Forget the Trip Advisor list of things to do in Gran Canaria. This list of 36 things to do in Gran Canaria is far more personalised and informative than any other article online. You'll learn all there is to know about the what to do in Gran Canaria. In addition, here you can read about the top attractions (with price lists included) and the best places to eat on the island of Gran Canaria. This list of 36 things to do in Gran Canaria will prepare you for your next trip to the Canary Islands, no matter what time of year you visit. So, keep reading to find out more.
36 best things to do in Gran Canaria
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If you love to plan your trip well in advance, then this list of 36 things to do in Gran Canaria is definitely for you. This list of the best things to do in Gran Canaria is divided into the following sections:
- top must-see attractions in Gran Canaria
- top things to do in Las Palmas
- visit the Gran Canaria beaches
- top place to stay in Gran Canaria
- top adventurous things to do in Gran Canaria
- best foodie things to do in Gran Canaria
- top vegan restaurants and vegetarian restaurants in Gran Canaria for those who require special-diet menus
The above-mentioned information is from my personal experience visiting the island of Gran Canaria.
about the island of Gran Canaria
The island of Gran Canaria is one of Spain's Canary Islands located off the northwest coast of Africa. It's the third largest island and home to the capital city of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. The island has a hot, desert climate with warm temperatures all-year-round. That's why Gran Canaria is one of the best vacation destinations, even in the winter time.
I had a lovely time discovering the local gastronomy, learning about the island's rich history and more. I hope this list of things to do in Gran Canaria will inspire you to visit this lovely island. It's only a short flight away!
If you want to personally plan your trip as well as be shown around by a professional tour guide, then click here. There are plenty of experiences that were organised by Trip Gran Canaria which are included in this list of top 36 things to do in Gran Canaria. Trip Gran Canaria is the best at organising guided tours around the island, so make sure you check out the different routes and expeditions they do. You'll have tons of fun exploring different parts of the island.
top must-see attractions and things to do in Gran Canaria
1. Explore the sand dunes of Maspalomas
The Maspalomas sand dunes are one of the most popular attractions on the entire island. They make a stunning sight – 404 hectares of huge sand dunes that one can also enjoy from the nearby beach. I highly recommend taking a walk on the dunes by the sunset. It is truly an extraordinary experience that is very hard to come by on the continent. Dare to ride the sand dunes by camelback or horseback?
2. Watch the sunset from the Maspalomas lighthouse
This is one of the most popular viewpoints when it comes to sunsets. The Maspalomas lighthouse is still in operation today as an active lighthouse. It is located on the southern side of the island. In addition, it is right next to the famous Maspalomas sand dunes and the Maspalomas beach. Today, it is also known for being in the proximity of many bats and shops!
3. Visit the Maipés de Agaete (city of Agaete)
This is one of the most famous Spanish Heritage Sites in the world. Also called the necropolis del Maipes, it is located in the small town of Agaete in the northwestern part of Gran Canaria. The word maipes is derived from the Spanish word which means bad land and, as its name suggest, it is in fact a burial site. It has mounds of earth over graves that date back centuries. Indeed, some of the burial grounds are over 1300-years old and built on lava rocks.
4. Go to the Puerto de Agaete
At the Puerto de Agaete, you'll have the opportunity to take some pictures of the Dragon's Tail. A stretch of impressive cliffs, seen all together, looks like a dragon's tail. You can visit this place with the help of Trip Gran Canaria tour guides.
5. See the Roque Nublo
Explore this ancient volcanic rock formation that has become one of the iconic attractions on the island. In fact, it is almost 70 metres tall, and 1,800 m above sea level. In essence, it is a striking geological site that offers many scenic trails along the way. Don't miss out on Roque Nublo. It's located at the heart of Gran Canaria.
6. Visit the Caldera de Bandama
The Caldera de Bandama is a 1,000 m volcanic crater that offers breathtaking hiking trails. At the bottom of the crater, one can find different colours and variations of volcanic ash. It is also the meeting point of three different Gran Canaria provinces.
7. Go marvel at the Painted Cave – Archaeological Museum in Gáldar
Located in the town of Galdar (in the northwestern part of Gran Canaria), this Painted Cave Museum is a must-see! Firstly, it is also known as Cueva pintada. Inside the cave, you'll find paintings from the pre-Hispanic Canaries era. It is considered as the islands' 'Sistine Chapel' by its inhabitants. This museum site also displays artefacts from a group of excavated caves in which aboriginals kept and used products, utensils, etc. A trip to the painted cave can be organised by Trip Gran Canaria tour guides.
General price: 6€/Reduced price: 3€.
For more information, click here.
8. Visit the Archaeological site, Cenobio de Valerón
The Caves of Valeron are an archaeological site and a monastery. The caves are located in Santa Maria de Guia. The caves were built before Roman times and today form one of the most popular cultural sites (a collective granary system of caves on several levels). Originally, the Romans believed it to be a location where the harimaguadas (spiritual ladies dedicated to religious life) lived. From that idea comes the name Cenobio (monastery, convent). This trip was organised by the Trip Gran Canaria tour guides.
