Gran Canaria has long been a firm favourite with those after holidays packed with adventure.
After all, the island boasts hidden coves, rugged coastline, hiking trails, water sports and bustling resorts offering a vibrant nightlife.
After a more laidback vibe? There are plenty of sandy beaches and picturesque marinas to discover, as well as picturesque trails for leisurely strolls instead of more challenging treks.
There’s plenty to see and do across Gran Canaria, so to help you narrow it down we’ve picked out some of the top attractions and hotspots we think you won’t want to miss.
You can also find out more in our Canary Islands guide including where to find top deals.
Happy holiday hunting!
Spanning over 400 hectares, this nature reserve makes for a pretty spectacular walk thanks to its impressive sand dunes.
Make sure to wear some sturdy shoes and pack plenty of water and sun cream if you’re going to visit – there isn’t much opportunity to find shade and it is essentially a desert landscape!
You can easily while away a morning exploring the scenery. There is also a nudist beach along the reserve’s shores.
2. Puerto de Mogan
This picturesque fishing village on the south west coast of the island often draws in visitors after a day trip.
Think breathtaking views, charming local restaurants, boat trips that include whale watching excursions and plenty of quaint boutiques where you can pick up those all-important souvenirs.
Looking for a little more inspiration? TripAdvisor has a round-up of the five best things to visit when you’re there.
If you’re looking for hustle and bustle, head to Las Palmas where you’ll find plenty of hotels, restaurants, bars and clubs.
Las Canteras Beach sits right on the edge of the capital, with plenty of waterfront cafés and resorts, meaning there’s always heaps to discover both day and night.
It does get quite crowded during the peak season, but you can usually still find room for towels and sunloungers if you do fancy a day on the beach.
4. The village of Fataga
Looking to explore the region? Head to the charming village of Fataga which sits in the ‘Valley of the Thousand Palms’, about half an hour’s drive from the resort of Playa del Ingles.
Here you’ll find picturesque white-washed buildings, palm groves and a local church, as well as plenty of craft shops offering everything from shawls to pottery.
There are two main bars/restaurants in the village where you can sample some of the delicious local fare.
It’s worth noting that the streets are pedestrianised but there are park and ride options.
5. The beaches
If you’re looking for a holiday that’s packed with sun, sea and sand, then Gran Canaria could be just the place.
In fact, the island boasts heaps of beautiful beaches with fine sands, turquoise waters, lush greenery and bustling promenades.
There’s everything from family-friendly shores to quieter spots for intrepid explorers.
We’ve rounded up Gran Canaria’s best beaches to help you narrow it down.
Intrepid explorers and hikers alike won’t be disappointed on a trek to the highest peak of Gran Canaria.
Pico de las Nieves offers up some seriously spectacular views of the landscape, but if you are going on foot make sure to pack hiking boots and a bottle of water as it can be quite a challenging trek.
Not a hiker? You can reach the viewpoint by car – and there are plenty of picnic areas if you fancy making a lunchtime trip out of it.
Looking for a day out that doesn’t involve sitting on a beach, or trekking up a mountain?
Then these colourful botanical gardens could be just the place. A short bus ride from Las Palmas (you can also drive there), it’s filled with breathtaking plants and flowers, including rare species, as well as ponds and more botanical features.
Oh and there’s good news if you’re on a budget, as entrance is free.
8. Puerto Rico
The bustling resort of Puero Rico is a must for those who are after that classic beach holiday experience.
The beach has sandy shores, turquoise waters and heaps of sunloungers, while the hotels offer everything from all-inclusive to self-catering options.
Meanwhile, activities range from boat excursions for whale and dolphin watching, to vibrant bars and restaurants where you’ll find the nightlife.
9. Roque Nublo
Standing at 67m tall and 1,813m above sea level, this impressive volcanic rock sits atop a plateau from which you can enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.
You can hike up to see the rock but be warned that it’s not the easiest of walks, but there are options for driving there too (the car park is a couple of kilometres away so you’ll still need to do some walking).
10. Casa de Colón
Weather letting you down, or just after a dose of history and culture on your trip?
This former governor’s house in the old town of Las Palmas was once visited by Columbus; nowadays it’s home to a museum about his adventures, including his journals, drawings and paintings.
If you’re considering embarking on a walking tour of the city, it’s worth looking out for tours which include a short stop at the museum.