If you are planning a vacation in the Canary Islands, then this article will offer you the 20 Best Things to Do in Gran Canaria. Of all the Canary Islands, Gran Canaria is the second-most populous island in the archipelago, after the island of Tenerife.
It is also known by the nickname “Continent in Miniature”. You can see beaches with white and black sand, bays, sand dunes, mountains, and tropical plants.
Gran Canaria is a former volcano with a length of 47 km and a width of 55 km. The capital, Las Palmas, is the largest city in the European Union, located outside Europe, with a population of about 385,000 people.
You will definitely not be bored on this island, and in the following lines, you will find out why!
1. Take A Cruise Aboard a Turkish Gulet
In Gran Canaria, one of the most popular attractions for tourists is cruise tours. Aphrodite is a Turkish gulet that has been rebuilt as a party cruise. This cruise ship is very famous, and you can find advertisements for it all over the island.
From the resort of Puerto Rico, you can sail on this charter ship. This cruise will provide you with breathtaking floating, but also an opportunity to try traditional Canarian cuisine.
Onboard you can enjoy the authentic dish, papas arrugadas y mojo in combination with great wine or beer. Then immerse yourself in the depths of the cool party.
2. Visit Dunas de Maspalomas & take a Camel Ride
Maspalomas is the second longest beach in Gran Canaria. It is famous for its huge dunes, which often adorn billboards on the roads of the Canary Islands.
This beach is the most interesting attraction in Gran Canaria. The large beach dunes covered with golden and soft sand will take you to the Sahara.
However, dunes are a fragile ecosystem, and you should be careful when visiting there. There are three routes available for adventure seekers with signs and an information point in Playa del Inglés.
During your visit to Maspalomas, you will have the opportunity to ride a camel in the desert. But we will look at this experience in the next column.
3. Enjoy Desert Safari with Camels
What to do in Maspalomas?
Besides the unique beaches surrounding Gran Canaria, on the coast, you can discover the desert dunes of Maspalomas. The best way to experience this magical place is if you ride a camel!
During this adventure, you will feel like a real desert safari. You can learn more about these incredible animals and how well they are adapted to live in Maspalomas.
The amazing photos that you will be able to capture will undoubtedly leave you with unforgettable memories. You can decide for yourself how much time you will spend on this experience.
4. Canary folklore in Pueblo Canario
In the town of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, you can find Pueblo Canario, an interpretation of a traditional Canary village.
Located in the southern part of Parque Doramas, and is an amazing place to spend some time with your family and learn more about Canarian culture.
Every Thursday and Sunday in Pueblo Canario, you can enjoy free live performances of Canary folk music. Some of the songs are instrumental others include live singing.
The performers are dressed in traditional costumes and create a cool mood. This Canarian village also houses the Nestor Museum, a unique art gallery with opening hours from 8:00 to 12:00 every day.
5. Cultural tour in Vegeta
Vegeta is an ancient city from the 15th century with traditional Spanish architecture, cobbled streets, and old houses. In this ancient city, you can come across several eras from the late Gothic to Renaissance.
Walk to Plaza de Santa Ana to see the main attraction of Vegeta Cathedral Santa Ana. Be sure to visit the Museum of Sacred Art.
The galleries Centro de Culture San Martin and Casa de Colon, dedicated to Christopher Columbus, attracts thousands of tourists a year. After your cultural tour, you can head to the nearby restaurants where you can try Canarian tapas and local cheeses.
The ancient runes of Vegeta will captivate your heart and show you the frames of past eras.
6. Watch a movie at the Moonlight Cinema.
Moonlight Cinema is the only permanent open-air cinema in Europe, located on the top floor of the Maspalomas shopping center.
The atmosphere of the cinema makes you relax and enjoy the movies on the big screen under the magic of the stars.The interior features soft and comfortable sofas, blankets, and fantastic service at the touch of a button on your seat.
The cinema also offers late screenings as well as a regular menu, including pizza, popcorn, nachos, and drinks. Working hours are from Monday to Friday – from 9:00 am to 3:00 am and from 7:00 pm to 1:00 pm, Saturday and Sunday from 7:00 pm to 1:00 pm.
7. Adventure in the Yellow Submarine
One of the things you should miss while in Gran Canaria is a tour with the Yellow Submarine. This adventure lasts 45 minutes and immerses you in more than 60 feet deep.
Sit comfortably in the seat and enjoy the sea and its world through large monitors connected in video cameras outside the submarine. Among the beautiful shoals of local fish, you will see gray mullet, trumpet fish, and groupers.
One of the stops of the Yellow Submarine is next to the shipwrecked “Carmona II”. This is actually a steel hull fishing boat lying at a depth of 95 feet. The Carmona II Corps provided shelter and habitat for thousands of shellfish and fish.
