Gran Canaria in 4 Days: a guidebook for getting the most out of your visit

Gran Canaria presents itself to the world as a small oasis with the best of the biosphere's diversity. In this itinerary I have prepared for you I have found a good repertoire of activities to keep you entertained during every moment of your trip.

Camilla Graciano

Camilla Graciano

13 min read

Gran Canaria in 4 Days: a guidebook for getting the most out of your visit

San Gabriel Castle, Gran Canaria. | ©Miguel Ángel García

Throughout Gran Canaria there are dozens of urban settlements that combine the best of the mountainous environment of the center of the island with the beach and maritime character of its coasts. The best things to see and do in Gran Canaria are those that know how to take advantage of these two facets of the island and that is why in this publication I have grouped several activities that will help you to enjoy to the maximum during a 4-day visit.

Dunes worthy of a Sahara landscape, black sand beaches of volcanic origin and mountain peaks that resemble a continental mountain range. These are just some of the places you will see during your 4-day trip to Gran Canarias if you decide to follow this fun itinerary of plans and activities that I have carefully organized for you.

Day 1: Start the trip in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria| ©Nicolas Vigier
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria| ©Nicolas Vigier

The capital of Gran Canaria is a rather peculiar place, because although it is not a big city with millions of inhabitants, it is a community that has managed to modernize. This without leaving aside the old character of some of its neighborhoods and the architectural identity that defines many of its most touristy residential areas.

So for the first day of your trip I have proposed that you can know a couple of sites of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria as well as other major tourist attractions of the communities closest to this urban epicenter.

Tour the neighborhood of Vegueta and the famous Triana street

The neighborhood of Vegueta is located at the southern end of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. This is the area where the historical center of the city is located. The Cathedral of Santa Ana, the Episcopal Palace, the street on which is located the Fuente del Espíritu Santo and the Casa de Colón are some of the corners that deserve to be visited by your passage in this beautiful area of Gran Canaria.

Many of the best tours of Gran Canaria are focused on touring in depth the neighborhood of Vegueta and therefore can be a good alternative to take advantage of the morning of the first day of your trip in a proper way. On the other hand, Triana Street is a famous pedestrian artery that stretches from the northern end of Vegueta to San Telmo Park and is a place you can't miss. At least if there are a few things you need to buy before continuing with your travel itinerary.

Then take a sightseeing bus around the city

As you will still have several places to visit in this city and the idea is to be able to return home after having known the most of each of the attractions of this island, I propose you to enjoy a bus tour of Gran Canaria. Which would take you from north to south and from east to west throughout this community.

It is a good idea for the fact that it will be a guided tour in which you will not miss a single detail about the sites you see on the route. It is also a good plan knowing that at the end of the tour you will be able to get off at the stop that suits you best and that is closest to the car rental center you have chosen for your trip.

The truth is that you will need a vehicle to be able to complete the rest of the activities of this tourist itinerary and in fact it is an indispensable resource, even if you intend to have an impromptu trip in which you are interested in knowing several relevant places of the island.

Buy the best touristic bus excursion in Gran Canaria

Drive to Los Charcones

Once you have a car at your disposal and you have had lunch in some of the restaurants in the center of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, take the GC-2 highway in the direction of the community of Bañaderos. At the exit 200 meters before the traffic circle of Bañaderos you will find the entrance to the promenade of Los Charcones and if you drive through this road you will arrive directly to the place I recommend you.

These are natural pools that have formed on the rocks of the coast, which in turn are well known on the island for the quality of windsurfing that can be practiced on the beach in front of them. They are a good alternative if you want to enjoy a first swim in sea water in an environment that is not like the typical sandy beach.

Have a guided visit to the winery of the Arehucas Distillery

As one of the distinctive aspects of Gran Canaria is being able to go from the maritime realm to mountain life with a drive of a couple of minutes, it is appropriate that the next activity on your first day on the island is to drive along the GC-20 in the direction of the town of Arucas. This is to have a guided tour of the facilities of the famous Arehucas Distillery.

This is an activity that includes a rum tasting and a tour of the cellars of the most important rum producing company in all the Canary Islands. Keep in mind that it is a plan that usually lasts about 45 minutes and that will still leave you free time to complete the day knowing another of the great attractions of this beautiful Canary Island town.

Book your guided tour of the Ron Arehucas Distillery

Visit the Parish of San Juan Bautista of Arucas

This Catholic church, erected at the beginning of the 20th century, is one of the most impressive constructions of the whole island. It stands out for being a neo-Gothic structure in an island where architectural trends have always been very quietly betting on the baroque of the colonial conquests.

Sitting down for a drink or a coffee in the nearby restaurants may be the ideal decision to close this entertaining day. If you are interested in finding a suitable place to catch the sunset and start enjoying the night I can advise you to go to the municipal park or the viewpoint of the Montaña de Arucas. Mainly due to the fact that both places are accessible with the car you just rented at noon.

