Off the west coast of Africa, the Canary Islands consist of seven main islands. Gran Canaria is a fantastic destination – it’s like a miniature continent jam packed into a small island. Sail out to watch whales, visit an ancient city and cultural museum, walk in the Canary pine forests, climb large desert sand dunes, have fun at a water park, wander Galdar’s shopping streets or… just relax on a beautiful beach.
Puerto de Mogán
Puerto de Mogán is a picturesque resort and fishing village in the municipality of Mogán, set at the mouth of a steep-sided valley on the south-west coast of the island of Gran Canaria. The beach here is one of the best on the island.
Echoes of an ancient Canarian people. This museum and archaeological park are the result of 24 years of excavation and conservation of an ancient Canarian settlement. You are taken back to the early history of the island, and thanks to a glass bubble you can see the famous cave paintings from close up.
Tejeda is in the central highlands of Gran Canaria located in the shade of Roque Nublo and surrounded by valleys. The small town is tranquil and charming, and the perfect place for a rural retreat to experience gorgeous mountain views.
The Guayadeque Ravine is the small natural jewel shared by the municipalities of Ingenio and Agüimes, a stone’s throw away from Gran Canaria’s southern beaches. Under the ravine’s palm groves, you may find large traces of prints bringing you back to the island’s olden times.
The type of food you will find…
The cuisine of the Canary Islands combines traditional Spanish recipes with African and Latin-American influences.
Typical cuisine consists of…
Typical local cuisine on the Canary Islands is a variety of fresh vegetables, fruit and fish. Meat usually features as part of a stew and steaks are mostly imported from mainland Spain or South America.
Unique to the Canary Islands…
Thanks to the perfect climate, colorful local markets in every town offer an abundance of seasonal produce that is fresh and inexpensive.
Our favorite dining spot is…
The Gourmet La Tienda De Paco located in the picturesque mountaintop village of Tejeda serves up some amazing local cuisine combined with a gorgeous landscape view.
Las Palmas, the capital of Gran Canaria, is a perfect place to base yourself as it has the setup to easily accommodate your needs while making it easy to get in and out to explore the rest of the island. It’s also a city with great food, a historic old town, and the world’s best city beach
Sand Dunes of Maspalomas
Gran Canaria 4K
Jack’s Favorite Moment
Driving around Gran Canaria
The Canary Islands are splendidly diverse both geographically and culturally. Officially part of Spain, the Canary Islands sit just 100 miles off the coast of Africa. Spanish is the local language, but tourists may be surprised to find a distinctly Canarian character and culture that is different from mainland Spain. So don’t expect bullfights or flamenco dancing.
The four largest islands, Tenerife, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, and Gran Canaria see the largest number of tourists. Each island is different, but they all have in common volcanic origins, which have led to their gorgeous distinctive natural attractions.
You can visit the Canaries anytime of the year, as their placement where the tropical climatic zone joins the sub-tropical zone gives them an ideal climate, with average temperatures varying very little throughout the year.
I spent a full week in Gran Canary in 2018, and absolutely loved it. I stayed with a friend in Las Palmas, the largest city, and from there rented a car to explore the rest of the island. The fusion of Spanish, African, and European influence creates a singularly unique place to visit. And the best part is you can get from one side of the island to the other in less than an hour.
Gran Canaria has a wonderful major highway that skirts around the perimeter of the island, and the bulk of major sites are on or near the highway so bouncing around to see different things is easy. You can actually go from being on the top of a mountain to sitting on a beach in 45 minutes. No exaggeration.
BEACHES are absolutely everywhere as you would imagine. And the beaches are just as diverse as the landscape itself. You will find sandy beaches, rocky beaches, tiny beaches, and beaches with epic backdrops. My favorites were the beaches at Mogán, Maspolaomas, Las Cantergas in Las Palmas, and the tiny village of Tufia that’s built into the rock outcrop.
Gran Canary also has a full on desert in the south of the island. Maspolomas, known for its vast expanse of sand dunes, is like being transported to another world. You are on a nice beach or visiting a tropical park and then BAM seemingly out of nowhere you find this huge piece of desert. It’s bizarre but beautiful and fun to walk around the large sand dunes.
The cities and towns themselves are rich in culture and heritage with many attractions to explore. Being a trained archaeologist, one of my favorite sites was the Painted Cave and Archaeological Park in Galdar. The museum affords a viewing of the houses and caves showing the original inhabitants of the island. You may observe from a large raised passageway that takes you around the whole perimeter of the site without affecting its integrity.
Another favorite spot was Tejeda, a mountainous village in the central part of the island. The small town is perfectly layered into the surrounding mountain, affording spectacular views and a quiet peaceful ambiance. The thing to do here is just pull up some chairs at one of the little restaurants to eat, drink, and enjoy the setting. But, if you want to still sightsee there are a few museums, such as the Ethnographic Museum, which allows the visitor to take a tour through the history of Gran Canaria.
I also enjoyed exploring the city of Arucas. The city center, declared a site of historic and artistic interest, is a place well worth making time for. Its main architectural piece is the Parish Church of San Juan Bautista, sculptured in stone by the greatest stonemasons of the day. You will not regret one moment in the splendid Gran Canaria!
Founder of Guidester
Stroll Las Canteras Beach
Wander around Church of San Juan Bautista
Wander around the streets of Las Palmas
Discover Old Town Vegueta
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