As well as majestic beaches, sparkling waters, soaring cliffs and clear blue skies, Gran Canaria offers some of the best sights in the whole of the Canaries. Experience unforgettable views of Gran Canaria, from the highest peak at Pico de las Nieves in Las Palmas. For those looking to dive deep into rich culture and study the fascinating history, venture over to El Museo Canario.
The evergreen Barranco de Guayadeque is one of the most magnificent valleys of the island. Growing in abundance on the steep slopes of the valley are cacti, poppies, palms, agaves, Canary Island pines and almond trees, as well as more than 80 common species.
One of the most important pre-historic burial grounds is located in the valley, where the dead were buried in inaccessible caves. These caves were later used to live in, to store food and as sites for fertility rituals. This area became a designated nature reserve in the 19th century to prevent locals plundering the graves and selling many of the archaeological finds.
The Visitors Centre provides complete information on all the archaeological sites in the area, as well as other useful environmental data that explains the many interesting facts and figures relating to this beautiful setting.
Located in Tunte in the south of Gran Canaria, Bodegas Las Tirajanas makes wines from grapes contributed by growers from all over the island and its many microclimates.
A guided tour of Bodegas Las Tirajanas teaches you about Gran Canaria winemaking and offers two different tours with guided tastings of its main vintages, made from the Moscatel, Albillo, Llistán, Blanca, Malvasía, Verijadiego and Verdelho, grape varieties.
One of the tours will also allow you time to try three selected wines alongside local gourmet produce such as a traditional cheese, bread, olives marinated in mojo and olive oil. The sampler tours do need to be booked in advance but for casual tasting, you can just drop in.
There is a large car park and the winery is open to the public every day of the week with free admission. Bottles of wine can be purchased to take away.
Located at one end of the Maspalomas beach about 4 kilometres south of the resort town centre, the El Faro lighthouse is a working 19th-century lighthouse.
The lighthouse is a distinctive landmark in the resort and is the tallest masonry lighthouse in the Canaries. It has a focal height of 60 metres above the sea, its light can be seen for 19 nautical miles, and consists of a pattern of three flashes of white light, over a period of thirteen seconds.
Although the lighthouse is not open to visitors, it is lovely to walk along the promenade, see the living statues, peruse the designer and ceramic/jewellery shops, have a coffee and cake at Café de Paris or visit one of the many bars and restaurants.
It is especially beautiful in the dark when the lighthouse lamp burns and the promenade is flooded in light.
The small village of Fataga nestles in the “Valley of the Thousand Palms”, in a picturesque setting of tall cliffs, palms and fruit trees and is an enchanting mountain village with charming white houses, narrow lanes, palm groves and a quaint church.
The pace of life here is as slow as it has always been. Take time to peruse the pretty craft shops which sell all sorts of handmade products such as shawls, pottery or wickerwork, ideal for taking home as souvenirs or gifts, take a leisurely stroll along the cobbled lanes, visit San Jose, the village’s only church or the museum and the old water mill.
For something different, why not visit the Camel Safari Park where you are given a brief introduction to the life of a camel, followed by a ride through the valley and a camel show.
Puerto de Mogán marina is known as Little Venice because of its network of canals and Italian style bridges.
This low-rise fishing town on Gran Canarias’ southwest coast is absolutely charming. Its narrow, cobbled streets, perfect for taking a leisurely stroll around, are lined with traditional whitewashed houses, clad in bougainvillea and hibiscus and there’s also a lovey harbour, perfect for yacht-watching.
There is a small, clean beach which is ideal for families, a selection of shops, charming cafes and bars and some superb fish restaurants.
Friday is market day but be warned, parking can be very difficult as it does get very busy with tourists visiting from all over Gran Canaria. Don’t forget to haggle to get a good price. While you’re there why not take a plung in a submarine trip at the end of the harbour.
Pico de las Nieves is the highest peak of the island of Gran Canaria (1,949 metres above sea level).
From the lookout point, a stone semicircle that points towards the setting sun, you can see uninterrupted views out over the Unesco Biosphere Reserve, with its numerous deep valleys and jagged ridges covered with vegetation and capped with amazing rocks
Unlike other lookout points, La Nieves has great views even on cloudy days as you get to see Gran Canaria’s peaks and Tenerife floating on the sea of clouds.
Most of the highest plateau is occupied by a military base, including a large ball-shaped radar. Civilian visitors are allowed to enter a platform just below the base, from which half of the island as well as Tenerife’s Pico del Teide is visible if the weather is good.
Bordered to the east by Santa Catalina and to the north by La Isleta, is the district of Playa de las Canteras, which was Gran Canarias’ very first tourist resort. The face of the beach here changes with the tides, which means it’s a favourite with families, surfers and snorkelling fans alike.
At the southern end of Playa de las Canteras, once a quite neglected area, a landscaped promenade leads from the beach to the Auditorio Alfredo Kraus, built in 1997, home to the Las Palmas Philharmonic Orchestra and the Canary Islands Convention Centre and a masterpiece of modern architecture.
This area also has the city’s biggest shopping centre – Las Arenas, with a wide range of shops a multi-screen cinema and delightful selection of restaurants and cafes where you can sit and enjoy some tapas, people-watch over a cool drink and be amused by the street entertainers.
Santa Catalina is a lively, busy district where most of the big stores can be found, including two branches of Spain’s largest department store El Corte Inglés, as well as specialised shops and elegant boutiques.
The heart of this district is the Parque Santa Catalina, which is actually more of a square dotted with palm trees and flowerbeds than a park. Here, people come to explore the shops, eat at one of the many outdoor bars cafes and restaurants and where elderly locals sit drinking coffee and playing cards, chess and dominos.
At carnival time a big stage is erected in the park and it becomes the centre of the city’s colourful and thrilling celebrations. This also happens in November when the WOMAD music festival takes place.
On the port side of the park, you will find an impressive science and technology museum (Museo Elder de la Ciencia y la Tecnología), visitors, especially children can entertain themselves for hours on end with hands-on displays including a replica space station, plus 3D cinema and planetarium.