Where to Stay in Gran Canaria – 12 Best Area & Hotels in Gran Canaria
Wondering where to stay in Gran Canaria for the first time, families, couples, or best weather? Find out the best areas & hotels in Gran Canaria in this guide.
Gran Canaria is part of the Canary Islands Archipelago off the coast of North West Africa, yet part of Spain. Its southerly latitude relative to mainland Europe makes it an appealing destination in winter when even the Mediterranean coastline of Europe can be experiencing cold and wet weather. The island has a series of micro-climates with the south usually warmer than the north.
The second largest of the Canary Islands, Gran Canaria has a land area of 600 square miles and a population of under a million. Tourist numbers dramatically increase that figure with almost four times that number visiting annually, especially in the winter months when there is no European competition when it comes to warm weather, beaches, and pleasant waters. There is still a summer tourist trade, but Gran Canaria is then competing with many Mediterranean countries.
The Island is divided into 21 small municipalities for administrative purposes. Read on and you will get an idea of 12 of the best areas to stay and the particular attractions of each. The vast majority of visitors head for the south but there are still attractions elsewhere. There are several reserves, stunning internal topography and walking trails.
Where to Stay in Gran Canaria – 12 Best Area to Stay in Gran Canaria
The population lives largely around the coastline with the interior of Gran Canaria mountainous and famous for its black lava. Worry not, because the beaches on this volcanic are beautiful and white.
There is a road that encircles the island with stretches of it now dual carriageway but more sparsely populated areas just having two-lane thoroughfares.
Where to Stay in Gran Canaria Map
To see more detail of best areas to stay of Gran Canaria, go to Google Map
1. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria – Best Area Near Airport
The Capital of Gran Canaria, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, in the north east is the Island’s cultural center. It is home to almost half of the population and its appeal for tourists includes the beaches in the immediate area, the largest of the four being Playa de Las Canteras which is over 2 miles long. It is sheltered and popular with locals and tourists alike.
The climate is described as desert-like, even tropical with nighttime temperatures rarely below the mid-teens Centigrade in mid-winter. The temperatures of the sea are equally impressive, ranging from 20C in mid-winter to 30C at the height of summer. As a local, you would experience rain on few more than 20 days a year.
The Carnival of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is world famous while the neighborhoods of Triana and Vegueta are on the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Travelers will find accommodation to suit every budget, hostels up to top quality hotel rooms.
YOU SHOULD STAY IN LAS PALMAS DE GRAN CANARIA IF:
- You want to combine a beach holiday with plenty of theater and musical entertainment by night.
- You prefer to be close to the Island’s airport.
- You want a good public transportation system.
2. Playa del Ingles – Best Area for Nightlife
This purpose-built resort in the south of Gran Canaria is famous for its nightlife twelve months a year. It is just half an hour from the airport and remains busy all year round. It would not be the first choice for families even though there is plenty of accommodation because it remains busy and noisy even late at night into the early hours.
The infrastructure of bars, restaurants and clubs caters for those seeking plenty of action while the beach is likely to be crowded by day. Self-catering apartments are readily available while many tourists book package holidays from mainland Europe to Playa del Ingles.
YOU SHOULD STAY IN PLAYA DEL INGLES IF:
- You are looking for plenty of nightlife.
- You want to be guaranteed good weather, even in mid-winter.
- Your interest is self-catering
- The history of Gran Canaria is of little interest
3. Maspalomas – Best Area for Families
Maspalomas is the larger district within which you find Playa del Ingles. It is famous for its sand dunes and the Nature Reserve of the same name.
The most common accommodation in Gran Canaria’s second city is low bungalows with the town of 35,000 popular with families. Those looking for hostels and budget accommodation should head elsewhere.
The water park is a great place to keep kids amused while the sheltered sandy beaches are obviously a further attraction. There is no shortage of restaurants and bars although the overall nightlife is quieter than Playa del Ingles.
YOU SHOULD STAY IN MASPALOMAS IF:
- You are traveling as a family and want to be certain that children are well catered for.
- Your main interest is a relaxing beach holiday with a good climate guaranteed.
4. Meloneras – Best Area for Beach Holiday
This stylish resort is famous for its 1890s lighthouse, Faro de Maspalomas, where many people begin walking along the headland to Playa del Ingles. If you want a good photograph, sunset here is certainly one that will enhance your album.
