Gran Canaria is a magical island, located in the Canary Islands, off northwestern Africa and it is known for its black lava and white sand beaches, year-round warm weather and adventurous mountains. All this means that there are so many things to do in Gran Canaria.
The island is an island of microclimates, so you can find rugged, mountainous regions, set against warm, relaxed beaches. The west side of the island offers visitors surfing and other water-based activities, due to the Atlantic surge, and this has formed lush areas, perfect for hiking, cycling and going on an adventure.
The south offers visitors gorgeous beaches, including the popular Playa del Inglés and Puerto Rico, as well as quieter Puerto de Mogán and San Agustín.
In the north, the capital city Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is a major stopping off port for cruise ships, shopping and well-known restaurants.
Gran Canaria the most diverse of the Canary Islands which means there are lots of things to do in Gran Canaria.
Whatever you are interested in doing whilst on the island, Gran Canaria has something to offer for everyone… There are so many amazing Gran Canaria attractions.
13 Best things to do in Gran Canaria
- Visit the capital Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
- Take a Buggy Tour Safari
- Go to the Dunes of Maspalomas
- Visit Cueva Pintada Museum
- Visit Tamadaba National Park
- Go and see Roque Nublo
- Visit the Catedral de Santa Ana
- Go wild at Taurito
- Visit the Caves of Valeron
- Sunbathe at Puerto Rico beach
- Go on a Whale Watching Boat Tour
- Go and see Caldera de Bandama (volcano)
- Try scuba diving
What to do in Gran Canaria?
13 Best things to do in Gran Canaria
Gran Canaria is an island of many sides: it has more than 80 beaches, mountains, lush Greenland, the roaring Atlantic coast, award-winning restaurants, lots of five-star resorts and much more. There are so many Gran Canaria attractions to check out you’ll need a week or more.
So here are the best places to visit in Gran Canaria…
1. Visit the capital Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
A visit to the island’s capital Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is one of the best things to do in Gran Canaria. The city is a popular stop-off for tourists to the island, a major cruise port and is known for its wonderful duty-free and beautiful beaches. There are so many things to do in Las Palmas…
The city is located in the northern part of the island, and the weather in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is hot, due to its’ proximity to Africa, but can be cooler in the winter months with the wind off the Atlantic ocean. It’s even been said to have the best climate in the world!
It’s a great place to laze on a sunbed, and go swimming in the sea due to Playa de Las Canteras, a coral barrier lines the beach. You can also go snorkelling, scuba diving and try other water sports here.
There are lots of things to do in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria including Bandama Caldera, Casa de Colón, Jardín Botánico Canario Viera y Clavijo, Museo Canario, Elder Museum of Science and Technology and Alfredo Kraus Auditorium.
2. Take a Buggy Tour Safari
One of the most adrenaline-inducing activities to do in Gran Canaria is to go on a buggy tour in an ATV! Most tours last for around two hours, and you get to see some of the islands best scenery, nature and views. You go along the coastline, and through incredible landscapes into the heart of the island.
The Gran Canaria Buggy Tour takes you from the South to spots overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, through the fantastic village of Fataga, and then on to amazing viewpoint “Pedro Gonzales” where you’ll get views of Ayagaures Valley with its reservoir and mountains! A really fun day out and one of the best things to do in Gran Canaria.
3. Go to the Dunes of Maspalomas
One of the best things to do in Gran Canaria is to visit the Dunes of Maspalomas. An iconic place to visit, and one of the things to do in Maspalomas, is the Maspalomas Dunes. They are sand dunes located on the south coast of the island across a 404-hectare area of the municipality of San Bartolomé de Tirajana and the area has been protected as a nature reserve since 1987.
4. Visit Cueva Pintada Museum and Archaeological Park
Another one of the best places to visit in Gran Canaria is located in the town of Gáldar. The Cueva Pintada Museum and Archaeological Park is one of the most important archaeological sites in Gran Canaria.
The museum exists in order to preserve, research and disseminate one of the most unique settlements, the Ancient Canarians.
Here you can find wall paintings, expression and symbolism of the Ancient Canarians, and you can learn about the prehispanic world in Gran Canaria, through the museums 3D technology to show the historic past of the island. One of the best Gran Canaria attractions!
5. Visit Tamadaba National Park
If you know me, you’ll know I love being outside, which is why a visit to the Tamadaba Natural Park is one of the best things to do in Gran Canaria. The national park is huge and set upon over 7,500 hectares of land, from the highlands down to the coast, within the Unesco Biosphere Reserve.
There are lots of things t do in the national park, including hiking, walking and mountain-biking. You can have a picnic under the canopy at the Llanos de La Mimbre picnic area, before heading to the La Bandera peak. And you can head towards the coast to see El Balcón viewpoint, the sea cliff formation also known as the dragon’s tail.
