10 Best Activities in Gran Canaria

Gran Canaria is an incredible destination, full of attractions. Here are some of the best activities that you can't miss during your visit.

Nicolas Reffray

Nicolas Reffray

10 min read

10 Best Activities in Gran Canaria

Gran Canaria | ©Peter Visser

If you are thinking of visiting this paradisiacal island, I assure you that you will not be disappointed. Gran Canaria has everything for you to spend an unforgettable vacation. There are many things to see and do in Gran Canaria, and despite being one of the favorite destinations for beach and sea lovers, inland you can enjoy a host of other activities.

You can go canyoning or stroll through its picturesque streets, spend the day in one of its theme parks or tour the amazing dunes of Maspalomas. Gran Canaria is the right combination of nature and fun, and in this article I have selected the 10 activities you can't miss if you visit the island.

1. Enjoy the sun in Playa del Inglés

Playa del Inglés Beach| ©Ciro Méndez
Playa del Inglés Beach| ©Ciro Méndez

A visit to Gran Canaria has to include a day at the beach, and what better way to spend it than at Playa del Inglés. Undoubtedly one of the island's favorites, here you can enjoy both relaxation and the most fun water activities.

Its transparent waters are perfect if you want to snorkel, as you can enjoy all the beauty of the underwater world, colorful fish, coral reefs and countless other treasures. Ideal to visit with the family, as the atmosphere is cheerful and there are beach bars and restaurants to spend the day under the sun, without worrying about anything.

Gran Canaria is par excellence a destination to enjoy the sea, its fine white sand, and the coming and going of the boats. Playa del Inglés is the largest beach on the island, and it literally has it all. Even if you are traveling alone or as a couple, it has a nudist area at one end. An ideal place to cheer up and enjoy the sun to the fullest. Located in the southern part of Gran Canaria, east of the Maspalomas dunes, Playa del Inglés stretches from Punta Maspalomas to the beginning of Playa de San Agustín.

2. Visit the lighthouse and the dunes of Maspalomas

The Maspalomas Dunes| ©German Q
The Maspalomas Dunes| ©German Q

If you want to know one of the authentic natural wonders of Gran Canaria, sign up for a walk through one of the most amazing places of the whole island: the living dunes of Maspalomas. They receive this name because they are in constant movement. These huge mountains of sand seem magical, almost like a tale from the Thousand and One Nights. You can live the illusion of being in a desert, and even take a camel ride! Definitely one of the places you can not miss on your visit to Gran Canaria.

Next to the dunes you can also climb the lighthouse of Maspalomas, and enjoy the panoramic views from the top. This is a spectacle not to be missed, seeing the golden dunes in contrast with the turquoise color of the sea will leave you speechless. In addition, very close by is the palm forest and a lake.

The area has a total of about 400 hectares, and has been declared a special nature reserve, so it is protected, which is why you can see some species of birds of great beauty. Prepare your camera or your Smartphone, because here you will be able to take some dream pictures.

Book now your camel ride in the dunes of Maspalomas, Gran Canaria

3. Get to know the Cathedral of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

Cathedral of Santa Ana| ©Maciej J
Cathedral of Santa Ana| ©Maciej J

Located in the historic center of the capital of the island, the city of Las Palmas, the beautiful Cathedral of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is one of the most important constructions of the whole place. Inaugurated in the 16th century, its façade and exterior is of neoclassical style, while its interior is of a marked Gothic style.

The Cathedral is located in front of the Santa Ana square, from which it receives its name, since, although it is known as Catedral de las Palmas, its original name is Catedral de Santa Ana de Gran Canaria. It is located in the neighborhood of Vegueta, the most picturesque of the capital of the island. Definitely, you can not stop walking and get lost in its streets, which seem to have been stopped in time.

Inside the Cathedral of Santa Ana, you can recognize moldings and work on ceilings and walls that refer to the native vegetation of the island. Although it is not yet considered finished, the Cathedral has no less than 500 years of history behind it, the result of which is its notorious mixture of architectural styles. When you visit it, you will notice that inside and out it looks like two completely different temples.