Meloneras is in the south of the Island and balances good waterfront restaurants and bars with plenty of good shops selling everything from clothing to jewelry. There is also an outdoor cinema.
Anyone interested to head out to sea on a day’s cruise can book at Puerto Deportivo. If instead you just want to relax on a sunbed, the sheltered beach is a great place to spend the day. Choose from good bungalow and apartment accommodation.
YOU SHOULD STAY IN MELONERAS IF:
- You want a good beach holiday with a developed infrastructure.
- You are looking for a cruise out into the Atlantic.
- You enjoy good bars and restaurants
5. San Agustin – Best Area for Beach Holiday
While San Agustin is just a few miles from the busiest part of Gran Canaria, it is much quieter. The beaches are lovely, and the climate is excellent. It is the nearest of the southern resorts south of Gran Canaria Airport.
Swimmers love San Agustin despite there being impressive waves at times. There are two shopping centers, but the best retail shopping is elsewhere.
YOU SHOULD STAY IN SAN AGUSTIN IF:
- You want the atmosphere of a beach holiday but do not want too many crowds.
- Shopping is just a small part of your holiday.
6. Arguineguin – Best Area for Hiking
This town on the south west coast is a typical old fishing village long before there was mass tourism to Gran Canaria. One of the main attractions in the restaurants of Arguineguin is the fish caught that day, and these days there are plenty of bars as well. Arguineguin also hosts the largest market on the Island east Tuesday.
Arguineguin is not as popular as places such as Playa del Ingles or Maspalomas but there are a number of resort hotels and the beaches are good. In wintertime, there is a significant Norwegian population, keen to avoid Scandinavia’s cold winters.
A ferry service runs to Puerto Rico and Puerto de Mogan while hikers regularly seek the same destinations by walking over the mountains.
YOU SHOULD STAY IN ARGUINEGUIN IF:
- You enjoy getting a feel for local life
- You plan to do some hiking
7. Puerto Rico – Best Area for Nightlife & Beaches
This South West resort enjoys a winter climate between 20 and 25C daytime temperatures and rarely more than 3 days rainfall in any one month. Apartment complexes are the most popular forms of accommodation in Puerto Rico, many hugging the sides of the volcanic cliff sides. The views from such apartments out to the Atlantic are stunning.
There is a good sandy beach and two other beaches close by. The largest shopping center is not large but contains all the basics. If you are looking for high quality goods, then the Europa Shopping Center should be your choice.
Bars and restaurants are plentiful, and the resort stays open into the early hours all year around.
YOU SHOULD STAY IN PUERTO RICO IF:
- You are happy with apartment accommodation
- You seek a balance between beach and sea activities with good nighttime facilities
8. Taurito – West of Gran Canaria
Taurito is just 3 miles distant from Puerto Rico with the local bus the best way to get between the two. It is not a suitable walk incidentally because of the terrain.
The beach is pleasant and not as busy as some others in the main tourist region. Most tourists staying in Taurito stay in its large hotel. Snorkeling is a popular activity in its waters with tours providing all the necessary equipment as well as lunch readily available.
Quad bikes are available for hire and jeep tours into the interior as well as out to sea in search of whales are popular.
YOU SHOULD STAY IN TAURITO IF:
- You want easy access to tours both into the interior and out to sea
- You are happy in a large hotel with plenty of good features and services
9. Puerto de Mogan – Best Area for History Lovers
Puerto de Mogan offers a little more than many of Gran Canaria’s popular tourist destinations. Historically, it was a fishing village in the south west of the Island and that activity is still important even as tourism grows.
Some travelers just come for the day, often for its famous Friday market, but there are good accommodation alternatives as well. Its nickname is ‘’Little Venice’’ because of its canals linking to the harbor. Bars and restaurants line the beachfront and marina.
Buildings of more than 2 storeys are not permitted and nearby you can find some important archaeological sites. Canada de los Gatos (Valley of the Cats), Canada de la Mar and La Cogolla de Veneguera each attract visitors keen on more than just sun and sea. The windmill built in 1893, Molino Guemado is found just over 4 miles to the north east in the Mogan Valley.
YOU SHOULD STAY IN PUERTO DE MOGAN IF:
- You are interested in cultural and historical aspects of Gran Canaria.
- You would like to see local life and enjoy the daily catch straight from the harbor.
