Story and photos by Susan Melnyk
Sure, it’s sunny now, but winters in Germany can be cold and dreary. Fear not! Book early and you can score a cheap flight to Gran Canaria, Spain with RyanAir or another of Europe’s discount airlines.
For our trip, we booked our tickets through RyanAir’s website and packed light. We had planned our vacation for the off season (which tends to be September – October and March – June for Gran Canaria). During these times of year, the island is slightly less green due to the heat and lack of rain, but isn’t that exactly what you’re looking for after a wet German winter or spring?! We found our hotel online at Government Employees Travel, but you can also find great, affordable places to stay by checking out this article (click here).
Packing light for a beach vacation is relatively easy and necessary when trying to save money by flying with RyanAir. Tickets are cheap but baggage fees can really add up, so pack smart! We purchased sunscreen and beach towels once we’d arrived in Spain and kept our souvenir shopping to a minimum.
We had rented a car online as well, as we wanted to explore the island, but this isn’t necessary if you plan to stay near your hotel and the beach. We also found that most hotels had cars to rent by the day and the fees were quite reasonable, so this is a great option if you want to venture beyond the hotel zone.
Exploring the inland, where most of the local population lives, is a real treat! Try to find out which days the local markets run and be sure to show up hungry! We ate pastries and marinated kalamata olives by the handful as we drove through the hills.
Some of the roads are incredibly narrow and you’ll share them with motorbikes, pedestrians, cars and buses, so go slow and be careful. We promise that the harrowing journey to the center of the island is worth it, whether you plan to hike the volcanoes or watch the locals shop at the weekly market.
The people were friendly, the food was fantastic and the beaches were warm and inviting. Grab some ceviche and a mojito and watch the sun set on Gran Canaria!
Tip of the day!
If you make the trip, be sure to get dinner reservations at Minanas in the town of Puerto Rico on Gran Canaria. The name means “my grandmother’s” and the two brother’s that run it (one of which is a former professional salsa dancer) are characters! Of all the places we ate while stationed in Europe, this was the best by far! Order the lamb shoulder (must be ordered a day in advance as it is slow roasted) and you will be dreaming of it long after your vacation ends. Seriously!! Don’t go to Gran Canaria without eating at Minanas! Click here for more details.