Travel

8 Unmissable Sights in Gran Canaria

09/02/2021

Have you already started planning your post-lockdown holiday? If you are looking for the perfect holiday destination with warm climate, more than 120 golden sand beaches, clear blue waters, sand dunes and breathtaking landscapes, Gran Canaria is the place for you!

Maspalomas sand dunes, part of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in Gran Canaria island

For many travellers, the biggest appeal of a holiday in Gran Canaria is weather. Indeed, the all year round sunshine and average temperatures of 24ºC are hard to beat! The lovely climate makes it an ideal destination for sun worshippers, but it isn’t the only reason to love this Spanish island.

Anfi del Mar beach in Gran Canaria, Canary Islands

Gran Canaria, the second most populous of the Canary Islands, is known for its variety of landscapes: beaches, sand dunes, rolling hills, cave villages, mountain peaks and even a volcanic crater. So visitors can choose between a beach escape in the south of the island or a few days in the nature in the north, together with a few days of sightseeing in the historical quarters of the capital, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, and in beautiful small towns.

A small town in the northern region of Gran Canaria

Are you convinced yet? Gran Canaria is just a 4 hours and 30 minutes away thanks to frequent direct flights from London and from a wide variety of UK airports.

Top places to visit in Gran Canaria

1. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

The largest city of the Canary island archipelago, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, is full of charming corners, interesting cultural sights and fabulous places to eat. It is well worth a visit! Plan a half or full day excursion from your holiday resort to Las Palmas to visit – among others things – Columbus House (Casa de Colón) in the old town, the stunning 15th century cathedral (Catedral de Santa Ana), and the old district of Vegueta with its stone walls and cobbled streets. 

Columbus House in Las Palmas, the capital city of Gran Canaria (Canary Islands, Spain)Las Palmas, the capital city of Gran Canaria (Canary Islands, Spain)

Puerto Market, Mercado del Puerto, is the perfect place to buy top-quality traditional products or try local tapas. From the market, you are just a few minutes away from Playa de Las Canteras, a gorgeous golden sand beach popular for swimming, surfing and sunbathing.

2. Maspalomas Dunes

Gran Canaria is home to Maspalomas Dunes, a unique ecosystem of sand dunes, beaches, palm groves and a fresh water lagoon spanning 404 hectares. Maspalomas is a UNESCO protected Biosphere Reserve. Last year, after six weeks of lockdown, the dunes returned to pristine conditions for the first time in 50 years.

I visited Maspalomas dunes in 2017 and let me tell you: the sight of golden dunes, blue skies and ocean is absolutely breathtaking! It is a must-see for anyone visiting Gran Canaria.

Maspalomas sand dunes, part of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in Gran Canaria island

The dunes are surrounded by three tourist resorts: Playa del Inglés, Maspalomas and Meloneras. They are also easily accessible by car from any other resort located on the south coast of Gran Canaria, like Anfi del Mar.

3. Puerto de Mogán

Visit Puerto de Mogán once and you will never want to leave! This tiny fishing village in the island’s south is picture-perfect with its beautiful marina and whitewashed houses covered in gorgeous bougainvillea. Thanks to its canals, Puerto de Mogán is often described as the Little Venice of Gran Canaria.

Aside from offering a pretty backdrop for your holiday pictures, Puerto de Mogán is also a great destination for shopping and eating out. Try traditional Canarian cuisine or the superb seafood in restaurants like Casito Mediterraneo or Los Guayres.

The charming village of Puerto de Mogan in Gran Canaria, Canary Islands

While in Gran Canaria, you shouldn’t miss the traditional side of Papas Arrugadas con mojo (boiled salted new potatoes served with a spicy sauce).

Seafood platter with Papas arrugadas, a traditional boiled potato dish of the Canary Islands.

4. Gran Canaria’s Northern Region

The northern region of Gran Canaria offers numerous spots to enjoy scenic walks surrounded by lush vegetation and stargazing at night. There are also many charming  towns to stop by on your way north, such as Arucas and Terror with their colonial style architecture.

Small town in the northern region of Gran Canaria, Canary Islands

And, with the majority of tourists choosing to stay in the south, a holiday in the north will certainly provide you with  an opportunity to beat the crowds and a more authentic island experience.

Gran Canaria offers a varied landscape of golden sand beaches, rolling hills, and mountain peaks | Canary Islands, Spain

5. Fishing village of Agaete

The Agaete Valley is the most fertile area of Gran Canaria, the the northern region of the island. After driving through rolling hills, you will reach the idyllic port of Agaete of the western coast. The village is filled with charm and typical Canarian atmosphere! The white washed stone houses with green or blue doors reminded me of another volcanic island I love in the Canary archipelago, Lanzarote.

Agaete fishing village in Gran Canaria, Canary Islands

6. Los Castaños Coffee Farm

One of my favourite places to visit in Gran Canaria is Finca Los Castaños, a 2-hectare farm which grows Europe’s only Arabica coffee crop from plants originally brought here from Ethiopia. Coffee is a tropical plant which thrives here in the northern mountains of Gran Canaria. Finca Los Canstaños is not just a working farm, but also a shop and coffee school offering barista and sensory courses recognised by the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA).

Finca Los Castaños, an Arabica coffee farm in Gran Canaria, Canary Islands

7. Roque Nublo

Roque Nublo, known as Cloud Rock in English, a volcanic monolith situated at the very centre Gran Canaria island. The rock formation reaches an impressive 1,813m above sea level, making it one of the largest free-standing rocks in the world. The pre-Hispanic tribes that lived in Gran Canaria over 500 years ago regarded the rock as a sacred place. From up there, you will have views over other sacred island rocks: Roque Bentayga (1,404m) and Pozo de las Nieves (1,949m).

The best way to visit Roque Nublo National Park is to drive to Bentayga Visitor Centre and from there follow one of the several hiking trails.

8. Natural pools

Over the centuries, wind, waves and rain have carved out the volcanic rock of Gran Canaria. One of the most spectacular formations we can admire today are natural natural volcanic pools filled with crystal clear waters. Located by the coastal villages of the north, these pools are accessible when the tide goes out, offering an amazing experience for swimming! Some of the most popular with both tourists and locals are: Charcos del Portillo, Charco de San Lorenzo, El Altillo, El Agujero, and Los Charcones de Arucas. Las Salinas pool in Agaete has amazing views and is really convenient to get to.

Travelling to Gran Canaria during Coronavirus

Gran Canaria is fully ready to receive tourists again! Safety protocols are in place in the Canarian Archipelago to maximize security and safety and the World Tourism Organization has endorsed Gran Canaria as a safe destination, making it an ideal destination for your post-Covid European getaway!

Disclaimer: this post was written in collaboration with Turismo de Gran Canaria. All opinions are my own.

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