8. Helicopter Guided Tour of the Island
If you want to see the whole island in one breath, then this is your opportunity to do so. An amazing way to enjoy the wonderful nature of Gran Canaria by helicopter.
The panoramic view of all the beautiful places on the island gives you as much to see as you would not have for weeks if you are on an ordinary tour. Several companies offer a helicopter tour and each of them has different route packets.
Some of them will take you to the south coast, and others to the top of the famous Nublo Rock, which is located in the central part of Gran Canaria. A local guide will go with you during the tour.
9. Try Canary Herreno Cheese
Herreno is a Spanish cheese coming from the island of El Hierro. The cheese is made from goat’s milk and a small amount of cow’s and sheep’s milk.
You can try it in traditional Canarian restaurants. Lumps of cheese are smoked over a tree from the stems of a prickly pear cactus as well as figs. You can find it in 2 variants with smoked bark and non-smoked.
When the cheese is fresh, its color is pure white. Herreno has been one of the highlights of Canary’s traditional cuisine for centuries. It is an integral part of every tapas plateau in most bars and restaurants in Gran Canaria.
10. Reveal the Secrets of Castello de la Luz
Castillo de la Luz is located in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and was built in the late 15th century as a defensive fortress. This castle goes through different phases and several epochs.
In the 19th century, it was abandoned after another pirate attack and remained uninhabited until 1969, when it was rebuilt. In 1998 it was expanded, and its ancient nature was restored.
Today the castle is a museum with an exhibition of the famous Canarian sculptor Chirino and his foundation. Apart from the art part, the castle hides many legends and interesting facts. Ornaments from different eras impress its hundreds of visitors.
11. Walk in Roque Nublo National Park
The national park is a protected area covered with volcanic rocks up to 85 meters high. After Maspalomas, it is the second most famous natural landmark.
If you are a fan of rock climbing, here you are in owl waters. Walking through amazing natural places will win your heart.
The park is in the heart of Gran Canaria and is surrounded by pine forests. In clear weather from the top of the rocks, you can see the volcano Teide located in Tenerife. This rock phenomenon is a magnet for thousands of travel adventurers.
12. Buggy Safari in the Rugged Interior of Gran Canaria
Take a buggy and walk through the rugged interior of Gran Canaria. This experience will allow you to enjoy the stunning nature of this unique island.
If you wish, the tour may include a guide to you through this adventure. The minimum participation of a guide is 7-8 buggies. Safari participants can cover off-road as well as asphalt paths.
You have technicians available to monitor vehicles to ensure your safety. The time range of the safari depends on your choice. This adventure will raise your adrenaline and immerse you in the derbies of the magnificent nature of Gran Canaria.
13. See the Largest Botanical Gardens in Spain and the Crater of the Volcano
You can take part in a combined tour, including the Caldera de Bandama volcanic crater and the Viera y Clavijo botanical gardens. These two locations will make you experience the deep nature of Gran Canaria.
Of all the attractions on the island, these two are the most impressive. The large volcanic crater erupted more than 3,000 years ago. It has a diameter of 1 km and is over 200 meters deep.
The botanical garden, sometimes called El Jardin Canario, is the largest in Spain. Its tour includes a guide and covers 23 hectares. Here you can see nearly 600 species of island plants.
14. Feel the atmosphere of the Episcopal Palace
One of the famous cultural monuments in Gran Canaria is the Palace of the Bishops. It is located near St. Anne’s Cathedral in the square of the same name in the heart of the capital Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
The palace was built in the 16th century and had several eras from the early Middle Ages to the Rococo. The interior will send you from the Renaissance to the late Baroque. The palace suffered a fire but was quickly restored, and its architecture was not seriously affected.
The palace is becoming increasingly popular due to the return of its splendor. The tours include a guide and take place Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
15. Scuba Diving in Gran Canaria
Scuba Diving in Gran Canaria is a very popular activity for all visitors. The island offers thousands of opportunities for scuba diving.
Blue Water Diving is the association responsible for this type of activity in Gran Canaria and offers coaching courses.
The courses cover all ages and include group diving and solo diving. There are hundreds of places for such adventures in Gran Canaria. You should not miss immersing in this unique experience.
16. Cataraman Cruise
One of the top attractions of Gran Canaria is the catamaran cruise. Indulge in a luxurious journey through the turquoise waters of the island. Onboard, you will be fattened with gourmet food and drinks.
You have a large selection of different crisis options – half-day, full-day, or sunset experiences. Discover your journey and indulge in complete relaxation.
You have the opportunity to spot fragments of marine life from the catamaran, involving dolphins and whales.
