Things to do in Gran Canaria

Gran Canaria Towns to Visit

Dazzling beaches, gourmet restaurants, and landscapes straight out of a Picasso painting—Gran Canaria has it all.

Located in the Canary Islands, Gran Canaria ticks all the boxes for a relaxing getaway. Duty-free shopping, secluded beaches, and soaring mountain peaks are just a few things to look forward to. Gran Canaria also has mild weather, flavorful cuisine, and unique cave houses, making it the perfect retirement place.

Before you list things to do in Gran Canaria, learn more about some of this autonomous community's most beautiful towns.

Northern Gran Canaria

Northern Gran Canaria includes charming villages, rocky beaches, fine dining, and luxury hotels. If you’re a nature enthusiast, head to Firgas to see some of the most beautiful mineral springs in the region.

Las Palmas is ideal for foodies, beach bums, and shopping enthusiasts. Northern Gran Canaria is also home to several significant religious sites.

1. Las Palmas

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is the largest city in the Canary Islands, but it has the perfect mix of modern amenities and old-world charm. Step into the past with a day trip to Vegueta, home to Santa Ana Cathedral, and several other examples of traditional Canarian architecture.

The cobblestone streets will have you thinking you’re strolling along the coast of Spain. If you’re a city mouse, visit Triana to browse its eclectic boutiques or chat with friends at a local café. The streets are filled with colorful murals and sculptures, making the neighborhood a popular destination for art enthusiasts.

Las Palmas is also home to Playa de Las Canteras, one of Gran Canaria’s best beaches. If you need a break from the sand and surf, head to the promenade for an ice-cold drink or a bite to eat. The city has ten Michelin-starred restaurants, so there’s no reason to leave hungry. After dinner, belt out your favorite tunes with some karaoke in Las Palmas.

2. Teror

Despite its name, Teror in Gran Canaria is anything but terrifying. It’s a hidden oasis where locals relax and breathe in the crisp mountain air. While you’re in town, visit Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Pino (Our Lady of the Pine). Legend has it that the Virgin Mary appeared at the top of a nearby pine tree in the 15th century.

If you have a free weekend, head to the Sunday market. You’ll find an assortment of artisan cheeses and colorful produce. Some vendors also sell chorizo, one of the most popular foods in the region. Delight your taste buds with spicy chorizo and a creamy cheddar slice. It's one of our favorite places to visit in Teror.

Top off your visit with a hike to Cruz de Tejada. Although it’s a long trek, it’s well worth the effort. If you need to catch your breath, stop to take photos of the lush greenery or enjoy the scent of the nearby eucalyptus groves. Panoramic views of the Teror landscape await you at the top.

Photographer: Guillaume Didelet

3. Firgas

Once you arrive in Firgas, you'll notice natural springs and waterfalls around you. Begin your visit to Plaza de San Roque, the site of Paseo de Canarias. The landmark has seven mosaics meant to represent the seven islands of Gran Canaria. Paseo de Canarias also has a fountain surrounded by colorful flowers.

After a long stroll through the town’s cobblestone streets, head to Paseo de Gran Canaria. Not to be confused with Paseo de Canarias, this attraction is the highlight of any trip to Firgas. Locals even believe it has healing properties.

4. Santa María de Guía Gran Canaria

Santa María de Guía Gran Canaria has a bit of everything, from natural wonders to a church designed in the ornate Canarian Baroque style.

Start with a visit to Plaza Grande, a public square shaded by palm trees. The plaza has several historic buildings, including the Parroquia Santa María de Guía.

Take photos of the unusual facade, which features limestone from local quarries. Next up is a walk through Guía’s winding streets. Colorful houses dot the landscape, making this quaint town even more alluring.

Santa María de Guía is also home to Casa-Museo Antonio Padrón. The 16th-century museum contains some of Padrón’s best works. When you’re finished sightseeing, cool off with a dip in the Roque Prieto natural swimming pools.

