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gran canaria travel guide

The Complete Gran Canaria Holiday Guide

RECOMMENDED: The Best Excursions in Gran Canaria

Gran Canaria is known for its breathtaking landscapes, stunning beaches, and a plethora of activities to indulge in. With so much on offer, it can be overwhelming to decide where to start. In this insider guide, we have compiled a list of the best activities for you to experience in Gran Canaria. From exploring the historical quarter of Vegueta to taking a scenic Jeep safari and embracing the wild side of Gran Canaria – there is something for everyone. We will take you through all the must-visit places like Maspalomas Dunes, Poema del Mar Aquarium, Palmitos Park, and the beautiful urban beach of Playa de Las Canteras. We will also give you tips on the best time to visit Gran Canaria so that you can plan your trip accordingly. So sit back and enjoy reading as we take you on an exciting journey through Gran Canaria’s best activities.

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Exploring the Historical Quarter of Vegueta

Explore the rich history and culture of Vegueta’s cobblestone streets. Immerse yourself in the charming architecture and colonial buildings. Visit iconic landmarks such as the Santa Ana Cathedral and Casa de Colón. Discover bustling markets with local crafts and souvenirs. Take leisurely strolls through picturesque courtyards and plazas. Discover the hidden gems of Vegueta, a historical quarter waiting to be explored.

Old Town Las Palmas

A Glimpse into Old Town Las Palmas

Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere and lively streets of Las Palmas’ old town. Lose yourself in the maze of narrow, winding alleyways adorned with colorful buildings. Marvel at the impressive Santa Ana Cathedral, a symbol of the city’s rich history. Explore charming squares filled with local shops and boutiques. Indulge in a leisurely meal at one of the many cozy cafes or traditional Canarian restaurants. Experience the essence of this small town, filled with culture, history, and a vibrant energy that captivates every traveler. Don’t forget to visit Pueblo Canario, an interpretation of a traditional Canarian village located on the south side of the Parque Doramas. It offers a great opportunity to learn more about Canarian culture through live performances of Canarian folk music by musicians in traditional costume every Thursday and Sunday.

Must-Visit Sights and Landmarks

Experience the breathtaking views from Roque Nublo, a natural rock formation and a great place that offers impressive views of Gran Canaria. Explore the unique caldera of Bandama Volcano and be amazed by its geological wonders. Relax on the stunning Las Canteras Beach, soak up the sun, and indulge in the beauty of the sea. Immerse yourself in history at Casa de Colón and discover Christopher Columbus’ connection to the island. Take a boat trip to Puerto de Mogán, a charming marina and colorful buildings, which is also a great place to visit.

Maspalomas dunes

The Adventure at Maspalomas Dunes

Experience the thrill of exploring the vast sand dunes of Maspalomas. Take a camel ride through the Sahara-like landscape for a unique experience. Try your hand at sandboarding down the impressive dunes. Enjoy a scenic walk along the beach and marvel at the stunning sunset. Discover the diverse flora and fauna that inhabit this unique ecosystem.

Camel Rides: A Unique Desert Experience

Embark on a camel ride through the mesmerizing Maspalomas Dunes and enjoy the gentle swaying motion as you explore the desert-like landscape. Capture memorable photos with these friendly creatures and learn about their fascinating history in the Canary Islands. Immerse yourself in the peaceful ambiance of the dunes, a great way to experience the unique beauty of Gran Canaria.

How to Make the Most of Your Visit

To make the most of your visit to the Maspalomas Dunes, start early in the morning for cooler temperatures and fewer crowds. Remember to bring sunscreen, a hat, and plenty of water to stay protected from the sun. Wear comfortable shoes for walking on the shifting sand and don’t forget your camera to capture the stunning natural beauty of the dunes. Take a break from the dunes and cool off at the nearby beaches or cafes.