6. Go and see Roque Nublo
The famous Roque Nublo is a volcanic rock on the island of Gran Canaria and is one of the most recognisable places to visit on the island. The rock is 67m tall and it’s top is 1,813 m above sea level making it the third-highest altitude of the island.
It was formed by a volcanic eruption around 4.5 million years ago and is considered one of the biggest natural crags in the world.
It is located in the municipality of Tejeda, and to get to the rock, you must firs head to the main trail, then walk 1.5km approx to reach the summit. Another one of the best Gran Canaria attractions!
7. Visit the Catedral de Santa Ana
The twin-towered Cathedral of Santa Ana is a Roman Catholic church located in the island’s capital Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and today is a well-known religious building. It’s one of the best things to do in Las Palmas.
The Cathedral of Santa Ana was the central parish, which was built between 1575 and 1576. Some remarkable pieces of art can still be seen in the chapels of the cathedral including many statues, most of which are from the famous religious sculptor José Luján Pérez.
The church is open Monday – Friday 10.00 to 16.30 and Saturdays 10.00 to 13.30 – access only through the Sacred Art Museum and is around €2-€3 for entry.
8. Go wild at Taurito
One of the most exclusive resort areas in Gran Canaria is Playa Taurito, located on Gran Canaria’s southwest coast, nearby to Puerto Rico. It has a handful of luxury hotels stacked by the rugged volcanic cliffs, with a stunning beach. It’s one of the best Gran Canaria beach to visit.
And the areas most popular attraction is the waterpark Playa Taurito Lido. It includes a lagoon-style swimming pool, tropical gardens, plus lots of waterslides including corkscrews, kamikazes, and children’s pool. It is one of the best place to stay in gran Canaria and offers some amazing accommodation in gran Canaria.
9. Visit the Caves of Valeron
Valerón’s “monastery” is an archaeological site on the Spanish island in Santa Maria de Guia, on Valerón’s cliff.
Here you can see a big cave, where aborigines of the island kept food in the past and it is a very interesting place, where you can see this place, learn a lot about the history of the island and enjoy with the beautiful views of surroundings. Also nearby is the Gáldar Painted cave, one of the emblematic sites of Grand Canary.
It’s worth visiting this place because of its cultural and historical value on Gran Canaria and the granaries at Cenobio de Valerón have been prepared for visitors so they can learn more about the region.
10. Sunbathe at Puerto Rico beach
Puerto Rico is renowned for being the best place in Gran Canaria, for sunbathing, relaxing and enjoying a laid back holiday. The region is busy most of the year, but especially in the summer.
There are so many things to do in Puerto Rico Gran Canaria and it is one of the best areas to stay in gran Canaria, and here are some of the best family hotels in gran Canaria too.
The area has lots of things to do including jet skiing, sailing, diving, big-game fishing and windsurfing, and leisure excursions such as boat trips, dolphin-watching or glass-bottomed boats to discover the rich underwater life of the area.
This is the best place to settle yourself during a week-long holiday if you want an atmosphere, with activities galore and great access to shops and restaurants. I would definitely recommend staying around here if you have kids or travelling with a family, as its the best area in gran Canaria.
11. Go on a Whale Watching Boat Tour
One of my favourite animals on the planet is the whale. And going whale watching with a reputable company, that supports the whales, instead of simply earning profit from them are located on the island.
Seeing whales in their natural environment is incredible and there are many tours on the island that can offer you spectacular experiences.
You may also see the small common dolphin on most cruises, and if you are lucky, you will get to see the largest animal that has lived on the earth; the blue whale. This is defo one of the best places to visit in Gran Canaria.
12. Go and see Caldera de Bandama (volcano)
This journey may be challenging, but the rewards are worth it! The drive to reach Caldera de Bandama can be tough, via winding roads through towns, villages and vineyards.
After around 6 km you’ll arrive at the stunning Caldera de Bandama. The volcanic crater is 1000m in diameter, 200m deep, and 569m high, and the peak also known as the Pico de Bandama, is possible to drive up. There is an observation platform where you can enjoy breathtaking views of the entire north coast. And on a clear day, you might even see Fuerteventura.
If you are more of the adventurous type, you can even climb down into the crater via a steep path, which is about a 30-minute hike. Fancy being brave? I am not sure I’d be brave enough!
13. Try scuba diving
And last but not least, why not try scuba diving on the island of Gran Canaria. With an amazing climate, that means you can dive all year round in wetsuits, and the sub-tropical waters are warmed by the gulf stream.
You can find a variety and colours of marine life can explore wrecks, reefs, caves, caverns and a variety of habitats, as well as sharks, rays, nudibranchs, moray eels, big shoals, and lots of colourful fish.
My Travel Tips and Recommendations
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For accommodation, I usually book most of my hotels or hostels through Booking.com. I love using this platform as it provides me with some amazing deals for accommodation all around the world. Or if you prefer, I also recommend using Airbnb. If you haven’t signed up with Airbnb already, you can use this link to get £25 off your first visit!
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