I asked 20 expert travellers what their advice was for adventurous travel on Gran Canaria, below you will find their answers but first here is mine so there are 21 sets of advice below, read them all and join in with your own tips below in the comments.
Gran Canaria is often known as the ‘miniature continent’ because there are so many activities on offer and interesting places to visit. The gran canaria resorts actually cover less than 1% of the island, so it is well worth doing some research before you visit, to ensure you get to see and do everything that interests you. Don’t be afraid to explore this island of contrasts. You will be rewarded with all kinds of fun things to do and have some wonderfully authentic Canarian experiences.
What to Expect
Many people stay in one of the Southern towns, such as Maspalomas, Puerto Rico, Playa del Ingles or Mogan, and each one offers its own charm. There are plenty of restaurants and bars to choose from, as well as nature and water parks, historic buildings, shopping centres and beaches. The nightlife continues into the early hours if you like to party, but choose a quieter resort if you’re more of an early bird.
Eating and Drinking
The local cuisine is well worth experiencing. As you would expect from a subtropical island, Canarian dishes boast plenty of fish and seafood, along with tapas, locally produced cheeses, local wine and rum, and mouth-watering desserts. Restaurants range from small, basic beach bars to large upscale eateries.
Travel around by bus, taxi or rent a car or bike. There are plenty of towns to visit on the island. Don’t forget to learn a few key phrases before you venture off though. The Canarians are a friendly bunch but not everyone speaks English outside the resort areas, so you will find an English-Spanish dictionary or a translation phone app to be useful.
Something for Everyone
Whether you are travelling alone, as a couple or with the whole family, Gran Canaria offers entertainment, attractions and meals for every taste. The weather is fantastic pretty much year-round and the humidity is relatively low, making it all the more pleasant.
Sipping a refreshing drink on one of the sunny patios, overlooking the beach and watching the world go by, has to be one of the most relaxing delights of all!
Popular activities on the water include boat trips such as dolphin-spotting or fishing expeditions, snorkelling and scuba diving, and of course swimming. For active travellers, there are hikes in the mountains, offering some incredible views of the lush green valleys. After a day at sea or following your hike, why not enjoy a soothing massage at one of the spas?
Best Ways to Explore
Rent a car or jeep for the day and take in traditional villages, winding mountain roads and viewpoints, stopping to eat in a little, out-of-the-way cafe perhaps. Look out for the banana plantations and rum distillery on the way. The island is not so huge and you can drive across it (or around it!) in a day. If you prefer to be driven, there are a number of professional tours to choose from with friendly, English-speaking guides.
Now read on to discover some great tips from 20 travellers sharing their advice about the best things to see and do on the beautiful island of Gran Canaria.
Bio: Travel has always been something i wanted to do from a young age.My first trip to the Canary Islands was at the age of sixteen;from then on I was completely hooked. Going on holiday and exploring new counties and cultures has become more of an obsession as the years have gone on,I just love it. My twelve year old son and my husband are just as crazy about it as I am, so you could say we have the perfect package, the love for travel.We intend on travelling to many more countries and gaining so much more insight into the world around us. We are thrilled to be able to share our experiences through our blogs on our website, where readers can get a true feel for the love of what travel can offer.
Gran Canaria will keep you entertained from the start of your holiday’s right through to the end. It has many amazing towns, such as Mogán or Maspalomas, to volcanic beaches that will take your breath away. Restaurants and beachside bars are plentiful, with such amazing food and Spanish wine on offer. You’re truly spoilt with the amount you can get up to whilst holidaying here. We particularly love how you can become explorers on a camel or jeep safari one day and then flying down the water flumes at Taurito Waterpark the next.
The list of activities in Gran Canaria is endless.
Kayaking, fishing trips and Excursions to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria are only a few of the fantastic days out for families of all ages. If you prefer more of a lazy beach day, you won’t be disappointed, check out Montaña de Arena between Maspalomas and Arguineguin if your into nudist beaches, or San Agustin, a quieter beach that is windy at times and the sea is a little wavier than more sheltered beaches, it is great for older children. Whatever you choose to do whilst enjoying your time here, you will without a doubt fall in love with Gran Canaria.
Bio: I own a marketing agency representing resorts, hotels,
restaurants, and specialty brands across the US.
