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Things to do in Gran Canaria

Things to do in  Gran Canaria

Welcome to Gran Canaria

Gran Canaria, the third largest of Spain’s Canary Islands, is known for its volcanic landscapes, white sand beaches, leafy mountains, and nightlife. Travelers with an appetite for adventure can scuba dive to coral reefs, explore desert dunes on a camel, or trek to Roque Nublo. For culture vultures, walking tours of UNESCO-listed Vegueta (Las Palmas Old Town), and the historical towns of Teror and Arucas are bound to impress, while those seeking rest and relaxation should head for the beach resorts of Maspalomas in the south. Other must-see activities include dolphin and whale watching off the coast of Puerto Rico, and sampling local Spanish cuisine on a food tour.

Top 10 attractions in Gran Canaria

#1
Cocodrilo Park Zoo

Cocodrilo Park Zoo

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Situated in Agüimes, on the island of Grand Canary (Gran Canaria), Cocodrilo Park is the principal exotic animal rescue center in the Canary Islands. Here, education and fun come together with live crocodile, bird, and monkey feedings, plus zoo exhibits and opportunities to interact with the animals.More
#2
Roque Nublo

Roque Nublo

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The Roque Nublo is a unique rock formation on Gran Canaria that truly is a sight to behold. At 70 meters tall, the red basaltic monolith is the most dramatic formation on the island. Translated it means “cloudy rock” and after a short hike visitors are rewarded with panoramic views of surrounding nature. The rocky landscape is dotted with pine trees and shrubbery and drops off into cliffs.The rock was formed by volcanic eruption on the island about 4.5 million years ago, and today is an icon of the island and is protected as a national monument. On a clear day it is possible to even see the Teide volcano in the distance. Often though, the rock will disappear into or appear out of dense fog and clouds (hence the name.) It is one of the tallest natural crags in the world, and is also a climbing destination. Trekking tours to the rock are available to those who preferred a guided hike.More
#3
Bandama Caldera (Caldera de Bandama)

Bandama Caldera (Caldera de Bandama)

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Rising nearly 2,000 feet above sea level, the Bandama Calera is a crater left behind after a major volcanic eruption on Gran Canaria over 5,000 years ago. You can hike at its base, around its rim, or down into the caldera itself to enjoy the impressive natural scenery. Viewpoints, caves, and ponds are all points of interest on its various trails. The lands are part of the Bandama Natural Monument and Tafira Protected Landscape.Because of the rich volcanic soil here, there is rich wildlife and plant life the call the caldera home. Walking around the area feels almost otherworldly. From its lowest point, you are surrounded by the crater walls extending up from its floor. Its highest point Pico de Bandama reaches 569 feet up in the air. The Pico de Bandama peak and its observation center are also worth a visit.More
#4
Vegueta

Vegueta

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The entrancing old barrio at the heart of Las Palmas on Gran Canaria, UNESCO World Heritage site Vegueta has its origins back in the 15th century. It is centered around the Plaza Santa Ana, a cobbled piazza surrounded dominated by the twin-spired, heavily ornate Cathedral of Santa Ana; it was the island’s first church, consecrated in the 15th century following the island’s capture by Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain in 1478. It is a delightful mixture of Gothic and Renaissance flourishes, surrounded by an array of highly decorative townhouses reflecting architectural styles from the 15th to the 19th centuries.Among the spider’s web of cobbled backstreets and atmospheric squares in Vegueta are several Baroque churches and the Museo Canario (Canary Island Museum), which showcases the world’s foremost collection of tools, jewelry and pottery utilized by the Guanches, the indigenous island population who were displaced with the arrival of their Spanish occupiers. Another architectural highlight of the district is the ocher-colored Casa de Colón (Columbus House), where Christopher Columbus reportedly stayed on his way to discover the New World in 1492. Its ornate façade is covered with elaborately carved wooden balconies and the interior houses relics of the great Spanish explorer.However, half the charm of a visit to Vegueta is simply wandering the historic streets, relaxing in sidewalks bars, rummaging in the weekend markets or sampling Canarian tapas and honey rum.More
#5
Columbus House (Casa de Colón)

Columbus House (Casa de Colón)

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Charming Columbus House (Casa de Colón) was reportedly a rest-and-repair stop for Christopher Columbus and his ship, La Pinta, en route to the New World in 1492.Originally belonging to the Governor of the Canaries, Casa de Colon was one of a small number of houses that became Las Palmas' first settlement, marking the beginning of the city in 1478.As you might expect, displays at Casa de Colon have a strong nautical theme and include a replica of a ship's cabin that belonged to Columbus’ fleet, navigation instruments, nautical maps, charts and paintings related to voyages made by the famous navigator. The site's ornate doorways, latticed balconies and chocolate-box-like exterior make it one of Las Palmas’ most eye-catching buildings. If its pretty facade doesn't make you want to discover more about the building's history and Columbus's visit here, the interesting and well-run museum inside will.Here you’ll find multilingual exhibits that explain the connection between the Canary Islands, Columbus and his great voyages that led him to discover and establish trading links with the new world.More
#6
Catedral de Santa Ana

