Gran Canaria Carnival: Useful Tips to Enjoy It

The Gran Canaria Carnival is a huge celebration that comes to the island every year during the winter months. Between January and March, each town hosts its own carnival celebrations lasting between one weekend to three weeks! The largest of these are the Las Palmas Carnival and Maspalomas Carnival. Combined with the celebrations on neighbouring island, Tenerife, the Canary Islands are thought to host Europe’s best carnival celebrations. Not to mention, second best in the world, coming a close second behind Rio de Janeiro Carnival. In fact, the Carnival in Gran Canaria has been a tradition for many years before the carnival in Rio started. The Gran Canaria Carnival is thought to be one of the oldest carnival celebrations in the world.

If you are planning to visit Gran Canaria during carnival, there is great news. The carnival is probably the most easily accessible in the world. Many of the celebrations take place in the open streets of the city and is open to all. Not sure what to expect or when to come? No problem, here we give you all the information you need to enjoy the Gran Canaria Carnival.

Gran Canaria Carnival: 5 Reasons Why it is the Best in the World

First, we share with you the top five reasons why the Gran Canaria Carnival is the best in the world:

  1. Perfect weather: Although the carnival takes place in winter, the island of Gran Canaria still enjoys average temperatures of 18˚C. Meaning you won’t get too hot or too cold during the celebrations.
  2. Wide Variety of Parties: There is something for everyone, ranging from children’s carnivals, shows on the main stage and lively street parties. 
  3. Cheapest Carnival in the World: Many of the carnival celebrations do not require a ticket and takes place in the street. This means it is one of the only free carnivals in the world! Not to mention, drink prices in Gran Canaria, as in the rest of Spain, are cheap. The prices don’t tend to increase for carnival.
  4. Minutes from the Beach: Both the carnival in Las Palmas and Maspalomas are right by the beach. So, you can combine your carnival celebrations with a relaxing beach holiday.
  5. Easy to take part in the carnival: You can do more than just watch the parade, you can take part! There are a few ways you can do this. First, most people dress up. There is a theme each year and many people make their own costume based on the theme. You can also walk or dance alongside the carnival buses. Or, if you prefer, you can pay to go on a carnival bus during the parade. Read on below for more information. 

Gran Canaria Carnival Schedule

Generally, if you are looking to come to Gran Canaria for carnival. The main events of the Las Palmas Carnival takes place the weekends either side of Ash Wednesday. The Maspalomas carnival dates change year to year. The Gran Canaria Carnival 2019 dates are as follows:

  • Las Palmas Carnival 2019 dates: 22nd February to 10th March. The theme will be ‘Una noche en Rio’ (A night in Rio)
  • Maspalomas Carnival 2019 dates: 14th to 24th March. The Theme of ‘La Luna’ (The Moon) in recognition of the 50-year anniversary of man first landing on the moon.


Highlights of Las Palmas Carnival

If you are planning to attend the Las Palmas Carnival, there is a lot happening and it can be difficult to know where to go. Here we give you a run-down of the best events that you do not want to miss:

·         Day Carnival Vegueta (Carnaval de Día en Vegueta)

WHAT: The streets of Vagueta burst with locals and tourists dressed in a range of fancy dress costumes.

WHERE: Vegueta, Las Palmas historic town centre

WHEN: Saturday before Ash Wednesday, from 12pm

COST: FREE

 

·         Traditional Carnival (El Carnaval de Los Indianos)

WHAT: Everyone dresses in traditional white clothes for a mass talcum powder fight (TIP: wear glasses, the powder gets everywhere, and it can be uncomfortable if it gets in your eyes!)

WHERE: Vegueta and Triana districts

WHEN: Monday before Ash Wednesday, from 7pm

COST: FREE

 

·         Drag Queen Gala

WHAT: The most high-profile and famous event of the carnival.

WHERE: Takes place on the main stage at Santa Catalina.

WHEN: Monday before Ash Wednesday, from 9pm

COST: Tickets needed for this event. Tickets can be bought from Santa Catalina ticket office approx. one week before event. The tickets cost between €10-€15. This is a popular event so tickets tend to sell out fast.

 

·         Great Carnival Parade (Gran Cabalgata)

WHAT: This is the largest event of Las Palmas Carnival. A huge parade of over 100 buses and floats are accompanied by over 200,000 people. The parade is led by the crowning Queen, Drag Queen, Great Lady and Junior Queen. They are followed by drumming troupes creating a carnival party atmosphere.

WHERE: The parade leaves from Vegueta and makes its way to Isleta. The procession passes the length of Calle León y Castillo before passing through Santa Catalina Park and onto Isleta. The whole procession takes approximately 4 hours.

WHEN: Saturday after Ash Wednesday, from 5pm

COST: FREE

 

·         The Burial of the Sardine (Entierro de la sardine)

WHAT: This is the final event of the carnival. It is procession of people and music bands leading a giant model sardine. Many people wear black dresses and veils to mourn the end of the carnival. Once the sardine reaches the beach it is pushed out to sea and set alight. A magnificent fireworks display begins to mark the end of the carnival.

WHERE: The parade leaves from Pueblo Canario and finishes the northern-end of Las Canteras beach.

WHEN: Sunday after Ash Wednesday, from 6pm (fireworks at 9pm)

COST: FREE

 

Times and dates can vary slightly year-to-year. For the most accurate schedule look on the official website. The full schedule is usually released in December.

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