Things to do in Gran Canaria

Best Beaches in Gran Canaria

Break out your swimwear and feel the stress melt away on the best beaches in Gran Canaria.

There's one activity that pops up on almost every traveler's list of things to do in Gran Canaria: a trip to the beach. And since this Spanish province gets more than 300 days of sunshine every year, it's always a good time for a day by the shore.

Spectacular stretches of sand appear one after another as you circle the island. Some are teeming with tourists. Others boast rugged scenery and a few scattered sunbathers.

The best beaches in Gran Canaria cater to a wide range of visitors. Whether you prefer to jump in the ocean or simply appreciate it from the comfort of a lounge, you will surely find a favorite.

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

Las Palmas is the biggest city on the island, but that doesn't mean you need to give up on swimming and sunbathing. The capital is home to world-class beaches.

1. Playa de Las Canteras

Playa de Las Canteras is a monster of a beach that runs for miles along the northwestern side of Las Palmas. If you like an urban swimming session, there's no better place on the island. All the amenities of the buzzing city streets are just a few steps away. There's nothing better than a fresh fish lunch at a beach bar overlooking the sea.

While many of the northern Gran Canaria beaches tend to have challenging swimming conditions, Las Canteras is an exception. That's because of La Barra, a reef that parallels the coastline and keeps the area relatively calm. Bring your snorkel gear or book a guided tour, and you can swim with the sea creatures that congregate around the rocks.

Photographer: FrodeCJ

2. Playa de las Alcaravaneras

Across the isthmus from Las Canteras, Playa de las Alcaravaneras offers a different experience. You'll see plenty of boats coasting along the water as you gaze out at the horizon.

It's not uncommon to see local families with kids splashing around on weekends and school holidays. Little ones love to spot cruise ships sailing in and out of port. It also has a small playground.

Given the beach's proximity to the Las Palmas industrial docks, many beach goers opt to sunbathe, stroll along the sand, or play a game of beach volleyball.

3. Playa del Confital

Playa del Confital is just a short distance north of Las Canteras, but the two beaches are like night and day. Without the protection of La Barra, Confital experiences higher winds, so the ocean here is usually better for surfing than swimming.

When the weather is right, you can wade and snorkel or sit on the sand and watch surfers try to get barrelled. The best way to get to the beach is on foot. Start at Parque de Pepe el Limpiabotas and walk along the windswept coastline. The beach is slightly rocky, but it's easy to find a place to relax and lose yourself in the sound of the sea.

4. Playa San Cristóbal de Gran Canaria

A 10-minute drive from the historic Vegueta area, Playa San Cristóbal de Gran Canaria looks unlike any other beach on the island. While there's a small, sandy area on the beach's southern end, most of it's made from small pebbles.

On the opposite end, the stone Castillo de San Cristóbal stands proudly in the same spot it's occupied since 1638. You won't usually see swimmers at this beach, as the shore slopes steeply down to the ocean, making it difficult to get in and out.

A better option is to sit on the rocks with a drink. We love to walk along the promenade, which is lined with brightly colored buildings.

Maspalomas Area

Set on the southern tip of the island, Maspalomas is a popular beach destination. It's all about topography. The mountains rise high above the coast, blocking the trade winds blowing in from the north.

They also keep the rain and clouds on the other side of the island, which means the southern coast is usually hot, dry, and calm. Naturally, this is where you'll find the largest concentration of beach hotels, bars, and water parks in Gran Canaria.

5. Playa de Maspalomas

Playa de Maspalomas is a good option if you're looking for a quiet beach. While there's plenty of activity near the resorts in the Meloneras area, as you walk toward the Maspalomas sand dunes, everything gets quiet.

Soon, you'll see nothing but sand, sea, and a few scattered beach kiosks. This secluded feeling puts Maspalomas in the running for the nicest beach in Gran Canaria. Planning to surf? You'll find the best conditions near the Punta de Maspalomas.

For the full local experience, walk along the dunes down to Playa del Inglés. Just be aware there's a popular nude beach around the halfway point.

Photographer: Viesturs Brolišs

6. Playa del Inglés

Playa del Inglés, which translates to English Beach, is a classic European resort-style beach. Rows of loungers occupy the sand, and cafés with huge sidewalk seating areas go on as far as the eye can see.

If you're looking for a party, you've found it. Tourists drink fruity cocktails at beach bars, winter-pale Brits bake in the sun, and vendors stroll the sand offering massages. Chair rentals are such a bargain that you can stay the whole day without thinking twice.

Even with everything going on, you're unlikely to feel crowded; the beach is intense and nearly two miles long. Walk south toward the dunes to find empty sand and plenty of privacy. This unusual duality makes Playa del Inglés one of the best beaches in Gran Canaria, Spain. There's a spot on the sand to suit all tastes.

7. Playa de San Agustín

Many hotels and condo buildings line the cliffs at Playa de San Agustín, giving it the feeling of an urban beach. This area gets more wind than most spots on the island's southern side, which means it's rarely crowded.

The ocean bottom here is rocky in places, and it isn't always ideal for swimming. For long walks and quiet afternoons spent reading, however, Playa de San Agustín is a winner. Buses run regularly from Maspalomas, so you don't have to worry about driving or finding a taxi.

