According to Allcitycodes.com, Gran Canariais one of the most popular flying destinations among the Dutch when it comes to sun holidays. Gran Canaria belongs to the Canary Islands, an archipelago west of the coast of Morocco. The pleasant subtropical climate ensures that you can enjoy a beach holiday here all year round. Most tourists therefore end up in the area called Costa Canaria. This is a succession of seaside resorts and urbanizations that clearly have only one goal in mind: mass tourism. Those who take the trouble to explore the island themselves will discover that there are plenty of beautiful sights to see that mainly have to do with the volcanic origin of Gran Canaria and the way people have dealt with it over the centuries.
You will have to go out to discover the real Gran Canaria. Those who stay in the seaside resorts on the south side will hardly experience all the beauty that the island has to offer. Don’t be afraid that you have to spend hours in the rental car or bus to see beautiful sights. Just a fifteen minute drive from Maspalomas and Playa del Inglés you can enjoy a beautiful view that is offered from the Mirador Degollada de La Yegua. If you drive a little further you will end up in authentic villages such as Fataga. If you really want to go out for a whole day, then all the sights of Gran Canaria are within easy reach. You need at least several days to see all the highlights from our top 10 sights. Don’t forget that nothing has to be done. Choose your own highlights from the top 10 we present on this page.
Top 10 sights of Gran Canaria
#1. Overwhelming views
The volcanic landscape of Gran Canaria provides beautiful views. If you see the word ‘mirador’ on a map or on a sign along the way, you are almost assured of an overwhelming view. The weather conditions must allow it. Because a cloudless sky is not guaranteed in the mountains of Gran Canaria. This in contrast to the sunny south. For example, there is a reasonable chance that you will hardly see anything from the highest mountain, the Pico de las Nieves, because clouds obstruct the view. Here it is mainly a matter of luck. Other viewpoints, such as the one in the crater of the Pico de Bandama, suffer less. You don’t necessarily have to go to higher heights for a nice view. Sometimes height differences in lower areas already provide breathtaking pictures.
#2. Picturesque villages
There are numerous picturesque villages scattered across the island. In some villages tourism is hard to find. Especially in places that are not visited by the excursion buses, there is an authentic atmosphere that is hardly disturbed by tourists.
Pilgrimage town of Teror is seen by many as the most beautiful village in Gran Canaria. At the Plaza Nuestre Señora del Pino is the impressive basilica where the ancient statue of Mary is kept. You can see a tour de force of Canarian architecture in the Calle Real de la Plaza, where historic colored houses with wooden balconies form a beautiful picture. A large weekly market is held in Teror on Sundays.
Gáldar is another example of a beautiful Canarian village. This authentic town on the north side of Gran Canaria offers a beautiful central square (the Plaza de Santiago) with a number of atmospheric tapas bars, a beautiful church and a small-scale market on Sundays where you can still buy real local products. In the archaeological museum Cueva Pintada you can see an archaeological site and a unique cave with ancient murals.
There are several picturesque villages on the coast, such as Puerto de las Nieves. This small fishing village near Agaete has become a popular tourist attraction thanks to its white and blue buildings. Here local people come to eat fish and sunbathe on the black pebble beach. Beautiful building is the white Ermita de las Nieves. You can only visit this church on weekends.
Located on the south coast, Puerto de Mogan is known for its Instagram-worthy looks. It is about the part of the place that is near the harbor. White houses with different color accents, together with the water and numerous bright flowers, provide beautiful photos.
Capital Las Palmas de Gran Canariaconsists of several districts. Vegueta is the oldest neighborhood in the city. As soon as you enter the historic center you enter a completely different world. Here it seems as if time has stood still and the hustle and bustle that you experience elsewhere in Las Palmas has suddenly disappeared completely. La Vegueta is home to some of the city’s most beautiful buildings, such as the Santa Ana Cathedral, the Casa de Colón and the Casa Consistorial. The square in front of the cathedral, Plaza de Santa Ana, offers some great photo opportunities thanks to the beautiful buildings and the eight bronze statues of different dogs. The house of Columbus (Casa de Colón) is one of the most beautiful museums in all of Gran Canaria. Another museum not to be missed is the Museo Canario. This archaeological museum is dedicated to the precolonial history of the Canary Islands.