Day 2: Venture to the southwest and center of the island

Snorkel| ©Subtle Cinematics
Snorkel| ©Subtle Cinematics

The beauty of Gran Canaria is not limited to the populated north coast of the island and this is no secret to anyone. The southeast end of the island is full of communities and activities that attract all kinds of tourists to participate in different types of plans.

For the second day of your trip I have grouped together several sites that perfectly capture the beach and sandy essence of this part of Gran Canaria so that you can balance your trip towards other types of environments. Keep in mind that the car will remain the most important resource for the logistics of this itinerary, as there is no way you can get from one point to another at your leisure if you don't have a private vehicle at your disposal.

Start the day with a snorkeling session in Mogán

Puerto de Mogán is undoubtedly one of the most picturesque corners of all the Canary Islands. This is because its old fishermen's houses that have been restored create a rather peculiar atmosphere if you add the canals that are also accompanied by a luxurious marina full of sailboats and yachts.

The beach of this town is a very popular tourist destination in Gran Canaria, but the activity I recommend you to enjoy while in this port is a snorkeling session in the nearby reefs. Basically, it is a boat ride that usually lasts about 3 hours and includes a snorkeling session in a small beach called El Perchel which is only accessible from the sea.

I advise you to have breakfast in any of the dozens of restaurants in Mogán before starting this tour which is usually booked for mid-morning. Swimming and scuba diving are two activities that work up an appetite too quickly and it is not entertaining to be in the middle of the sea with an uncomfortable desire to eat.

Buy tickets for a Snorkeling and Boat Tour

Continue to Maspalomas Dunes

When you return to the island from your boat ride you will have to resume driving along the GC-1 highway in the direction of Maspalomas. Along this highway you will go through several tunnels, as you will be passing from a terrain of ravines and cliffs to a flatter area of the island. At some point you will find the possibility of turning off in the direction of the GC-500 road and when this happens you will do it again to take the GC-510 in the direction of the parking lots of the Maspalomas Dunes.

There you will leave the car in any of the different spaces designated by private companies or by the municipality of Maspalomas to be able to enter this section of the island that has kilometers of dunes worthy of a Saharan photograph. You can last as long as you want playing on the sand, since access is completely free. If you want to optimize your time, you can participate in some of the camel rides through the dunes that are offered at the entrance to this natural park or booked online.

Book a camel ride in the dunes of Maspalomas

Visit the Aqualand Maspalomas park if you are traveling with children

After the doubts you will feel like getting rid of all the sand and the Aqualand Maspalomas park can be a good option. It is a water park that has several mechanized attractions and several slides that can be the funniest moment of the whole trip for the little ones of the house.

So allocating a couple of hours to this activity is not a bad idea if you have children or you are with children as company on this trip. However, if it is a trip for adults you don't have to worry, as there will also be other theme parks in Gran Canaria that you can enjoy in other future stages of your visit.

Drive to the Mirador de Fataga

If you start driving along the GC-60 road towards the north of the island you will be taking one of the most beautiful routes in all of Gran Canaria. It is an ascending road that takes you through several mountain villages of the island and the idea is that you drive up to the Mirador de Fataga so you can admire the beauty of the south from the heights.

Stopping for lunch at any of the taverns you see on this route is something recommended if for this point of the day you did not decide to eat something in some of the restaurants of Maspaloma or even in the cafeterias of Aqualand. That is in case you have decided to visit this water park.

Take advantage and enjoy the surroundings of the Ventana del Nublo

The Ventana del Nublo is one of the most important natural points of the mountainous region of Gran Canaria and this area is less than 30 minutes by car from the Mirador de Fataga. That means that you should take advantage of the proximity to get to this area before the sunset starts to fall with the clear intention of being able to enjoy it on these geological formations that offer you a panoramic perspective of the volcanic peaks of Gran Canaria.

I have to highlight the fact that tourist exploration of this section of the island is one of the best things to do in Gran Canaria in winter, as it is a good plan for sporty, family and healthy entertainment. That's without having to deal with a drop in water temperatures on the beaches or increased wind in these coastal resorts of the island.

Day 3: Have a great day at the beach

Agaete Natural Pool| ©Stephanie M
Agaete Natural Pool| ©Stephanie M

Until this moment of your trip you have not had the opportunity to enjoy a beach session without being interrupted by other activities in order to take advantage of the time and the proximity to other interesting places on the island.

For this reason I propose several activities associated with the sea for this third day of your visit to Gran Canaria. There is not a single second to lose knowing that you have less than 48 hours left to enjoy this beautiful island.

Start the day at the Natural Swimming Pool of Agaete

In the northeast of Gran Canaria, in the town of Agaete, there is a set of natural pools twice the size of Los Charcones that can mark the beginning of your tourist planning for a day that in theory will revolve around the sea. The site has a free parking lot as well as a promenade that you could walk along to find an alternative for breakfast among the 7 restaurants that are in the area.