Beyond The Beaches of Gran Canaria
Although the beaches are fantastic and not to be missed, Gran Canaria offers so much more. Dining along the waterfront in Puerto Mogán and sampling the regional fare is an experience not to be missed. We feasted on fresh caught whole fish, grilled pulpo, an array of fresh goat cheeses, gambas al ajillo, patatas arrugadas, washed down with refreshing Malvasia wine which has been grown in the Canaries since the 15th century. The Canaries have a culinary tradition of their own, and it was in the smaller, more secluded coastal towns and villages that we had some of our most memorable dining experiences. Venture beyond the beach and you’ll be rewarded. Another great way to admire the Island’s diversity? Rent a car and drive up highway 60.
When you reach the summit, stretch your legs and take in what can only be described as mountain air along a hike to Roque Nublo, which looks out across the vast countryside and out to the southern coastline. You’ll be sure to work up an appetite after the hike, so continue along Highway 60 for 15 more kilometers and you’ll be rewarded by Tejeda’s picturesque streets, astounding views, and what’s that you smell? It’s Dulceria Nublo, renowned for its almond pastries and pies. Grab a bite to eat here, stroll through the local farmer’s market, or simply stop and stare at views unlike anything else you’d expect on the Island.
Read the full post – 72 Hours in Gran Canaria:
Bio: I’ve been travelling the world solo since 1992 (well, not continuously) and in that time, I’ve managed to visit 60 countries and every continent. This is why my site is called Big Travel Nut!
If you’ve never been to a desert (or even if you have), the dunes of Maspalomas are sure to impress. Spreading over 400 hectares between the tourist town and the sea, the golden sand dunes curve and undulate the same way they do in the Sahara, even if you never lose sight of civilization. And the best part is: you can walk over them!
If it’s too hot, or you’re looking for authentic Canarian culture, head inland to visit some of the small towns. My favourites are Agüimes, Teror, and Arucas. All three are incredibly photogenic and worthy of exploration.
In pretty Agüimes, walk the narrow pedestrian streets lined with Canarian architecture and dotted with sculptures of people and animals. Be sure to check out the huge San Sebastián church too.
Teror, despite its name, is anything but scary especially during the lively weekend markets. Amble down to the town centre where two and three-storied houses, painted white or bright colours, are adorned with wooden balconies.
A short bus ride from Teror is Arucas. Wander its pedestrian streets full of historic buildings, but don’t miss the massive neo-Gothic church with its elaborately carved facade. The Municipal Gardens are also worth a look for their splendid dragon palm trees.
Sven Tornow + Anja Lehmann
Bio: Traveling to me is not just being there. I want to immerse myself in the country, get to know the people, try the local food and not just see the beautiful corners. That’s why I usually spend a long time on site.
I’ve talked to Anja and she said that one of her highlights was the day trip tour through the midlands: From Maspalomas we drive on the GC60 to the gorge of Fataga. In the village of Fataga, we make a short stop and are lured by apricot trees. A local comes up to us, allowing us to have a taste and we buy fresh apricots directly from the tree. Gran Canaria we can become friends!
Next we go to San Bartolomé de Tirajana. In the cozy mountain village stands a lovely church and above all, there is the La Panera de Tunte – the baker of Tunte. We communicate with hands and feet and get freshly filled bocadillos (baguette) and fantastically delicious almond biscuits.
The next place we head for is Santa Lucía. On a narrow mountain road, we pass small houses, palm trees, almond trees and reeds. This is Gran Canaria!
In Agüimes, the next beautiful town on our tour, we walk through the cobblestone streets, across small squares with cafes and discover in every corner bizarre sculptures. From here we already have a view of our next destination. The ravine of Guayadeque.
A side road leads into the tight, high gorge in which rock cave houses and a chapel are to be found. At the end of the road in Moñtana de las Tierras we have a hearty meal in a cave restaurant.
We also get to learn an entirely new sport: The Canarians hike, with big sticks, up the cliffs only to then slide down, on the sticks, into the valley. A friendly Spaniard gives us a small demonstration. Another little hint: Because of the small and winding mountain roads tours often “pull away” even if it is not more than a few kilometers away. Other than that, the weather is variable and in the mountains, it can quickly become cloudy and cold.