General price: 3€/Reduced price: 2€. For more information, click here.
9. Visit Gáldar, also known as the City of Kings
When the first conquerors arrived at Gran Canaria, the island was divided in two guanartematos or kingdoms: Gáldar (or Agaldar, as the indigenous knew the area), that controlled the centre, north and west, and Telde, that controlled the south, east and part of the centre. From that division, Gáldar emerged from the strongest and principal kingdom. Today, it is considered one of the best pre-Hispanic villages on the island.
10. Follow Christopher Columbus at the Casa-Museo de Colón
Located in Las Palmas, the Casa de Colon is rumoured to have once housed Christopher Columbus. Today, it remains a popular landmark displaying Canarian architecture, offers views of ancient nautical maps and much more.
11. Visit the Palmitos Park
This is the largest zoological park in the Canary Islands. It is an excellent experience that's also family friendly. You can enjoy some time petting dolphins and much more. Click here for more information.
12. Visit Poema del Mar
A must-see attraction while you are on this island! It has the world's largest fish tank and offers breathtaking views in a fish tunnel and more. Explore the aquatic lives of the sea creatures and different marine species. Check out my review of Poema del Mar here.
20 best things to do in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
13. Visit the city of Las Palmas
Check out my list of 20 best things to do in Las Palmas and discover this incredible city. Visiting Las Palmas is a must while you are visiting the island of Gran Canaria.
visit the Gran Canaria beaches
First and foremost, let's start with the most popular beaches which should be on your list of things to do in Gran Canaria.
14. Sunbathe at Playa del Inglés
This is the island's 3rd longest beach, with a length of 2.7 km. Furthermore, it's one of the most popular beaches to visit on the island.
15. Relax at the Maspalomas beach
This is the neighbouring beach to Playa del Inglés. Surrounded by sand dunes, it is one of the most iconic beaches. Perfect for a lovely stroll at sunset.
16. Stay at the Puerto Rico beach
A very relaxing, enclosed beach with stunning views. It carries a Caribbean vibe.
17. Enjoy the Amadores beach
Only 20 minutes away from the Puerto Rico beach is the Amadores beach. The shallow waters and the constant sunshine make this one of the warmest and sunniest beaches in Gran Canaria. Beautiful clifftops right along the beach.
18. Swim at the Las Canteras beach
This is the longest beach on the island – 2.8 km. It is a very lively beach right in the capital city, the busy port of Las Palmas. So, you can enjoy the city of Las Palmas and its beach, too.
19. Enjoy the nature at Güigüí beach
One of the most beautiful natural beaches on the island. Given the difficulty of getting there, this beach is perfect if you like beaches that are less crowded. Stunning views encompass the setting of the beach and cliffs.
20. Feel like royalty at the Anfi del Mar on the Playa de las Teresitas
One of the most beautiful man-made stretches of beach. This is true paradise. Enjoy the turquoise waters, along with palm trees, flowers and much more.
top place to stay in Gran Canaria – visit the best hotel on the island
21. Stay at the best hotel in Gran Canaria
Indisputably, the best hotel thus far in Gran Canaria is the Bohemia Suites & Spa Hotel. This adult-only hotel is perfect for vacationers looking for some peace and tranquility. Luxury and 5 star customer service are exemplified in this hotel and, as such, the Bohemia offers many things to do! It is undeniably the best place to stay (and also to dine) on the island of Gran Canaria. Check out my review of the Bohemia Suites & Spa Hotel.
22. Relax at the Siam Spa
If you are vacationing, then one of the top things to do on the island is to go to a spa. Why don't you visit the Siam Spa at Bohemia Suites & Spa?
23. Dine at the 360 Restaurant
This is the best restaurant on the island, offering a very high-end dining experience with panoramic views of the ocean – all while sampling local cuisine. Check out my review here. Top quality ingredients and top quality food guaranteed!
24. Drink the best cocktail of your life at the Atelier Cocktail Bar
Honestly, this was the best cocktail of my life! They offer interesting twists on classic cocktails. Enjoy and sip away in a modern lounge environment. This is one of the most decadent experiences you will have during your stay in Gran Canaria.
25. Take free masterclasses available to guests of Bohemia Suites & Spa
You can take part in these masterclasses:
- Cava tasting
- Champagne tasting
- Distilled drinks tasting
- Hand massage
- Homemade lotions
Naturally, I also took part in a cookery masterclass, see the video below. It was here, as well as discovering the local Canarian cuisine and using local ingredients, that I learnt how to gut and prepare fish from scratch. As such, I've mastered this grilled bonito recipe and this grilled wreckfish recipe.
top adventurous things to do in Gran Canaria
If you feel like doing something adventurous, the Bohemia Suites & Spa Hotel organises exclusive trips for its guests. Pick one these 36 things to do in Gran Canaria and add a little adventure to your vacation.