Sailing Away on a Catamaran Cruise

Embark on a relaxing catamaran cruise along Gran Canaria’s coastline, and if you’re looking for more adventure, consider sailing to Lanzarote. Marvel at the crystal-clear waters and rugged cliffs, offering impressive views. Indulge in delicious onboard meals and drinks while enjoying the sea breeze. Take a refreshing dip or go snorkeling in the inviting waters. Unwind on the spacious deck, basking in the sun as you sail away.

What to Expect from a Catamaran Cruise?

Experience top-notch service from a friendly and professional crew. Enjoy the comfort of a spacious catamaran with ample seating and sunbathing areas. Indulge in delicious food and drinks served onboard. Participate in fun activities like snorkeling or kayaking. Relax and take in the breathtaking coastal views and the soothing sound of the ocean.

RECOMMENDED READING: Things To Do In Maspalomas

Tips for a Successful Sailing Trip

When planning a sailing trip in Gran Canaria, it’s important to be prepared. Bring essential items like sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun’s rays. Opt for comfortable clothing and footwear suitable for a boat ride. Don’t forget to pack a towel and swimwear for swimming or water activities. Capture the stunning coastal scenery with your camera. And lastly, check the weather forecast before setting sail to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience.

An Underwater Journey at Poema del Mar Aquarium

Immerse yourself in the mesmerizing underwater world of Poema del Mar Aquarium, where you can discover a diverse range of marine life from different parts of the world. Marvel at the impressive shark tunnel and observe these majestic creatures up close. Learn about conservation efforts and the importance of protecting marine ecosystems, while enjoying interactive exhibits and educational presentations for a memorable experience.

Highlights of the Aquarium Visit

Experience a diverse range of marine species at the aquarium, where captivating underwater shows and feeding sessions await. Learn about conservation efforts and marine ecosystems through interactive displays and touch tanks. Don’t forget your camera to capture stunning photos of colorful fish and vibrant coral reefs, making your visit a memorable one.

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Why is Poema del Mar a Must-Do Activity in Gran Canaria?

Immerse yourself in a captivating world of aquatic wonders at Poema del Mar. Explore unique species from freshwater and saltwater environments, marvel at the stunning architecture and design of the aquarium, and learn about conservation and sustainability through educational exhibits. Don’t miss the interactive activities and feeding presentations that take place throughout the day.

Roque Nublo

The Majestic Roque Nublo: A Hiker’s Paradise

Embark on an unforgettable hiking adventure to Roque Nublo, a majestic rock formation in Gran Canaria. Marvel at the panoramic views from its summit and encounter unique flora and fauna along the scenic trail. Capture Instagram-worthy photos as you conquer this natural wonder, feeling a sense of accomplishment. Roque Nublo is a paradise for hikers, offering impressive views and a great way to explore the beauty of Gran Canaria. Along the route, you can also see the views from Caldera de Tejeda, Llanos de la Pez, and Pozo de las Nieves, adding to the overall experience of the trek.

Preparing for the Hike

To ensure a successful hike in Gran Canaria, it is important to be prepared. Start by wearing comfortable hiking shoes and dressing in layers to accommodate changing weather conditions. Bring plenty of water and snacks to stay hydrated and energized throughout the hike. Don’t forget to protect yourself from the sun by applying sunscreen and wearing a hat. Before setting off, check the weather forecast and plan your hike accordingly. Lastly, for safety purposes, inform someone about your hiking plans and estimated return time.

The Cultural Significance of Roque Nublo

Discover the historical and spiritual importance of Roque Nublo to the indigenous people of Gran Canaria. Learn about ancient rituals and traditions associated with the rock formation. Appreciate the cultural heritage preserved in the surrounding area and engage in local folklore and legends related to Roque Nublo. Understand the symbolic meaning of this natural landmark, which holds great significance for the people of Gran Canaria.

Snorkeling at Las Canteras Beach

Dive into the crystal-clear waters of Las Canteras Beach for an exhilarating snorkeling and scuba diving experience. Encounter a vibrant underwater world filled with colorful fish and marine life. Explore the rocky reefs and uncover hidden coves and caves. Rent snorkeling gear and join guided tours to ensure a safe and educational adventure. Don’t forget to capture unforgettable memories and take stunning underwater photos during your snorkeling and scuba diving excursion.

