If you’re planning a holiday to this beautiful island and you’re wondering what to do in Gran Canaria besides lying by the pool or on the beach, the following is an idea of how diverse and amazing this place really is.
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The Maspalomas Dunes are one of the most unique attractions in Gran Canaria. The photographs don’t depict the vastness of these dunes – some of them are 10 feet high. Walking along them will make you feel like you’re in the Sahara. You can even ride a camel! We couldn’t believe it was even possible to see such a landscape in Gran Canaria.
The Dunes of Maspalomas represent a unique natural space in the Canary Islands for their beauty and the variety of the ecosystem. The area is protected by the Canarian government as a special nature reserve. It spreads over 400-hectare including the beach, the sand dunes, a forest of palm trees and a lake.
Playa Del Inglês
Playa Del Ingês Resort is one of main nightlife focal points of the whole island. It’s packed with LGBTQ dance clubs and British pubs. Moreover, the beach is always crowded during the summer months with people practicing water sports and sunbathing.
If you’re looking for other things to do in Playa del Ingles, you can also enjoy all the local craft shops and the most exclusive boutiques— all of them scattered amid chain stores, together with a wide range of dining options. If you are hungry, you will find from the most typical Canarian food to the most demanded fast food restaurants. There are options for everyone!
Playa del Ingles beach is one of the most amazing Gran Canaria resorts. It stretches for about 3 kilometres lengthwise and about 2 kilometres inland at its widest point, and it ends just where the popular Maspalomas holiday resort begins. This resort beach is bounded by two different beaches — San Agustin beach on the east and Maspalomas beach on the west.
Being honest, the beach is what attracts many people of all ages from all over the world to Playa del Ingles. Why? If you don’t know it yet, it’s because you haven’t seen it’s wide golden sand and it’s deep blue waters. Here, you can enjoy boats trips and practice a great number of water sports that include windsurfing, jet-skiing, scuba diving and the funniest banana boat rides.
Pico De Las Nieves
The highest point in Gran Canaria with 1,949 meters above sea level, is located in the geographical center of the island. Its name, literally Peak of Snows, is due to the proximity of three wells that were built at the beginning of the 17th century, with the aim of storing snow that had fallen in the winter.
This place is ideal if you’re a nature lover, as many hiking or cycling routes end here, allowing hikers or cyclists to contemplate stunning views of the surroundings such us those of the Caldera de los Marteles or the Llanos de la Pez, among others.
The cumbre (as the locals refer to the top of Gran Canaria) is located specifically among the municipalities of Tejeda, San Mateo and San Bartolomé de Tirajana. Furthermore, it is inside the three protected areas of Paisaje Protegido de las Cumbres, Monumento Natural Riscos de Tirajana and the Parque Rural del Nublo.
You can read about our trip to Pico de las Nieves here.
Playa De Las Canteras
The jewel in the crown is Playa de Las Canteras, the pearl the city of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria doesn’t keep hidden away. This treasure lies hidden only 5 minutes off the cruise pier. It is a long strip of sand that stretches for miles along the bay.
Locals say that Las Canteras is one of the nation’s best urban beaches, and they’d be right. This is a beach blessed with fine weather practically all year round. A getaway within the capital city, a place where time seems to have stopped. A type of beach-style Central Park, where sports can be played any day of the week. And don’t forget your swim suits and your surf board!
Furthermore, it’s a large marine life reserve. It’s sea bed is home to a thousand fish species. On dry land, it shelters tourists, fishermen, and surfers. And it has a peculiar feature, which locals know as “La Barra”, a long rock formation spreading not far from the sand. A singular strip of volcanic rock that protects a large chunk of the beach from the tides, and which turns the bay into the best place this side of the globe to swim and practically “walk on the water” at low tide.
Poema del Mar Aquarium
Poema del Mar, the grand aquarium in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and the most spectacular venue of its kind in Europe, opens its massive windows to the marine universe which will fascínate every single member of the family.
The Poema del Mar Aquarium, located alongside the cruise harbour and just a short walk away from the city beach of Las Canteras, advertises itself to the general public as a showcase of the Blue Planet’s biodiversity. The tour’s itinerary is divided into three different, but equally exciting, areas: shallow water marine ecosystems, deep water marine ecosystems, and fresh water species. These environments have been recreated, with the greatest accuracy possible, the natural ecosystems of hundreds of species.
We start off our visit by submerging ourselves in the first of the visiting areas, The Jungle, which reproduces images of landscapes from all over the planet, in a tribute to the five continents. The second stage of Poema del Mar, called The Reef, is a walkway structure around a cylinder containing over 400,000 litres of water, in whose interior fish can be seen swimming over a coral field. The route then concludes at the Deep Ocean.
The Poema del Mar puts over 350 different species before our eyes, and some of them are on display for the first time ever in an aquarium. It also boasts having the largest curved window ever built, this being a piece of perspex over 140 tons in weight, 36 metres in length and 7 metres high, making it a gigantic viewing screen of marine landscapes. Yikes!
Poema del Mar is home to examples from all kinds of places, from the continents of Africa and Asia, to countries such as Australia. It’s actually also a garden, because between its walls there are ferns of all kinds and many beautiful plants which, together with other trees and palm trees, add a real shine to this stunning jungle that accompanies the magnificent representation of the spacious environment, dedicated to the rivers and lagoons together with their marine world.
The waters around the Canaries are represented at El Veril, a dome cover where visitors can see over a hundred moray eels, green gallito fish and colourful viejas, among other local species. The whole set up is designed so that visitors get the impression they can almost get their hands on an otherwise unreachable ecosystem. Of all the species present there is one that stands out, namely the pejeperro, which has become the champion of all the islands’ species. Facilities also include a restaurant and an events room.
Visit the Old Town of Teror
Teror, in north Gran Canaria, is one of the oldest towns in the Canary Islands. Founded after the appearance of the Virgin in 1481 and declared a pilgrimage town at the ends of the 15th Century, Teror boasts a considerable religious heritage including its church, convents and the original houses of local noble families. Real de la Plaza street has been the social and commercial heart of the town for 500 years.
Teror’s pastry makers and bakers are famous for their sweet treats in Gran Canaria. The Císter convent sells the town’s famous shortbread, turnovers, marzipan treats and aniseed cakes. At the nearby Finca de Osorio estate you can walk off the calories on several guided walks through nature. Teror is lively on Sunday mornings thanks to a street market in the main square that sells a wide range of local produce, jewelry and wooden and textile handicrafts, as well as typical products like the popular spreadable chorizo sausage.