Local Guide Gran Canaria is a digital guide about Gran Canaria written by locals. Here we will help you to know the most authentic side of the island on your own: things to do in Gran Canaria, the best places to eat, hotels, festivals, tips & more. Don’t miss our travel different guides and save time when planning your trip!
Discover Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria offers more than you can imagine: visit the old town of Vegueta, its urban beaches, get closer to local life in its markets, etc. Here we will tell you everything that you cannot miss on your visit to the capital of Gran Canaria!
The Roque Nublo will amaze you
Tips for reaching the most representative symbol of Gran Canaria on foot. Once there, you will agree that the Roque Nublo is one of the must-sees.
Places to eat in Gran Canaria as a local
One of the plans to do in Gran Canaria is to delight yourself with its delicious gastronomy. Here you will find out what Canarian food consists of, as well as the places that locals frequent.
Güigüi, the most beautiful beach in Gran Canaria
Güigüi beach is one of the most beautiful and remote on the island. Find out here how to get there and all our tips.
Teror is one of the most beautiful and beloved towns by the people of Gran Canaria. Here you can appreciate the architecture of the Canarian houses, visit its market full of typical products and crafts. Without a doubt, it is one of the stops you must make on your tour of Gran Canaria.
Tufia and Aguadulce, two unknown beaches of Telde
If you like the sea and also the authentic sites, you already have a plan. We will talk about little known beaches where you can mix with locals.
About Gran Canaria island
Gran Canaria is a Spanish island belonging to the Canary Islands, an archipelago made up of 8 islands. The Canary Islands are a few kilometers from West Africa. In fact, they are closer to Morocco than to Spain. Below we show you a map to locate it. At the same time, we will give you as much information as possible about this tourist destination and residence of many people.
Population of Gran Canaria island
The surface of Gran Canaria is 1,560Km2, making it the third largest island in the archipelago. However, in terms of population it is the second largest (behind Tenerife). In 2020 the island had approximately 870,000 inhabitants. Regarding the demonym, they are informally called canariones, although the official name is grancanario. The colors of Gran Canaria and its flag are yellow and blue.
The capital of Gran Canaria is Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. It is the largest city in the Canary Islands with about 380,000 inhabitants in 2020. In addition, it is in the top 10 of the largest cities in Spain. The island has other cities or population centers to highlight: Telde, Arucas and Vecindario.
Gran Canaria está compuesta de un total de 21 municipios: Las Palmas de G. C., Telde, Valsequillo, Teror, San Mateo, Arucas, Firgas, Santa María de Guía, Moya, Gáldar, Agaete, Artenara, Tejeda, La Aldea de San Nicolás, Valleseco, Mogán, San Bartolomé de Tirajana, Santa Brígida, Santa Lucía de Tirajana, Agüimes e Ingenio.
Gran Canaria island is mainly a sun and beach destination, although recently urban, rural and active tourism (cycling, golf, diving, windsurfing, surfing, etc.) has been on the rise. The most touristic municipality is San Bartolomé de Tirajana, here are the main tourist centers and beaches of the island: Maspalomas and Playa del Inglés. Therefore, most of the hotels in Gran Canaria are concentrated in these municipalities.
Next we have the municipality of Mogán, where Puerto de Mogán and its beach become the protagonists. However, despite their overcrowding, the beaches of Anfi del Mar, Puerto Rico and Amadores are also very popular with tourists.
Gran Canaria, like all the Canary Islands, is of volcanic origin. It is characterized by being a mountainous island, full of ravines and spectacular beaches. Until recently it was believed that the highest peak on the island was Pico de Las Nieves. However, it has recently been shown that the highest point of Gran Canaria is the Morro de la Agujereada with 1956 meters of altitude.
You should know that in 2019 part of the territory of Gran Canaria was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Specifically, this distinction was for Risco Caído and the Sacred Mountains of Gran Canaria. Risco Caído was an ancient troglodyte town located in an environment rich in paleontological vestiges. This town has a total of 21 caves, two of them (caves C6 and C7) stand out for their astronomical, ceremonial and symbolic importance. Finally, cave C6 is the main protagonist, since it has an excavated light channel that projects the sunlight or the full moon.
