Le Canary Islands are an absolutely extraordinary archipelago so beautiful to visit, especially in the cold winter months: indeed it is a part of Spain, but geographically it is much closer to the Marocco.
There are eight large islands that make up the Canary Islands, with Gran Canaria which is one of the largest. This makes it quite an interesting island to explore and you can easily spend seven days (or more) without ever getting bored.
Gran Canaria, the third largest island in the Canary Islands, is a destination suitable for all types of travelers: incredible, but true here you will find a real little continent in miniature made up of fabulous beaches, high mountains, deserts, canyons, volcanic craters, dense forests, remote villages and large cities.
Below I will advise you what to see in Gran Canaria trying to describe the varied beauty of an island that never gets boring thanks to its multifaceted nature and an always mild climate that makes it a perfect destination all year round.
- Useful Information
- 1 - Las Palmas
- 2 - Vegueta
- 3 - The Canarian Museum
- 4 - The Christopher Columbus House Museum
- 5 - Elder Museum of Science and Technology
- 6 – Auditorium Alfredo Kraus
- 7 - Las Canteras Beach
- 8 - Canary Garden
- 9 - Bandama Caldera
- 10 - Bufadero de la Garita
- 11 - Maspalomas
- 12 - Maspalomas Dunes
- 13 - Maspalomas Lighthouse
- 14 - Playa del Inglés
- 15 - Mogan Beach
- 16 - Arguineguín
- 17 – Aguimes
- 18 - Barranco de Guayadeque
- 19 - Arucas
- 20 – Fataga
- 21 – Galdar
- 22 - Parco Archeologico di Cueva Pintada
- 23 – Terror
- 24 - Tejeda
- 25 - Picos de las Nieves and Roque Nublo
- 26 – Telde
- 27 - The theme parks of Gran Canaria
Useful information for visiting Gran Canaria
Before starting the guide, I want to leave you a couple of useful information to organize your stay and to visit Gran Canaria in the best way.
Il best time to visit Gran Canaria is all year round.
Average temperatures are constant between 20 and 25 degrees in any season. But, there is a but, I advise you to avoid the high season (winter and cold months in Europe) to avoid the periods with greater turnout and higher prices. Same thing for the holiday periods (Christmas, but also Easter).
Summer, on the other hand, for Gran Canaria is considered a mid-season period, while Spring is low season.
The climate is mild and, as I said, the average temperatures are constant around 20 °, but if you intend to go trekking at high altitude, do not forget to bring appropriate clothing with you because the temperatures drop and the wind is cold.
The best way to explore Gran Canaria is with a car: in this way you can move freely anywhere on the island.
Il car rent and also very convenient, you will not spend much. We took the car through Rentalcars at Las Palmas airport and we kept it for all the days we were there: if I went back I would do the same.
Il car rental in general in the Canary Islands it is very convenient: you can have your car for 20 euros a day, even less, depending on the islands.
The car will allow you to move independently and I assure you that it is really worth it!
However, if your intention is only to spend a week in the sun without moving here and there, but you still need to reach the hotel from the airport, I recommend this transfer at a good price and which reflects all the COVID-19 rules.
1 - Las Palmas
I want to start this guide on what to see in Gran Canaria from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, the capital of the island.
It is a lively city with a rich artistic heritage where I recommend you spend at least one day.
FREE TOUR OF LAS PALMAS
For an interesting first approach to Las Palmas I recommend this free tour of Civitatis (in English) , a good way to start orienting yourself!
If, on the other hand, you want a tour (always FREE) but a little more “particular, you can check out THIS TOUR of the contrasts of Las Palmas.
Las Palmas was founded in 1478 and still retains traces of its colonial past: walking you will notice the cobbled streets, the squares overlooked by characteristic wooden balconies and among the various houses you will surely see colorful inner courtyards.
The capital of Gran Canaria, thanks to its location and connections, is an excellent base to sleep in to explore the island. There are also some beautiful beaches in the surrounding area.
But let's see in detail what you absolutely must see in Las Palmas and its surroundings.
2 - Vegueta
Vegueta is the historic center of Las Palmas and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1990.
I recommend that you indulge in an aimless walk, enjoying the life that flows calmly and unhurriedly in this part of the city. Stop at one of the many bars in the neighborhood to enjoy a couple of tapas or lose yourself in the colors and scents of the market.
Reach Piazza Santa Ana, visit the Cathedral and, if you are interested in history and art, remember that in the center of Las Palmas there are some of the most interesting museums on the island.
3 - The Canarian Museum
This museum houses an interesting collection that traces the history and customs of the Guanche civilization, the aboriginal population of the archipelago.
Through the rooms of the Canary Museum that collect mummies, pottery, statues and various other artifacts you will get to know more about the pre - Hispanic world of the Canary Islands.
4 - The Christopher Columbus House Museum
The ancient building in which this museum is housed is probably the same one that hosted Christopher Columbus during his stopover on the island.
