Gran Canaria is the second largest island in the Canaries, with a population of just under 840,000.
It has the second largest population of all the islands in the archipelago and makes up for around 40% of the entire population of the Canaries.
The island was born as a result of volcanic eruptions that are believed to have taken place around 10 million years ago. Many of Gran Canaria's fellow islands in the Canaries are also believed to be the result of solidified lava streams during the volcanic eruptions.
The first inhabitants of Gran Canaria were the Guanches, around 2,500 years ago. For many years, European countries including France and Portugal attempted to claim Gran Canaria through regular conquests and incursions, until the island was finally conquered in 1483 by Queen Isabella I. She supported a five year campaign by the Crown of Castile, conquering Gran Canaria and ultimately contributing towards a unified Spain.
The climate in Gran Canaria is what often attracts the vast amount of tourists every year, with peak temperatures reaching just over 27 degrees on average during the summer months. However, the climate varies with the landscape throughout the island, which is why Gran Canaria is often known as the Miniature Continent. The west side of the island is particularly mountainous, the east side is flat with plenty of beaches.
Gran Canaria is an island that is protected by the Canary Islands Network for Naturally Protected Areas. There are around 146 protected sites scattered across the Canary Islands and Gran Canaria possesses 33 of these. The protected areas of land in Gran Canaria include nature reserves, nature parks, natural monuments and landscapes.
The island receives around 2 million tourists from across Europe every year. Most arrive in the summer to experience the warm temperatures of the south, whilst the northern parts of the island are not visited as much.