Puerto Rico and Mogán

Puerto Rico is another popular resort town on the southern coast of Gran Canaria. Backed by dramatic cliffs, it's one of the most beautiful spots on the island—and about a 10-minute drive from Mogán. Looking for peace and quiet? Puerto Rico beaches tend to be slightly more relaxed than those in Maspalomas and Playa del Inglés.

8. Playa de Amadores

Be careful driving down the hill to Playa de Amadores. It's easy to get distracted by the perfect semicircle of golden sand stretching along the sea. This beach, which is a short car ride from Maspalomas and Playa del Inglés, has a decidedly quieter vibe.

Many people come here to nap in the sand or float with a view of the rocky mountains that rise steeply from the shore. Two rock walls protect the small bay and create calm swimming conditions.

Affordable umbrella and lounge-chair rentals are available, but you can also pack a beach blanket and set up camp closer to the ocean. Rent a pedal boat in the high season, and satisfy sudden cravings at the restaurants and stores that line the back edge of the beach.

Photographer: Sergiu Iacob

9. Playa de Mogán

Puerto de Mogán is often called the "Little Venice" of Gran Canaria. A stone's throw from the canals and colorful Spanish buildings, the local village welcomes ardent sunseekers. It's small and casual, populated mostly by locals and people staying in the nearby boutique hotels.

Playa de Mogán feels more like a small-town beach than a resort property, with visitors bringing their own towels and umbrellas. Local families love the swimming opportunities and vigilant lifeguards.

The compact stretch of sand can get crowded, so make sure to stake your claim early in the day. Plenty of shops and eateries are also within walking distance, so you can send someone for snacks without losing your spot.

Voir cette publication sur Instagram

Une publication partagée par Puerto de Mogan 💜 (@puertodemogan)

10. Playa de Tauro

Just up the coast from Amadores Beach, Playa de Tauro has a largely undeveloped shoreline and a distinct rustic charm. If you prefer wild, natural settings to sidewalk cafés and chair rentals, this is one of the best beaches in Gran Canaria.

We love the desert environment and remote feeling. They're a welcome relief after the cheerful chaos of the Playa del Inglés area.

Coming from Playa de Amadores? Skip the hassle of parking and walk to Playa de Tauro. As you round the rocky point, keep an eye out for the cave that extends into the cliff. If you're a strong swimmer, you can jump in and explore the inside.

11. Playa del Cura

Playa del Cura is one of the quietest beaches in this part of Gran Canaria. Small and peaceful, it's frequented mostly by people staying in the nearby resorts. Crowds are usually nonexistent, so it's a great place to read a book or stroll along the sand.

Amenities are limited, so make sure to bring your own water and beach gear. Our favorite way to get to this beach is by walking over from Playa de Amadores on the coastal path. The views are excellent, and you get to see several beautiful beaches in one shot.


Tucked between Las Palmas and Maspalomas, Telde is a sleepy little town known for its eye-catching historic architecture. The area's beaches tend to be made from dark volcanic sand.

Most tourist and family activities in Gran Canaria are concentrated elsewhere on the island, making this region a wonderful place to escape the crowds and immerse yourself in Canarian life.

12. Playa de Melenara

The Roman god Neptune watches over swimmers at Playa de Melenara—in a manner of speaking, at least. A 13-foot statue of the sea god and his trident stands imposingly on a rock just off the shore. Nearby, anglers cast off the large fishing pier.

Playa de Melenara is one of the top beaches in Gran Canaria, but many tourists miss it. If you venture a few minutes off the main island road, however, you'll discover clean, black sand and a tranquil setting. We love the area's local vibe. It's a nice change of pace from the surrounding resort communities.

Voir cette publication sur Instagram

Une publication partagée par Miguel Guti (@miguelgutierrezmayor)

13. Playa de Salinetas

The understated Playa de Salinetas is a hidden gem of the Telde area. It's small and simple, boasting only the essential beach amenities. On hot days, the sand fills up with local families eager to cool off in the ocean or get their daily doses of Vitamin D.

Before jumping in, check the flags to ensure it's safe to swim. At the south end, you'll find a natural pool teeming with kids. When the sand gets too crowded, head up to one of the restaurants on the promenade for exceptional Spanish food and cool drinks. The view is spectacular, especially as the sun sets.

14. Playa de la Garita

The lovely Playa de la Garita flies under the radar on an island packed with beaches. You're more likely to see Canarians strolling along the shore and kids playing in the sand. Swimming is possible when the weather allows, but the currents are often too strong for safety.

When the winds pick up, walk south toward the Monumento a las nadadoras. The view from the point encompasses the entire beach and the surrounding town.

Selecting the Perfect Gran Canaria Beach for Your Vacation

When it comes to beaches, Gran Canaria has an abundance of riches. As you explore the volcanic landscape, keep a towel in the trunk. After you've explored the natural wonders of the island by day, join our performers for an escapist evening of live entertainment.

Our shows in Gran Canaria will sweep you up in a rush of light and music, bringing you to a world as fantastical and dreamy as the one outside. We tell stories with astonishing acrobatics and clever technology, creating an experience you'll always remember.

More articles about