What Makes Las Canteras a Perfect Snorkeling Spot?

Discover the perfect snorkeling spot at Las Canteras Beach. Immerse yourself in clear waters with excellent visibility. Encounter diverse fish species and explore natural reef formations. Enjoy calm protected waters, ideal for beginners and families. Appreciate the unique underwater biodiversity and geological features. Benefit from convenient accessibility and beach facilities.

Marine Life You Can Expect to See

When exploring the vibrant underwater world of Gran Canaria, you can expect to encounter a diverse array of marine life, including colorful parrotfish, damselfish, and wrasses swimming gracefully among the coral, creating a stunning spectacle. Keep an eye out for the majestic sea turtles gliding through the water with elegance. In the deeper areas, playful dolphins and friendly rays may make an appearance, adding excitement to your underwater adventure. Don’t miss the chance to discover fascinating creatures like octopuses and moray eels, as well as witness schools of tropical fish darting in and out of the coral reefs. The marine life in Gran Canaria is truly a sight to behold, and if you want to experience it in a unique way, dive down deep on the Mogan Yellow Submarine. Seated comfortably inside the sub, watch as exotic marine life and shipwrecks appear at your giant porthole window.

gran canaria bus tour

Hop-On Hop-Off City Tour: Seeing Gran Canaria at Your Own Pace

Explore Gran Canaria’s highlights at your own pace with a hop-on hop-off city tour. Enjoy unlimited rides and flexible stops throughout the day. Learn about the island’s history, culture, and landmarks through informative audio commentary. Hop off at popular attractions, such as Santa Ana Cathedral and Christopher Columbus House. Relax and take in the scenic views from an open-top double-decker bus.

Noteworthy Stops in the City Tour

Explore the charming old town of Vegueta, with its cobbled streets and historic buildings. Immerse yourself in Gran Canaria’s religious heritage by visiting the impressive Santa Ana Cathedral. Discover the fascinating Casa de Colón, where Christopher Columbus stayed during his voyages. Take a boat trip from Puerto de Mogán and marvel at the beauty of the coastline. Don’t forget to explore the vibrant city center of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria with its shops, restaurants, and cultural attractions.

Advantages of Opting for a Hop-On Hop-Off Tour

Explore Gran Canaria at your own pace with a hop-on hop-off tour, offering convenient transportation to major attractions and landmarks. With the flexibility to spend more time at places that interest you, you can make the most of your exploration. The tour also provides informative commentary about the city’s history and culture, enriching your experience. Hop off and hop back on whenever you want to continue your adventure.

A Day at Puerto de Mogan: Gran Canaria’s Little Venice

Discover the charm of Puerto de Mogan, often referred to as Gran Canaria’s Little Venice. Explore the picturesque canals and bridges that resemble the famous Italian city. Take a leisurely stroll along the marina and admire the colorful fishing boats. Don’t miss out on indulging in fresh seafood at the local restaurants overlooking the waterfront. And of course, make sure to shop for unique souvenirs and local crafts at the charming shops and markets.

Puerto de Mogan

Exploring the Picturesque Streets of Puerto de Mogan

Wander through the cobbled streets of Puerto de Mogan, appreciating its stunning architecture. Marvel at the vibrant bougainvillea flowers that adorn balconies, adding bursts of color to the scene. Discover hidden plazas and cozy cafes tucked away in narrow alleys, offering delightful spots to rest and recharge. Take in the picturesque views of the sea and surrounding mountains, creating a tranquil backdrop for your exploration. Immerse yourself in the laid-back atmosphere of this charming coastal town, savoring every moment of your visit.

The Best Time to Visit Puerto de Mogan

If you’re planning a visit to Puerto de Mogan, it’s advisable to go during the spring or autumn when the weather is pleasant. To avoid crowds, try visiting on weekdays or early in the morning. Don’t miss the lively atmosphere of the weekly Friday market or the annual Carnival celebrations held in February. And if you’re a fan of breathtaking sunsets, the summer months offer stunning views over the ocean. Puerto de Mogan truly has something to offer year-round.

