From the oldest district of the island’s capital, Las Palmas, to the most beautiful mountain village, from the dunes of Maspalomas to the gigantic volcanic crater: it is not only the beaches that attract visitors on holiday in Gran Canaria, but also the places of interest. We have the most important highlights for planning your vacation and the most beautiful stops in Gran Canaria.
The dunes of Maspalomas
The highlight of Gran Canaria rises for miles and mountains in the south of the island: the “Dunas de Maspalomas” stretch between Playa del Inglés and the Maspalomas lighthouse over a length of six kilometers and a width of one to two kilometers.
The area with its gigantic sand dunes looks like a mini desert directly on the sea, although you can only see the water when you are on a dune. The dunes were formed millions of years ago by winds that repeatedly brought sand from Africa.
La Vegueta in Las Palmas
On vacation, people love to be on the beach and avoid the cities, but in Gran Canaria it is worth taking a day trip to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, more precisely: in the neighborhood of La Vegueta. This is the oldest part of the city, as this is where Las Palmas was founded in 1478.
The historic district is perfect for strolling: stroll through winding streets, past noble palaces, museums and art galleries, and then to the lively Plaza de Santa Ana and Catedral de Las Palmas. The Casa de Colón in Plaza de Colombus is particularly exciting: Christopher Columbus is said to have lived in this former governor’s house while one of his ships was being repaired.
The Roque Nublo
Gran Canaria’s landmark is 65 meters high and proudly towers 1813 meters high in the sky. The Roque Nublo basalt rock is known as “cloud rock” and was once highly revered by the natives of the Canary Islands. They had built a place of worship here, where they made sacrifices to the sun god.
The best way to get close to the island’s landmark is on foot – a two-and-a-half hour hike leads through the Monumento Natural del Roque Nublo nature reserve to the sacred mountain. The reward is a gigantic view over much of Gran Canaria and even as far as Tenerife!
The “Little Venice” Puerto de Mogan
There are numerous pretty villages in Gran Canaria, one of the most beautiful is located in the southwest of the island and is nicknamed “Little Venice”. Because the old fishing village of Puerto de Mogan is known for its countless canals, over which as many small bridges lead.
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The nickname is very fitting. Throughout the village, water flows under the whitewashed houses with flower-adorned balconies, narrow, winding streets, and many historic fishermen’s houses.
The green Valle de Agaete
Surrounded by high cliffs, the Valle de Agaete is located in the northwest of Gran Canaria, at the foot of Mount Tamadaba. As the valley is therefore well protected, a variety of subtropical and tropical fruits and plants thrive here. Tomatoes, citrus fruits, coffee, mangoes and papayas are grown.
The coast of the municipality is home to some of the most popular beaches on the north coast. The most visited is that of Las Nieves. Agaete was once a place rich in history and important for sailing to Las Palmas and Tenerife. Today you can take the fast ferry to Tenerife in an hour or eat fresh fish in one of the restaurants.
The almond village of Tejeda
At 1050 meters, surrounded by gorges and rocky outcrops, is Tejeda, considered one of the most beautiful villages in the Canary Islands and even in all of Spain. This is due not only to the location in the mountains, but also to what grows here: the almond blossom. Each spring the valley transforms into a pink and white sea of almond blossoms.
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If you walk around the village, it smells like almonds everywhere. Several patisseries sell sweet almond specialties in all variations, the pastry “Dulceria Nublo” and its almond cream Bienmesabe (English: “I like it)” is an insider’s tip.
The volcanic cone Pico de Bandama
A great adventure and the most beautiful road trip in Gran Canaria leads through a winding road to the top of the 569 meter high volcanic cone Pico de Bandama. At the top there is a crater of a good kilometer in diameter and 200 meters deep.
From the viewing platform you have a splendid view of the landscape and mountains of Gran Canaria and the cities of Las Palmas and Telde. If the weather is nice, you can even spot the neighboring island of Fuerteventura! To the south lies the Caldera de Bandama. There is a pre-Hispanic rock village with several caves that the natives once used to store grain.
The cave of the Cueva Pintada
In the north of Gran Canaria, another cave is the protagonist: in Gáldar, the only cave in the Canary Islands with walls decorated with paintings was discovered in 1873. Researchers see confirmed the thesis in the red, black and white paintings that the ancients Canaries are of Berber origin.
Today Gáldar houses the Cueva Pintada de Gáldar museum and the archaeological park, where you can see the remains of a Guanche settlement.
The Jardín Canario botanical garden
A sea of flowers and a heavenly garden are located near the island’s capital, Las Palmas. The Jardín Botánico Viera y Clavijo covers an area of around ten hectares, making it the largest botanical garden in Spain! The park was designed by the Swedish-Spanish botanist Erik Ragnar Stevenson in the 1950s.
What flourishes in the “Garden of the Canaries” is not only found in the Canary Islands, but revolves around the flora of the entire Macaronesian archipelago, which also includes the Azores, Madeira and Cape Verde. Then as today, scientific research also takes place here, there is a library and several laboratories.
The Barranco de Fataga
One of the most spectacular places in Gran Canaria is located north of the tourist areas of Maspalomas and Playa del Inglés. The Barranco de Fataga is a canyon where hundreds of palm trees grow. The approach and the view are truly spectacular!
In the gorge is the village of Fataga, a charming Canarian village with narrow streets, whitewashed houses and numerous craft shops and restaurants. Those interested in the island’s original inhabitants should make a stop at the Museo Mundo Aborigen, where the life of the ancient Canaries is recreated in caves, stables and round houses.
Mount Pico de las Nieves
The most beautiful panoramic view of the island can be enjoyed on the Pico de las Nieves, at 1949 meters the highest mountain in Gran Canaria and the third highest in the Canary Islands. Only the islands of Tenerife and La Palma have higher peaks. Translated, Pico de las Nieves means snow peak, although it is very rare that it actually snows.
There is a military base on the highest plateau of the mountain, a little further down there is a platform accessible to the public. If you get up here, your view extends far over the island and the Atlantic.