From stargazing to beachcombing to hiking to biking, Gran Canaria is the perfect island for any type of traveler. The island is packed with unique landscapes, including expansive wild sand dunes, landmark rocks, and snow-capped peaks. Whether you want to hike, explore, or simply relax on the beach, Gran Canaria is right for you.

Travel Logistics

Many European cities offer flights into Gran Canaria’s capital, Las Palmas. It’s best to have Euros on hand, as some smaller bars and restaurants in more rural areas on the island may not accept credit cards.

Although the weather is typically dry, warm, and sunny, it may be windy on the island. Make sure to have sunblock and a hat to protect yourself from the strong rays.

Renting a car is the best way to get around the island — unless you’d rather just park yourself at an all-inclusive resort and soak up the sun.


RELATED: Travel Resources For Visiting All 7 of Spain’s Canary Islands


Where to Stay

Take a look at any number of these beautiful hotels to stay at across the island. Similar to Tenerife, Gran Canaria’s northern coast is often cloudier, so if it’s the sun you’re after, it’s best to head south to resorts in areas like Maspalomas, Meloneras, Puerto Rico, Playa del Inglés, or Mogán. For more cultural offerings and nightlife, staying in the northern capital Las Palmas is the way to go. 

Home or apartment rentals are very affordable throughout the island. Or, you can opt for a large brand hotel, like the fancy Lopesan Baobab Resort in Meloneras or the AC by Marriot Hotel Las Palmas.

How To Explore the Island of Gran Canaria - Things To Do


7-Day Itinerary for Gran Canaria

Day 1: Explore the capital of Las Palmas

Spend your first day on the island getting to know the capital. Start with a visit to the historic areas of Vegueta and Triana. A trip to the botanical gardens or the Parque de San Telmo would be ideal for families. Or, you can simply park yourself on the long stretch of sand on Las Canteras Beach, right in the center of Las Palmas. 

Day 2: Visit the Parque Natural Tamadaba

This massive biosphere reserve is one of the best spots on the island for hiking, walking, or just enjoying nature. Complete with pine forests, cliffs, and mountains, some of the best hikes will end up on deserted black sand beaches. Trails vary in difficulty and length.

Day 3: Sip rum at Arucas village

Visit the picturesque, colorful Arucas village and then tour/sip rum at the nearby Arehucas distillery. You’ll learn all about Gran Canaria’s history with sugar, as well as the backstory behind the former La Fábrica de San Pedro (now Arehucas), which opened in 1884. 

Day 4: Hike in the Parque Rural Doramas

Known for its laurel tree forest, the Parque Rural Doramas has a number of trails to choose from. Explore caves and ravines, or simply drive around the park and admire some of the verdant scenery.


RELATED: 7 Day Itinerary For Exploring Tenerife


Day 5: Admire Roque Nublo and the Pico de las Nieves

Visit the second-highest point on the island, the craggy Roque Nublo, or the highest point on the island, the Pico de las Nieves. Just know both of these peaks often sit bathed in cloud cover, so it’s best to check the weather conditions before heading up. Hiking is the most interesting way to see these landscapes, but you can drive up. Just note the drive may actually be slightly more harrowing than the walk!

Maspalomas Dunes Gran Canaria

 

Day 6: Sand Dunes 

It’s time to head to the south of the island to the Maspalomas sand dunes. This massive stretch of golden sand hills feels more like the Sahara than Europe. It’s best to visit the dunes early in the morning or closer to sunset while the sands are still cool enough to walk on. Don’t forget your camera, you’ll want to document this unique natural wonder.

Day 7: Puerto Rico y Amadores

Two of Gran Canaria’s most famous beaches with golden-white sands, the cliffside walk between the two coves is particularly floral and pleasant. Sunset is best at Amadores, so it’s best to start at Puerto Rico, and then spend the later afternoon at Amadores.


RELATED: How To Plan a 7 Day Trip to Fuerteventura on the Canary Islands


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    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Lori Zaino is a travel expert that's lived in Madrid, Spain for over a decade. A self-taught oenophile and culinary connoisseur, she's just as comfortable backpacking through Latin America's wine country as she is demurely sipping Champagne in French castles.

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