Gran Canaria
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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 15 attractions in Gran Canaria

English Beach (Playa del Inglés)

Situated on the southern tip of Gran Canaria, the golden sandy beaches, calm waters, and luxurious resorts of Playa del Ingles are hugely popular with tourists. Aside from sunbathing, windsurfing, and volleyball at the beach, the Playa del Ingles area offers heaps of shopping, nightclubs, and family-friendly attractions such as mini-golf, waterparks, and camel rides.More

Roque Nublo

Roque Nublo (Cloud Rock is a lofty, 262-foot (80-meter rock formation that was formed millions of years ago during a volcanic eruption. Located in Nublo Rural Park (Parque Rural del Nublo, the landmark is the island’s second-highest peak after Pico de la Nieves.More

Bandama Caldera (Caldera de Bandama)

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

Cocodrilo Park Zoo

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


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

Teatro Pérez Galdós

This 1,000-seat theater in Las Palmas leaves no one indifferent; be it for its prestigious shows or its splendid façade, visitors always enjoy themselves at Teatro Pérez Galdós. Built in 1890 and completely renovated in 2007, it is now one of the most modern theaters in all of Spain, and the permanent home of the Opera Festival of Las Palmas. The theater was named after famed Spanish realist novelist and playwright Benito Perez Galdos, which was the leading literary figure in 19th-century Spain and, incidentally, was born in Las Palmas. But the celebrated playwright wasn’t all that enthused about the theatre’s arrival, which, according to him, was too extravagant. It even inspired Galdos to write satirical poems about the building...only to have it named after him a few years later. Speaking of famous connections, the theatre is also home to the Saint-Saëns room, in honor of the French composer who spent quite a bit of time on Gran Canaria, composing numerous symphonies. The lavishly ornate room is a marvel of architecture and is the crown jewel of the theater; the main concert hall, however, is not to be overlooked, with its splendid ceiling and perfectly symmetrical pavilions.More

Sioux City Park

Within the desert south of Spain’s Gran Canaria island lies a surprising and unexpected replica of an American Wild Western town complete with cowboys, robberies, and shoot-outs with the sheriff. Built as a film set in the 1970s, Sioux City is now a Wild Western theme park complete with a petting zoo for the kids and a saloon for adults.More

Jardín Botánico Canario Viera y Clavijo

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
Aqualand Maspalomas

Aqualand Maspalomas

With more than 40 water slides and attractions to choose from, there’s fun for all ages at Aqualand Maspalomas on Gran Canaria. Relax on a lazy river, bob in a wave pool, race friends and family on multi-lane slides, or experience the high speeds and curves of Snake Falls or Anaconda. Kidzworld caters to younger visitors.More

Santa Catalina Park (Parque de Santa Catalina)

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

Poema del Mar Aquarium

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

Catedral de Santa Ana

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

Calle Triana

Calle Triana (and the district surrounding it) has become the main commercial center of Las Palmas. The pedestrian street running through its heart is lined with trendy boutiques, old-fashioned shops, international brand retailers and lovely cafes for a bit of post-shopping refreshment.While some of the shops might be modern, the street itself is among the oldest on the island, dating back to the sixteenth century. Shops and banks began moving into the area in the mid- nineteenth century, and much of the architecture dates back to the same period.Swing by Calle Triana, 35, where you’ll notice an electric clock dating back to 1868. The clock, built by famous clockmaker Juan Pflüger, reminds passers-by to take their time and enjoy the day.More

Columbus House (Casa de Colón)

This colonial-style mansion in the heart of Gran Canaria’s Old Town once hosted Christopher Columbus on his way to the Americas. Today, this former governor’s house is a museum dedicated to Columbus’ voyages and the history of the Canary Islands. Kids will enjoy the models of all three of Columbus' ships: the Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa María and the resident courtyard parrots.More

Museo Canario (Canarian Museum)

Dedicated to the original inhabitants of the Canary Islands, the Museo Canario is home to the largest collection of ancient artifacts from the entire Canary archipelago. A must-see for visitors curious about life on the Canary Islands before the arrival of the Spanish in the early 15th century, the museum displays a fascinating collection of mummies, skeletons, jewelry, and more.More

Top activities in Gran Canaria

Camel Riding in Maspalomas Dunes

Camel Riding in Maspalomas Dunes

Morning cruise
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Morning cruise