Matheus Hobold Sovernigo
Bio: This is Matheus Hobold Sovernigo, also known as Schumacher. I’ve been to 67 countries according to the UN, while my goal is to visit all 193 until the end of 2024, with 37 years old. With that, I’ll become one of the youngest in the world to complete this quite difficult task
Canary Islands are truly amazing and each island is quite unique, as I noticed while visiting them three times over the last years. While you can do some fine sightseeing and sunbathing around all of them, I can easily recommend other free or cheap interesting places to see and do on only at Gran Canaria island:
– Natural Reserve of the Dunes of Maspalomas: a nice place to walk around the dunes, spot some birds and check its long and clean beach;
– Roque Nublo Natural Monument and Pico de las Nieves: great for hiking the surrounding trails over the tallest mountains and forests of the island, and also for the best sunset and sunrise;
– Necrópolis de Maipés and Cenobio de Valerón: these and the other remaining protected archaeological sites can show you how the island was culturally when inhabited by the native ancient people;
– Beachfront of Las Palmas: good to relax seeing people, do some exercise on the promenade and take a sip or have a meal on the many pubs and restaurants;
– Puerto Mogán and Amadores beach: do some snorkeling by the cliffs between these
beaches to get clear water, reef fishes and almost no tourists.
Derek Earl Baron
Bio: I’ve done everything from danger travel to living in Romania to learning Spanish in Mexico to working as a Tour Manager on board cruise ships. I’ve spent over two years in India, where I once randomly ended up acting in a Bollywood television show.
My favorite thing is to rent a car and head off on random road trips around the island. In just one day of driving you can stumble upon quaint seaside villages, beaches, sand dunes, mountains, canyons, forests, lakes, national parks and remote, narrow mountain roads that lead you through incredible landscapes and isolated communities.
My personal favorite route heads away from the coast just before the town of Agaete and follows roads GC-220 to GC-217 (very remote but gorgeous!) to GC-210 and finally to GC-200. From here you can land at Puerto Mogán, a pleasant place for an evening stroll and dinner along the water, before taking the highway back to Las Palmas.
Any route you choose though, is sure to be rewarding as it inevitably leads into the heart of this mountainous island where you’ll find an endless collection of natural formations, viewpoints, and villages to stop to explore.
Stefan and Sebastien
Bio: Stefan and Sebastien are gay couple who left their lives in London in 2014 to travel the world. They set up their gay travel blog Nomadic Boys, which has now become their full time job. Stefan is Greek from London and Sebastien is French from Lyon. The boys are currently based in Lyon and will be planning more trips across Europe and Asia.
Best things to do in Gran Canaria
Every year, Gran Canaria attracts a large amount of gay tourism and for good reason. It’s got an entire Mall – The Yumbo Centre – devoted to gay bars, clubs and boutique shops. In addition, there’s a clothing optional gay beach near the sand dunes, numerous gay events and parties spread throughout the year including its very own fetish week.
There are also many other things to do on the island outside of the Yumbo Centre, so these are our 5 favourite things to do in Gran Canaria following our trip there last summer:
1 Hang out on a beautiful abandoned beach
Gran Canaria’s gay beach at Kiosk #7 in Maspalomas is where the majority of the Yumbo crowd will congregate during the day. But there’s a more unique and memorable way to get your Vitamin Sea fix, away from all the crowds.
Güigüi is a clothing optional secluded beach on the Western coast of the island, hidden away at the bottom of a large ravine, and divided by rocks into two bays with dark sand and volcanic rocks. To reach it you need to drive for 2 hours, then trek for around 2/3 hours over the rocks in the burning heat. Alternatively, you can reach it by boat from Maspalomas, making for a fun day trip.
2 Trek up to Roque Nublo
Roque Nublo (meaning Cloud Rock) is the most frequented point for trekkers. It’s located right in the heart of Gran Canaria and is the island’s 2nd highest point. It used to be a holy monument, the place to make sacrifices to the sun god.
Today Roque Nublo is the iconic site of the island, standing proud at an impressive 1,813m (5,948 ft) above sea level. It’s also famous for being one of the largest free standing rocks in the world. It has a well paved path, which takes around 30 minutes to trek up.
3 Visit a banana plantation
Gran Canaria is famous for its dwarf bananas, which are abundant everywhere on the island. They are smaller and sweeter than standard bananas with little black marks on the skin. Banana plantations are scattered all around, but mainly congregated in the North.
You can visit one of the many banana plantations on the island like Bodegas Los Berrazales near the capital city Las Palmas in the North. This Bodega is so versatile it also produces its own coffee beans and wine.
