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One of the first places in Spain to welcome international tourists (starting in 1962), Maspalomas remains a beach resort with all the trappings. It's somewhat incongruously backed by empty sand dunes that resemble the Sahara—despite beachfront overdevelopment in the town—and retains appealing stretches of isolated beach on the outskirts, as well as a bird sanctuary. Much of the area
around the dunes is a protected nature reserve.
This part of the island has the most interesting geography: a drive up the winding mountain roads to the top and then down the other side takes...