The municipalities that are part of the territory that was named a World Heritage Site are Artenara, Gáldar, Tejeda and Agaete. For more information, you can visit the interpretation centers of the Sacred Mountains of Gran Canaria and Risco Caído. We leave you the link with more information.
Weather in Gran Canaria island
It is said that the climate or weather of Gran Canaria is one of the best in the world for enjoying pleasant temperatures throughout the year. In addition, it is not usually an island where it rains heavily and regularly. According to AEMET (Meteorology Spanish Agency), taking the weather station at Gran Canaria Airport as a reference, the lowest temperature is usually registered during the month of January with an average of 17.9º. On the other hand, the highest temperature is usually registered in August, with an average temperature of 24.6º.
In Gran Canaria there are various micro climates that make it also known as a miniature continent. That is, in the coastal areas of Gran Canaria (especially in the south), you can go to the beach perfectly all year round. However, in mountainous and inland areas temperatures drop considerably. With which, during the winter months temperatures can even reach below zero in the highest points, such as in the Roque Nublo. At the same time, it may be raining in the north and terribly hot in the Maspalomas Dunes. That’s how capricious the island is!
Typical food of Gran Canaria island
The gastronomy of Gran Canaria stands out for its award-winning and tasty cheeses, such as flower cheese or queso flor (made with vegetable rennet). At the same time, it has a wide variety of exclusive wines grown on volcanic soil and at more than 1000 meters of altitude, such as the Agala that we show you below.
On the other hand, we have to highlight the famous Chorizo de Teror, used mainly spread on bread for sandwiches, although lately it is used in many restaurants to accompany, for example, some fried eggs with potatoes. At the same time, in Gran Canaria their pork leg sandwiches are well known. Take a look at this post with the best places to eat a sandwich on the island.
On the other hand, we can’t avoid mentioning the almonds from Tejeda and its bienmesabe, the coffee from Agaete, the sweets from Moya, the olives from Agüimes and Santa Lucía de Tirajana, the strawberries from Valsequillo, the apples from Valleseco, the tuna from Mogán and the rum from Arucas (Arehucas).
You can learn more about the typical gastronomy of the Canary Islands in the detailed post we have on this topic. However, here we mention all the common dishes in the islands such as the famous Canarian potatoes with mojo, ropa vieja, stews, ribs with corn, gofio, the fried vieja (local fish)…
Popular festivals in Gran Canaria island
Below we will mention the best known popular festivals in Gran Canaria. That is, those town festivals that attract visitors from different parts of the island and even from other neighboring islands.
✔ Virgin of the Pine Tree festival, Teror
Every September 7 and 8, the locals usually visit the patron saint of Gran Canaria, Nuestra Señora del Pino (our Lady of the Pine Tree), from different parts of the island. Many travel by car, but the tradition is to walk from the surrounding towns and municipalities. One of the best known departures is from the town of Tamaraceite. It is approximately 3 hours of walking. Upon reaching Teror, the most believers visit the Virgin. Many others go directly to get their chorizo of Teror sandwich as a prize.
✔ Festival of La Rama, Agaete
This festival takes place every August 4 in the town of Agaete and Puerto de Las Nieves. A party that has already become a macro party in which the locals dance with tree branches in their hands to the sound of the Banda de Agaete and the giant dolls. The tradition consists of collecting a branch on the Tirma mountain and bringing it to this locality to “ask the gods for rain in times of drought.” Formerly the branches were struck in the sea, now they are shown to Our Lady of Las Nieves. Like most popular festivals, the tradition has practically become a big drinking fest. This does not mean that many locals continue to follow the tradition.
✔ El Charco festival, La Aldea de San Nicolás
This is another of the popular festivals on the island that takes place in a large pool that forms next to La Aldea Beach. It is celebrated every September 11 to remember an old traditional fishing technique called embarbascada. That is, they introduced the sap of local plants into the pool, which caused a sedative effect on the fish. In this way, they could be easily fished even with their hands.
To this day, the locals stand around El Charco and, at 5:00 pm, the Mayor fires a rocket to mark the beginning of the fishing (or its simulation).
✔ The Vará del Pescao, Arinaga
This is another of the massive festivals in Gran Canaria. It takes place on Arinaga beach and honors the historic link of this coastal town with the sea and fishing. It is normally celebrated every August 30.