Watching Dolphins in Their Natural Habitat

Embark on an unforgettable dolphin watching experience in Gran Canaria. Witness these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat and learn about their behavior and conservation efforts. Capture stunning photos of dolphins swimming and playing in the sea, creating lifelong memories of this unique wildlife encounter. With responsible dolphin watching practices in place, explore the best locations to witness these graceful creatures in action.

Where to Go for the Best Dolphin Watching Experience?

To experience the best dolphin watching in Gran Canaria, head to the southwestern coast. Join a reputable tour operator that practices responsible dolphin watching. Explore the waters near Puerto Rico or Puerto de Mogan for higher chances of sightings. Choose a boat tour with experienced guides and consider snorkeling or swimming with dolphins for an immersive adventure.

Responsible Dolphin Watching: Do’s and Don’ts

Maintaining a safe distance from dolphins is crucial to avoid causing them stress or harm. Remember not to feed or touch the dolphins, as this can disrupt their natural behavior. It’s important to follow the instructions provided by the tour guide or boat crew for a responsible dolphin watching experience. Respect the marine environment by avoiding littering and take pictures to share your experience while raising awareness about dolphin conservation.

The Lush Water Town of Firgas

Explore the enchanting town of Firgas, renowned for its abundant greenery, water features, and the beauty of surrounding palm trees. Wander through streets adorned with vibrant houses and blooming flowers. Don’t miss the iconic Firgas waterfall, where the sound of cascading water creates a soothing ambiance. Stroll through botanical gardens, marvel at diverse plant species, and unwind in cozy cafes while indulging in local delicacies. Discover the unique charm of this small town, offering a great way to experience the natural beauty of Gran Canaria.

What Makes Firgas a Unique Visit?

Firgas offers a unique experience with its beautifully decorated balconies showcasing local craftsmanship. Don’t miss the annual “Romería de San Juan de Firgas,” a traditional pilgrimage. Enjoy stunning countryside views from various viewpoints and explore the town’s history through monuments and landmarks. Visit Casa-Museo Tomás Morales, a museum dedicated to the renowned Canarian poet. If you are visiting Gran Canaria in September, you can also experience a local event in La Aldea de San Nicolas for the Fiesta del Charco.

Must-See Sites in Firgas

Explore the charming Plaza de San Roque, the heart of the small town. Visit the Iglesia de San Roque, a beautiful church with intricate architectural details. Discover the historical Casa de la Cultura, hosting cultural events and exhibitions. Take a walk along Calle Real, the main street lined with shops and cafes. Don’t miss the opportunity to taste the local rum at the famous rum distillery.

Palmitos Park: A World of Flora and Fauna

Palmitos Park offers a captivating experience amidst lush gardens featuring exotic plants and flowers. The park is home to a diverse range of birds, including parrots and flamingos, which you can observe up close. The highlight of your visit will be the entertaining dolphin show, leaving you in awe. Immerse yourself in the world of butterflies at the butterfly house and enjoy educational demonstrations about different animal species.

Experiences Not to Miss at Palmitos Park

When visiting Palmitos Park, there are several experiences that you simply cannot miss. Witness the spectacular bird of prey show and marvel at these majestic creatures in action. Get up close and personal with the park’s friendly lemurs, and don’t forget to explore the aviaries filled with a colorful array of tropical birds. Take a relaxing stroll through the beautiful orchid garden and be captivated by its beauty. And make sure to catch a glimpse of the park’s resident Komodo dragon. Palmitos Park truly offers unforgettable experiences for visitors of all ages.

How to Plan Your Visit to Palmitos Park?

To plan your visit to Palmitos Park, start by checking the park’s opening hours. Purchase tickets in advance to avoid long queues and bring comfortable walking shoes as the park is expansive. Don’t forget sunscreen and a hat for sun protection. Consider booking a guided tour for a more immersive experience.

