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Going Local in Gran Canaria: How to Turn a Holiday Destination Into a Home

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Whether you’re visiting Gran Canaria courtesy of picking up a last-minute bargain break or planning to relocate there, Going Local in Gran Canaria is the book for you.

Covering everything from places to see on your holiday to property advice and career opportunities, Going Local is much more than a travel guide. New residents will be delighted by its accessible, humorous style and the inside scoop on what’s hot and what’s not, coming from British journalist and resident of eight years, Matthew Hirtes.

“Matthew Hirtes probably knows more about Gran Canaria than many who were born there. Going Local is an engaging and authoritative guide for visitors and new residents alike.”
Louise Parkin, editor Living Spain magazine

“Going Local in Gran Canaria takes us through the background, history, culture, traditions and people at a steady canter that leaves you much better informed than when you started the book, and with a desire to visit and experience the pleasures and attractions yourself. Clearly, there is something for everyone: both in the book and in Gran Canaria.”
Chris Marshall, Telegraph Expat columnist and blogger at Almerimarlife.com

“With a rare depth of insight, Matthew weaves his personal experiences through an engaging narrative to show us a different face to Gran Canaria."
Andrea and Jack Montgomery author of Going Native in Tenerife

“An extraordinarily honest, detailed, colourfully-written guide that both informs and entertains. Highly recommended.”
Victoria Twead, author of Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools, Two Old Fools - Olé! and Mouth-Watering Spanish Recipes.

244 pages, Paperback

First published March 7, 2012

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Matthew Hirtes

2 books1 follower

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Displaying 1 - 7 of 7 reviews
Profile Image for Maggie Myklebust.
Author 1 book10 followers
October 1, 2012
'Going Local in Gran Canaria' is the type of book that would become dog-eared in a traveler's backpack or read feverishly by an expat moving to the island. It truly is a book that has something for everyone establishing residence or simply visiting. Matthew Hirtes manages to cover everything from starting a business and getting a mortgage to which restaurant to visit on a Saturday night, and how to get there.

The book is peppered with enjoyable stories that others have shared with the author of their personal experiences on the island. It really adds a sense of the island becoming a home, not just a vacation destination. Useful phone numbers, addresses, and websites are included, and are all details that visitors and expats to Gran Canaria so desperately need.

Cover to cover, 'Going Local' is chock-full of everything you need to get started. Hirtes is very effective at taking his vast knowledge of the island and putting it on paper for everyone to enjoy. The first thought I had after reading it was hopping on the next flight, book in hand, to experience everything this wonderful island has to offer.
Profile Image for Jack Scott.
Author 5 books64 followers
February 8, 2016
Going Local in Gran Canaria is the definitive guide for visitors and expats alike, covering all aspects of life in this semi-tropical Atlantic semi-paradise. The book is packed to the rafters with well-researched facts and fun, sites and scenes, eats and treats, must-dos and don't-dos, both on and off the well-beaten track. The entire package is delivered in a witty and erudite style from someone in the know, as is to be expected from a seasoned journalist of Matthew Hirtes' calibre. Amusing anecdotes weave through the book. I particularly like the notion that nasty General Franco exiled gay soldiers to the island which may explain Gran Canaria's perennial appeal to the gay community. I've been a regular visitor for over 25 years so maybe there's some truth in this fanciful tale. Whether dipping in for a hint or two or reading cover-to-cover, this book should be in everyone's Canarian suitcase.
Profile Image for Alan Parks.
Author 14 books261 followers
May 19, 2014
A very thorough look at life in Gran Canaria, both as an expat living there, and for a tourist only there for a short stay. Matthew has included contacts for surfing lessons to Spanish conversation and the only thing he seems to have decided to exclude has been the contact details for the local veteran’s football team, and that is only due to Matthew’s already limited playing time. I completely understand having not been able to find a place to participate in my local area.
I have never visited Gran Canaria myself but I would consider this to be the ultimate guide, for anybody wanting to move to this tropical paradise, or even just do more than bask in the sun during the annual two week holiday.
Profile Image for Linda Parkinson-Hardman.
Author 21 books34 followers
October 11, 2012
I love to read the tales of travellers, whether they live in the country or are just passing through, but with one caveat, I like my travel guide to be inspirational and to inspire me to want to try it for myself and this certainly does just that. Matthew breaks down the Island perfectly, and looks at what you can do as a short break tourist or someone who is planning to spend the rest of their life there. What he demonstrates is that there is literally ‘something for everyone’ on Gran Canaria.