✔ Almond Blossom Festival: Valsequillo, Tejeda and Tunte
Another important event in Gran Canaria is the Almond Blossom Festival that is held every February in the municipalities of Valsequillo, Tejeda and San Bartolomé de Tirajana (Tunte). During these dates, locals and tourists of Gran Canaria visit these towns to appreciate the almond trees in their splendor. At the same time, each municipality sets up various stalls selling local products to the sound of the island’s folk dances.
✔ Carnival of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria island
Undoubtedly one of the biggest claims of the capital, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, is its carnivals. Depending on the Easter dates, they are usually celebrated in the months of February or March. For approximately three weeks there are several great days to celebrate: Drag Queen Gala, Los Indianos, the Day Carnival in the old town (Vegueta), the Parade, the murgas (parody singers), etc. You can see the program year after year here.
✔ International Carnival of Maspalomas
On the other hand, Maspalomas also has its own carnival, always held weeks after the one in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria so as not to make them coincide. One of the most important events during the Maspalomas Carnival is its great parade.
✔ Maspalomas Pride
Finally, one of the island’s tourist attractions is undoubtedly Maspalomas Pride. An event normally held during the month of May in which a great parade takes place on the occasion of gay pride. Tourists from the LGTBI+ community from all over Spain and Europe come to this party. Other types of meetings and events also take place around this gay pride week, you can check it here.
Things to do in Gran Canaria
Next we are going to give you some details about the main tourist attractions of Gran Canaria: the city of Las Palmas de GC and capital of the island, its more than 80 beaches and natural pools, protected natural spaces, natural monuments, its gastronomy and museums. We summarize it all below.
✔ Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
The island capital must be one of the places to visit in Gran Canaria if you come to do tourism. A walk through the historic center of Vegueta is a must. Here you can visit its main attractions such as the Cathedral of the Canary Islands (Diocese of the Canary Islands), in the same square of Santa Ana. Also the Vegueta market, the Pérez Galdós Theater, its pedestrian streets, the church of San Antonio Abad, the House Museum-Colon, etc.
The city has a very strong bond with Christopher Columbus, as he passed through Las Palmas de GC before discovering America. On the other hand, a few steps away is the Triana neighborhood, one of the oldest and most beautiful in the capital.
Another of the tourist attractions of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is its famous beach of Las Canteras, an urban beach that can be walked along a nice promenade. On this walk there is a wide range of restaurants. Las Canteras is also linked with a walk with El Confital, another of the places to visit in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
One of the most important festivals in the capital and that we did not mention before is that of San Juan. Every June 23 at night, citizens congregate in Las Canteras to celebrate this holiday. The most daring even take a bath in the sea at night. Its fireworks are spectacular from 00:00 at night.
✔ Beaches of Gran Canaria island
Being an island, you can imagine the number of beaches that can be enjoyed and known. The most touristy and well-known are in the south of the island. They are Playa del Inglés, Maspalomas, Las Canteras, San Agustín, Puerto Rico, Anfi del Mar, Mogán beach and Amadores.
On the other hand, there are other remarkable beaches in the south, but less well known, such as Playa del Águila, Playa del Pirata or Morro Besudo and Las Burras. Likewise, on the Telde coast they have a good level of beaches, although much more local. These are Melenara, Salinetas, La Garita, Ojos de Garza and Tufia.
At the same time, in the west of the island we find the most virgin and least visited beaches of Gran Canaria. One of the most paradisiacal and difficult to reach is that of Güigüi or Guguy. In addition, it is located within the World Biosphere Reserve. We have a detailed article about Güigüi so that you can get to know her on your own.
On the other hand, the island also stands out for its many natural pools. Most of them are in the north of Gran Canaria, because in this area of the island its coast is more volcanic. That is to say, in the north few beaches have sand and, therefore, it has been chosen to prepare bathing areas with their respective breakwaters and access by stairs. A wonderful place for those who know how to appreciate a good swim and a few laps in calmer waters.
✔ Natural monuments and protected areas
Part of the territory of Gran Canaria is part of the World Biosphere Reserve. Neither more nor less than 100,000 land and marine hectares that run through seven municipalities: Artenara, Tejeda, La Aldea de San Nicolás, Agaete, San Mateo, San Bartolomé de Tirajana and Mogán. Within the spaces that the Biosphere Reserve encompasses, we find core areas, that is, with a greater amount of outstanding natural resources. The most important areas are Inagua, which we will talk about in the next few lines, and Güigüí. Finally, we will mention some of the most representative natural monuments on the island.
