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StartNewsGran Canaria vs. Tenerife: Which island to choose for your holidays?

Gran Canaria vs. Tenerife: Which island to choose for your holidays?

21 Feb 2024

When it comes to planning a getaway to the Canary Islands, Tenerife and Gran Canaria often emerge as the top contenders for travelers seeking sun-soaked beaches, vibrant nightlife, and diverse landscapes. 

These two Spanish islands, while sharing the same archipelago, offer distinct experiences that cater to different tastes. In this exploration, we'll delve into the nuances that set Tenerife and Gran Canaria apart, focusing on their capitals, beaches, the culinary and nocturnal delights they have to offer, as well as comparing their climates and who they’re more suitability for.


Capital: Santa Cruz de Tenerife

Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands, boasts the bustling city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife as its capital. The city's vibrancy is palpable as soon as you arrive, with its modern architecture juxtaposed against historic buildings, creating a unique urban tapestry. The iconic Auditorio de Tenerife, a striking contemporary structure designed by Santiago Calatrava, stands as a testament to the city's commitment to modernity.


Tenerife's coastline is adorned with a diverse array of beaches catering to every preference. Playa de las Teresitas, just a short drive from Santa Cruz, is famous for its golden sands imported from the Sahara Desert. The turquoise waters and surrounding mountains create a picturesque backdrop, making it a popular destination for both locals and tourists alike. For those seeking a more secluded experience, Playa Abama offers tranquility amidst black volcanic sands, providing a unique contrast to the island's more typical beach offerings.

Restaurants & Nightlife

Santa Cruz de Tenerife is a haven for food enthusiasts, offering a wide range of culinary delights. From traditional Canarian dishes to international cuisine, the city's restaurants reflect its cosmopolitan atmosphere. Locals and visitors alike converge in the city's eateries to savor freshly caught seafood, Canarian potatoes (papas arrugadas), and mojo sauce.

When the sun sets, Santa Cruz transforms into a vibrant hub of nightlife. The city offers a diverse range of options, from trendy cocktail bars along the waterfront to traditional tapas joints in the historic districts. Whether you're in the mood for a relaxed evening or a lively night out, Santa Cruz de Tenerife has something for everyone.


Tenerife enjoys a mild and stable climate throughout the year, making it an attractive destination for those seeking sunshine regardless of the season. The northern part of the island tends to be slightly cooler and greener, while the southern region offers warmer temperatures and a drier landscape.

Suitability for couples and families

Tenerife, with its mix of cultural experiences, vibrant nightlife, and family-friendly beaches, is an ideal destination for both couples and families. The island's diverse offerings ensure that everyone, from couples seeking romantic getaways to families in search of adventure, finds their perfect slice of paradise.

Gran Canaria

Capital: Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

In contrast to Tenerife, Gran Canaria's capital, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, presents a fusion of modernity and historical charm. The city is divided into two main districts: Vegueta, the historic quarter with its cobbled streets and colonial architecture, and Triana, a bustling commercial area known for its shops, restaurants, and lively atmosphere.


Gran Canaria is renowned for its diverse beaches, each catering to different preferences. Playa de las Canteras, located in Las Palmas, is a haven for water sports enthusiasts and beach lovers. The promenade, lined with restaurants and shops, adds a cosmopolitan touch to the beach experience. On the southern coast, Maspalomas beckons with its vast sand dunes that stretch towards the sea, offering a unique landscape and a sense of solitude.

Restaurants & Nightlife

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is a gastronomic paradise, offering a medley of flavors influenced by its multicultural history. From seafood paella to Latin American fusion, the city's restaurants showcase its diverse culinary heritage. Vegueta, in particular, is a hotspot for those seeking a more traditional dining experience, with tapas bars and Canarian restaurants tucked away in its historic alleys.

When the sun dips below the horizon, Las Palmas comes alive with a vibrant nightlife. The city offers a mix of options, from trendy rooftop bars with panoramic views to intimate jazz clubs and salsa dancing venues. The diverse nightlife ensures that visitors can find the perfect setting to unwind and enjoy the evening, whether they prefer a relaxed atmosphere or a more energetic vibe.

If you want to go to the best bars, you should visit Playa del Inglés in the south with its many bars. Visit Meloneras for a luxury and exquisite setting or the Shopping Centre Yumbo in Playa del Inglés, the best LGTBQ+ hotspot.


Gran Canaria, like Tenerife, enjoys a subtropical climate with warm temperatures throughout the year. However, due to its diverse landscapes, the weather can vary across the island. The northern part tends to be greener and more temperate, while the south offers sun-soaked beaches and arid landscapes.


Gran Canaria, with its mix of historical charm, vibrant beaches, and diverse landscapes, caters to both couples and families. The island's versatile offerings provide opportunities for romantic getaways, family adventures, and everything in between. Whether exploring the historic streets of Vegueta or enjoying the family-friendly atmosphere of Playa de las Canteras, Gran Canaria ensures a memorable experience for all.

Which island is better, Tenerife or Gran Canaria?

In the dichotomy of Tenerife and Gran Canaria, travellers are presented with the opportunity to choose an island experience that aligns with their preferences. Tenerife, with its dynamic capital, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, offers a blend of modernity and tradition. The beaches, diverse in their character, provide a range of landscapes to explore. The culinary scene and nightlife in Santa Cruz cater to those seeking both sophistication and cultural immersion.

On the other hand, Gran Canaria, with its capital Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, captivates with a juxtaposition of historical charm and contemporary energy. The island's beaches, from the lively Playa de las Canteras to the serene Maspalomas, cater to a variety of tastes. The gastronomic offerings in Las Palmas showcase a rich cultural tapestry, while the nightlife ensures a memorable experience for all.

Ultimately, whether it's the lively streets of Santa Cruz de Tenerife or the historical alleys of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, both islands beckon with their unique allure, promising a memorable and fulfilling escape in the heart of the Canary Islands.

Where to stay on Gran Canaria

Dunas Don Gregory - Adults Only (Gran Canaria)

Location: San Agustin, Gran Canaria.

This adults-only beachfront hotel offers a serene and sophisticated atmosphere. With its direct access to the sandy shores of San Agustin, Dunas Don Gregory provides a perfect retreat for couples seeking a peaceful getaway. The hotel features well-appointed rooms, a spa, and exquisite dining options.

Dunas Mirador Maspalomas (Gran Canaria)

Location: Maspalomas, Gran Canaria.

Nestled in the heart of Maspalomas, Dunas Mirador Maspalomas provides a family-friendly environment with spacious accommodations. The hotel boasts beautiful gardens, multiple swimming pools, and entertainment options for both adults and children. Its proximity to Maspalomas Dunes and the vibrant Playa del Ingles adds to its allure.

Dunas Suites & Villas Resort (Gran Canaria)

Location: Maspalomas, Gran Canaria.

Offering a luxurious stay in Maspalomas, Dunas Suites & Villas Resort provides spacious suites and villas surrounded by lush greenery. The resort is designed to cater to families and couples alike, featuring multiple swimming pools, sports facilities, and a kids' club. Its proximity to the Maspalomas Golf Course is an added bonus for golf enthusiasts.

Dunas Maspalomas Resort (Gran Canaria)

Location: Maspalomas, Gran Canaria.Positioned near the iconic Maspalomas Dunes, Dunas Maspalomas Resort is a family-oriented complex with a variety of room types and bungalows. The resort features multiple swimming pools, sports facilities, and a comprehensive entertainment program. Its proximity to the beach and the Faro de Maspalomas lighthouse adds to the overall appeal.