Taking a Day Trip to Tenerife and Loro Park

Explore the stunning landscapes of Tenerife, a beautiful island that offers impressive views and picturesque vineyards. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit Loro Park, a renowned theme park known for its wide variety of animals, including dolphins, penguins, and gorillas. Experience thrilling shows, educational presentations, and interactive encounters with sea lions and parrots. Indulge in delicious dining options within the park, making it a great family day out. A day trip to Tenerife and Loro Park is a must-do activity when visiting Gran Canaria.

What to Expect from a Day Trip to Tenerife?

Experience breathtaking views of the Teide National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Discover the vibrant city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and its cultural attractions. Enjoy a relaxing boat trip along the coastline for a different perspective. Take a cable car ride up Mount Teide for panoramic views. Immerse yourself in the local culture and try traditional Canarian cuisine. Don’t miss the opportunity to take in the views at Pico de las Nieves, the highest point on the island, and capture picture-postcard holiday photos. From the Pico de las Nieves lookout point, you can drink in the uninterrupted views out over the plunging valleys and rocky ridges of this UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

Why Include Loro Park in Your Itinerary?

Don’t miss out on including Loro Park in your itinerary. Witness incredible animal shows with dolphins, sea lions, and orcas. Explore the diverse marine life at the park’s aquarium. Learn about conservation efforts and enjoy family-friendly attractions like a playground and water park. Plus, marvel at Loro Park’s famous parrot collection.

jeep safari gran canaria

The Scenic Jeep Safari: Embrace the Wild Side of Gran Canaria

Embark on an exciting off-road adventure through the rugged landscapes of Gran Canaria. Drive a buggy through scenic routes and off-the-beaten-path trails, immersing yourself in the island’s wild side. Discover hidden gems like secluded beaches and picturesque villages, all while learning about the rich history and culture from knowledgeable guides. Don’t forget to capture stunning photos of the breathtaking views along the way. Experience the thrill and beauty of Gran Canaria with a scenic Jeep safari.

What Does a Jeep Safari Entail?

Embark on a thrilling adventure with a Jeep Safari in Gran Canaria. Hop into a comfortable 4×4 vehicle and explore remote areas beyond regular vehicles’ reach. Marvel at breathtaking vistas from panoramic viewpoints and learn about the island’s unique flora and fauna from experienced guides. A delicious picnic lunch in a picturesque location adds to the experience.

Safety Tips for Jeep Safari Enthusiasts

Ensure a safe and enjoyable experience on your jeep safari adventure in Gran Canaria by following these safety tips. Always listen to your guide’s instructions to navigate the rugged off-road terrain. Dress appropriately for the conditions with suitable clothing and footwear. Secure your personal belongings inside the vehicle to prevent any loss during the ride. Stay hydrated and pack snacks for the journey. Above all, be mindful of the natural environment and practice Leave No Trace principles to preserve the beauty of Gran Canaria’s landscape.

What is the Best Time to Visit Gran Canaria?

To make the most of your visit to Gran Canaria, consider going in spring or autumn for pleasant weather and fewer crowds. The island boasts a mild climate and sunny days throughout the year. Don’t miss the vibrant Carnival season with colorful parades and festivities. Take advantage of lower accommodation rates during off-peak seasons and plan your trip around local events and festivals for a culturally enriching experience. Visitors come here for the beautiful and warm weather even during the winter months when the rest of Europe is suffering from low temperatures and snowfalls.

Gran Canaria offers a plethora of activities and experiences for every traveler. Whether you’re interested in exploring the historical quarter of Vegueta, embarking on an adventure at Maspalomas Dunes, or snorkeling at Las Canteras Beach, there’s something for everyone. Don’t miss the chance to visit the majestic Roque Nublo or witness dolphins in their natural habitat. For nature enthusiasts, a day trip to Tenerife and Loro Park is a must. And if you’re looking for a wild experience, the scenic Jeep Safari will take you on an unforgettable journey. Plan your visit according to the best time to enjoy the beauty and charm of Gran Canaria.

If you are looking for some exciting activities to do whilst in Gran Canaria we have some great offers below;

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