*Inagua Integral Natural Reserve
It is one of the few comprehensive nature reserves in the Canary Islands. Protection granted by the Government of the Canary Islands for the importance, fragility and representativeness of its ecosystems, communities, biological or geological elements. As for the native fauna of Inagua, the Blue Finch stands out. Regarding the flora, there are threatened endemic species such as the Inagua jarilla, the hairy jarilla and the pine grove’s comb.
We recommend that you take a look at this hiking route that starts from the Los Azulejos of Mogán and passes through the Inagua Special Nature Reserve.
*Tamadaba Natural Park
Tamadaba Natural Park is one of the few unspoiled areas of Gran Canaria. This park is mainly made up of a Canarian pine forest and spectacular ravines and cliffs. The space covers more than 7,000 hectares and is also within the Biosphere Reserve. One of the most visited points in Tamadaba, in addition to its pine forest, is the Mirador del Balcón viewpoint, in La Aldea de San Nicolás. You have to know that in 2019 a huge forest fire affected to some parts of Tamadaba. Hopefully, the burned areas will recover soon.
*Barranco Oscuro (Dark Ravine) Integral Natural Reserve
Between the municipalities of Moya and Valleseco we find one of the most important ravines in Gran Canaria: the Dark Ravine. It houses one of the largest samples of laurel forest on the island and has a great floristic richness, since it is home to more than 40 endemic species of the Canary Islands, 12 of them unique to Gran Canaria.
*Roque Nublo Natural Monument
We can affirm that it is one of the symbols of identity of the island. The Roque Nublo is located in Tejeda and is part of the Sacred Mountains of Gran Canaria. It is a monolith-type rock formation located at one of the highest points in Gran Canaria. We explain how to get on foot to Roque Nublo here. The setting and the views from here are unbeatable. Without a doubt, the best way to appreciate the contrast of landscapes that Gran Canaria offers.
Here we have another of the symbols of Gran Canaria, both for its history and its shape. Many even confuse it with the Roque Nublo. There is an interpretation center where they will make you discover the importance of the Bentayga and its relationship with the island’s aborigines. At the same time, it can be visited on foot through a small path.
✔ Museums and archaeological parks of Gran Canaria island
Now we turn to the cultural and historical part of the island, which also has a lot to offer. The main museums of Gran Canaria are located in Las Palmas de G.C. However, there are other museums and archaeological parks throughout the island that you should visit. Here are the most important ones:
1. House-Museum of Colón, Las Palmas de GC
In the Vegueta neighborhood we find one of the most beautiful buildings in the area. It is the Columbus house museum. An example of stately architecture. Here the Admiral Christopher Columbus spent the night during his stay on Gran Canaria island. Here objects related to their passage through the islands and the history of the city linked to America are exhibited.
2. Cathedral and Diocesan Museum, Las Palmas de GC
The Cathedral can also be visited and even climb to the top. Its architecture combines different styles: Gothic and Neoclassical. Inside it has valuable works of art, among which the Christ of Luján Pérez should be highlighted. These works can be found in the Diocesan Museum of Sacred Art, located in one of the rooms that overlooks the Patio de Los Naranjos.
3. Canary Islands museum, Las Palmas de GC
It is a museum that collects the history of the Canary Islands. That is, who they were and how the Canarian aborigines lived. It is located on Dr. Chil Street, a few steps from the Espíritu Santo square.
4. CAAM-Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno, Las Palmas de GC
In the pedestrian street of Los Balcones is the CAAM Museum, Atlantic Center of Modern Art, a cultural landmark of the city.
5. Elder museum, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
In the heart of Santa Catalina Park, in the port area of the city, we find this museum dedicated to Science and Technology. It is great to go with the family.
6. Cueva Pintada Museum and Archaeological Park, Gáldar
The Cueva Pintada Archaeological Park and Museum preserves one of the most relevant archaeological sites for learning about the History of Gran Canaria, from pre-Hispanic times to the conquest of the island. Here the visitor will be able to observe from a walkway the indigenous houses and caves and their respective wall paintings. In addition, it is located in the heart of the first capital of Gran Canaria: Gáldar.
