Gran Canaria holidays

Famous sand dunes, sleepy fishing villages and centres bursting with bars pretty much sums up holidays to Gran Canaria. It’s the ideal place to chase the sun too with spring temperatures promising a year of beach days. The south is where you’ll find it’s lively resorts and desert-like landscape, while the rocky north’s green terrain and hidden coves are quite the contrast. And don’t forget to explore the ninth largest city in Spain with a trip to Las Palmas. This cultural hotspot will take you back to the 16th century with its colonial architecture and secret courtyards. 

Things to do

Gran Canaria’s year-round weather means there’s plenty of things to do no matter where you are on the island. One of its biggest draws has to be its impressive coastline. Home to around 80 beaches, you’re never far from a spot of sand.

In the south of the island, you’ll find the bustling Playa del Inglés. Most people flock here to take advantage of its sprawling three-kilometre-long coastline, while others prefer to take in the Atlantic views from its the pestrainised Paseo Costa Canaria (a path stretching all the way to San Agustín). But if you’re going to visit one beach while on the island, make sure it's Amadores. As one of the prettiest shorelines in Gran Canaria with a Blue Flag award under its belt, it’s a must-see on all Puerto Rico holidays.

If you can tear yourself away from your sunlounger, you’ll find a new, more interesting landscape around every corner. A trip to the Maspalomas dunes should be your first adventure. Discover them by foot, try sandboarding, or explore them the traditional way, with a camelback ride. If it’s mountainous vistas you’re after, don’t forget to tick off Roque Nublo, a free-standing piece of volcanic rock which has become symbolic of the island. Or, go one bigger and visit the highest peak in Gran Canaria. Standing 1,949 metres above sea level, Pico de las Nieves promises a sunset sitting above the clouds. And then there’s the sea itself, where you can paddle surf, snorkel or dive alongside everything from parrot fish, to damsels and sea bream.

Those interested in the history of the island, shouldn’t miss a trip to Las Palmas. Explore its beautiful old town (Vegueta), where you’ll get a sense of its traditional roots. From cobblestone streets to beautiful Gothic landmarks like Catedral de Santa Ana and museums hiding all kinds of artifacts. Not to mention its links to the great explorer, Christpher Columbus. About 30 minutes from here, on the northern coast is the Painted Cave of Galdar, whose wall paintings will wow any art enthusiast. 

Come to Gran Canaria to shop? You won’t be disappointed with the Yumbo Centre. Home to 200 shops and spread across four floors, find supermarkets selling all the essentials alongside stores filled with luxury. Abuzz with bars, restaurants and boutiques, Puerto Rico Shopping Centre is also great for a spot of retail therapy, especially if you want to hunt down the island’s leather goods.

 Places to stay

Head south if you want to stay in Gran Canaria’s most popular resorts. Playa del Ingles and San Agustin are among the villages that cluster together to form Maspalomas. If you carry on eastwards, you’ll reach a string of bustling resorts; Arguineguin, Puerto Rico and Mogan, before you come to the more peaceful beach at Playa de los Amadores. Artists have colonised the northwestern coastal village of Agaete, turning many of the whitewashed houses into galleries. If you want a dose of culture and history alongside sunbathing, wander the winding streets of Las Palmas.

More Travel Guides

We also have travel guides available for destinations, including: Maspalomas | Playa des Ingles | Puerto Rico | San Agustin

Map of Gran Canaria


Known for its year-round sunshine, holidays to Gran Canaria promise warm days whatever the season with very little rainfall.

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4 hours and 30 minutes
The only airport in Gran Canaria is on the eastern side of the island about 19km south of the capital Las Palmas.

Gran Canaria is best for...

History buffs: Dive into Gran Canaria’s wealth of history with a visit to its capital Las Palmas. Follow in the footsteps of Christopher Columbus and check out the very spot where he stayed on his way to discover America. Then explore its old town and hunt down the beautiful Catedral de Santa Ana. If you want to step back even further in time, head towards Maspalomas Lighthouse, which dates back to the 1890s.

Party animals: From Yumbo Centre’s famous drag shows to Kasbah centre’s lively clubs, Playa del Ingles is the island’s party front-runner. While, Maspalomas holidays offer a more laid-back nightlife scene, you’re just a taxi ride from Playa del Ingles if you decide to dial things up a notch. 

Sun worshippers: Whether you want to kick-back on the Saharan-like sand, get wet at Aqualand Maspalomas or enjoy the watersports fun at Playa del Inglés, no two days on this island are the same. And don’t forget to head north to walk the island’s longest shoreline at Las Canteras. 


Fast facts for Gran Canaria

Language: The official language in Gran Canaria is Spanish. Although, English is widely spoken in most of its tourist areas.

Currency: The currency used is the Euro.

