If you think that Gran Canaria is a destination only for those who want a holiday dedicated to the sea and relaxation, you are wrong. Surely the island of eternal spring is famous for its beaches bathed by transparent waters, but in addition to this it offers numerous things to do and see.
Lots of attractions on an island of modest size and easy to explore both by public transport and by rental car.
The nerve center of Gran Canaria is its capital Las Palmas, which together with Santa Cruz de Tenerife is also the capital of the archipelago.
Only Las Palmas deserves a holiday apart, the city offers several historical and cultural attractions, a pleasant evening life, as well as one of the most beautiful beaches in Gran Canaria, the very long Playa de Las Canteras.
Then there is the South coast, from Playa Del Ingles to Puerto Mogan, a purely tourist area where there are many resorts and where you will find splendid beaches and perhaps the most fascinating attraction on the island. the Dune of Maspalomas.
And if you are passionate about trekking and excursions, there is something for you too: the hinterland offers various paths immersed in nature, but the most famous is certainly the one that leads to The Roque Nublo, one of the largest natural rocks in the world.
Well, we just have to see one by one some of the most interesting things to do in Gran Canaria.
What to see in Gran Canaria: the main attractions
Las Canteras Beach
Las Canteras is the city beach of Las Palmas and one of the best known on the island. About 3 km of sandy beach that stretches from Puntilla to the Alfredo Kraus Auditorium.
A truly unique place that is somewhat reminiscent of Californian beaches with a pedestrian promenade full of restaurants and clubs. Perfect for long walks or a jog in beautiful scenery.
The beach is ideal for families with children due to its fantastic beach. But not only that, the south part of the beach is the best spot for surfers.
The scenery changes completely going from La Puntilla to the north, a succession of fascinating cliffs overlooking the sea and a pedestrian passage where you can admire this show and take incredible photos.
In short, in Playa de Las Canteras there is something for everyone!
Auditorium Alfredo Kraus
Along Playa de Las Canteras stands this particular building, the auditorium and theater of Las Palmas, which takes its name from the famous Tenor Alfredo Kraus (1927-1999).
A structure with a unique design, created by the architect Oscar Tusquests and which recalls a lighthouse, as a symbol of protection of the beach. The peculiarity of the auditorium is its view of the Atlantic Ocean with a huge window behind the stage.
Don't miss a concert with an ocean view!
Vegueta is the old part of Las Palmas, a neighborhood of great charm, with ancient colorful buildings with typical wooden balconies. Since 1990 Vegueta has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Here you will find the imposing cathedral of Sant'Anna and the Casa Colon museum, a historic building that hosted Christopher Columbus during his first navigation and where you can retrace the navigator's journeys.
For shopping lovers, a few steps from Vegueta there is Triana Street, the most famous shopping street of the city, where you will be spoiled for choice between shops and shopping centers.
There are also bars and restaurants and especially on Thursdays the area comes alive with young university students, with many cafes where you can enjoy the typical Canarian aperitif.
If you are staying near Santa Catalina, the center can be reached by bus number 12 which leaves from the station and takes about 10 minutes to get to San Telmo.
The dunes of Maspalomas are the real pearl of Gran Canaria a unique scenario of indescribable charm, declared a Natural Reserve by the Canary Islands Government. It is an area of about 400 hectares that includes dunes, a small lagoon and a palm grove.
But the real attraction are the sand dunes, practically a desert on the sea, a true spectacle of nature that changes shape every day thanks to the power of the wind. Wear sunglasses to protect yourself from the grains of sand and get ready to climb the dunes and admire the vastness of the ocean from above. And if you want to be a child again, roll in the dunes, fun is guaranteed!
And when your strength has abandoned you and you can't take it anymore, the long beach awaits you where you can relax in the sun.
Puerto de Mogán
One of the most fascinating tourist resorts on the island, known as Little Venice, Puerto de Mogan is a pretty village overlooking the sea, located in the southwest of Gran Canaria, a few kilometers from the most beautiful beaches.
Ideal for a romantic getaway or a family outing; colorful houses, alleys full of flowers, intoxicating scents, small restaurants and souvenir shops, but above all a calm and relaxed atmosphere are all you will find when visiting Puerto de Mogan.
And after a stroll through the colorful alleys, why not relax on the beautiful beach and maybe take a dip in its calm waters?
Anfi del Mar
It is perhaps the most beautiful beach in Gran Canaria, a small cove with fine white sand, palm trees and a crystal clear sea. The beach is sheltered from the winds and the water is always calm and with a little courage you can dive even during the winter months.
The small beach is reached by going down a panoramic staircase where you can immediately admire the spectacular landscape and the incredible turquoise sea. Alternatively, there is a comfortable lift with a window overlooking the beach.
The area around the beach is all very well-kept, it almost looks like a large resort, there is also a shopping center with shops and restaurants. A luxurious setting, but with free access to the beach and commercial facilities.
For the record, it must be said that the beach is artificial and the sand is imported from the Caribbean.
Arucas is a small town in the north of the island about 10 km from Las Palmas. The pride of Arucas is certainly its imposing parish church in neo-gothic style which dominates the town.
Starting from the Church of San Juan Bautista, you enter the heart of the historic center, among ancient buildings, restaurants and souvenir shops in a calm and relaxed atmosphere.
Don't miss a walk in the park, a small natural oasis in the middle of the city.
Finally, Arucas is also known for the Fabrica del Rum, the largest distillery in the Canaries. At the cost of € 2,50 per person it is possible to participate in a guided tour with final tasting.
However, remember that the Fabrica is open from 9.00 to 14.00 (from October to June) and from 9.00 to 13.00 from July to September. Saturday and Sunday it is closed.
The Carnival of Gran Canaria
We know, the Spaniards love to celebrate, but the Canaries even more so. Las Palmas Carnival is the most important tourist attraction and the most anticipated event on the island. A moment of celebration for everyone, young and old, with parades, concerts and lots of fun.
The heart of the Las Palmas carnival is the park of Santa Catalina, with the huge stage where concerts and parades take place.
Each year a different theme is chosen, for 2018 the theme was “Fantasy” and the city was populated with magic and fantastic creatures.
As we have anticipated Gran Canaria is also ideal for trekking enthusiasts, the hinterland of the island offers numerous routes.
One of the best itineraries on the island is the one that leads to the big rock The Roque Nublo, symbol of Gran Canaria a real natural monument. One of the largest rocks in the world, about 80 meters high and positioned at 1.813 meters above sea level.
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