4. Try Gran Canarian rum – Arehucas
Sugar cane is prevalent across the entire island, so rum production is very popular here. The Arehucas Rum Factory is the oldest rum distillery in Europe, which you can visit as part of a day trip to the charming town of Arucas in the North of the island.
Arehucas blanco (white) or Arehucas oro (gold) rum are the ones to look out for, as well as the sweeter variant, ron miel (honey rum).
5 Try Gran Canarian food
There’s a variety of dishes you should try here.
Mojo is a strong, spicy garlicky sauce, which is spread over wrinkled jacket potatoes to produce a plate of papas arrugadas con mojo. The name papas arrugadas con mojo relates to the fact that the potatoes are baked in their skins until they shrivel up and become wrinkly (“arrugada”).
Another popular dish to try here is ropa vieja. This literally translates to “old clothes”, but unlike its name, this is in fact a delicious dish, considered comfort food by locals. Ropa vieja is a chickpea, potato and meat based stew (usually chicken or beef). Ropa vieja was so popular, it spread to Latin America, particularly in Venezuela where it has become their national dish.
To find out more, check out our gay guide to Gran Canaria.
Bio: I am a sustainable travel enthusiast from Luxembourg.I love traveling slow and eco-friendly thus I am the happiest while hiking, cycling or sailing. Or while doing any other outdoor stuff.
I visited Gran Canaria in November 2016 during our (epic) Atlantic Boat HitchHiking experience. At that time, our plan was to sail from the Canary Islands to the Caribbean. Without owning a boat.
As we had no luck to find a boat during our 1-month stay in Tenerife, we decided to head over to Gran Canaria. Maybe we’d be more lucky on the largest of the Canary Islands? First thing we did was mingling with the digital nomad community. Indeed Gran Canaria is becoming increasingly popular among the community of remote workers. All they actually need is a laptop and decent WiFi! We went to several cafés and of course we headed to the marina as well.
In case you want to get started in boat hitchhikingl, going to the local marina will become part of your daily routine. As one of the largest sailing races is departing from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in November, the ARC, chances to get on a boat and work as crew are actually quite high.
We reached out to a few boats, but only a few hours after arriving in Las Palmas, we got contacted by a French couple from Tenerife that they’d like us to sail with them to Cape Verde. We had a boat!!
Thus the rest of our time on Gran Canaria was pure bliss and without any boat-stress. We visited the main attraction, Mas Palomas dunes and had great fun while rolling down the sandy hills. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria has also a vibrant backpacker scene and we enjoyed a few good parties, celebrating that we were about to start the first leg of our Atlantic crossing.
Bio: Gran Canaria Natural and Active is an association which aims to promote Gran Canaria as a natural destination. To aim this goal, this association brings together a tourism offer focused on nature which comprises rural hotels, guest houses and holiday rentals located in a natural environment. In addition to this, Gran Canaria Natural and Active organizes the Gran Canaria Walking Festival.
Gran Canaria Walking Festival is an international hiking festival which brings you the opportunity to discover the amazing landscapes of Gran Canaria, as well as its culture and gastronomy. The GCWF experience includes transport to the routes from two meeting points on the island, picnic, gifts, insurance, raffles, tastings, guides. The 7th Gran Canaria Walking Festival edition will take place from 24th October to 28th October with 6 routes related to the Biosphere Reserve of Gran Canaria and an astronomical route.
GCWF 2017 was a total success as a meeting point for hikers from all over the world and it was sponsored by the Cabildo de Gran Canaria through the Gran Canaria Tourist Board, Insular Institute of Sports and its project ‘Gran Canaria European Sport Island’, as well as the municipalities of La Aldea de San Nicolás, Valsequillo de Gran Canaria, San Bartolomé of Tirajana (Maspalomas Costa Canaria) and Agaete. In addition, it counted with the significant collaboration of more than 30 companies and institutions that offer products and services to add value to the event
Reasons to participate in the 6th GCWF edition:
We show you some of the reasons why you should live this incredible and unforgettable international event. Why? Because it is just a unique and incomparable experience to know the most authentic Gran Canaria and its landscape beauty.