17. Casa Museo de Colon (Christopher Columbus Museum)
Casa de Colon the Columbus House is one of the most beautiful buildings in the capital, Las Palmas. It was built in the 15th century and is a real historical jewel.
The mansion was often a resting place for Christopher Columbus when he traveled to the New World. His ship La Pinta docked in Las Palmas in 1492.
The house originally belonged to the governor of the Canary Islands. The mansion is one of the first buildings in Las Palmas after the city was built. The atmosphere of the place will send you back to the colonial era.
18. Long Sunny Day on Amadores Beach
Spend a great time with your family or loved one on the great Amadores beach. The beach is located in the southwestern part of Gran Canaria.
Amadores is an artificial beach protected by two dikes, so its waters are mostly calm. Many rankings place among the best beaches in Europe.
With crystal clear and turquoise water combined with fine white sand, it is the perfect place to spend a relaxing day. It is surrounded by wonderful and cozy restaurants offering great food.
Amadores beach is the largest artificial beach in Gran Canaria, also awarded the Blue Flag for cleanliness and a high standard of service.
19. Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus Tour in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Get in on another adventure that offers Gran Canaria to make your vacation unforgettable. Discover the architecture and rich history of the capital Las Palmas aboard the City Sightseeing hop-on hop-off tour.
This double-decker bus is one of the most famous attractions in Gran Canaria. Climb to the second floor and enjoy a unique city tour and see and learn more about the sights of Las Palmas.
Your 24-hour ticket is the perfect way to find the best at your convenience. You can set your own route at your own pace. Your ticket is valid 24 hours after your first boarding.
20. Surf Safari Course in Meloneras
Learn to surfing during your vacation in Gran Canaria. The island offers you a great opportunity for this water sport.
With a coach next to you, you will learn how to row and ride the wave. Enjoy this adventure and impress your loved ones with your new skill.
You can get this experience with the travel packets of most hotels in Gran Canaria. After surfing training, you will have the opportunity to have breakfast for champions to regain your strength.
The course includes a surf instructor, transport, and special equipment. Come back home from your vacation with new skills and experiences.
21. Aquarium of Poema del Mar
Poema del Mar is a large aquarium located in the city of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. It is home to a wide variety of marine animals, including sharks, rays, sea turtles, and many species of fish.
In addition to its tanks and exhibits featuring marine life, the aquarium also has a number of interactive exhibits and educational programs designed to teach visitors about the importance of preserving the ocean and its inhabitants.
Some of the highlights of a visit to Poema del Mar include the underwater tunnel, where visitors can walk through a clear tunnel while being surrounded by a variety of marine animals, and the touch tank, where visitors can interact with some of the aquarium’s more docile species.
22. Cueva Pintada Museum and Archaeological Park
If you want to learn about the island’s rich history and cultural heritage, you must visit the Cueva Pintada Museum and Archaeological Park, which is located in the Gáldar town.
The museum is housed in a 19th-century building that was constructed on top of an ancient indigenous village, which dates back to the pre-Spanish conquest period, was discovered in the 19th century and is thought to have been inhabited by the native Guanche people.
The museum features exhibits on the history and culture of the Guanche people, including their daily life, religion, and traditions. The exhibits include artifacts such as pottery, tools, and jewelry, as well as reproductions of rock paintings that were found in the area.
The park also includes a reconstructed Guanche village, which allows visitors to get a sense of what life was like for the Guanche people.
23. Mercado del Puerto
The Mercado del Puerto (Port Market) is a popular tourist destination in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in the old port area.
It is a historic market that has been converted into a food and drink venue, with many stalls selling traditional Canarian dishes and drinks. It is housed in a large, attractive building with an open-air courtyard.
The market is known for its lively atmosphere and is a great place to try local cuisine and mingle with the locals. It is open daily.
24. Loro Park
Loro Parque is a popular zoo and marine park located in Puerto de la Cruz. The park was founded in 1972 and is home to a variety of animals, including parrots, dolphins, sea lions, and orcas.
It is also known for its conservation efforts and has worked to breed and protect endangered species such as gorillas and chimpanzees.
The park also is home to a variety of shows and attractions, including a dolphin show, a parrot show, and a sea lion show.
25. Puerto de Mogan Market
The Puerto de Mogan market is a weekly outdoor market held in the town of Puerto de Mogan. The market is held every Saturday morning.
At the market, you can find a variety of goods including fresh produce, clothing, crafts, and souvenirs. It’s a great place to find unique and locally made items, as well as to experience the culture and atmosphere of the town.
Gran Canaria offers thousands of things to see and do. These are 20 of the most popular attractions for tourists on the exotic island. Many tourists annually embark on adventures and search of unforgettable experiences in the heart of the Canary Islands.