Despite being only the third largest of the Canary Islands, Gran Canaria accounts for almost half of the population. Gran Canaria displays the diverse landscape of green, leafy terrain, volcanic desert and glistening beaches were are present throughout the Canary Islands.
Most famous for its rugged coastline, interspersed with holiday and tourist resorts, there is much more to Gran Canaria. Beyond the sands, you will find plenty of opportunities for adrenalin pumping activities from hiking and cycling to a host of water sports which are popular on all seven islands.
Those seeking culture as well as beaches will benefit from a trip to Las Palmas, arguably the most dynamic capital city of all the Canary Islands. This cosmopolitan city is located on the north-eastern part of the island and is crammed with museums, art galleries, beautiful architectures, lush parks and the famous Las Canteras beach.
The ever popular southern part of Gran Canaria is the go to spot for crystal clear waters and lazy days on the sand. This part of the island boasts delightful villages such as the picturesque Puerto Mogán, lively Puerto Rico, quiet and relaxing Playa de San Agustín and the famous Play de Inglés which is the biggest holiday complex in the whole of Spain.
Things to do
Playa de las Canteras: Visit what is considered to be one of the best city beaches in the world. Marvel at the 3km stretch of golden sand and the beautiful La Barra Reef. In low tide the waters here are turned into a giant salty swimming pool which is perfect for snorkelling and getting a glimpse of the unique marine life.
Palmitos Park: The exotic flora and over 1500 species of bird life in the subtropical Palmitos Park are not to be missed. There is fun for all the family in the park, with a range of exhibits including an aquarium, orchid exhibit, petting farm with creatures such as wallabies and orang-utans and even daily dolphin shows.
Cueva Pintada Museum & Archaeological Park: Located right in the heart of Gáldar town, Cueva Pintada is considered to be one of Gran Canaria’s most important pre-Hispanic archaeological sites. The museum complex offers a unique insight into life on the island before the arrival of the conquistadors and features remains of cave houses, videos, reconstructions and a beautifully hand-painted cave featuring geometric shapes, thought to relate to the lunar and solar calendars.
Places to see
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria: The capital of Gran Canaria is a must-see for any visit to the island, with its mainland-Spain feel and eclectic mix of African, Chinese and India cultures throughout. Venture into the vibrant maze of streets which lay behind the stunning Playa de las Canteras beach, and discover excellent restaurants, bustling shopping districts and lively bars.
Tejeda: Located in the centre of the island, Tejeda is a lovely hill-top village. Drive through the beautifully rugged scenery of looming cliffs and deep gorges to discover the relaxed way of village life here. Take a visit to the handsome hill top church, and during February you can experience a fiesta that celebrates all thing almond in honour the blossoming trees which surround the village.
Artenara: As the highest village on Gran Canaria, Artenara is the perfect place to view the dramatic, volcanic landscape of the island. Several lookouts across the village over spectacular viewpoints of volcanic craters, several troglodyte caves and even the distant peak of Mount Teide on neighbouring Tenerife.