– Discover the most natural and unknown Gran Canaria
– Visit magic corners full of landscape treasures
– Be guided by professionals in several languages
– Feel the traditions and joy of our people
– Discover an island full of contrasts
– Taste our gastronomy enjoying a complete picnic
– Get superb prizes
– Enjoy the gifts from our collaborators
– Share beautiful moments with hiking lovers from all over the world
Bio: -My first big trip was when I was 18 and i went backpacking with my older brother (Simon) around the USA and Canada for 3 months. I love to travel and explore new places and hopefully along with my husband we will show our boys the rest of the world.
We absolutely loved Palmitos Park when we went to Gran Canaria on our familymoon. Even though it isn’t the largest park we have visited over the years, there is a lot to see. The Birds of Prey Show is right at the top of the park, where you can see this amazing show and the views of the valley below, a real natural amphitheatre.
It was the favourite part of our visit and would love to go see it again one day. The facilities at the park when we visited were great and the pizza we had was delicious.
If you are visiting Gran Canaria, then make sure you check out Palmitos Park as it definitely made a great family day out for us.
Bio: After almost 20 years of experience in the travel industry on Gran Canaria. We finally decided to found CANCO Travel Services in 2017 driven by the wish to eradicate the existing problematic when it comes to booking excursions.We wanted to ensure that the clients have the possibility to get a global overview of all activities offered, have the chance to choose the activities by themselves, ensure that they can always feel save knowing they are in professional hand, enable them to secure their space even on peak season, ensure they receive excellent service so that they can really enjoy their holidays with no bad surprises! And after the experience of our first year in business we can happily say that we managed to achieved our aim!
The editors of cunningcanary.com contacted us, as a local agent for excursions on Gran Canaria, to give a recommendation for the best activities on the island.
Our team has thought about this question and has come to the conclusion that you cannot simply make a global evaluation of the activities. It is certainly possible to use the booking history of our customers to create a list of the most popular excursions. However, to be able to recommend activities, one must rather be guided by the interests of the respective visitor to Gran Canaria.
When it comes to active people and adrenaline junkies, then activities such as coasteering, mountain biking or the off-road quad tour are just the thing to do while on Gran Canaria. The rugged rock formations on the west coast and in the interior of this volcanic island seem to be made for exactly this purpose and are warrant for fun and action.
Tourists, who love to spent time outdoors and enjoy the environment instead, will surely enjoy exploring the most beautiful places of the island during various hikes and on the different eBike tours. As a so called miniature continent, this island offers an almost incomparable climatic and landscape diversity within an extremely narrow area.
And if you are looking for absolute relaxation it is certainly best to get to know the island on the various tours in a coach or by minibus. Because this way you can just sit back and simply enjoy without having to worry about anything. On the different tours you have the opportunity to get to know the myriad astonishing facets of the island, where no route is the similar to another!
Anglers and lovers of the sea are can hardly be on any better spot than on this island. Gran Canaria is amongst the best location for deep-sea fishing due to its diversity of species and you can make some of the really big catches here. With the large choice of offered boat tours and of water sports activities you will really feel in your element and you can discover the impressive underwater world while snorkeling and diving.
At CANCO Travel Services, we therefore recommend that you choose the activities that best suit your personal preferences. With the large selection of excursions, there is certainly the right activity for everyone. It is especially important to ensure that the selected activities are offered by professional organizers. Nothing can go wrong by making selection under these criteria. And the overwhelming beauty of the island of Gran Canaria will ensure that your days out will be memorable.
Bio: Natalia, Travel Writer and Photographer at Crafttheway.com. A visual story teller who is traveling the world trying to explore like a local. I’m writing about the advantages of slow travel and journeys through Tuscany, Portugal, Scandinavia, Canary Islands and more. I love design and architecture, I like to observe city life behind my camera lens, but it’s the time spent somewhere on the road, among nature, that inspires me the most and that’s where you’ll find me most often.
Best things to do on Gran Canaria
One of the most significant advantages of Gran Canaria for me is nature. It was here – almost like anywhere else – where I had the opportunity to experience what living surrounded by nature means (even if you actually live in the middle of the city).
For example, the capital of the island, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, is surrounded by ocean and steep mountains. Every morning, people gather on the beach to take advantage of the natural swimming pool in Las Canteras.
Natural pools are not uncommon on Gran Canaria – in different parts of the island there are smaller and larger natural pools naturally separated from the high waves of the ocean. When planning a trip, consider visiting, e.g., Piscinas de Roque Prieto or Las Salinas de Agaete.
