With an area of 1560.1 km², Gran Canaria is the third largest of the Canary Islands, an autonomous community in Spain, after Tenerife and Fuerteventura. The approximately circular island has a diameter of about 50 kilometers and a coast length of about 236 kilometers. Measured by the population, Gran Canaria is the second largest island in the Canary Islands after Tenerife. The capital is Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. In 2008, the island had 829,597 inhabitants.
Like all islands of the archipelago also this is of volcanic origin. The highest elevation in the center of the isle is the 1949 meter high, extinct volcano Pico de las Nieves. The landmark of Gran Canaria is the 1813 meter high Roque Nublo.
Due to its climatic and geographic diversity, as well as its different flora and fauna, Gran Canaria is also described as a “miniature continent”. The island has 14 microclimates. From the mountainous island of the island, many dry valleys, so-called Barrancos, lead to the coast. In the rare rainfall, which can then be quite productive, the Barrancos are filled to partial torrents.