Central Gran Canaria

Unleash your inner adventurer with a visit to Central Gran Canaria, home to Tamadaba Natural Park. Bungee jumping, scuba diving, kayaking, and coasteering are all on the menu. If you only have time for one activity, we recommend coasteering—it’s a mash-up of all these activities.

If adventure activities aren’t for you, don’t panic. Central Gran Canaria has plenty of places to hike. Locals love traversing Camino de Santiago and Ruta de las Presas, but several pristine nature reserves exist. At the end of a long day, we love to relax here with a glass of wine and watch the stars twinkle in the inky night.

Central Gran Canaria is a nature lover’s paradise, but you don’t have to go outside to satisfy your thirst for adventure. Our action-packed shows in Gran Canaria feature amazing acrobatics, spectacular stunts, and colorful costumes.

5. Tejeda

You’ll feel a sense of calm as you hike through the mountain village of Tejeda. Almond trees and Canarian pines provide much-needed shade for weary travelers.

If you visit at the right time, the sweet smell of almond blossoms makes the experience even more special. Your next move depends on whether you’re a thrill seeker or a casual hiker. Adrenaline lovers adore cycling to the Pico de las Nieves.

As the highest point in Gran Canaria, the peak offers stunning views of Roque Nublo and other local landmarks. For a more laid-back experience, check out the scenery at Presa de las Niñas or Llanos de la Pez.

Photographer: Vikino

6. Vega de San Mateo

Vega de San Mateo is one of the most gorgeous towns in Gran Canaria, but it looks more like an alpine wonderland than an island destination. Mountain peaks offer picturesque views of verdant hills, wildflowers, and sturdy pines. You can even see the Los Pozos de la Nieve, a set of wells used to store snow back when ice pops weren’t widely available.

Natural beauty draws people to Vega de San Mateo, but there are many reasons to stay. The town has a large agricultural and craft market, making it the ideal destination for anyone who loves fresh produce and handmade items. It's also the site of the Parish Church, which features a bell shipped to Gran Canaria from Cuba.

Southern Gran Canaria

As you move south, it gets a little warmer, making Southern Gran Canaria the perfect place for swimming and sunbathing.

Playa del Inglés, Playa de Puerto Rico, and Playa de Amadores have public showers and restrooms, making fitting beach fun into your busy itinerary easier. Southern Gran Canaria also has high-end shops, lighthouses, and other attractions to occupy you.

7. Maspalomas

The tourist town of Maspalomas has several elegant resorts. Before you hit the beach, take a moment to appreciate the Maspalomas Lighthouse. First proposed in 1861, it towers over dunes, ponds, and other natural features, making it a popular meeting point for tour groups.

Today, Maspalomas Lighthouse is an anchor for one of the region’s busiest tourist areas. Step onto the promenade to access multiple restaurants and shops. If you don’t feel like shopping, grab a cocktail and engage in some people-watching.

No trip to Maspalomas Lighthouse is complete without a visit to the Natural Dune Reserve. The protected area has three distinct ecosystems, so walking on the marked paths is essential. With sand as far as the eye can see, it’s easy to imagine yourself riding a camel through the desert.

Western Gran Canaria

Western Gran Canaria has at least one coastal town, but its inland areas have some of the best natural features. The region is home to the Tamadaba Range, a popular spot for hiking and cliff climbing, and a mountain made of volcanic ash.

If sport climbing isn’t your thing, drive to Agaete. Like many Gran Canaria towns, it has several historic churches. We recommend visiting Virgen de las Nieves to see a triptych by Flemish artist Joos van Cleve. While you’re in the area, stop by La Aldea de San Nicolás to enjoy its natural beauty.

8. La Aldea de San Nicolás

In La Aldea de San Nicolás, locals are all about honoring their cultural heritage. You can participate in a cheesemaking demonstration or learn how to milk a cow.

You can even tour a tomato warehouse or visit a traditional school. While you’re visiting, chat with some local senior citizens. They’re dedicated to spreading the word about La Aldea de San Nicolás traditions.

