Gran Canaria, part of the Canary Islands archipelago, is a fantastic place for a family holiday or a quick getaway for two. The island boasts the presence of picturesque beaches, volcanic peaks and charming fishing villages. Why not consider a trip to this part of the world?
And here are the reasons why you should go to a Canarian gem.
Las Palmas – the capital and largest city of Gran Canaria
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is a capital city where it is impossible to get bored. Spanish monuments (such as the House of Columbus) or picturesque beaches (such as Playa de las Canteras), mix here with luxury hotels and a whole lot of delicious food. Papas Arrugadas – have you heard of them? They are the famous, slightly wrinkled potatoes of the Canary Islands, attracting all lovers of potato delicacies.
Walking through the narrow, at times romantic, streets of Las Palmas, you can forget your everyday problems for a while. It was from here, from Las Palmas, that Christopher Columbus began his famous voyage to America. The pleasant air temperature here lasts all year round. Twenty degrees Celsius, no snow and occasional rain is what we expect from a successful holiday. The capital of Gran Canaria attracts walkers and surfing enthusiasts like a magnet. Every day, especially on the nearby promenade, you will come across smiling passers-by and athletic runners.
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is also the ideal place to be alone with the beauty of nature. Ciudad Jardín, which is an enchanting garden district, makes you realise how powerful nature is. Moving on, it is worth stopping for a moment at the Cathedral of Santa Ana. The Catedral de Santa Ana de Canarias is the most important monument in the city, combining many architectural styles.
And after the sightseeing… time for a little rest! Tourists usually spread out on the famous Playa de las Canteras, but there is also the Playa de la Laja and the Playa Alcaravaneras. There is plenty to choose from!
Vegueta – the oldest part of Las Palmas
We remain in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria for a moment longer, as it is here that the delightful Vegueta, or oldest quarter of the city, rests. Vegueta shines at any time of day or year. During the day, it opens up to us the most precious monuments and attractions (such as the Catedral de Santa Ana de Canarias – St Anne’s Cathedral), and at night, it invites us to enjoy a glass of red wine. Local tavernas, which we do not need to emphasise at all, offer Spanish delicacies to passers-by and herald an enjoyable evening. Apart from the Catedral de Santa Ana de Canarias – the Cathedral of St. Anne – Vegueta also serves us other cultural monuments. There are atmospheric, cobbled streets, the 16th century Plaza de Santa Ana and statues of eight dogs cast in bronze. It is interesting to note that the inhabitants of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria call them “Los Perros de Santa Ana” (“The Dogs of Saint Anne”). So who needs a photo with a guard dog?
Roque Nublo – a real treat for hikers
Walks, strolls, hikes – who doesn’t love them… Everyone needs a moment of peace and quiet sometimes. So if you get tired of lying on the beach or exploring the Canary Islands’ monuments, make sure you take a trip to Roque Nublo.
Roque Nublo, the ‘Rock of Mists’, is not only a stunning attraction in Gran Canaria, but also one of the largest monolithic rocks of volcanic origin in the world. In close proximity to the “Rock of Mists”, you can also come across the “Frog” and the “Monk”. The “Frog” and the “Monk”? Yes! As you can easily guess, these are two more rock formations.
Walking and trekking enthusiasts have several marked hiking trails at their disposal. Less experienced hikers are advised to take the shortest, but at the same time the most popular trail. This trail starts at the Degollada de La Goleta car park. The route is very easy and requires no special equipment. Comfortable shoes and a light jacket will do!
Look: prices in Gran Canaria.
Maspalomas – the perfect place for a holiday break
Why not… move to the Sahara? If not the real one, then perhaps the… Canary Island one? The Maspalomas resort is the perfect place for a family holiday. Sun, beach, dunes – what more could you want from life? Not only does the resort offer images straight out of a romantic film, but also excellent conditions for water sports. How about a banana boat trip?
Maspalomas’ greatest asset is, of course, its spectacular dunes, rising up to 15 metres. The characteristic hills can only be explored on designated trails. But don’t count on lush vegetation – there simply isn’t any on the dunes….
Dunes for dunes, but Maspalomas is also a paradise for golf lovers and swimming pool amateurs. The mighty Aqualand Maspalomas invites you to live a great adventure and tempts you with a tangle of colourful slides. Not enough? Here are the resort’s other attractions: The Lighthouse, the free botanical garden, the animal park – Palmitos Park and the funfair – Holidayworld Maspalomas Center.
Teror – colourful townhouses and cakes baked by… nuns
Colourful, beautiful, unique – these are three words to describe Teror, an important religious and pilgrimage centre. The true spirit of faith can be felt in Teror. The ubiquitous places of worship remind us of the immaterial realm of life and invite us to cross its thresholds. The undisputed landmark of Teror is the Basilica of Our Lady of the Pines, one of the most important examples of sacred architecture in the Canary Islands. Anyone standing in front of the church will be simply enchanted by its beauty and simplicity. But this is only the beginning of the delight, as the interior of the basilica hides even more surprises.
Another interesting place on the map of Teror is the Cistercian Monastery, famous for its delicious confectionery. The famous cakes are baked by the… nuns themselves. Time to take a break? Plaza Teresa de Bolivar is a great place for a little rest. The idyllic atmosphere of the place will make you feel blissfully light.