If we are talking about the water, Gran Canaria is the perfect place to start or continue your adventure with water sports. I believe that it’s not far-fetched to say that, at some point, it is impossible to live on the island without surf or paddle surfing skills. Every walk through the beach or looking out the window reminds us that we are surrounded by water and lovers of water sports. To feel the authentic atmosphere of the island, we just have to jump on the board!
Nature of Gran Canaria doesn’t mean only water – the island is famous for its massive mountain ranges and beautiful, winding paths between the peaks. What’s more, the terrain changes very often – in one place you will see rock formations, in others hills covered with grass or lush forests. Adding to this exotic botanical gardens, kilometers of dunes in Maspalomas or black sand covering the rocks of La Isleta, we get a unique mosaic of places to discover and moments to experience, which, I guarantee, will stay with us for a long time!
Bio: Moira is Italian Blogger and Airbnb host of a lovely apartment.
I bought an apartment in Puerto Rico several years ago for my family holidays so I often flight to these Spanish Islands:
In Gran Canaria there are many things to do:
- playing golf,
- water sports in Puerto Rico beach,
- scuba diving,
- surfing in Pozo Izquierdo…
But, the main reason people come to visit the Canaries is to enjoy the mild climate in every season of the year.
When you are tired of rain and gray sky, I recommend booking one of the many cheap flights to the Canary Islands and take a quick break enjoying all the benefits that the Canary Islands offer.
In any season of the year you decide to take a holiday in Gran Canaria, you can always take a dip in the sea, relax on the beach and sunbathe.
The south of Gran Canaria is very touristic, here are the most popular beaches on the island. I recommend to visit one every day:
- Maspalomas / Playa del Ingles
- Anfi del mar
- Puerto Rico
- Puerto de Mogán
The Dunes of Maspalomas are a MUST. Prepare the camera to make beautiful photos as you jumping on the dunes.
Playa Puerto Rico and Amadores beach, are connected by a path (about 1 km) that overlooks the ocean. They are very popular especially in winter.
Anfi del mar is also very popular and is surrounded by exclusive resorts. Just 5 kilometers from my holiday apartment in Puerto Rico. I go there often, it is one of my favorite beaches.
The beach of Puerto de Mogán is the smallest of those listed. The village is very pretty with its white houses and colorful flowers on the balconies. I recommend a visit.
In the south west of Gran Canaria, the temperature is milder because the geographic conformation of this area favour the protection from strong winds.
Maspalomas beach, being wide and very long, is sometimes windy.
So, if you plan to take a holiday in the cold months, it is better to stay between the villages of Arguineguin and Puerto de mogan.
I hope that this information will help you to organize a nice holiday in Gran Canaria.
Bio: Alexander Waltne is Swedish Travel Blogger and
Photographer who travel the world full-time.
Go wine tasting -There are more than 50 vineyards in Gran Canaria, and you can taste some interesting wines that are endemic to the Canary islands, such as the Listan Negro and Listan Blanco. The wineries are centered around Monte Lentiscal. Another thing I would like to recommend when visiting Gran Canaria is without a doubt to go hiking in the valley of thousand palms. The indigenous people, Guanches used to roam these paths a long time ago, and today we can enjoy their hard work creating these hiking paths. My absolute favorite is the path that leads to the quaint village of Fataga. The scenery is fantastic, and there are usually not many tourists either. Make sure to bring enough water though, it can get very hot after
As my last tips on the best things to do on Gran Canaria, I must go for the paradise beaches Anfi del Mar and Playa de Amadores. Few beaches in Europe can compare with these two, and they definitely has a great vacation vibe with clear w ter and fine sand. They’re not too crowded if you go during weekdays. It’s also easy to get there by bus number 1 or rental car/taxi.
Bio: Steffen Ploeger is an SEO Specialist at 9thCO in Toronto and original from Germany.
I travel to Gran Canaria at least once a year.
Gran Canaria is my favorite island of the canary islands. Before I moved to Canada, I used to go there three times a year as it is easy to reach from Europe. For North American you can compare Gran Canaria with Puerto Vallarta, Mexico but much safer.
Things to know and to do:
1. It is very gay friendly and known for their pride in Playa del Ingles / Maspalomas. The Yumbo centre, a big shopping centre on three floors, is the place to go to with more than 20 gay pubs, amazing restaurants as well as gay bars and clubs. When tourist come for the first time, it might seem strange to them.