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Canyoning with Waterfalls in the Rainforest - Small Groups ツ
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Jeep Tour 4x4 in Gran Canaria

Jeep Tour 4x4 in Gran Canaria

Photoshooting in the Maspalomas Dunes

Photoshooting in the Maspalomas Dunes

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Top Vía Ferrata for Beginners in Gran Canaria ツ
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Recent reviews from experiences in Gran Canaria

Worth a go
Adrienne_K, Sep 2022
40-minute Submarine Tour in Mogán
But don't expect to see any unique ocean wildlife, you're not taken deep enough for that.
Saharan experience in Gran Canaria
GuysAroundTheGlobe, Jul 2022
Camel Riding in Maspalomas Dunes
His name is Harmuchi and he actually seemed happy to see us.
Highlands adventure
AndyKenTin_C, Mar 2022
Gran Canaria Peaks Full-Day Tour from Las Palmas
Plenty of scenic place of interest to visit and an informative tour.
Fun experience with great sites
Iarina_N, Mar 2022
Full-Day Gran Canaria Island Tour - Cumbres
There were some really good stops to see Roque Nublo.
Insight into Gran Canaria
gerry_m, Mar 2022
Full Day Lazy Wednesdays from Las Palmas
An excellent way to see the diversity of Gran Canaria.
Excellent trip in Gran Canaria Lazy Wendsday
Alexandru_T, Dec 2021
Full Day Lazy Wednesdays from Las Palmas
Excellent trip, many beautiful places to visit and learn about Gran Canaria, Pavel is a very nice guide.
Worth it
Bettina_R, Jul 2021
The Rainforest Tour - Small Group Trip with Tasting ツ
I recommend the tour to anyone who would like to see the natural side of Gran Canaria.
Good trip around the island
Gunilla_R, Jan 2020
Full-Day Gran Canaria Island Tour - Cumbres
Nice to see something else than the touristy coast.
Green Gran Canaria and Las Palmas
Martin_B, May 2022
Gran Canaria Highlights Small Group Tour with Hotel Pick-up
Really worthwhile trip to see a different authentic side to this beautiful island and escape the tourist areas for a day.
Fabulous day out
Hannah_D, Oct 2021
Gran Canaria Highlights Small Group Tour with Hotel Pick-up
Nice to see the varied landscapes, different towns of Gran Canaria, and the windy roads, although still very quiet out of the resorts.
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.
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.
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People Also Ask

What is Gran Canaria known for?

Gran Canaria is famous for its beautiful beaches, and sunseekers visit the island year-round to swim, surf, and sunbathe on the white and black sands. The island is also renowned for its sand dunes, traditional Canarian villages, and duty-free shopping—La Palma is a popular port of call for cruise ships.

Does Gran Canaria have nice beaches?

Gran Canaria is renowned for its long, sandy beaches, with a mix of black lava and white sands. The most popular beaches lie along the south coast, including Playa del Inglés, Puerto Rico, and San Agustín, as well as the sweeping sand dunes of Maspalomas beach.

How many days do you need in Gran Canaria?

While you can take in the highlights of the small island over a four-day weekend, most visitors opt to spend a week or more in Gran Canaria. There’s plenty to pack into a week-long itinerary, from beach-hopping and hiking to whale-watching cruises and exploring the traditional villages.

What is the best area to stay in Gran Canaria?

While cruise ships arrive in Las Palmas on the north coast, most sunseekers head south to the family beach resorts of Maspalomas and Puerto Rico. Nearby, Playa del Inglés is renowned for its nightlife, while Puerto de Mogán is ideally situated for hikers, and San Agustín is great for escaping the crowds.

What is there to do in Gran Canaria?

With 37 miles of beaches, Gran Canaria has plenty of options for swimming, surfing, and water sports, and the island also has several water parks. Other popular activities include a walk through the Maspalomas dunes, a dolphin and whale-watching cruise, and a hike to the summit of Pico de las Nieves.

Is Gran Canaria a duty-free island?

Yes. Gran Canaria and the Canary Islands are an Autonomous Community in Spain and part of the EU, but they are not part of the EU VAT area. This means international travelers can enjoy duty-free (tax-free) shopping on items such as alcohol, tobacco, perfume, and souvenirs up to a personal allowance.

Frequently Asked Questions
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