26. Go fishing for Bonito
First, I took the opportunity to go on a fishing trip for Bonito with the company Fish On! (organised by Bohemia Suites & Spa Hotel). To sum up, it was an experience of a lifetime during which I learnt how to catch Atlantic Bonito. In addition, I also discovered how to prepare the fish via a masterclass (also organised by the Bohemia Suites & Spa Hotel). You can read more about my fishing for Bonito trip here.
27. Go on an exclusive trip with a chauffeur
Why not indulge in a private tour of the island in the comfort of a chauffeur-driven car? Bohemia Suites & Spa Hotel can organise this for their guests exclusively.
28. Play golf at the Caldera – Real Club De Golf de Bandama
This is the oldest golf course in Spain – the Real Club de Golf de Bandama. It dates back from the end of the XIX century. Due to the presence of the golf course, the huge basin of the Caldera is known as "the nineteenth hole". The area was named after Daniel Van Damme, a Belgian citizen who in the XVII century planted grapevines in the volcanic soil, known here as picón. This was organised by the Trip Gran Canaria tour guides.
29. Go on a helicopter tour
Do you enjoy looking at the island's exotic scenery from above? See the entire island in an adventurous helicopter ride and see just how beautiful this idyllic land is. Bohemia Suites & Spa Hotel can organise this for their guests exclusively.
30. Go on a private sailboat or yacht tour
By going on a private yacht or sailboat tour, you are guaranteed to enjoy the best view of the island's stunning cliffs and nature from the ocean. Also, it is highly likely you'll encounter dolphins or whales while cruising the waves. Bohemia Suites & Spa Hotel can organise this for their guests exclusively.
31. Go on a buggy tour
Enjoy a buggy tour on the famous Maspalomas sand dunes. This activity rates highly as one of the top things to do in Gran Canaria. Bohemia Suites & Spa Hotel can organise this for their guests exclusively.
32. Go star-gazing
Many people don't think of this, but since the island is so remote from the African coast, it holds some of the best views for star-gazing. Don't miss out on this incredible opportunity. Bohemia Suites & Spa Hotel can organise this for their guests exclusively.
best foodie things to do in Gran Canaria
33. Visit the Los Lirios Cellar (Bandama)
We visited Los Lirios Cellar, one of the biggest on the island at 70,000 sqm. They use two different ways to cultivate the grapes without any use of chemicals. The grapes are planted in the "picón" (common name, lapilli or lapili). Our guide there was called Yurena.
The cellar is close to Bandama Caldera, a crater of 200 m depth and 1000 m diameter, formed between 4000 and 5000 years ago. The caves in it were used by "aboriginals" to store various products. Later, its fertile volcanic soils were found to be ideal for supporting the cultivation of crops such as grapes. The caldera is also recommended for a stiff hike. For more information, see the Santa Brígida cellar and vineyard Los Lirios. This was organised by the Trip Gran Canaria tour guides.
34. Visit the La Laja coffee plantation and cellar in the Agaete Valley
The La Laja plantation is located in Los Berrazales (Agaete Valley). There, we saw some of the various products growing in that plantation, though their principal products are the coffee and wine. The kind of coffee they have is natural and typical Arabica, which is considered as the best. Also, they produce seven different wines. Our guide there was Ulises, and we also met the plantation's owner, Víctor. Here, I had the opportunity to taste their coffee marmalade with their cheese. This was organised by theTrip Gran Canaria tour guides.
After that, we went for lunch in a restaurant on the north coast. We tried the pepper of Padrón, fried cheese with tomato marmalade, and octopus gallego style. For dessert, we enjoyed a lovely bizcocho de Moya mousse.
For more information, see the coffee plantation and cellar La Laja. Open every day from 10:00 to 17:00.
top vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Gran Canaria
Again, what could be better than discovering the local cuisine of Gran Canaria as well as other cuisines available to the island? Being a foodie, I took the opportunity to visit some of these vegan and vegetarian restaurants on the islands, proving that the island caters for all appetites. It certainly made my transition to becoming a vegetarian a lot smoother, and I didn't have to worry about eating out. In essence, there was plenty to choose from.
35. Eat at one of the top vegan restaurants in Gran Canaria
If you are striving to eat vegan-only or you know someone who is vegan, then you needn't worry, as the island is full of amazing vegan restaurants that cater to all types of special diet. So check out these 16 vegan restaurants in Gran Canaria.
36. Eat at one of the top vegetarian restaurants in Gran Canaria
Another excellent fact about the island of Gran Canaria is how well it caters for vegans and vegetarians. Particularly of note, even if a restaurant is not specifically vegetarian, many offer vegetarian options on the menu. Nevertheless, check out these 22 best vegetarian restaurants in Gran Canaria.