Gran Canaria’s vast and varying landscape means that it offers something for everyone, from lazy days on the beach to scrambling along fabulous hiking trails or discovering the island’s history. It’s famous for its dramatic coastline and white-sand beaches, which are perfect for the sun worshippers and the water sport junkies. But venture further inland and you’ll find mountainous landscapes and sights such as Roque Nublo, which are a hiker’s dream come true, so pack your walking boots! Here are some top things to do in Gran Canaria:
Spend the day at Palmitos Park
Palmitos Park is an absolute must when you’re on holiday in Gran Canaria. It’s one of the most popular attractions on the island, so much so that it’s frequently ranked among the best things to do in Gran Canaria. Meet the cheeky and very intelligent dolphins, visit the aviary and the aquarium, have a lazy stroll in the picturesque Botanical Garden, or dodge the prickles in the Cactus Garden.
Visit Bandama Caldera
If you’re a nature lover and enjoy nothing more than getting out and exploring your surroundings while on holiday, then put Gran Canaria’s Caldera de Bandama on your list of things to do in Gran Canaria. Often nicknamed ‘the magic cauldron of Gran Canaria’ because of its shape, this deep volcanic caldera is far removed from the hustle and bustle of the island’s coastal resorts, so it’s a great place to experience something completely different.
Go paddle surfing in Gran Canaria
You can’t go to Gran Canaria without spending some time soaking up the year-round sun on the island’s beautiful, golden beaches. But maybe you crave something a little more than just lounging on the sand? If so, book a paddle surfing trip for an experience you’ll never forget. Perfect for adventurers looking for adrenaline-stoked things to do in Gran Canaria.
Explore Vegueta, the old town of Las Palmas
Vegueta is the name given to the old town part of Las Palmas, the capital city of Gran Canaria. A visit here will transport you back in time as it has remained almost unchanged since Columbus visited in the late 1400s, before he sailed off and discovered the New World. Visit the Canary Museum, where you can learn more about Gran Canaria’s prehistoric, ancient and colonial heritage.
Hike to the impressive Roque Nublo
Standing proud at 80 metres tall, Roque Nublo is an icon of Gran Canaria and marks the centre of the island. Looking at photos, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the rock is something that only mountaineers, or the most experienced of explorers, could put on their list of what to do in Gran Canaria. Fortunately it’s easily reachable by bus or car for anyone who doesn’t fancy breaking out the ropes and carabiners! This unique landmark was created during a volcanic eruption about 4.5 million years ago and is the second highest point on the island.
Spend the day exploring the Jardin Canario
The Jardin Canario is a unique and vast botanical paradise that features every type of vegetation and plant that you can expect to find on the Canary Islands. In fact, it’s the biggest botanical garden in all of Spain, with a huge range of exotic plant species to admire.
Visit the historic Catedral de Santa Ana
If you’re interested in colonial history, don’t forget to put this on your list of things to do in Gran Canaria. Head to the island’s capital, Las Palmas, and right in the heart of the old town you’ll find the Catedral de Santa Ana dominating the landscape. This impressive cathedral is the very first church of all the Canary Islands, and while it’s a striking site from inside and out, technically it’s still unfinished.
Visit the Painted Cave
Head to the village of Galdar in the north of Gran Canaria to see the magnificent Painted Cave. This archaeological museum is known for its stunning wall paintings and other ancient artefacts, and can be explored via a guided tour. It’s roughly an hour’s drive from Maspalomas or about half an hour from Las Palmas. The cave offers a fascinating insight into the Canary Islands’ pre-Hispanic populations, and also exhibits some of the tools and ceramics that were used by our ancestors.
See the Pico de las Nieves
Head to the highest mountain in Gran Canaria, the Pico de las Nieves, which is 1,949 metres above sea level and has spectacular panoramic views of the island and the Atlantic. See the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and the dramatic valleys, and visit at sunset for the best views. On a clear day, you can even see the mighty volcano of Mount Teide on Tenerife, the highest peak in Spain. Luckily, you don’t even have to hire a car to get to the Pico de las Nieves, as there are regular bus services that stop close to this peak.
Take the family to Sioux City
Discover what life would have been like in America’s Wild West. Visit Sioux City in San Agustín in southern Gran Canaria and transport yourself to the crazy world of cowboys. Fun for adults and children alike, you’ll see everything from dancing to horse exhibits, cattle parades and cowboy lasso techniques. Another excellent family attraction to bear in mind when you’re planning what to do in Gran Canaria.