4. Take a hike from Pico de las Nieves to Roque Nublo

Roque Nublo Natural Monument| ©Roquenublogc
Roque Nublo Natural Monument| ©Roquenublogc

Visit two of the most emblematic places of Gran Canaria. The Pico de las Nieves is the highest of the whole island, with no less than 1949 meters above sea level, it is a perfect place for hiking lovers.

From the top of Pico de las Nieves, and much of the ascent to it, you can get some of the best views of the island. A natural scenery full of peace, as majestic as it is imposing. Don't forget to bring your camera or Smartphone, the pictures from here are unparalleled.

Then, start the hike towards the wonderful Roque Nublo, a monumental rock formation, the product of centuries and more centuries of erosion. This geological curiosity is only a 30-minute walk from Pico de las Nieves. The trails that connect both sites are in perfect condition and are highly recommended. Of course, do not forget to bring bottles of water and something to eat and replenish energy.

Enjoying the sunset next to this giant stone is a spectacle. On one side there is another smaller formation in the shape of a frog, which seems to be watching the larger one. Undoubtedly, Roque Nublo is one of those places charged with a particular energy, some attribute magical qualities, you can not miss it!

Book now your full day excursion to the Bandama volcano and Roque Nublo, in Gran Canaria

5. Enjoy one of the theme parks in Gran Canaria

Crocodile Park| ©Jose M. Santana
Crocodile Park| ©Jose M. Santana

Spend a day of pure fun in one of the best theme parks in Gran Canaria. From incredible water parks, such as Aqualand Maspalomas, zoos, to a park that emulates a Wild West town, with a cowboy show on horseback, you have many options to have a great time. If you are traveling with children, you will love the theme parks in Gran Canaria. There are options for all tastes.

Enjoy the Cocodrilo Park

In the Cocodrilo Park, the little ones will be able to feed the animals and interact actively with them. A surprising place in the middle of nature, a mixture of zoo and amusement park, ideal to go with children, although the whole family can enjoy it. Here you can see different species of reptiles, exotic birds, meerkats and much more.

Visit the amazing Sioux City Park

Another option, perhaps the most original of all, is Sioux City Park. In this theme park, which was originally created and used as a film set for cowboy movies in the 70's, you can enjoy a unique spectacle. Live the fantasy of going through an authentic Wild West town, since everything here is real. You can have a drink in the saloon, visit the sheriff's office, or even witness a bank robbery, including a shootout!

Spend a day of pure fun at Aqualand Maspalomas Park

But, if what you want is to enjoy the sun, water and games, I recommend Aqualand Maspalomas. The best option to spend an incredible day. Here you will find slides, pools with artificial waves, sea lions (with which you can swim!) and the best games for both adults and children. One of the most fun theme parks in Gran Canaria.

Book now your ticket to Sioux City Park in Gran Canaria

6. Take a canyoning experience

Canyoning with waterfall| ©David Domingo
Canyoning with waterfall| ©David Domingo

With so much nature at your fingertips, you can't miss some of the best canyoning experiences in Gran Canaria. You will descend mountains, go through incredible waterfalls, swim and have the chance to live an experience of pure adrenaline, in a beautiful natural environment.

There are several options, such as canyoning in Cernícalos, in the Laurisilva forest, the Barranco de las Vacas in Agüimes or the Barranco de la Manta. Each one with a different level of complexity. You will be accompanied by an expert guide and you will be provided with all the necessary equipment, from harnesses, descenders, suits and even neoprene socks.

Come and enjoy this adventure in the middle of nature. Don't worry if you are inexperienced, most of these tours are designed for first time visitors, so there is no risk and no great difficulty.

Book your canyoning experience in Gran Canaria now

7. Take a tour through the most incredible vineyards, wineries and wineries of Gran Canaria

Los Lirios Winery| ©Vik D
Los Lirios Winery| ©Vik D

The area of Gran Canaria has a good amount of vineyards and wineries. Thanks to the proximity to the sea and the type of soil, the varieties of wines produced on the island have an extremely interesting flavor, intensity and body.

