Gran Canaria
About

Gran Canaria is a place of natural contrasts and diversity in sights and climate. It is often called a “miniature continent”, as the scenery varies from ripe greens and ravines in the north to rugged mountains and gorges further inland to a desert-like landscape in the south. The coastline boasts a rocky terrain that intertwines with long beaches, dunes of white sand and the occasional stretch of resorts. There is so much to take in that you might get the feeling of being in different parts of the world at once - the mountains will remind you of some of the planet’s major mountain ranges on a smaller scale, and the southern Dunas de Maspalomas bear resemblance of a small surreal desert by the sea.

The island is also known for its rich variety of microclimates - different parts of Gran Canaria get different amounts of sunshine and rainfall, and the temperatures can vary accordingly, further adding to the contrasting character of the island. Nonetheless Gran Canaria gets a fair 2.800 hours of sunshine, letting you enjoy great weather while exploring the island, hiking and cycling in the mountains, trying some of the countless varieties of watersports or just relaxing at the beach.

Although ranking only third by size in the archipelago, Gran Canaria houses nearly half of the Canaries’ population and has enough of an urban-cultural side to it, particularly in the island's capital Las Palmas, which has plenty of historical testimony, attractions, sights and party vibe on offer for everyone.

Facts
  • The name “Gran Canaria” originally meant “Great Island of Dogs”
  • On his first trip to the Americas in 1492, Columbus stopped over in the Port of Las Palmas
  • The diameter of this round island is about 50 km
  • The Maspalomas dunes are thought to have appeared after a massive earthquake around 1750
Flights to Gran Canaria
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Eat

Rancho canario

A simple and hearty Canarian soup made with salted ribs, chickpeas, chorizo, lard, thick noodles, potatoes, tomatoes and onions.

Ropa vieja

A delicious stew made of shredded chicken and beef and mixed with potatoes, chickpeas and tomato sauce.
Drink

Tropical

Gran Canaria’s own beer variety, typically served cooled and in 20cc bottles. If you’re a beer drinker, you’ll definitely want to try this!

Mejunje

A Santa Lucia de Tirajana specialty – rum and honey liqueur spiced with cinnamon, lemon peel, lemongrass, coffee beans and other aromatics.
See

Cueva Pintada

See Gran Canaria’s most important pre-Hispanic site – an ancient painted cave and park-museum dedicated to the island’s first inhabitants.

Tejeda

A dreamy hill village with curved streets lined by lovely balconied houses, lying among cliffs and gorges. Spectacular sights all around!
Perfect for
Archeology Tours
Beach Leisure
Bicycling
Diving
Hiking
History
Museums
Snorkeling
Swimming
Tapas
Waterskiing
Windsurfing
Wine Tours
Places

Las Palmas

The capital of gran Canaria is an intriguing city with a strong Spanish ambience and quite a mix of cultures. With its busy port, lively traffic and bustling districts and beaches, it gives off the energy more typical for a Mediterranean city and has an angle for everyone. If you are after some history, the old quarter of Vegueta is a must. Beside lovely boutiques, restaurants and bars, here the local history abounds with significant buildings from various eras. Visit the neo-classical Catedral de Santa Ana with its surprisingly contrasting and unique “Atlantic Gothic” interior and featured paintings by the island’s most famous 18th century artist Juan de Miranda. While there, take a peek inside the museum of sacred art, which exhibits centuries-old manuscripts, sculptures and other religious artifacts. Another splendid example of history - the Gabinete Literario, the island’s first theatre built in 1844 and now a national monument and a stunning display of old-world elegance. The Casa-Museo de Colón is a truly fascinating museum documenting Columbus’s voyages and exhibiting testimony of the Canaries’ role in the emergence of transatlantic shipping, while the building itself is a vivid example of Canarian architecture. Perhaps you want to do some shopping or just stroll an area with lots of beautiful local architecture around? Head to Calle Mayor de Triana and do some quality shopping or take in the local vibe and marvel at some great examples of modernist-style buildings. If you have come for some beach fun and relaxation, Las Palmas has you covered – Playa de las Canteras is considered to be among the best city beaches in the world – it offers a 3 km stretch of fine sand, a lovely promenade and the amazing La Barra reef, which is the ultimate snorkeling spot in low tide. And surfers will love the waves in the southern part.

Caldera de Bandama

This impressive extinct volcanic crater is one of the largest in Gran Canaria, steeping 200 m deep, spanning 1 km in diameter and providing some splendid views of the crater and the surrounding area, and even better so from top of the adjacent Pico de Bandama. Caldera de Bandama is part of a protected landscape and a national monument. You can walk around the ridge of the crater, or, if you feel fit for it, hike down to the bottom of the crater, which was used for farming and winemaking for some time. Just nearby the Bandama crater is the village of La Atalaya, renowned for it’s pottery produce, and Santa Brígida with its lovely park and narrow streets to wander.

Barranco de Guayadeque

The Guayadeque Ravine spans central Gran Canaria and shows off nature’s majesty in a truly breathtaking way. Lined with steep soaring ridges richly covered with vegetation, it spans and turns far and wide. If you happen to visit in late winter or early spring, the place will be especially enchanting as the barranco’s almond trees will be in blossom. The Centro de Interpretación at the entrance gives visitors an insight to the history and geology of this magnificent formation. Further down the ravine you’ll find the small Cuevas Bermejas cave homes, that are carved into the mountainside along with a small chapel. From here the road starts winding upward up to the “peakless” Montaña de las Tierras rock. Beyond this point the walking terrain will become more challenging, but is rewarding nevertheless, as there are several hiking trails that snake all the way to the sea and have some marvelous sights along the way.
Flights from