I love to find out about the places the locals go to, you know the ones the tourists don’t get told about; it makes me feel rather special as I sit and drink whatever local hooch happens to be thinking to myself ‘they must all think I live here too‘. It makes me feel I have gained brownie points because I made the effort. In my humble opinion, travel guides should always strive to do this because let’s face it, every website will tell you what tourist traps you should be visiting; but it takes someone dedicated and passionate about a place to show the side that they fell in love with.

As well as this priceless information, you get the bonus of a whole raft of things you might want if you are thinking about living there and the practicalities of being in a foreign country. Just because you’ve been to the canaries before, don’t assume you already ‘know it all’, I’ll guarantee that after reading this book, you’ll realise you didn’t know Gran Canaria half as well as you thought!
2 reviews7 followers
August 20, 2013
I used to be an avid addict of guide books, until I stopped travelling, so I have read more than a few. Consequently, it was a breath of fresh air to read a guide book that delivers so much more than the average.
The fact that Matthew Hirtes is married to a lady from Gran Canaria gives the book an authentic flavour and an insider’s view, which is rarely found and that, together with evocative photographs and mini stories about the island from guest contributors, give “Going Local in Gran Canaria” a multi dimensional feel making it stand head and shoulders above other books of its genre.
The reader can find out everything they wish to know about the island but not in a boring and bland way. As “Going Local in Gran Canaria’ took me on a tour around the island I felt as if I were in a black taxi cab in London, with the friendly cabbie acting as a tourist guide, explaining where I was and what I was looking at and all mixed with a special dry wit which made me smile and even laugh out loud at times. I can enthusiastically recommend this excellent guide book to Gran Canaria, which is thoroughly deserving of a place on the book shelf for those who are living there, those who have been there and who might want to go in the future.
Profile Image for Jae.
Author 2 books8 followers
June 5, 2013
Being totally unfamiliar with the Canary Islands and thinking I might give one of them a shot for next year's holiday, I came across this gem of a book, which has inspired me to put Gran Canaria on my list of must-dos. Now, I'm not aiming to set up home over there, but what I wanted was a guide that would get under the skin of the place - not just a picture book with a few sightseeing hints - and this does exactly that. More than that, the author's comfortable, confident voice means it's like sitting down with a friend who has all the expert information and advice you would ever want about the island, its people, culture, history and all the little quirks and practicalities that make visiting or living in a place that much more special. I loved that the author includes anecdotes and fascinating facts for their own sake, which made it all real. Maybe I don't even need to visit now, so clear is it in my mind - or maybe I should move there as it does seem a brilliant place to live! Seriously, though, if you did want to set up home over there, this would be your one-stop shop for all things expat. Enjoyable, informative and a lovely, fluent writing style - good stuff.
Profile Image for Paul Read.
Author 28 books22 followers
August 19, 2013
Having lived on the Spanish mainland for the last 18 years, you get to know when someone writes about your country from a point of fleeting interest, and when someone writes about it from a perspective of depth and insight. Mathew clearly belongs in the latter camp where he has not only written a unique guide to this fascinating island in the Canaries, but he has written it with an authentic voice.

For lets face it, these days facts and listings about any location can be downloaded from umpteen web sites for free. But if you want to know more than just a phone number or address, if you want to know 'why' rather than just 'what'...then you need to ask someone who knows. And Matthew Hirtes is just that man.

This guide book does just what a good guide book should do: Inform, explain, entertain, and in the very best of cases - as with Going Local In Gran Canaria - even inspire.

More on Culture, History and Food of Spain: http://www.speakingofspain.com
Displaying 1 - 7 of 7 reviews

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