Now, it’s time for an architectural tour. Start with Parroquia de San Nicolás de Tolentino, an architectural gem featuring rose windows, tiled towers, and other eye-catching details.

Eastern Gran Canaria

Eastern Gran Canaria has some of the best museums in the Canary Islands due to its historical significance. It’s also home to a network of cave dwellings that some of the area’s Indigenous peoples use. Natural beauty abounds in Telde and Ingenio, making them proverbial magnets for hikers.

9. Telde

Palm trees, Spanish-style architecture, and sunny skies await you in Telde, one of the oldest cities in Gran Canaria. We recommend heading straight to the San Juan foundational area, the heart of the city, which has something for everyone.

Be sure to visit the Minor Basilica, a church designed in the Gothic and neo-Gothic architectural styles. It contains ornamental screens painted by Flemish artists, making it one of the most important cultural sites in the town of Telde.

Before you leave, snap a photo of the silver cross at the top of the building. Designed by Tarasco Indians in Mexico, the cross holds tremendous artistic significance.

We hope you left room in your luggage for souvenirs. Los Llanos de San Gregorio has some of the best shopping in town. Load your bags with jewelry, scarves, art prints, and other items to commemorate your trip.

10. Valsequillo de Gran Canaria

Enjoy the authentic flavors of Valsequillo de Gran Canaria, one of the most beautiful towns in the region. Farm-to-table food has never tasted so good, thanks to award-winning cheeses, locally grown almonds, and juicy strawberries. We highly recommend the local honey, which pairs well with fresh fruits and crusty breads from the oven.

If you have a crafty travel companion, surprise them with a visit to one of the many craft stalls in the city. Local artists take full advantage of the unique climate by foraging for reeds, stones, and other items to use in their work.

11. Ingenio

Folk art is the name of the game in the town of Ingenio, the site of Museo de Piedras y Artesiana. The museum features well-preserved examples of traditional Canarian objects in a former residential estate.

Ingenio is the site of the Guayadeque ravine, which stretches 15 m along the town’s border with Agüimes.

For a truly unique travel experience, rent one of the cave houses for your next holiday. The caves stay cool, making them ideal for spring and summer vacations to Gran Canaria.

12. Agüimes

Agüimes is a tiny village with a mighty spirit. Parroquia de San Sebastián is a big draw due to its status as a national cultural monument. The parish building has features of neoclassical and Canarian architecture, such as Tuscan columns, plenty of arches, and a distinctive dome.

If you need a quick break, visit Plaza del Rosario to view bright blue tiles decorated with Indigenous symbols.

Photographer: Ryan Faulkner-Hogg

Southwestern Gran Canaria

Head to Southwestern Gran Canaria for even more fun in the sun. Beaches, sugar cane mills, and seaside promenades combine to turn the region into an island paradise.

13. Mogán

Say goodbye to the French Riviera and hello to Mogán in Gran Canaria. Although the town has plenty of cultural sites, the beach is one of its top attractions. The ocean beckons visitors who want to enjoy the salty air while searching for dolphins. The local marina is also a popular meeting place for boat owners.

If you plan to stay awhile, visit Molino Quemado (Burnt Mill). At one time, it was a supplier of flour and powdered, toasted corn.

Photographer: Kamil Molendys

14. Puerto Rico de Gran Canaria

Come for the relaxing atmosphere, stay for the spectacular sunsets. Puerto Rico de Gran Canaria receives little rain, making it one of the best destinations for beach bums.

If you need a little R&R, you’re in luck. Some people spend the whole day in their bathing suits, so feel free to do absolutely nothing but lounge in the sun.

Exploring the Enchanting Towns of Gran Canaria: A Journey's End

Once you figure out where to stay in Gran Canaria, you’re ready to build the itinerary of your dreams.

Make your visit even more special with tickets to one of our thrilling shows in Gran Canaria. Our performers put their all into every show, delighting audience members with awe-inspiring acrobatics and groundbreaking storytelling. Join us for an immersive experience you’ll never forget.

More articles about