The museum itinerary tells the story of the Genoese explorer, but also the close link between the Canaries and America.
Inside you can see a faithful reproduction of the cabin of the Niña caravel.
5 - Elder Museum of Science and Technology
In Las Palmas, outside the Vegueta district, there is another particularly interesting museum. This is the Elder Museum of Science and Technology.
This is the right place to spend a few hours with the children: the whole path, in fact, is interactive and will entertain young and old. Inside you can see models of ships and steam locomotives, a fighter plane and even a space rocket.
6 – Auditorium Alfredo Kraus
THEAuditorium Alfredo Kraus it houses several conference rooms and a Symphony Hall. The latter is decidedly spectacular thanks to a huge window that opens onto the panorama of the Atlantic Ocean allowing you to attend a concert with a spectacular view to say the least.
The Auditorium is particularly famous also thanks to its shape: it is in part, in fact, also a lighthouse that protects the Playa de las Canteras.
7 - Las Canteras Beach
This is not a simple beach: for the inhabitants of Las Palmas, Playa de las Canteras it is a meeting place, a place to meet to chat, swim and play with children.
This strip of sand that stretches for about 3 km is the right place for a swim (the seabed towards La Barra is perfect for snorkeling), for a walk or simply for a few hours of relaxation.
8 - Canary Garden
Moving about 7 km from Las Palmas, among the things to see in Gran Canaria there is certainly the Canarian Garden.
Il Canarian Botanical Garden Viera y Clavijo it was founded in 1952 by the Swedish botanist Eric Sventenius and today is one of the largest botanical gardens in Spain.
The intent of the founder was to protect and preserve the rich flora of the island, over time the garden has grown and now houses numerous species from all over the world.
In these 27 hectares of natural oasis you can relax and walk in the greenery.
The Canarian Garden is open all year round and admission is free.
9 - Bandama Caldera
La Bandama boiler it is located about 20 minutes from Las Palmas and is one of the largest volcanic craters in the Canary Islands.
The caldera was formed following an explosion that occurred just under 2000 years ago, is more than 200 meters deep, 574 meters high and 1000 meters wide.
You can reach the Pico de Bandama by car, but if you love trekking you cannot miss the opportunity to immerse yourself on the path along the caldera.
If you want to visit it and you are without your car, this tour might be interesting!
10 - Bufadero de la Garita
Il Garita Bufadero it is the right place to go to take beautiful photographs.
It is a very particular geological formation: a series of holes in the basalt rock that continuously fill and empty from the ocean water that is carried by the waves, creating spectacular plays of light and water.
Given the conformation of the terrain and the strong ocean waves, I recommend that you pay attention.
11 - Maspalomas
Maspalomas it is certainly the most famous tourist destination on the island and for this reason I had to include it among the tips on what to see in Gran Canaria.
Maspalomas is famous for its golden sandy beach and dunes, but also for its lively nightlife and numerous theme parks.
This is the perfect destination for a fun-filled vacation.
Here are three things to see absolutely in the surrounding area.
12 - Maspalomas Dunes
The main attraction of Maspalomas are certainly its own dune.
This area has been declared a Nature Reserve and is a real small desert that changes its appearance continuously due to the action of the wind.
The proximity to the sea of these dunes makes the landscape unique.
13 - Maspalomas Lighthouse
Another of the must-see attractions in Maspalomas is his Lighthouse which, from its 56 meters high, represents a real symbol of the city.
Its construction began in 1861, but the lighthouse only came into operation in 1890.
Today at its feet opens one of the liveliest areas of Gran Canaria, full of nightclubs, bars and restaurants where you can spend a fun evening.
14 - Playa del Inglés
Playa del Ingles it is one of the most famous and popular beaches in Gran Canaria and extends to the east of the famous dunes of Maspalomas.
In the surrounding area you will find a large number of accommodation facilities, restaurants, bars, clubs, discos and shopping centers. I would say that this is the most touristic area of the whole island.
The beach is ideal for young people and families and offers numerous services: equipped bathing establishments, beach volleyball and beach soccer fields and the possibility of practicing water sports.
15 - Mogan Beach
Not far from Maspalomas is located Mogan beach, a tourist resort where you will really find everything you need.
It is a typical town with a Mediterranean atmosphere with the features of the classic seaside village, characterized by canals and bridges that have given it the nickname of "Venice of the Canaries".
Playa de Mogan offers a small sandy beach, a promenade dotted with restaurants and bars, a cheerful and romantic center and a marina from which some whale-whatching excursions also depart.
If you are looking for a place to spend some quiet time, this is the place.
16 - Arguineguín
Not far from Playa de Mogan, there is another village that I recommend you see in Gran Canaria. It is about Arguineguín, ancient fishing village which, despite a tourist growth in recent years, has preserved its historic center intact.
