Looking for somewhere to go on a long weekend? Have you got a few days off and you want to make the most of them? Gran Canaria is a destination that has it all if you want to get away, any time of year!
There are many good reasons to take a few days off and book a flight to Gran Canaria. This island is known by many as the “miniature continent” due to the diversity of its landscape and the fact that there are so many things to do. It stands out because of its authenticity, the people's hospitality, the quality of life and the amazing weather all year round.
All these things make Gran Canaria an ideal destination to spend a few days, as we can combine hiking along stunning paths and cultural visits, days on beach and enjoying fresh fish on the seafront. There are so many reasons to travel to Gran Canaria, where we can relax and get away from it all. When we get back to real life we will be tired but happy!
The Way of St James goes through Gran Canaria
Why not spend one day (or a few!) walking along part of the 66-kilometre stretch of the Way of St James on the island? You’ll be able to see a wide range of interesting things, from old volcanic calderas and to stunning ravines, lush forests and undulating mountains, ending at the Church of Santiago de los Caballeros, the first stop on this pilgrimage outside mainland Europe, established in 1492. You can walk or cycle along this beautiful path, and enjoy wonderful landscapes, many interesting attractions and good, affordable restaurants.
Maspalomas Dunes, an ode to the sea
After you spend the day hiking, there is nothing better than relaxing and unwinding next to the sea, any time of year. Maspalomas Dunes, one of the main tourist attractions in Gran Canaria, are perfect for bathing and also for going on a relaxing walk along the shore, snapping some photos from the iconic lighthouse, or booking surf lessons to ride the Atlantic waves. It’s a real treat to be able to gaze at the sunset over the spectacular dunes and the Atlantic Ocean.
Beaches you shouldn’t miss
Las Canteras Beach, the main beach in the city of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, is equipped with everything you could possibly need. It’s an idyllic beach with crystal-clear turquoise waters, where you can spend the day and then enjoy the bustling promenade in the evening. Playa del Inglés beach is more peaceful and unspoilt, perfect for surfing, and Güi Güí, arguably the island's most exotic beach, is ideal for adventurous travellers who don't mind walking for two hours in order to get there. If you don’t feel like walking all the way there, you can always go by boat and enjoy the views of magnificent cliffs and wild waters of the ocean.
Practise your swing: come and play golf in Gran Canaria
If you love sports, you’ll absolutely love Gran Canaria, because the island offers a wide range of activities both on land and in the water. There are so many that you won’t know where to start! The island boasts no less than eight golf courses and a wide range of amenities that will offer you everything you need when you come to play, like specialised, fully-equipped hotels.
Enjoy water sports
As well as many schools where you can sign up for surfing, windsurfing and kitesurfing courses, Gran Canaria is a must for people who love scuba diving, as there are several diving schools for all levels. The island also has five marinas and many sailing routes that will unveil all the coast’s secrets. If you’re travelling with the family, the little ones won’t want to miss the whale-watching cruises, where you can also stop and swim with them.
Visiting the villages
The island is dotted with picturesque villages, where you can experience their slow life and discover churches, buildings, museums, viewpoints (and restaurants, of course), which you will fall in love with over and over again. It’s worth spending a day at places like Agaete, Teror or Tejeda, where we can discover the most authentic Gran Canaria and enjoy the diverse scenery from the car as we drive along. You shouldn’t miss Arucas cathedral, Las Madres viewpoint in Firgas, or Maipés necropolis in the town of Agaete, which also has natural pools where you can bathe any time of year.
One of the most charming towns in Gran Canaria, which is perfect for Instagram, is Teror, with its colourful houses, wooden balconies and quaint pedestrian streets. The Ethnographic Museum of Tejeda, the aboriginal settlements of Temisas and Guayadeque (in Agüimes), and the beautiful streets filled with flowers of Puerto de Mogán are also places not to be missed on a trip to this fascinating island. You can finish off taking a dip at Arguineguín Beach, a fishing village where you can book a table at a restaurant and enjoy fresh fish.
The wild countryside
If you are a hiking enthusiast, in Gran Canaria there are many routes for all levels, crossing the laurel forests of Tilos de Moya, leading to many viewpoints. But there are also many other natural attractions to be discovered. Roque Nublo is one of the most iconic places on the island: it’s a volcanic rock that is 80 metres high and offers amazing views. And also Guayadeque ravine and Bandama caldera, with a spectacular view and a beautiful viewpoint.
A cultural visit to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
By now we will probably have spent half the time in a swimsuit and the other half in sports clothing and hiking boots, so now is a good time to explore the city. Because the capital city, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, has loads to offer: you can simply wander round the streets and visit iconic buildings such as the cathedral, the CAAM (Atlantic Modern Art Centre), Casa de Colón and the Canarian Museum. You can also follow the Benito Pérez Galdós literary route, explore the Botanical Garden and enjoy the bustling districts of Triana and Vegueta.
In Gran Canaria there are lots of places to eat that are affordable. Everywhere you go you’ll come across typical restaurants with beautiful terraces where you can enjoy fresh fish, “papas arrugás” (wrinkled potatoes) and salad, for example, as you gaze at the sea. Cheese lovers will also be very happy here as there are many types of artisanal cheese. Don’t leave the island without trying queso de flor, paired with local wine, made with the typical Canarian Listán Negro variety, or one of the popular white wines, like Agala, grown at an altitude of 1,000+ metres, near the village of Tejeda.