When I first arrived to Gran Canaria, I was disappointed. Furthermore, I felt embarrassed of being Norwegian. But luckily the trip turned out for the better.
Looking for Scandinavian tourists? Then Gran Canaria is the place. The Scandinavians have taken over the whole coast area of the island. The beaches a full of red sunburned Scandinavians, looking like lobsters. Many with big bellies they have gotten after many lazy days, and eating and drinking too much. Because, that is why Scandinavians travel to this place. For drink, party, be drunk, and eat well. And of course, laying day after day on the beach.
Furthermore, if you are Scandinavian you do not need to know a word English or Spanish to survive on the island. All the menus on the restaurants are to be found in Norwegian, Swedish and Danish. The waiters usually also talk the three Scandinavian languages. So do the people selling in the stores.
I understand that this is a place that is seen as a safe travelling destination for people that do not speak any other languages than their Scandinavian mother tongue. Being a Scandinavian you do not need to get out of your comfort zone by travelling to Gran Canaria. As it is almost like being at home. Just with warmer weather, and beaches that can be used the whole year around.
All of this do not make me proud of being Norwegian. However, what really made me feel bad was when I observed a Norwegian lady that started shouting angry at a counter in a store because he could not talk Norwegian. How can you possibly expect that people should talk your language, when you travel to a foreign destination? And in my opinion, the Scandinavians actions and attitude on the island, have turned it into something that looks like a Scandinavian colony. Sadly, Gran Canaria, is not the only place which is like this. It is the same in the other Canarian Islands. Some places in mainland Spain is also occupied of Norwegians. And I also witnessed the same in Crete.
That being said, travelling for me is about experiencing new cultures. Not being in a place, where everything is just like back home in Norway. However, luckily I got to experience some of the Spanish Gran Canarian culture on this trip as well.
If you take a trip up in the mountains of Gran Canaria, away from the touristic beaches, you will get a pleasant surprise. Here you will not find yourself surrounded by red sunburned Scandinavians, but green nature, and beautiful small local villages. You will observe the local people that live up in the mountains sitting outside their houses taking a break playing card or chess. Others you will see working hard with agriculture. There are also many small local restaurants, where you can really enjoy and eat local food. Not just hamburgers and pizza, which you will find down with the coast. This amazing trip up the mountain, made the whole week on Gran Canaria worth it!
Scandinavians are not the only people that invade places and countries due to tourism. Have you ever visited or know about a place, which look like a “colony” due to that it is invaded of tourists from one specific group or country?