Catedral de Santa Ana

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As the seat of the Diocese of the Canaries in the Roman Catholic Church, the Catedral de Santa Ana is one of the most prominent monuments of Canarian architecture. Construction was initiated in 1500 on orders of the Catholic Monarchs, Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon, after Gran Canaria was conquered in 1478. It was completed on the eve of Corpus Christi in 1570, although substantial renovations were made over the following centuries—which explains the disparity in some of the architectural details. Designed in the purest Gothic tradition with touches of Neoclassical and even Baroque, the structure consists of two campaniles, an ornate nave with double aisles as well as a sanctuary. The cathedral’s interior is famous for its palm tree-like piers and for its twin towers, one of which is accessible to tourists on a quest for unobstructed views of Gran Canaria. The south wing of the cathedral also features the Sacred Art Museum and its valuable collection of sacred artifacts, sculptures and works of art.More
#7
Jardín Botánico Canario Viera y Clavijo

Jardín Botánico Canario Viera y Clavijo

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A staple of Gran Canarian and Spanish culture, the Jardín Botánico Canario Viera y Clavijo botanical garden was named after pioneering Spanish cleric and scholar José Viera y Clavijo. It opened in 1959 after seven years of landscaping. And although it is intrinsically linked to the island’s history, the garden was technically the life work of Swedish-Spanish botanist Eric Ragnor Sventenius, who devoted a number of years of his life to optimizing and expanding the site. The garden, which spreads over 27 hectares and is officially Spain’s largest, comprises of 500 plant species endemic to the Canary Islands scattered in several divisions, like the "Garden of the Islands", the "Garden of Cacti and Succulents" and its 10,000 succulents, the "Laurel-leaved Forests", the "Fountain of the Wisemen," the "Macaronesian Ornamental Garden” as well as the “Hidden Garden” and its sublime greenhouse. It now houses plants from all over the world and a research laboratory.More
#8
Santa Catalina Park (Parque de Santa Catalina)

Santa Catalina Park (Parque de Santa Catalina)

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Found in the heart of Las Palmas, the Santa Catalina Park is alive with activity from both locals and visitors. It is lined with cafes and shops, and often holds street markets and pop-up festivals. Large palm trees and colorful flower beds add to the beauty of the public square, which is a great place to simply sit and watch people go by. At night the park is also bustling — it’s a nightlife hub of bars, clubs, and discos during the evening hours.The park is also home to the Museo de la Ciencia (Science Museum) and the Edificio Miller (Miller Building.) Carnaval and the Dance and Theatre Festival are celebrated here during summer.There’s also a small playground that’s suitable for small children. The park is a central transportation hub and meeting spot from which many tours depart.More
#9
Elder Museum of Science and Technology (Museo Elder de la Ciencia y la Tecnologia)

Elder Museum of Science and Technology (Museo Elder de la Ciencia y la Tecnologia)

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Satisfy your scientific curiosities with a visit to Gran Canaria’s Elder Museum of Science and Technology. Located in a 19th-century shipping warehouse in harbor-side Parque Santa Catalina, the museum and its four levels are now packed with modern-day interactive and didactic marvels that bridge the gap between science and people.The museum features a variety of themed areas ranging from math tophysics, art, biology and engineering. In doing so, it allows visitors multi-sensory experiences via highlights such as a flight simulator, planetarium, 3D movie theater, and robotic-arm-driven Robocoaster ride, among many other engaging activities. From the replica of a space station to the thermal imaging exhibit, there’s discovery to be had around every corner here.More
#10
Poema del Mar Aquarium

Poema del Mar Aquarium

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Situated in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Poema del Mar Aquarium is a world leader in aquatic animal conservation and education. Here, adults and children can learn about the underwater ecosystems of five continents and have a rare opportunity to observe endangered species such as tequila fish, axolotes, and Thai sharks.More

Recent reviews from experiences in Gran Canaria

star-4
Good trip around the island
mail, Jan 2020
Full-Day Gran Canaria Island Tour
Nice to see something else than the touristy coast.
star-5
A brilliant day, packed with truly memorable experiences
Martin_C, Aug 2020
Custom Private & VIP Highlights Tour of Gran Canaria
Other than Gran Canaria, We've been to 3 other Canary Islands over the years, and on each island we have taken a bus tour of the points of interest and attractions.
star-5
The best thing about highly...
Nichole P, Feb 2017
Tour to Tradicional Local markets in Gran Canaria
but the delightful Donnie kept us entertained in English, German and Dutch with a running narrative of the insider's guide to living on the island.

Frequently Asked Questions

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