Top 10 Things to do in Gran Canaria

Gran Canaria is known as the miniature continent.  It has something for everyone.  

On such a small island you can experience a vast range of different climates, ecosytems, entertainment, history, architecture but most of all there is just so much to see and explore.  

That is why most people return year after year and even more lucky people (like me) set up home here.

Because of it's infamous micro climate, Gran Canaria is known for it's sun and sand holidays with amazing beaches and a sun worshipers dream.  But it has so much more to offer and is a great island to explore.   And there are so many ways to get around:

  • Car Rental (our recommendation) - we can recommend a small local family business (3 generations).  
  • Motorbike - but be careful on the mountain and coast roads. The views are amazing but you don't want to go over.
  • Cycling - one of the best in the world for winter cycling.  And getting more popular every year.
  • Walking and hiking - so many treks and trails - or just walk up and down the beach :-) Check out for exact routes.
  • Swimming - You can swim around the island (there are a few triathlons).  
  • Zimmerframe or motorised personal transporter - Not a joke - loads of brilliant options available to hire for people with mobility issues. 
  • Tuk Tuk (Yes, not just in Thailand!)

As I am now living on the island, I have enjoyed exploring and have made my own list of the top 10 activities to do on the island.  But I keep finding more and more places so my top 10 may be a top 100 in a while.  

1.  Palmitos Park

A great day out for everyone.  Set in beautiful botanical gardens in the valley of volcanic mountains there is an aviary, zoo and dolphin aquarium.  They have many shows throughout the day and they are all well organised and great fun.


About 30 minutes drive from our villas but there is also a bus that goes there.

It is usually better to buy tickets in advance.  They are affiliated with Aqualand so you can buy discounted tickets if you buy both together

2.  Aqualand

A fantastic water park for all the family with slides, pools, kid's area and sea lions.

About 30 minutes drive from our villas but there is also a bus that goes there.

It is usually better to buy tickets in advance. They are affiliated with Palmitos Park so you can buy discounted tickets if you buy both together

3.  Afrikat

Catamaran boat trip along the south coast of the island.  Modern boat that has been custom built for these trips.  Includes many water sports activities at discounted prices including jet skis, parasailing, banana boat and donut.  The crew are fantastic and full of positive energy and even if you don't want to you will most definitely enjoy the day.  Bring sunscreen and hat!  They also take photos and videos during the day and you can buy USB stick for memories.  They regularly have DJ or Saxaphone on board so the atmosphere is great.

Leaves from Puerto Base in Puerto Rico Harbour.  

About 10 minutes drive from our villas.  They will collect you from the villa if you want.

4.  Puerto de Mogan

Take the glass bottomed boat from Puerto Rico to Puerto de Mogan, a picturesque fishing village with marina .  Beautiful views of the island along the way and if you are lucky you will see dolphins.  

Friday is market day so it is the best day to visit but it does get crowded.  

I can highly recommend the Paella for lunch at the Patio Canarias restaurant which is the first restaurant on the right as you get off the boat.  The best paella on the island but it does take about 1 hour as it is cooked fresh.

After lunch walk around the marina harbour and explore the lovely streets - almost Venice like - splashed with the colour of beautiful flowers and plants.  

The boat takes about 30 minutes and leaves regularly from Puerto Rico, Anfi del Mar or Arguinegan.

5.  Maspalomas Sand Dunes

A spectacular natural sight just before Playa del Ingles in Maspalomas.  The sand dunes offer great opportunities for photos and there are 3 walking routes around the dunes.  You can also try a camel ride.  Bring your camera, hat and sunscreen.

About 25 minutes drive from our villas to Maspalomas.

6. Day Trip to Las Palmas

Take the 91 bus or drive to the capital city Las Palmas.  It is an amazing city that many people overlook but it has so much to offer.

Walk around the old town area of Triana and Vegueta and have lunch in the outside terraces of the many restaurants in the area.  Las Canteras beach is one of the largest city beaches in the world and a walk along the promenade is a must as you mingle with sun worshippers, joggers and rollerskaters.

Take the open top bus tour to explore the whole city and get some great views of the city from up in the mountains.

It's about 1 hour drive from our villas.

7. Angry Birds Activity Park

Great place for the kids while the adults sit back and relax.  Amusement park based on the mobile phone game it has games, ziplines and a playground.  

Set in Puerto Rico near that bus station

It is about 10 minutes drive from our villas.

8.  Roque Nublo

A volcanic rock on top of the mountain in the centre of the island.  Set approximately 1,800 metres above sea levels it offers amazing views of the island.  

It is about a 30 minute light hike from the car park to the viewing point but it is well worth the effort.  

The drive to get there is also spectacular along windy mountain roads and there are many places to stop and enjoy the views and take some fantastic photos.  

You can get there via 2 separate routes.  The first is through Mogan and the centre of the island - this is a spectacular route but it does take time and the roads are small and windy so not for the faint hearted.  Alternatively take the GC1 until Vecindario and then cut inside.  Google Maps is great for driving around the island and has accurate times and routes including traffic.

9.  Sioux City

A western styled theme park that have many well organised shows throughout the day.  Cowboys and Indians, chases and Bank Robberies filled with action and humour.  There are also very interesting horse shows and you can enjoy horse riding in the mountains.  They have plenty of animals to interact with and the staff are super friendly.  There is a BBQ lunch and even a western style cabaret show with line dancing.  

A super day out for all the family.

About 30 minutes drive from our villas.

10.  Santa Brigida Sunday Market

Set in the mountains in the middle of the island, this is a quaint little town which has a lovely farmers market on Sundays.  Mostly frequented by locals and people from Las Palmas it is authentic and not overrun with tourists.  

The drive to get there is fantastic along the windy roads and there are many other small towns along the way that are worth stopping at including Teror, Tejeda and Vallesco.

All the produce is locally grown and includes some great cheeses and olives.  They have live music and watch the locals dancing to traditional Gran Canarian folk music.  Everyone is having fun and enjoying themselves.