10. Fataga – Best Area for Budget Accommodation
This settlement in the interior at an altitude of almost 2000 feet is an agricultural community that has existed for 2000 years. Significant growth happened in the 19th Century with the population growing but work available in the tourist areas has taken many away. Its good water source means that crops and livestock are suitable on a largely dry island.
It is not really a place where you would stay but certainly a good place for a day trip. Visitors will enjoy the narrow streets in a typical old island village as well as traditionally built housing. The church, St. Jose, was built in 1880.
Features include an old bakery, windmill, artisan shops and three restaurants. If you head to Fataga, be sure to see the Arteara Necropolis on the road to Maspalomas.
YOU SHOULD STAY IN FATAGA IF:
- You want budget accommodation offered by a local householder.
- You want to get away from the coast and experience the history and culture of the interior.
11. Tejeda – Best Area in Gran Carania for Hiking
The first-choice destination for travelers wanting to absorb the true essence of Gran Canaria is surely Tejeda. It is 27 miles from the capital in the Island’s interior. The winding journey passes lovely scenery and takes around an hour.
Highlights of a visit include the Abraham Cardenes Sculpture Museum, the Ethnographic Museum, and the Medicinal Plants Centre. Archaeological remains include burial caves, rock paintings and carvings. If you go to the Centro de Interpretacion Degollada de Becerra or the Bentayga Archaeological Park, you will also enjoy wonderful views of the surrounding area.
Hikers love the whole area, and the state-run hotel is an accommodation option for those not wishing to stay on the coast. Remember however that the weather is colder at altitude.
YOU SHOULD STAY IN TEJEDA IF:
- You are a keen hiker
- You have an interest in archaeology, history, and culture.
- You are not interested in coastal resorts
- You enjoy traditional local cuisine wherever you travel.
12. Agaete – Best Area for Exploring Nature
Agaete is a coastal resort and fishing village in the north west of Gran Canaria. It does not attract the tourist numbers who head for the warmer south but many sea tours from other parts of the Island head in for day trips. Its major attraction, El Dedo de Dios, a natural structure, was destroyed by a tropical storm in 2005.
The main landmark these days in the necropolis, El Maipes, just outside the small town whose population is just under 6,000. The trip west to Agaete from Las Palmas is around 20 miles and takes about 30 minutes.
The immediate area is very scenic. so it is an ideal base for those enjoying hiking and the ‘’great outdoors‘’ rather than busy tourist resorts.
YOU SHOULD STAY IN AGAETE IF:
- You enjoy the natural environment, a balance between the coast and the interior.
- You prefer a local feel rather than a busy international resort.
- You do not like crowds
Tips for Choosing Where to Stay in Gran Canaria
Gran Canaria is an island where those living on the European mainland can find an escape from the poor winter weather that is often cold and wet. Its latitude and the maritime influence ensure that it is rarely really cold. The highest point on the Island is around 6,000 feet and temperatures do drop with altitude.
Travelers who are simply looking for a beach holiday should look at the resorts to the south of the island, many of which are sheltered from the prevailing winds coming from the north. There is no chance of freezing winter weather on the south coast, or indeed the coast in general. The only cold nights will be experienced in the interior at altitude and even then, not at a temperature found on the mainland.
An initial search of the main beach resorts will reveal those that are extremely busy and those that are a little quieter and perhaps more suitable for families because the nightlife is not too noisy and hectic. Playa del Ingles seems never to sleep so its popularity is largely among the younger generation.
Hostels are found in many places throughout Gran Canaria with those looking to explore the Island even likely to find a bed in villages where tourist accommodation is scarce. The interior will appeal to those interested in hiking and exploring the reserves and the interesting topography created by volcanic activity.
Bungalows and apartments are popular with travelers while if you prefer a hotel with all the facilities then check on places like Taurito.
- Where Is the Hottest Place in Gran Canaria?
- Which Part of Gran Canaria Has the Best Weather?
- Where to Stay in Gran Canaria in January?
- Where to Stay in Gran Canaria in February?
- Where to Stay in Gran Canaria in March?
- Where to Stay in Gran Canaria in October?
- Where to Stay in Gran Canaria in November?
- Where to Stay in Gran Canaria in December?
- Where to Stay in Gran Canaria for Couples?
- Where to Stay in Gran Canaria for Families?
- Where to Stay in Gran Canaria for Nightlife?
Where Is the Hottest Place in Gran Canaria?