If you are one of those who enjoy the world of wines and winemaking in general, you can not miss a guided tour of the best vineyards, wineries and cellars of Gran Canaria. In addition, these excursions include a tasting of local wines, as well as you can visit the Wine Museum and enjoy a delicious tasting of the tastiest cheeses.

Some of the wineries that open their doors for visits are the Bodega San Juan and the Bodega Los Lirios. In addition, you can also visit the Arehucas rum distillery. An experience to enjoy with all five senses. This is undoubtedly one of the best tours of Gran Canaria that you can do.

8. Enjoy a cruise along the coast of Gran Canaria

Afrikat Cruise| ©Rachael W
Afrikat Cruise| ©Rachael W

Going on a cruise is always a good option. In this case, you can enjoy the sea and the views of the coasts of Gran Canaria and the northern portion of the African continent, aboard a luxury catamaran. In addition to the beautiful and calm ride through the translucent waters, this type of cruise makes one or two stops to enjoy a refreshing dip, do some snorkeling and try a dose of adventure, jet skiing or parasailing.

Enjoy this experience to the fullest and have lunch on board, while you hear the sound of the sea and see all the beauty of Gran Canaria's coasts. Lunch and your choice of beverages are usually included in the cruise.

Your captain will tell you the details you need to know about the different areas of the island, its marine fauna, vegetation, protected areas and, of course, its history. This boat tour of Gran Canaria is one of the best activities you can do on the island, so do not hesitate and sign up.

Book your Afrikat morning cruise in Gran Canaria now!

9. Make your diving baptism in the marine reserve of Arinaga

Snorkeling in Gran Canaria| ©chripell
Snorkeling in Gran Canaria| ©chripell

Diving in a place like Gran Canaria is an experience that, I assure you, you will never forget. With its warm and transparent waters and its great marine wealth, diving and snorkeling is one of the ideal activities to do on the island. If you have never done it before, you should sign up for a diving baptism, where you will learn all the basics to be able to explore the depths to your liking. And what better place to do it than the marine reserve of Arinaga?

Also known as El Cabrón marine reserve, here you will be able to see a large number of fish and marine animals, plants, rocks, seahorses, starfish and countless other natural treasures.

Let yourself be surprised by the underwater world of Gran Canaria. Doing a diving baptism will allow you to learn the rudiments of scuba diving so that later you can move freely on the seabed. This type of activity usually has a part of theoretical content, where you will learn the different signs and ways to communicate underwater, and a practical part.

Book now your diving baptism experience in Gran Canaria

10. Treat yourself to a break in one of its many Spa and relaxation centers

Spa day| ©Engin akyurt
Spa day| ©Engin akyurt

Throughout the length and breadth of the island there are a good number of spa and relaxation centers, where you can let yourself be carried away by the hand to a world of relaxation. Treat yourself to a different experience, because although the beaches and the atmosphere in general invite you to get rid of all the stress you may have accumulated during the year, enjoying a Spa is to enjoy yourself on another level, and in an environment designed in detail for your well-being.

The Gran Canaria Spa, Wellness & Health Association has been developing and improving this aspect of the island, to make it one of its most outstanding attractions. Today, there are options for all budgets and all tastes. I can assure you that, if you dare, you will not regret it.

Most of them are located inside some of the best hotels on the island, such as the Seaside Palm Beach or the Corallium Spa Costa Meloneras. Here you can enjoy beauty treatments, relaxing massages, showers and steam baths, water circuits at different temperatures, facials, and much more.

In total you have more than 50 different treatments to choose from. The Thalassotherapy centers and Spa Centers are the perfect excuse to disconnect from the world for a few hours.

As you can see, Gran Canaria has many activities to have a great time. With options for all tastes, this island opens its arms to receive a good number of visitors every year. And while its beaches get all the plaudits, all kinds of experiences are possible, so get your suitcase ready, because Gran Canaria is waiting for you.