On Tuesdays, the largest market on the island takes place here - an unmissable time to do some shopping and sample local products.
17 – Aguimes
Among the suggestions on what to see in Gran Canaria I also want to suggest you Aguimes, village south of the island.
Its historic center is one of the best preserved in Gran Canaria, and entertaining village festivals often take place in its main square.
Not far from the town are some of the most beautiful beaches on the island such as Vargas Beach (not to be missed if you love windsurfing) e Balos Beach.
If you are interested in history, you can visit the nearby archaeological site of Morro del Cuervo, famous for its cave paintings.
18 - Barranco de Guayadeque
The excursion to the Guayadeque ravine is one of the unmissable trips to do in Gran Canaria.
It is one of the most splendid valleys on the island: among almond trees, cacti and other native plants you will make a real immersion in nature.
You can explore the area by car or set off on a hiking trail.
The peculiarity of the Barranco de Guayadeque lies in its archaeological importance: this, in fact, was the most inhabited valley on the island during Prehistoric times.
Even today there are those who live in these caves and there are numerous restaurants where you can have lunch with typical products in a unique atmosphere.
19 - Arucas
Arucas it is also known as the "city of rum" because it houses the largest distillery in the Canaries.
If you love this spirit, then, you should definitely go to this village which is about 9 km away from Las Palmas.
Once there, don't forget to visit the neo-Gothic church dedicated to San Juan Bautista and the Jardin de Hesperides to immerse yourself in a paradise made of tropical plants.
20 – Fataga
Inside the so-called Valley of the Thousand Palms is located Fataga, considered by many to be the most beautiful village in Gran Canaria.
In its historic center, made up of typical rural houses, you can stroll among the craft shops and stop for a visit to the Church of San José and the old mill.
Nearby you can set out for an excursion to the Barranco de Fataga, a canyon with a barren and arid landscape. The viewpoint of Yegua it is one of the most beautiful viewpoints to admire the spectacle that nature has created here.
21 – Galdar
Galdar, city at the foot of the Pico volcano, it was once the most important center of the Guanche civilization.
Today it is a fairly large city, characterized by a beautiful center with a large square, Plaza de Santiago, on which the imposing church of Santiago de los Caballeros stands out.
The reason why I advise you to visit it, however, is above all the Museum e Archaeological Park of Cueva Pintada.
22 - Parco Archeologico di Cueva Pintada
Painted Cave literally means "Painted Cave" and indicates one of the most important archaeological sites of all the Canary Islands.
These are six caves dug into the tuff whose walls are painted with geometric motifs that many scholars believe to be a sort of calendar.
Over the years, archaeological excavations have brought to light a village of more than 50 houses. Inside the museum, thanks also to the support of 3D technology, you will be able to retrace its history.
23 – Terror
Among the villages to visit in Gran Canaria there is certainly also Terror, village characterized by traditional houses with wooden balconies and cobbled streets.
Teror is considered the religious capital of the island. In fact, the Basilica Our Lady of the Pine every year, on 8 September, it is visited by thousands of pilgrims who pay homage to the Virgen del Pino, the patron saint of the island.
24 - Tejeda
White houses with red tile roofs: this is the image of Tejeda best known.
It is a small village famous above all for its almond trees and for the excellent local products to be tasted in its restaurants.
Here you can visit the interesting Museum of Traditions or set off on a trek in the surrounding area.
25 - Picos de las Nieves and Roque Nublo
Among the excursions not to be missed from Tejada are those to Snow peaks e The Roque Nublo.
The latter is a particular volcanic rock that was once considered a place of worship by the Aborigines. Once you reach it you can enjoy a spectacular 360 ° view of the island. For the simpler path that leads to Roque Nublo, just reach the La Goleta car park and continue on foot for about 30 - 45 minutes.
The highest point on the island, however, is Las Nieves Peak and you can also easily reach it by car and it takes more or less half an hour from Tejada. Even from here, as you can imagine, the view is immense.
26 – Telde
Finally, among the villages to visit in Gran Canaria I also recommend counted.
The town retains a beautiful historic center and deserves a stop if only for the well-kept district of San Juan with the churches of San Pedro Mártir and the basilica of San Juan Bautista and that of San Francisco with its typical low houses and narrow alleys.
Nearby are some of the most beautiful beaches on the island including La Garita, La Melenara and Las Salinetas.
27 - The theme parks of Gran Canaria
Finally, in this guide on what to see in Gran Canaria I must also include i parchi a tema, perfect places to spend a day with family or friends of pure fun.
The island is really full of theme parks and below I list those that, in my opinion, are not to be missed.
Sioux City: a theme park dedicated to the Wild West where you can experience the emotions of real cowboys.
Aqualand: a water park, the largest on the island, with thrilling pools and slides.
Aboriginal World: theme park dedicated to the natives of the Canaries.
holiday world: roller coasters, bumper cars and lots of rides for a large amusement park.