The Canary Islands are a totally stunning archipelago that’s so beautiful to visit. Interestingly, it’s a part of Spain and actually closer to Morocco, which makes for a sun-soaked climate for a great holiday. Though it’s not just the sun that makes the Canary Islands so special, there’s actually a Shed load of natural beauty and culture that are hidden all across the islands, with Gran Canaria being of no exception. This is exactly why I wanted to share my very favourite and best things to do in Gran Canaria on your next trip.
Now, there about seven big islands that make up the Canaries, with Gran Canaria being one of the larger ones. This makes it a pretty big island to explore and you can easily spend seven days (or longer) heading across the whole island.
To be honest, some people have preconceptions of what a Gran Canaria holiday is. You know, boozy bars, packed beaches and everlasting hangovers, though, you couldn’t be more wrong!
Yes, just like lots of places, there is a space for nightlife and bars, but the island has such a rich heritage and beautiful scenery that are sometimes overshadowed by this.
Anyway, I’m rambling on as usual! I wanted to share my very favourite spots and best things to do in Gran Canaria to help you see another beautiful side of this gorgeous island. I really hope you’ll love your trip.
Take a look, below, at the best things to do in Gran Canaria. Have the best time!
1.) Roque Nublo
The huge volcanic rock of Roque Nublo is a pretty iconic spot to see in Gran Canaria that was formed over 4 million years ago. After all, the Canary Islands were made up from volcanoes and this is just one example of the islands turbulent geological past.
Perched within the region of Tejeda, it’s easily one of the largest crags in the world to see. Now, to get here you will need to hop in a car and park up (at the start of the trails) before heading on one of the varying length hiking trails where you can spot the three different crags.
Now, one of the shortest hikes is around 3-miles (4.2 km, approximately). Just make sure to take some good shoes as it does involve a little scramble/climb at some points. That being said, it’s not a difficult hike, just very uneven at times so be prepared. Oh yeah, and don’t wear flip flops… trust me on that one!
Visiting Firgas is easily one of the best things to do in Gran Canaria if you want to visit a gorgeous town. Perched in the northern part of Gran Canaria, it’s a totally stunning place to spend a lazy afternoon strolling the little streets.
Once you’re here, make sure to explore; Paseo de Canarias, see the beautiful church of San Roque and gorge at Grill Asadero Las Brasas. Honestly, you’ll leave stuffed!
Nestled within the centre of the island, exploring the village of Tejeda is one of the best things to do in Gran Canaria if you want a relaxing day. Plus, it’s easy to pair up a visit to Tejeda after your hike up to Roque Nublo.
Once you arrive, take a little walk around the streets and make sure to stop off at Dulceria Nublo for some of the tastiest little cakes in the region. Also, on a sunny day, stop off at La Tienda de Paco for a tasty lunch sat outside. They have some yummy Papas Arrugadas with garlic.
Perched in the north of Gran Canaria, Gàldar is a relatively small town that’s well worth the pit-stop on your trip further north.
Once here, you’ve got to head to the Painted cave that pre-dates any Spanish influence on the island. Honestly, if you love history and archaeology, then you’ll love this spot. Plus, it’s totally easy to find once you’re in Gàldar itself.
Now, there’s a small charge for entry, but it’s totally worth it to see of the best things to do in Gran Canaria.
Situated around 10-miles (14-km) from the city of Las Palmas, Arucas is a stunning spot to explore whilst on a road trip around the island itself.
Once you’re here, make sure you stop off at the iconic church of San Juan Bautista. It’s stunning and towers over all of Arucas.
Plus, don’t forget to visit the lovely Jardines de la Marquesa and grab a bite to eat at Entre Duelas y Tapas. They make the best tapas in a lovely inner courtyard.
6.) Mirador del Balcón viewpoint
Situated on the west coast, seeing the Mirador del Balcón viewpoint is easily one of the best things to do in Gran Canaria. This is especially true if you’re something of a nature lover, the views are stunning.
Honestly, it’s one of the easiest pitstops to make when going around Gran Canaria, especially as there is a small car parking spot and steps down to the balcony viewpoint itself. It’s stunning.
7.) Las Palmas
Being the capital of Gran Canaria, Las Palmas has lots going for it, especially with all its history and delicious foodie spots that are dotted across the city.
Once here, make sure to visit the Casa de Colon in the older part of the city that is totally beautiful and really gorgeous to go for a wander. Oh, and make sure to stop off at the Botanic Gardens of Viera and Clavijo which is lovely to see.
For some tasty grub, Los 5 Sentidos (for their tuna) and Deliciosa Marta, too.
8.) Caves of Valeron (Valeron Monastery)
Nestled upon the cliffs of Valerón, the Caves are one of the most important archaeological sites on the island and the best things to do in Gran Canaria if you love history.
Once here, you’ll see the (almost 300) caves and compartments that have been carved out of the mountain many centuries ago. Once here, you can either take a guided tour or head out to see the site alone. Now, if you want to avoid some of the queues, head across to the caves of Valeron earlier in the morning and before any guided groups arrive.
It’s a really incredible place to see and very compact, so easy to see if you’re short on time as it’ll only take you around 30-60 minutes to explore.
9.) Dunes of Maspalomas
Exploring the Dunes of Maspalomas is other of the best things to do in Gran Canaria if you want to see the diversity of the island.
Now, obviously, it can be harder on the feet to walk across the dunes themselves, so make sure to wear so compy shoes. Oh yeah, and you might find a few bare-naked sunbathers, too! Cheeky! 😉
10.) Caldera de Bandama
Easily, exploring the Caldera de Bandama is one incredible spot for views across the island. Now, you can drive around this area in your own car (or tour), just be prepared for some narrow turns and hair-raising drops at times!
Once you’re at the top, you can actually hike all around the rim of the Bandama Volcano which is totally beautiful, too. The hike itself will take around 2-3 hours, so pack plenty of water and snacks.
11.) Fataga ravine
One of the biggest canyons or ravines on Gran Canaria is that of Fataga that cuts through the middle of the island. It’s often referred to as the Grand Canyon of Gran Canaria, which is easy to see why. The ravine itself stretches from the sea and is only stopped by the mountains and other geological basins that cover this area.
Now, you can drive most of this ravine and reach Fataga itself to see some of the best views in the region. Now, make sure to see the Las Yeguas and Fataga Viewpoint, too, you’ll have the best time.
Perched within the mountains, Teror might sound a little scary but I promise you it’s a little gem in Gran Canaria. Now, it’s pretty small, so don’t expect to spend all day here but it’s a great way to see another side of the island that’s pretty historic.
Once you’ve parked up, take a stroll over to Plaza del Teror that’s filled with colourful wooden houses and balconies that line the square.
Plus, if you’re arriving on September 8th then make sure to check out Nuestra Señora del Pino that goes on throughout the day and into the evening. It really is one of the best things to do in Gran Canaria, especially if you love a good festival.
13.) Tamadaba National Park
Tamadaba National Park is one of the unspoilt areas of Gran Canaria that’s well worth a visit, especially if you want to see a different side to the island. Now, lots of the park is inaccessible, but there are quite a few trails and routes where you can experience the national park itself.
Make sure to see the park from La Bandera peak and the El Balcón viewpoint where the land meets the ocean.
14.) Take a trip to the other Canary Islands
There are about 7 principle islands in the archipelago and they’re all totally unique. Take a look, below, at some other islands, you can easily visit by boat or air whilst in the Gran Canaria.