Strolling through the town’s atmospheric alleyways, a visit to the local market is also worthwhile. The regional produce and fragrant breads are an invitation to try the delicious specialities. Anything can happen in Teror…
Arucas – a little rum never hurt anyone…
Maize, potatoes, banana trees and… rum. That, in a nutshell, is how Arucas can be described, a town located about 12 kilometres from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, the island’s capital.
Arucas, although famous for its many crops, also boasts some historical gems. One of these is the Church of St John the Baptist, built entirely of stone blocks. The interior of the church is very impressive and contains many valuable paintings. Cristóbal Hernández de Quintana – ever heard of him? It is the work of this Canarian artist that adorns the temple walls.
A little rum never hurt anyone…
Do you like rum? Then you’re in luck! The Arehucas Rum Factory (Destilerías Arehucas) will take you to the world of the golden drink. The free guided tour is an unusual opportunity to learn about rum production and taste a selected speciality. You can also enjoy other spirits on site.Arucas is also a fantastic place to relax and enjoy the beach. There are several beaches (sandy and rocky) in the area for a little mind reset. El Puertillo and Los Charcones guarantee an enjoyable afternoon.
And after lounging… time for a quick climb. Mount Arucas provides an excellent vantage point and breathtaking views.
Barranco de Guayadeque – one of the most beautiful places on the island
The Guayadeque Gorge, in Spanish Barranco de Guayadeque, is a real treat for lovers of beautiful views and lush vegetation. Have you ever seen almond trees in bloom? Then springtime Gran Canaria invites you to discover its most precious treasures.
The Barranco de Guayadeque does not let you forget it… Once discovered, it remains in your memory forever. The path through the ravine is a pleasure in itself. The beautiful specimens of flora, the spectacular orange rocky outcrops and the houses carved into the rock are incredibly impressive. Most noteworthy, however, is the fact that some of the houses are still… inhabited by people.
The Guayadeque Gorge can be explored on foot or by car. Those who choose to go on a long hike should remember to have the right equipment. Comfortable footwear, a warm jacket and a supply of water are essential on the trail!
The Barranco de Guayadeque is located in the south-east of Gran Canaria and reminds us of its turbulent past. In times gone by, a rapid river flowed through the ravine, so today we can admire the amazing rock formations. The picturesque landscapes are best viewed first thing in the morning, when there are not yet too many tourists.
Jardín Botánico Canario Viera y Clavijo – a green enclave at your fingertips
Palm trees, cacti, exotic shrubs, dracaenas – all this and more awaits you at the Jardín Botánico Canario Viera y Clavijo, a unique botanical garden located near the island’s capital.
The Jardín Botánico Canario Viera y Clavijo is the green lung of Gran Canaria and all of Spain. In its vast grounds (over 27 hectares), you can find almost all the flora of the Canary Islands, as well as a break from the hustle and bustle of the city. In addition to species typical of this part of the world, many plants from Madeira and Cape Verde are also planted here. The garden, very significantly, has been designed with every detail in mind. There is order and harmony on site, and each plant has its own predetermined space. In the Palm Square, palms from different corners of the Canary Islands stand proudly, and in the Succulent Garden, cacti with very interesting (sometimes unusual) shapes. Of course, there are many more squares of this type.
The Jardín Botánico Canario Viera y Clavijo can be visited at any time of the year. The most important thing, however, is to set aside some time. Two hours will satisfy our curiosity? It is obviously a lot, but still not enough to get to know every plant….
The village of Puerto de Mogán, where the sun always shines
Puerto de Mogán is a typical fishing village, where time passes a little more slowly than in large conurbations. The place is quiet and the smell of sea delicacies is in the air. Do you prefer moules or fried octopus? Fortunately, in this part of Gran Canaria you can enjoy a variety of seafood.
An unmistakable attraction of the Puerto de Mogán is its narrow, atmospheric streets, decorated in Mediterranean style. Strolling through the town’s winding alleyways, you can feel the true spirit of the island. It is also interesting to note that the village is often referred to as “Little Venice”. What is this due to? Mainly due to the presence of numerous canals and small piers.
Puerto de Mogán is also home to endless flower gardens. At every turn, you will come across lush bougainvilleas, which blend in perfectly with the white houses. It really is beautiful!
Pico de las Nieves – Gran Canaria’s highest peak and a must-see.
Another place of interest in sun-warmed Gran Canaria is the summit of Pico de las Nieves, which is reached by several winding trails. The mountain is located in the central part of the island and is quite a challenge for true long climbing enthusiasts. The path to the summit is not easy, but it is well worth the effort as there are surprises waiting for you along the way. Picturesque landscapes, fresh air, calorie shedding, peace and quiet – all of this adds up to time well spent. In addition, along the way you will come across a cave which – in case of rain – will provide temporary shelter. But it doesn’t stop there, as another important piece of information is that the Pico de las Nieves can be climbed on foot or… driven in by car.
Fataga – a typical Canarian village “drowned” in flowers
At the very end, we suggest a visit to the village of Fataga, which is located in the south of Gran Canaria. It is a typical Canarian village – full of atmospheric streets and floral decorations. The characteristic orange tiles contrast wonderfully with the whiteness of the houses, transporting us to a world of idyllic tranquillity. No one is in a hurry here, no one is rushing; on the contrary, everyone slowly goes about their daily chores. People live and work, and cats lazily stretch out in the sun. In a word – idyll.
In the town you will not find spectacular sights or attractions. There are, however, regional pubs, St Joseph’s Church, a gallery with local jewellery and the mountains surrounding the village. And it is the latter – the mountains – that guarantee incredible views and beautiful memories.