#4. Barranco de las Vacas
If you don’t know, you won’t just discover this special attraction. The Barranco de las Vacas is something that is not mentioned in every travel guide or website about Gran Canaria. There are also no signposts along the road to this natural phenomenon. Maybe it’s a good thing, because otherwise it would quickly become too busy in this ravine. The reason to visit the Barranco de las Vacas is the special appearance created by erosion. Water and mud have carved the narrow gorge, so that part of it now resembles the world-famous Antelope Canyon in the United States. You reach this photogenic part of the Barranco de las Vacas via a pedestrian tunnel that runs under the GC-550.
#5. Dunas de Maspalomas
The dunes of Maspalomas are surrounded by the seaside resorts of Maspalomas and Playa del Inglés. Within this tourist zone, the partly overgrown sand dunes form a beautiful piece of quiet nature. The protected nature reserve runs on the western side into the beach of Maspalomas. In the east it turns into Playa del Inglés. The dunes are at their best about an hour before sunset, when the sun casts a beautiful light over the curving dunes. A viewpoint has been installed south of Hotel RIU Palace Maspalomas. From here you can also continue east along a paved pedestrian boulevard along Playa del Inglés.
#6. Natural pools
Gran Canaria has several beautiful beaches. They are mainly concentrated on the quieter south coast. That doesn’t mean the north coast of the island doesn’t offer options for swimming and sunbathing. In fact, perhaps Gran Canaria’s natural pools are more interesting than the sandy and pebble beaches. Along the coast there are a number of puddles that serve as a swimming pool. These places were created by nature. Man has only provided stairs, parking spaces, changing rooms and other facilities where necessary. The natural pools are filled with sea water, have a beautiful view of the Atlantic Ocean and are not affected by the strong waves that prevail here.
#7. Fuente de los Azulejos
Don’t think that the landscape of Gran Canaria is monotonous and colorless. There is even a place that is strikingly colorful: Fuente de los Azulejos. The name of these colored rock formations literally means “fountain of tiles”. It is a reference to the famous colorful Portuguese tiles. The colors are caused by the process of hydrothermal change and oxidation. The Fuente de los Azulejos can be visited for free along the GC-200. This is the road that starts in the Barranco de Mogán and heads towards the western coast of Gran Canaria. Along the way you already get a view of the colored rocks.
#8. Roque Nublo
In the center of Gran Canaria you can see a special rock formation: the Roque Nublo. For the best view, you should put on your hiking boots or other sturdy footwear. Park the car in the designated parking lot and follow the signs. After a walk of about half an hour you come face to face with an eighty meter high basalt rock. This Roque Nublo is seen as the symbol of Gran Canaria. Even more beautiful is the overwhelming view that you have at an altitude of about eighteen hundred meters from here over the island of Gran Canaria. In the distance you can also see Tenerife in good weather.
More than twenty different species of dolphins and whales live in the waters around Gran Canaria. There is a chance that you will spot one near the coast. By going out on the water yourself, you significantly increase the chance of seeing dolphins. You can choose to sail along the south coast of Gran Canaria by boat. Lindeas Blue Bird and Lines Salmon offer regular boat connections between Puerto de Mogan, Puerto Rico, Anfi and Arguineguin, among others. These boats have glass bottoms and are relatively cheap to sail on. If you are lucky you will see dolphins along the way. However, there are also special dolphin excursions, where you go out with a boat for two or three hours to look for dolphins.
One company operating out of Puerto Rico that has a good reputation is Spirit of the Sea. With both options you will sail for two hours to spot dolphins and/or whales. The three-hour excursion includes a one-hour swimming stop. Spirit of the Sea gives a dolphin guarantee. If you don’t see a dolphin or whale during the trip, you can come along again for free.
Reservations for this dolphin excursion are recommended. Via GetYourGuide you can easily book online and cancel free of charge up to 24 hours before departure.
#10. Barranco de Guayadeque
The volcanic landscape of Gran Canaria consists largely of mountains. There are valleys and ravines between the mountains. These so-called ‘barrancas’ are generally quite fertile, such as the Barranco de Guayadeque. Before the Spaniards founded villages and towns on Gran Canaria, the original inhabitants of the island, the Gaunches, mainly lived in caves. These natural shelters were ideal places to house yourself safely. The Barranco de Guayadequewas once the most populated area of Gran Canaria. Some of the traditional cliff dwellings are still intact. Via walking routes you can see how people used to live here. Halfway through the ravine you can see a real cave church. At the end of the main road through the Barranco de Guayadeque you can take a beautiful walk on the slopes of the Montaña de las Tierras.