2. GC has a dessert and is often used by film companies.
3. Relax at the beach, be aware: nude friendly
4. Boat cruises
5. Camel riding
7. Sunbathing at the pool
8. Many tours to Las Palmas, the capital and others.
9. Palmiitos Park with dolphin show and a botanic garden
10. There is so much more…
I love Gran Canaria and now it is so much easier for North Americans to get there. For example with Azores Airlines from Toronto, Boston and New York. Approx. 10 hours.
Bio: Samboat is the largest peer-to-peer rental boat and yacht charter service AKA airbnb for boat. More than 20,000 boats are available to rent all over Europe, up to 40% cheaper.
Gran Canaria is a famous island and cruising around it is an unforgettable experience. Every day on a cruise is a search of nice harbors, where you can drop the anchor for a short stopover or make a mooring for a quiet night. Situated In the south-west of the island of Gran Canaria, Puerto de Mogán, and holiday resort is often referred to as the « Little Venice » due to the numerous canals that lead from the port to the town.
This port, unlike many other places in the Canaries, is still spared from mass tourism. The best way to explore this port is to take advantage of boat rental from the largest peer-to-peer boat rental service in Europe known as Samboat.
Bio: James is a travel writer who has written for a number
of travel blogs and travel publications.
My favorite thing to do in Gran Canaria is to hike. Gran Canaria has some world-class hikes through pine forests, up the slopes in the North, and along the rugged West. The island may only be 60 km in size, but it has more great hikes in that small place than many places three or even four times its size. It even has its own Camino de Santiago – a 77 km hike that most people do over the course of three days.
Bio: Ben Holbrook is a British travel writer and photographer and has been living the good life in Spain since 2009.
You can eat seriously well in Gran Canaria. The fish and seafood is out of this world and you simply can’t miss the local ‘caldo de pescado’, a hearty fish stew, and ‘viega sancochada’, which is a gratifying casserole packed with hunks of fresh sea-bream. Also don’t miss the island’s famous Canarian ‘papas arrugadas’, which are the wrinkly boiled potatoes that Canarians serve at almost every meal.
Oh, and be sure to visit the little town of Sardina de Norte to try the famous sardines.
Bio: I’m a PR Consultant and digital nomad who occasionally blogs on anything from tarot cards to vision boards. I’m obsessed with food, beauty products, and anything travel.
Of course the highlights of both visits to Gran Canaria were both food related: Thursday night tapas in Vegueta, the old town of Las Palmas, and Mercado de Puerto on Friday and Saturday nights.
Thursday tapas are great—Vegueta’s restaurants open up their doors and usually have tapas and beer/wine for 1-2 euros—and you just eat and drink along the way. Everyone from Las Palmas seems to go, and we always run into friends.
The Mercado is tasty as well—it’s in an indoor market where the food stalls have tapas and wine/beer for 1-2 euros as well—really good food, a great time with friends, and close to the water, so a stroll along the boardwalk after is an added bonus.
I mean, there’s also the sand dunes in Maspalomas and hiking Roque Nublo, but I almost fell down that mountain, so not the most pleasant experience.
Bio: After studying, volunteering and working their way around the world, Inma and Jose started A World to Travel to share her experiences around the world and her passion for festivals, the great outdoors and all things travel five years back. Follow their journey on aworldtotravel.com
Enjoy Gran Canria Sunsets
Sunsets in this island are awe-inspiring. Our recommendation is to head to either a spot on the West coast or a hill. One of our favorites was from one of the best hotels in Gran Canaria. Enjoy
Thank you to all our participants!
As you can see from our expert roundup, there really is something for every budget and taste. Whether you prefer to explore the attractions, hike, dive or fish, sample the island’s unique cuisine, or simply relax on one of the beaches and soak up the rays, you won’t be disappointed you chose to spend your holiday on the ‘miniature continent’.
Visiting a new place can be daunting if you don’t know what to expect or what to do while you’re there, but you will find the locals to be friendly and helpful, and there is no shortage of fun to be had. However you decide to spend your sunny vacation days, one thing is certain: you definitely won’t be bored in Gran Canaria!
What is your own personal advice for the adventurous visitor to Gran Canaria? Let me know in the comments below and share your tips with all our readers.