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Three Essential Spots on Gran Canaria

But, that is not all. There is also an endless array of places to visit and activities to engage in. Despite the myriad options, we have made a selection of the spots we feel you can’t afford to miss.

It is well known that Gran Canaria’s beaches are one of its major draws but, to leave it at that would be doing an injustice to an island that has practically unlimited potential. Following is a selection of three must-see sights – apart from the beaches, of course – for your next trip to the island. Our choice is based on several criteria, not just its touristic appeal. Here, then, is our ranking:

 3) Painted Cave Museum and Archaeological Park

The Painted Cave Museum and Archaeological Park complex is one of the most stunning sites in Gran Canaria. It lies in the heart of Gáldar’s town centre (Calle Audiencia, 2), in the north of the island. The approach road is therefore the same one leading into the historic centre.

The Painted Cave was discovered in 1862 as a result of agricultural earthwork. The cave interior is huge, its walls richly decorated with all kinds of geometric symbols. The archaeological complex is currently made up of six caves carved out by the ancient dwellers of Gran Canaria, and remains of red ochre can still be seen adorning the walls and ceiling.

The various archaeological projects implemented around the Painted Cave in recent years revealed the presence of a terrace-built country home. The outworks connect the bottom of the gulley to the town’s historic centre, forming what was one of the quarters in the pre-Hispanic Agáldar settlement.

2) Teror Town Centre

The origins of Teror predate the island’s conquest by the Crown of Castile in the 15th century. Indeed, the place-name is derived from the indigenous word Aterura, Therore or Terori, the meaning of which is unknown.

The town’s history and development are closely linked to the Marian apparition of the Virgin of the Pine and the existence of a shrine dating from 1514. However, writings containing references to its station as a centre of pilgrimage do not emerge until two centuries after its foundation.

The “Villa Mariana de Teror” was designated an Art History Complex in 1979, turning it into one of the leading tourist destinations in the island’s interior. Folk traditions and beautiful, meticulously designed houses go hand-in-hand in the streets of Teror, noted for the views they afford of typical Canarian balconies.

A stroll through the historic centre of the town should start willy-nilly at the square of Nuestra Señora del Pino, alongside the church. You can get there quickly from the parking lot by crossing the square above it and heading down Calle Obispo Marquina. If you’re travelling by bus, it stops on the east side of the precinct, so you only need to continue along the Calle Real to the square at the end.

1) The Guayadeque Gorge

The Guayadeque Gorge lies between the towns of Agüimes and Ingenio, in the east of Gran Canaria. The area is of great environmental value and has a rich heritage, leading it to be designated a Natural Monument and an Asset of Cultural Interest – categorised as an “Archaeological Area” – a distinction granted it by the Canary Islands’ Law of Historical Heritage.

The road running through the gorge winds among spectacular cliffs awash with a large variety of pre-Hispanic archaeological deposits and sites, prominent among them being the settlement known as Bermeja Cave.

Housed there is the Guayadeque Gorge Information Centre, open every day except Monday, where you can find out about the archaeological sites in the area and glean a lot of other interesting information about this priceless spot. Visitors will also be able to learn more about the rich, natural fauna and flora in the gorge.

Towards the end of the road winding through the Guayadeque gorge you will come to a number of restaurants set  in the rock face itself. The most popular of them is El Centro, comprising a cave complex that creates a unique setting for a restaurant. They offer an extensive menu with dishes representative of Canary Island cuisine, featuring such specialities as fried pork, mixed grill and barbecued pork.

Fancy discovering it for yourself? Check out our flights here.


Images by Patronato Turismo Gran Canaria