Best places to visit in GRAN CANARIA
Planning a trip to Gran Canaria and wondering what are the best places to visit in Gran Canaria?
Gran Canaria is the third-largest island of the Canary Islands. Situated between Tenerife and Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria is one of the most diverse islands in the archipelago.
The island’s mountainous interior offers wonderful viewpoints and a number of hiking trails. Gran Canaria’s beaches are diverse, just like the island itself. The island boasts breathtaking dunes, wonderful national parks and postcard-perfect towns.
What to see in Gran Canaria?
So, there are plenty of amazing places to visit, and here’s a list of our favourite ones!
7 best places to visit in Gran Canaria
Las Palmas & Jardín Botánico Canario Viera y Clavijo
Las Palmas is the capital and one of the best places to visit in Gran Canaria.
Founded in 1478, the city is a great place to experience the history and culture of Gran Canaria and the Canary Islands.
So, there are some of Las Palmas’s highlights:
- Casa de Colon (Columbus House) — a museum that is set in a beautiful colonial-style mansion. The museum focuses on the history of the archipelago. It is claimed that Christopher Columbus stayed here in 1492.
- The Cathedral of Santa Ana — a beautiful old Roman Catholic church that dates back to the early 16th century. It was the only cathedral in the Canary Islands until 1819.
- The rest of the Old Town (Vegueta). After you’ve seen Casa de Colon and the cathedral, stroll along the little streets of the old neighbourhood of Las Palmas, Vegueta.
- Triana — one of the oldest neighbourhoods of the city with cafes, restaurants and shops.
- San Cristóbal — a fishermen’s neighbourhood characterised by little colourful houses.
- Playa de Las Canteras — the largest and the best beach in the city.
- Playa del Confital — a beautiful natural rocky beach; great for surfing.
If you are visiting Las Palmas de Gran Canaria then do not miss Jardín Botánico Canario Viera y Clavijo and Located only 9 km from the city centre, it’s an impressive botanical garden with approx. 500 plant species native to the Canaries.
Tamadaba Natural Park & Mirador del Balcón
Tamadaba Natural Park is a protected area located in the northwest of the island.
Being one of Gran Canaria’s most pristine areas and one of the most spectacular nature reserves, Tamadaba Natural Park is one of the best places to visit in Gran Canaria.
Its landscapes are varied — there is a network of ravines, rugged coastline with imposing cliffs, mountains and a pine forest. The pine forest is one of the best-preserved on the island and is home to thousands of endemic plants and animals.
The national park offers hiking trails with sweeping views, and it is one of the best destinations for hiking on the island.
If you are visiting Tamadaba Natural Park then do not miss Mirador del Balcón. It is a scenic viewpoint perched at the top of tall sea cliffs. The views of the rugged coastline are spectacular there.
Reserva Natural Especial de Las Dunas de Maspalomas
The Maspalomas Dunes are a tiny desert by the sea, similar to the ones in Corralejo, Fuerteventura (the second largest of the Canary Islands).
Situated on the south coast of Gran Canaria, Maspalomas Dunes form a protected nature reserve. This is a dynamic sand dune system, and one of the wildest areas in Gran Canaria.
There are hiking trails that go through the nature reserve. There’s a beautiful expansive beach, Playa de Maspalomas, that is backed by the dunes.
Palmitos Park is a large botanical garden and zoo 11 km from Maspalomas.
Park has several sections and exhibits. There’s an aviary, aquarium, and a garden with the biggest Orchid collection on the island and over 160 different cactus types, as well as other plants and trees. The park is known for its dolphin shows.
Palmitos Park is one of the best places to visit in Gran Canaria with kids.
Teror is a postcard-perfect mountain town in the northern part of Gran Canaria.
The town is known for its well preserved old town with its picturesque main street, Calle Real de la Plaza. The street has pretty colourful houses with wooden balconies which are typical of the town. Teror Old Town is under monument protection.
An open-air market is held in the streets surrounding the church every Sunday.
Roque Nublo & Nublo Rural Park
Roque Nublo is a 60-metre tall basalt monolith that tops a 1700 metre peak.
This finger-shaped rock was formed by a volcanic eruption 4.5 million years ago. Located right in the middle of the island, the peak Roque Nublo tops offers awe-inspiring views of the area.
Next to the Roque Nublo are other unique rock formations of Nublo Rural Park, such as Roque del Fraile and La Rana.
Gorgeous Beaches of Gran Canaria
There are many beautiful beaches all over the island of Gran Canaria.
So, here are some of the most beautiful ones:
- Playa de Güigüí — a remote and wild beach. You can reach it only by boat or on foot (2 hours one way). A great idea for a moderate hike.
- Playa del Inglés — one of the most famous beaches in Gran Canaria. It’s easily accessible, as it is located in Maspalomas.
- Las Canteras Beach — another famous beach on the island. It is located in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and is easily accessible. The beach is good for snorkelling.
- Playa de Amadores — a beautiful beach in a sheltered cove. The water is calm and safe for children.
- Playa de Maspalomas — beautiful expansive beach backed by Maspalomas dunes.
- Playa de Puerto Rico — a popular beach in a famous beach resort town, good for families.
Gran Canaria Travel Tips
- As Gran Canaria (one of the Canary Islands) is Spanish territory, then EU nationals do not need a visa to travel to Gran Canaria. If you already have a Schengen visa or come from one of the visa-exempt countries, then you don’t need a visa to Gran Canaria either.
- The best way to explore the Canary Islands is by car, so Gran Canaria is not an exception.
- Bus services operate in Gran Canaria. But still, the best option is a rental car, especially if you are looking for more flexibility.
- Gran Canaria is a year-round destination. However, the most popular time to visit the island is during the summer, spring school holidays and during the carnival (late February and early March). The cheapest time to visit is the spring and autumn.
- One of the best things to do in Gran Canaria is to attend the carnival, but it usually takes place in February and March.