Dedo de Dios beach is another site you could visit if you fancy a short walk along a hiking trail. This is recommended, as this type of plan is one of the best things to do in Gran Canaria.

Enjoy the beauty of the Tamadaba Natural Park

When you are done in Agaete you will have to start driving along the GC-200 and along this route you will pass through the curves of the Tamadaba Natural Park. It is quite a beautiful area that is worth to be admired, so it is a good idea to take a couple of minutes detour to the Mirador de Tirma Artenera.

If this does not interest you, then you can take the detour to the GC-2 tunnel to get faster to La Aldea de San Nicolas de Tolentino, as it is the next destination of your trip.

Don't hesitate to have lunch in La Aldea de San Nicolas de Tolentino

La Aldea de San Nicolas de Tol entino doesn't really have anything special beyond the fact that it is the area where different routes from the north of the island converge and that it is close to the Natural Reserve of Güigüí.

As you will probably be hungry after a morning of sun, beach and hiking, it is somewhat advisable that you decide to have lunch in some of the modest restaurants that you will find both in this village and in the rest of the GC-200. The truth is that the next and last activity of your third day is also very demanding, from a physical perspective. That is why a significantly large lunch is something you will be grateful for at the end of the day.

Take the hiking trail to Güigüí Beach

For many local inhabitants Playa de Güigüí is the most beautiful and special beach in the whole of Gran Canaria. An influential factor in this significant appreciation by this population is the fact that it is completely inaccessible by car.

If you are interested in visiting it you should know that it is a nudist beach of black sands surrounded by volcanic cliffs. These three characteristics have given it an identity that seduces more and more tourists to start the hiking route of about 5 kilometers. Which leads outsiders to it from the public parking lot that is located between the village of Tasartico on the GC-204 road and the beach that bears the same name.

There you could leave your car if you are interested in the hike. Although you should also know that small boats usually leave from Tasartico Beach in the high tourist season that can take you to enjoy the sunset on this beautiful and peculiar beach.

Day 4: Finish marveling at Gran Canaria

In Teror| ©Eduardo Ortín
In Teror| ©Eduardo Ortín

With the arrival of the fourth day of the trip, the nostalgia begins to present itself and the impression also, by the fact that there are still so many interesting things to know in this beautiful island.

Therefore I have proposed that you complete the itinerary with some places that for the local population have been the best kept secrets of mass tourism that usually occurs in the high seasons of international travel.

Meet the famous village of Teror

Hundreds of thousands of Gran Canarian people agree on the fact that the village of Teror is the most special and beautiful of the whole island. This makes it the first stop on your last day on the island and breakfast in some of its picturesque cafes is not the only thing you should do in this community.

And is that knowing the Basilica of Our Lady of the Pines, see the Cistercian Monastery and admire the Episcopal Palace are some activities that have to be accompanied by a tourist walk through the streets of the village. They are full of centuries-old houses with wooden balconies in the best Canarian style and colorful facades.

Quickly pass through Tejeda

Take your time to enjoy Teror, as the anxieties no longer make so much sense knowing that you have made the most of your trip. When you feel ready, start driving in the direction of Maspalomas on the GC-21 road until you meet the GC-210. By this point you will be less than fifteen minutes from the change to the GC-60 that will begin the descent to the coast but not before passing through the picturesque village of Tejeda.

Of this place I can highlight its urban beauty, as it is a community full of hills in which most of the houses are painted white in the best style of the coastal villages of Lanzarote or Fuerteventura.

Have fun at the Sioux City Park

When you are already in Maspalomas and you have had lunch at any of the two previous stops of your day you will have to quickly take the GC-1 and then change to the GC-500 and start the Sioux City Park course.

This is a fun theme park that is a very faithful reproduction of a typical American Wild West town. For this reason when you visit it you will find yourself in such a peculiar panorama that you will be surprised to know that such a place exists in Gran Canaria.

In this place you will see theatrical performances in an authentic movie set, a zoo and also buildings with several commercial establishments that will keep you entertained for the rest of your afternoon. This may be the farewell to the trip, although the proximity of the place to Maspalomas means that there is still one last activity to enjoy.

Tickets to Sioux City Park

Finish the trip with a sunset in Playa del Inglés

After a trip as special as the one you have enjoyed for this point of the itinerary, it would be a real shame if you could not appreciate a good sunset on your last day in Gran Canaria. That's why I recommend that when you leave Sioux City Park you return along the GC-500 to Playa del Inglés.

This is a kilometer-long beach with one of the highest concentrations of hotels and stores on the island. This means that you can admire a beautiful sunset and then go for dinner at a special place, such as the Hard Rock Cafe or the touristy Columbus Restaurant.