A guide to things to do in Gran Canaria

Being the most developed of the Canary Islands, Gran Canaria has a wide range of activities on offer throughout the year. This island is an incredible place for nature enthusiasts, windsurfers, walkers, families, couples and adventurers looking for something unique to fill their day. With one third of the island being under UNESCO protection as a Biosphere Reserve, Gran Canaria offers far more than lazy days spent lounging in the sun. We’ve put together some of the highlights to help you decide.

Top things to do in Gran Canaria

Hit the beach

Holidays are usually all about relaxing and unwinding from buys life back home, and how better to get some R&R than laying out on the gorgeous sands of Gran Canaria. The beaches here vary from dreamy white to dark volcanic sand and all offer something for everyone. Playa Del Ingles is the most popular spot with crystal clear waters and a long stretch of white sand. It’s an ideal location to spend the day with showers, water sports, restaurants and of courses sun loungers and parasols. 

Chase adrenaline at Aqualand

If you’re looking for the opposite of a bit of R&R then Aqualand, Maspalomas, is where you should head. With its very own little beach, it’s perfect to set up camp for the day, plus every hour the wave pool gives you something to enjoy and laugh about with your family and friends. There’s multiple child-friendly rides, shoots and flumes that’ll make sure they’re having a blast but if you’re looking for the bigger and the better, then don’t worry there’s plenty for you too. Shoot down the Kamikaze at the same time as a friend and see who gets to the bottom first or race all your friends at once on the Water Labyrinth! 

Things to do with kids in Gran Canaria

Head to the activity parks

If you’re looking for a fun, action packed day out with the kids in Gran Canaria then the Angry Birds Activity Park is the one. With everything from swings and slides to foam parties and go karting – even a 10D cinema, it’s heaven for young ones! There’s an Angry Birds snack bar so you can keep those energy levels up, or you can leave and re-enter the park as many times as you’d like.

Palmitos Park offers a slightly different day out with kids but just as fun. It’s both a zoo and botanical garden so you can get up close and personal with a variety of species, including birds, seahorses and dolphins. Take a packed lunch and enjoy a picnic under the trees looking at all of the beautiful nature around you.

Ride a camel through the dunes

A unique experience for the family on camelback! Enjoy a 30-minute ride across the gorgeous dunes in Maspalomas in a guided tour – there’s a variety of tours on offer, some include meals or camel parks, it’s best to read up and see what suits you and yours’ best. Small children and babies can sit on an adult’s lap so don’t worry, you can all take part and it will surely be something to remember.

Things to do as a couple in Gran Canaria

Hike the Bandama Crater

How better to bond with the one you love than over a hike with a gorgeous view. The Bandama crater was caused after a supernova explosion where a volcano collapses within itself leaving a huge crater, specifically 100 miles wide and 200 metres deep! Enjoy the beautiful panoramic view overlooking the north east of Gran Canaria before embarking down to the bottom of the crater. It usually takes around 30 minutes and follows a steep path. You’ll also find some of the best wine tasting in the region here so it’s the perfect reward once you’re back up to the top.

Discover the Botanical Gardens

Another great way to make the most of your time together in Gran Canaria is in Jardin Botanico Canario. These botanical gardens offer a world of complete tranquillity, to escape the tourist hustle and bustle and be just the two of you. There’s over 500 different species of indigenous plants here and it’s not only the largest botanical garden in the Canary islands, but in all of Spain! Walk down the beautiful paths lined with blooming flowers and explore the variety of gardens and forests and see what you might learn.

Things to do for free in Gran Canaria

Explore Vegueta Old Town

There’s plenty to do for free in Gran Canaria but exploring Vegueta Old Town has to be the best. Full of beautiful architecture and historic buildings, it’s a great day out to explore and learn a bit of history. The cobbled streets and colourful buildings will make great additions to your Gran Canaria holiday scrapbook. Visit the Santa Ana Cathedral and square, known as the cathedral of the Canary Islands or head to the Vegueta market where you can interact with the locals and try some local, fresh produce. If you choose to spend some money, there are a variety of quaint cafes, including rooftop ones offering the perfect spot for refreshments with a view. 

Enjoy the Maspalomas Sand Dunes

Yet another one of the best things to do in Gran Canaria for free is walk the Maspalomas sand dunes! The incredible dunes are accessible from the RIU Palace Hotel in Playa Del Ingles, which you can enter for free and find all about their origins and ecological importance. The 8km hiking route is all marked out so navigating this beautiful landscape couldn’t be easier.