Among the best of Gran Canaria you can find sweeping beaches, bustling hotels and villages ripe for exploring, making the island a failsafe choice all year-round. Indeed, as far as holiday destinations go, Gran Canaria is part of the world’s vintage collection.
The island first appeared on the Spain tourism radar as far back as the 19th century, and it’s gone from strength to strength ever since. It started gaining popularity in European circles as an attractive base for recreational holidays. A place for people in need of a rest.
There are many reasons to choose Gran Canaria as your holiday destination, as it is an island with a variety of landscapes that offer great beaches and plenty of activities, as modern coastal accommodation blend with picturesque towns full of history.
Head to the heart of this Canary Island for an unforgettable drive through dramatic mountains and experience its extraordinary natural heritage.
They say that a holiday in Gran Canaria is an excellent option at any time of year, as one can feel like an astronaut without even leaving the ground. Something hard to beat. That’s why we are going to show you some ideas, so that your visit to this “miniature continent” is unforgettable.
Discover the best of Gran Canaria
Gran Canaria is the third-largest island in the Canaries’ archipelago, but accounts for almost half the population. It lives up to its reputation as an ideal island, with dramatic variations of terrain, ranging from the green and leafy north to the lush mountainous interior and the desert south.
You can also run headlong into three or even four seasons in one day, with micro-climates dotted around the coast and hills that can transport you from piercing sunlight into clammy fog banks at the drop of a hat. To capture a sense of Gran Canaria's breathtaking diversity, head to beautiful Arternara and Tejeda, where the sheer drama of the mountains reaches a crescendo.
Gran Canaria is also attracting more and more visitors with niche markets, which have emerged in the past years, such as golf or wellness holidays or rural tourism, adding even more attractions to this already eclectic destination and making it one of the most accomplished in Europe.
Gran Canaria keeps the adrenaline pumping further with hiking, cycling and water sports, while culture-vultures won't miss out, particularly in the historic cosmopolitan capital of Las Palmas.
Gran Canaria is a tiny continent where you'll find plenty of experiences that make every day special: golden beaches, stunning landscapes, and a big city full of fun things to do. Probably, the best of Gran Canaria is...
- Roque Nublo: located in the central municipality of Tejeda, Roque Nublo is considered one of the biggest natural crags in the world. Of special significance to the islanders, this crag of volcanic origin stands at a height of 80 metres and is 1,813 metres above sea level. An ancient place of worship for the aborigines, it was declared a protected natural space in 1987 and a rural park seven years later.
- Maspalomas Dunes: the Maspalomas beach and dunes system, a mix of desert and oasis, is a unique wild place in the Canary Islands due to its beauty and range of ecosystems. Its 400 hectares, protected by the Canarian government as a Nature Reserve of special value, include a fantastic beach, a dynamic sand dune system, palm grove and a brackish lagoon.
- Las Palmas de Gran Canaria: this cosmopolitan city surrounded by the sea in the far northeast of the island is a must. Discover its main attractions, the over three kilometres long Las Canteras beach and the old town, Triana and Vegueta. Its narrow, cobbled streets and colonial feel is home to many of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria’s most iconic buildings.
- Playa del Inglés: this is one of the island’s most famous beaches and is, undoubtedly, among the best of Gran Canaria. Located in its southern tip, its almost three kilometres of golden sand and calm waters are next to many service areas and places for sports such as volleyball and beach football. An ideal location to spend a family day on the beach.
- Agaete: from highlands covered by the island’s best preserved pine forest down to the clear Atlantic waters via a stunning, fertile valley and a pretty old town, the Agaete Valley in northwest Gran Canaria is one of the island’s prettiest spots. Don’t leave Agaete without visiting the seaside town of Puerto de las Nieves with its whitewashed houses with blue windows. One of the Gran Canaria’s most popular spot for fresh fish right by the sea.
These are just five examples of beautiful, diverse, separate and very different places that show what is so special about Gran Canaria and why having a holiday on this island is a safe bet to enjoy your days off.
Canarian gastronomy: an ample and varied cuisine
Through its cuisine you may learn about a land. This is why it's no surprise to find the cuisine of the Canary Islands full of contrasts with honest, tasty dishes made with fresh local ingredients full of the flavours of our volcanic soils and ripened by our warm climate.
Many Canarian foods, like wines and cheeses, are made by traditional methods and come with their own Designation of Origin. Discover next the best of Gran Canaria cuisine.
- Papas arrugadas con mojo (wrinkled potatoes with mojo): a specialty of the Canary Islands, this dish calls for boiling potatoes with a large amount of salt, until they're wrinkled and dusted white. The sauce, called mojo, is a classic accompaniment –sometimes spicy– and can be found in many variants: rojo (red, specially for meat), verde (green, specially for green), etc. It’s one of the archipelago’s most famous and representative dishes.
- Carne de cabra (goat meat): this is a meat that is consumed in large quantities here in the Canary Islands and one that was highly valued in pre-Hispanic times. The meat has a strong flavour that when well-cooked is a true delicacy. Today it continues to be the most sought-after dish and is never missing from the menu in traditional restaurants. The meat from kids, which is called baifo here, is a speciality that is in great demand during the Christmas season.
- Sancocho: a typical dish that Canarians prepare and eat on Good Friday. This dish also exists in Latin America, but it is served as a soup or stew there. The Canarian cooking version is more solid and use salted fish (halibut, sea bass or similar) to make it. It is accompanied by papas arrugadas with mojo and boiled sweet potatoes.
- Gofio escaldado (gofio with fish or meat broth): the best of Gran Canaria gastronomy is probably this dish that consists of a fine gofio (toasted grain –specially corn and wheat– flour) purée served with various toppings and chopped onions on the sides to use them as a spoon. On top you can complement it with some peppermint leaves and sometimes even with red or green mojo to make it extra tasty.
- Vieja a la espalda (grilled vieja): parrot fish (or vieja, as this fish is called in the Canaries) is one of the archipelago’s endemic fish. It’s a tender white fish, ideal to cook it a la espalda (grilled). Taste this delicacy at the best fish barbecues of Gran Canaria, such as Agaete or Arguineguín.
As you may have noticed, these are only five recipes, but the Canarian gastronomy is a pleasure for the palate as well as the eyes.
Finally, let's talk about the incredible hotels to enjoy any type of holiday in Gran Canaria, offering services ranging from adults only, to all-inclusive or for families.
- Mirador Maspalomas by Dunas: a hotel located in southern Gran Canaria ideal for enjoying the climate and the sensations of relax and entertainment thanks to its dynamic style, where the little ones will meet DUNI, the hotel mascot. The will have a great time with fun gymkhanas and activities.
- Maspalomas Resort by Dunas and Suites & Villas by Dunas: a village in the middle of a paradise due to the proximity of these two hotels to the Natural Reserve of the Maspalomas Dunes. They have spacious and intimate rooms that will give you the tranquility you need together with beautiful and well-tended gardens that converge in excellent swimming pool areas.
- Don Gregory by Dunas: an adults only hotel ideal for relax thanks to its Nordic style, which immerses you in calm from the very first moment. This beachfront hotel in San Agustín has rooms overlooking the sea and services that will make you feel like you are in a haven of exquisite peace. In addition, the hotel infinity pool with its solarium areas and its Wellness centre is a real plus.
In order to enjoy the best of Gran Canaria, don’t hesitate and pick one of these four hotels that adapt to all the conditions of your vacation.