Local time: There is no time difference between Gran Canaria and GMT/UK time.

Fly to: Gran Canaria Airport (LPA). Transfers to Maspalomas and Playa del Inglés will take around 45 minutes, while you’ll reach Puerto Rico in an hour.

Flight time from UK: Approximately 4 hours and 30 minutes.

Tourist Information: Further tourist information can be found at the official website for tourism in Gran Canaria.

Visa / Health: Before you travel, check the latest advice from The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.

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Getting around Gran Canaria

By bus: A good network of bus routes makes getting around Gran Canaria easy. Though, services may be reduced on weekends and fiesta days.

By hire car: You should hire a car if you’re looking to explore the island’s rural spots as some of its smaller villages will be hard to reach or expensive via public transport. Plus, you can pick some rentals up at the airport, so you won’t even need to worry about transfers to and from your resort.

Events in Gran Canaria

Carnival: Parties and parades are held all over the island for the giant February carnival. 

Almond Blossom Festival: Every year during the first week in February the small mountain village of Tejeda comes together to celebrate the arrival of spring. From folk dancing to feasting, it’s a great chance to sample the traditional culture.

Gay Pride: As one of the island’s most popular events, Maspalomas’ Gay pride celebrations get bigger and better each year. This 10-day LGBT event takes place at the beginning of May with drag races, pool parties, boat trips, and on the final day, a street parade. 

Fiesta de Nuestra Señora del Carmen: If you’re heading to Las Palmas on your Canary Islands holidays, don’t miss out on flower-filled festivity. Held in July, the celebrations are known to continue late into the night.


Gran Canaria safety and security

 For up-to-date advice on travelling to Gran Canaria, please visit the FCDO website.

Gran Canaria weather

Temperature: Expect averages between 18°C - 24°C

No matter what time of the year you visit Gran Canaria , you’ll be hard pressed to find a day without glorious sunshine. Temperatures hover in the high teens for most of the year, but can climb to 28°C during the long summer (May to November). You may get the odd rainy day in winter, but you can still enjoy highs of 23°C at this time.



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Gran Canaria holiday FAQs
What is the best month to go to Gran Canaria?

Gran Canaria benefits from a subtropical climate, with long hot summers and mild winters. The best time to hit the beach is between July and September, where the temperatures are at their peak. Although June and November average at a comfortable 23°C. The hottest month in Gran Canaria is August, reaching a toasty 29 - 23°C. The coolest month is February where temperatures average 21 - 16°C. If you prefer fewer crowds and hiking adventures, the shoulder months, from April to May and September to November, offer a quieter atmosphere as the weather in Gran Canaria is milder.

Is Gran Canaria worth visiting?

Gran Canaria is an exceptional island located off the coast of Africa, belonging to the Canary Islands, Spain. It is definitely worth visiting, if not for its soft sand beaches and year-round sunshine, the island is rich in culture and natural beauty. This Spanish hotspot boasts awe-inspiring mountains, like the free-standing volcanic rock Roque Nublo, lush forests, and the vast Maspalomas Dunes. It’s also steeped in history and culture, with a range of museums, art galleries, and traditional villages to explore. The old town of Vegueta is rich in colonial history and charming tapas bars.

What is the most beautiful part of Gran Canaria?

Gran Canaria has so many beautiful places to explore. One of the most stunning sights to see is the Maspalomas Dunes Nature Reserve. Located on the southern coast of the island, this vast stretch of golden sand rolls on for miles. The Tamadaba Natural Park is also a must-see. Boasting dramatic mountain landscapes, lush forests, a rugged coastline and impressive cliffs that plunge into the Atlantic Ocean. You can hike along winding trails through the pine forests, explore ancient cave systems and take in panoramic views of the island.

Does Gran Canaria have good beaches?

Gran Canaria has some of the best beaches in Europe, with over 60 km of coastline and more than 80 sand spots, from secluded coves to bustling resort areas. The island's warm, sunny climate and clear, turquoise waters make it a popular destination for beachgoers all year round. Some of the most popular beaches on the island include Playa de Maspalomas, with its stunning sand dunes, Playa del Inglés for its lively atmosphere and watersports, and Amadores Beach for its sheltered bays and tranquil waters. 

Does Gran Canaria have an off season?

Gran Canaria has a high and low season. The off season falls between May and October, where the weather is still warm but less intense than the peak months. This is a great time to visit if you prefer fewer crowds and a more budget-friendly deal. However, some businesses may close during this time.

Is Gran Canaria family-friendly?

Gran Canaria is a family-friendly destination with activities for all ages. You and your little ones can enjoy paddle-safe beaches, waterparks, zoos, and amusement parks, as well as hiking trails and nature reserves. Gran Canaria is also known as a laid-back, safe and welcoming destination, making it the ideal spot for spending quality time with your family.