The prevailing winds in Gran Canaria blow from the north meaning that the sheltered parts of the south are the warmest parts of the Island. Playa des Ingles and Puerto Rico are generally recognized as the places for travelers to look to first if they want the top temperatures.
Temperatures in the mid-20s Centigrade by day are common in mid-winter with nighttime still being well into double figures. At the height of summer, which can be described as low season in some ways, if not in actual tourist numbers, temperatures regularly go into the 30s.
Which Part of Gran Canaria Has the Best Weather?
The South wins again when it comes to the best weather. That is reflected in the tourist numbers who head for the southern resorts. It is never too hot in Gran Canaria because of the moderating influence of the Atlantic Ocean.
It will rarely get below 10C in the middle of the night around the coastal regions even in the middle of winter. In summer, the weather can be hot which may not suit everyone.
Where to Stay in Gran Canaria in January?
Mid-winter in Europe can be harsh but not in Gran Canaria. You can expect cloudless skies, although a little rain at times, and plenty of sunshine with temperatures in the mid-20s. The sun sets arounds 1830 with the temperatures dropping but you should just need only a jumper if you are spending time outside.
The south coast, especially the sheltered south west, is the best place to stay in January as the sea temperatures still hover around 20C.
Where to Stay in Gran Canaria in February?
Very little changes as the calendar year moves on although the chance of rain diminishes slightly. The average temperatures are perhaps slightly higher with resorts like Playa de Mogan and Maspalomas recording impressive figures on a regular basis.
The sea temperature changes little from January with the highlight for many tourists in February being the Carnival. If you want to enjoy Carnival at its best, you should consider time up in the capital, Las Palmas, in the north east of the Island.
Where to Stay in Gran Canaria in March?
Even though the winter may be receding in Mainland Europe, the weather can still never match March in Gran Canaria. Temperatures gradually rise while the chances of rain reduce. It is likely to be no more than two days with any rain in March.
Sea temperatures do not rise much in the first quarter of the year and those not fancying the sea can probably find a heated pool where facilities can be booked by the day. The South remains the best place to stay.
Where to Stay in Gran Canaria in October?
The advantage of October is that it is the month when the sea still retains its summer heat. In the resorts in the south, you can expect the water to be well into the 20s Centigrade which matches the air temperature. There may be the first sign of rain while winds are more common so a jumper may be necessary late in the day.
Things are somewhat cooler inland, but it is still a pleasant time to hike and explore.
Where to Stay in Gran Canaria in November?
Temperatures do begin to fall somewhat in November but the arrival of swallows escaping Europe’s falling temperatures is a good illustration of the contrast between the mainland and Gran Canaria. You can still lie on the beach and get a holiday suntan in the south even if there is a greater chance of rain.
Nighttime does require a jumper but there is no question of needing a heavy coat and eating outside is still comfortable with a jumper on.
Where to Stay in Gran Canaria in December?
If you want Christmas on the beach without flying too far out of mainland Europe, Gran Canaria can oblige. While thermometers may show 20C, it does in fact feel warmer than that by day and while night temperatures may head down to 10-12C, it does not feel much like winter.
Where to Stay in Gran Canaria for Couples?
Young couples looking for a busy nightlife should look initially at Playa del Ingles while nearby Meloneras offers plenty for couples who want somewhere slightly quieter.
Puerto de Mogan and San Agustin probably top the list of resorts for couples who have largely left their party years behind them.
Where to Stay in Gran Canaria for Families?
Families will certainly enjoy Gran Canaria but would do well to avoid the busiest night spots like Playa del Ingles unless they understand that the place never sleeps. Look instead at places with good beaches but also amusements like water parks for a quieter life.
The places to look at include Arguineguin and Maspalomas in general has self-catering villas with sea views. Puerto Rico has plenty of activities around its beach while few will be disappointed by Puerto de Mogan.
Where to Stay in Gran Canaria for Nightlife?
The top nightspot on Gran Canaria is Playa del Ingles but the overall tourist infrastructure ensures that there is something to do late into the night at most resorts.
Gran Canaria and the Canary Islands initially established themselves as popular tourist destinations because of the fine winter weather while the rest of Europe is usually experiencing poor weather. While significant numbers still head there in the summer months, there is much more competition for the ‘’tourist dollar.’’
Gran Canaria is just a short flight from Spain while at little over 4 hours from large populated areas like the UK and the rest of Northern Europe, it does not involve long haul flights to escape to the sun during the winter.