7. Tomás Morales Museum-House, Moya
It is a mid-19th century building in the heart of the town of Moya. The Canarian poet Tomás Morales was born and lived here. Your visit will allow you to know one of the most representative examples of traditional Canarian architecture, visiting each of its rooms.
8. Cenobio de Valerón, Santa María de Guía
In the municipality of Guía we find a large barn built in the same mountains by the aborigines of Gran Canaria, taking advantage of the geological conditions of the volcanic cone. It is made up of more than 350 holes to house the grain and they are distributed at different levels or heights. Back then the aborigines used them to store cereals and other foods. This space can be visited by paying a small entrance fee of € 3.
9. Ansite Fortress, Santa Lucía de Tirajana
In the Ansite Fortress you can get closer to the history of Gran Canaria. It is said that here the aborigines surrendered to the Castilian troops, although other archaeologists disagree indicating that it was a great temple of the Canarian aborigines. You can visit its interpretation center and enjoy the incredible landscape of the Las Tirajanas ravine full of palm trees.
10. Guayadeque ravine, Ingenio/Agüimes
The Guayadeque ravine should be among the places you should know and visit in Gran Canaria. And not only for its history, since its scenic beauty is undoubted. In fact, it has been declared a Natural Monument by the Law of Natural Spaces of the Canary Islands and Asset of Cultural Interest, with the category of Archaeological Zone by the Law of Historical Heritage of the Canary Islands. The highest density of archaeological sites in Gran Canaria is concentrated in Guayadeque. Here you can also go to its visitor center for more information.
There are other archaeological sites that you can visit in Gran Canaria, such as Maipés, Arteara and Cañada de Los Gatos.
✔ Outdoor sports in Gran Canaria island
Another thing you can do in Gran Canaria is to practice endless outdoor sports throughout the year: golf, surfing, windsurfing, cycling, hiking, diving, triathlon, trail running, etc. We can say that except for winter sports, Gran Canaria is an idyllic destination to train 365 days a year. Take a look at our MTB and hiking routes if you like active tourism. A very good option to get to know Gran Canaria on your own.
Some of the trails to do in Gran Canaria to discover its most authentic side are those of the Special Natural Reserve of Azuaje and that of the Special Natural Reserve of Los Tilos de Moya. Likewise, if you are a hiking lover, we recommend that you pay attention to the Gran Canaria Walking Festival organized by the Patronato de Gran Canaria every year.
Hotels in Gran Canaria
On the island you can stay in practically all types of accommodation. The most peculiar of the island are the cave houses. However, most visitors choose to stay in family hotels, rural houses, 5-star hotels, hotels in Las Palmas and, lately, in luxurious private villas and rural hotels. You can browse all the options on our blog or by doing a search below.
How to get around Gran Canaria
Now that you know Gran Canaria better and you know everything you can do on the island. We would like to give you a few tips about how to move around the island. Ideally, you could rent a car, since there are many enclaves that you can hardly reach by public transport. Of course, to make specific transfers from the airport to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria or Maspalomas, you will always be able to use the insular bus company: Global. On the contrary, to move around Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, like any city, the ideal is to move by bike or in the public transport: Guaguas municipales.
Gran Canaria island travel guide
Tourism on the island was detonated beyond the 1960s. It was then that the destination began to spread, building the island’s coasts without measure. Today, with more than 4 million tourists a year with the indelible image of a sun and beach destination, we have created an online tourist guide with plenty of things to do in Gran Canaria.
We want to help you to avoid the crowded sites and get to know the most authentic side of the island. Gran Canaria is not just sun and sand, dare to mix with the locals, get to know their towns, get to know their typical dishes, discover their landscapes, etc. What to do in Gran Canaria? Where to eat in Gran Canaria? Where to stay in Gran Canaria? How to get around the island? We have all your answers on this site about tourism in Gran Canaria. In short, we want to be your local guide of Gran Canaria and help you in the best possible way so that you can travel on your own and discover the less touristy places.
Finally, we leave you with a video introducing ourselves and explaining why we decided to create Local Guide Gran Canaria. Subscribe to our channel to discover Gran Canaria in video.