Discover the REAL Gran Canaria; get off the Beach

Discover the REAL Gran Canaria; get off the Beach

The #GranCanaria is famous for its beaches, but actually it has much more to offer! A #walkingtour in #Vegueta will reveal more of the #Spanish #culture, while a trip to the #MaspalamosDunes or the #JardinBotanicoCanario are new and refreshing travel alternatives.


Gran Canaria, Spain

It’s easy to turn a blind eye to what lies beyond the Gran Canaria coast. With golden beaches and azure skies, the sun on your face and breeze in your hair, 2.2 million tourists flock to Spain’s Canary Islands each year for the ultimate sand-in-your-toes experience.

But Gran Canaria holidays don’t have to be all about the beach. While tourists are sunbathing, swimming, sailing and snorkelling, the “real” Gran Canaria is just waiting to be discovered. 

the “real” Gran Canaria is just waiting to be discovered

Dubbed a “miniature continent” for the dramatic variation of landscape and terrain, real rewards await those able to tear themselves away from the mass beach-front tourism to explore this incredibly diverse island.

Here are the top things to do in Gran Canaria which do not involve the beach!

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

Walk the cobblestone streets and discover narrow alleys filled with museums, tapas bars and restaurants. 

Discover narrow alleys filled with museums, tapas bars and restaurants

Explore Vegueta, the city’s historical district, with traditional Spanish buildings dating back 500 years, declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1990.

from  $7

Guided Tour to the Old Town in Las Palmas

Culture
 Plaza Hurtado de Mendoza, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain
You may also like

Touring Volcanic Crater & Caldera de Bandama

Botanical Garden & Wine Tour

A highly fashionable city where shopping could be considered a sport, head to the shopping district of Triana for both designer brands and small souvenirs.

Dance throughout the night as the city “blends its cosmopolitan and urban atmosphere with fine weather and great music.”

Dance throughout the night as the city “blends its cosmopolitan and urban atmosphere with fine weather and great music”
Vegueta, Las PalmasPhoto by Juan Ramon Rodriguez Sosa

Jardin Botanico Canario

Explore Spain’s largest botanical garden, featuring 27 acres of highly diverse plant species, and including a famed waterfall with shallow caves in the cliff face where large lizards bask in the sun.

from  $37

Botanical Garden & Wine Tour

Culture
 Gran Canaria, Carretera Bandama, Sta Brígida, Las Palmas, Spain
You may also like

Touring Volcanic Crater & Caldera de Bandama

Guided Tour to the Old Town in Las Palmas

Explore Spain’s largest botanical garden, featuring 27 acres of highly diverse plant species
Find Lizards basking in the sun! Photo by Juan Ramon Rodriguez Sosa

Maspalomas Dunes

Everyone heads to the beach of the same name, however be sure to explore Maspalomas Dunes. This enormous expanse of golden sand dunes next to the sea is absolutely spectacular at sunset and sunrise, and makes for incredibly memorable photos. 

For an even more memorable experience, visit the dunes on a camel!

from  $14

Camel Rides in Gran Canaria

Culture
 Maspalomas, Spain
You may also like

Touring Volcanic Crater & Caldera de Bandama

Botanical Garden & Wine Tour

Explore the Mountains

Rent a car for a few days and head out into the mountains. Totally rugged and wild, with spectacular scenery consisting of pine forests, canyons, and endless valleys, there is ample opportunity here for hiking, biking and horse trekking.

Totally rugged and wild, with spectacular scenery consisting of pine forests, canyons, and endless valleys

Take a short stroll up to Roque Nublo (Cloud Rock) or plan a lunch break at Cruz de Tejeda.

from  $52

Summit and Roque Nublo

Culture
 Roque Nublo, Tejeda, Spain
You may also like

Touring Volcanic Crater & Caldera de Bandama

Botanical Garden & Wine Tour

Hike the Gran Canaria Camino

The Camino de Santiago is a network of centuries-old pilgrim routes which stretch across Europe and come together at the tomb of St James (Santiago in Spanish). While the most popular route is the Camino Frances, stretching 780km from St Jean-Pied-du-Port in France to Santiago in Spain, there is a 75km path which crosses Gran Canaria from Maspalomas in the south to Santiago de los Cabelleros in the north.

Pack plenty of water – gorgeous scenery awaits!

from  $2,933

Camino de Santiago Tour

ActiveAspirationalCultureRelaxation
 Camiño de Santiago, Lalín, Spain
You may also like

Santiago Bernabéu Tour

Peneda Geres National Park Guided Tour

Teror

With stunning historic buildings and a strong religious heritage, Teror is a place of pilgrimage for the residents of Gran Canaria. One of the most historic centres on the island, you can’t visit Teror without visiting the 16th century Basilica; stunning arches, columns and pilasters along with vivid stained glass depictions of the Mysteries of the Rosary. 

you can’t visit Teror without visiting the 16th century Basilica

Other noteworthy religious buildings in Teror include the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Chapel Ermita de la Pena, and the la Ermita de San Isidro.

There are also a number of protected natural areas in Teror which offer spectacular scenery. Visit Pino Santon, La Finca de Osorio, la Caldera de Pino Santo and El Palmar or El Parque de Sintes.

Teror Basilica. Photo by David Cushing.

Journey to the Centre of the Earth

A 15 minute drive from Las Palmas lies the Caldera de Bandama – the volcanic crater made famous by 16th century Flemish merchant Daniel Van Damme. A half-hour journey will see you descend 200 metres to the bottom of the crater where lies volcanic ash, widespread vegetation, and even an abandoned farm.

A half-hour journey will see you descend 200 metres to the bottom of the crater where lies volcanic ash

Stunning views await visitors at the top of the crater, stretching as far as Las Palmas. Organize permission in advance through the official tourist board – guided walking tours are also available.

from  $31

Touring Volcanic Crater & Caldera de Bandama

Culture
 Caldera de Bandama, Las Palmas, Spain
You may also like

Botanical Garden & Wine Tour

Guided Tour to the Old Town in Las Palmas

Live in the Stone Age

Artenara is full of archaeological sites allowing visitors to witness the way of life of the native Canary Islanders. In Gran Canaria’s highest village, the native Islanders live in cave houses as a means of staying cool in summer and warm in winter.

the native Islanders live in cave houses as a means of staying cool in summer and warm in winter
Time travel back to the stone age in ArtenaraPhoto by Juan Ramon Rodriguez Sosa

Traditional caves are available for holiday rental, and there is even a cave restaurant; Restaurante El Miradoe de la Silla which requires a visit. 

Also not to be missed is the chapel Ermita de la Virgen de La Cuevita; an 18th century chapel dug into a cliff face not far from the town centre. The real draw of the area however is its natural surroundings.

Loved this story?

Subscribe to our newsletter

to receive new story and activity ideas in your inbox.

Keep inspired By other stories