a ten minute walk from the stunning beach. The hotel has three beautiful pools, four bars, four restaurants, spa treatments, tennis courts, and a kids’ club.
There’s even an archaeological site on the premises for you to explore. As a family-friendly hotel, it is the perfect starting point for exploring the south of the island. But you can also simply lie down and soak up the sun.
After checking the weather forecast for the weekend and being disappointed with the predicted 8°C and expected rain, I was stunned to see the sun shone cheerfully each day.
It turns out that the south side of the island has its own microclimate. It is almost always sunny and mild, although occasionally windy. Meanwhile, it’s the north and mountain peaks that can be blasted by rain clouds and cooler temperatures.
My only regret was not bringing enough shorts to take advantage of all that incredible sunshine.
GO: GRAN CANARIA
ARRIVAL/STAY: Seven nights B&B accommodation at the 4H Cordial Mogan Playa Hotel is from £505 per person including flights from Birmingham on 30th April. Flights from East Midlands and Stansted are also available. See www.jet2holidays.com.
FROM & ABOUT: Free Motion offers bike and e-bike rentals and tours. For details see free-motion.com/gran-canaria. Thalassotherapy at Gloria Palace San Agustín costs from £25 per person.
For more details see gloriapalaceth.com/en/hotels.
https://www.thesun.ie/travel/8527774/spanish-island-gran-canaria-two-wheels/ Discover the wonders of the Spanish island of Gran Canaria on two wheels and soak up the sun