Things to do in Gran Canaria

Discover Where to Stay in Gran Canaria

Set the tone for your vacation by picking the perfect place to stay in Gran Canaria.

Gran Canaria is a land of contrasts. Although it's just over 48 km in diameter, the island boasts lofty volcanic peaks, golden beaches, and buzzing cities. The accommodation options are as varied as the landscape.

You can book a luxurious resort near the beach, a serene lodge overlooking a canyon, or even a glitzy hotel in the city center. Deciding where to stay in Gran Canaria is truly one of the best parts about visiting.

If you're unsure where to start, consider what activities you plan. With so many things to do in Gran Canaria, you'll save time and money by staying close to the attractions at the top of your list. Plus, once you get into the swing of island life, you might not want to venture far from your home base.

Urban and Cultural Experiences

Gran Canaria is best known as a beach destination but has a rich history and culture. If you're hoping to experience those aspects of the island, these are the best places to stay in Gran Canaria.

1. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

Bustling Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is the island's capital and biggest city. Here, you'll find world-class restaurants, shopping, and a major cruise port.

If you're hoping to maximize your time at the beach, look for hotels on the isthmus. They're close to Playa de Las Canteras, one of the best beaches in Gran Canaria. For cobblestone streets and gorgeous colonial architecture, look no further than historic Vegueta.

Photographer: slavikfi

2. Vecindario

Immerse yourself in local life in Vecindario, a small town about 37 km south of Las Palmas. Since this community isn't located on the beach or in the city center, it offers affordable hotel prices and a quiet atmosphere. But that's not to say there isn't anything to do.

Vecindario has a large performing arts center, the modern Atlántico shopping center, and the weekly Mercadillo Recinto Ferial open-air market. Don't miss the excellent (and free) Museo La Zafra, which explores the history of agriculture in Gran Canaria.

3. Arucas

Historic Arucas is one of our favorite Gran Canaria towns. It's dominated by the stone towers of Parroquia de San Juan Bautista de Arucas, a massive neo-Gothic church, which makes a big aesthetic impact. The surrounding streets are lined with colorful stone buildings and the occasional palm tree.

After the day-trippers head back to Las Palmas and Maspalomas, Arucas takes on a quiet, dreamy quality. People stroll arm-in-arm past warmly lit shops and dine in tiny restaurants.

As you research the limited local hotels and vacation rentals, look for one with rooftop access. The views of the illuminated cathedral will leave you speechless.

Beach Resorts and Nightlife

Many visitors choose Gran Canaria for its spectacular beaches and exuberant nightlife. In winter, Brits and northern Europeans come in droves to bask in the sunshine. The best areas for beaches and nightlife are located on the island's southern coast, where the weather is usually warm and dry.

4. Playa del Inglés

Playa del Inglés is one of Gran Canaria's party hot spots. Lively and vibrant, it's the kind of place where something is always happening. The highlight of the area is the sandy beach, which offers miles of restaurants, bars, and glittering golden sand.

Rent a beach chair and umbrella and spend your vacation in a state of relaxed bliss. When it comes to accommodation, Playa del Inglés has hundreds of options for all styles and budgets. Take your pick of hotels, large family resorts, and condo-style vacation rentals.

Photographer: Paul Pastourmatzis

5. Maspalomas

Maspalomas is the best area to stay in Gran Canaria if you're coming to experience the island's legendary gay tourism scene. The city has its own Pride festival, and the Yumbo Centre boasts a remarkable collection of gay bars—everyone is welcome. This might be the most inclusive and welcoming spot in all of Gran Canaria.

The heart of Maspalomas in Gran Canaria is known for its wild parties and wide range of bars. Looking for something more elevated? Check out one of the impeccable boutique hotels. Some offer rooftop pools and cocktail lounges.

6. Puerto Rico de Gran Canaria

Just down the coast from Maspalomas, Puerto Rico de Gran Canaria has a more serene, low-key vibe. Hotels and condos are built up the steep hillsides that rise above town, making it easy to find accommodations with an ocean view.

The upper parts of Puerto Rico are close to the Mogan Mall and a sizable commercial area with all the services you might need. It's quieter down by the water, but you'll have an easier time accessing Playa de Puerto Rico and the local marina.

7. San Agustín

Located just outside of Playa del Inglés, San Agustín offers the best of both worlds. You're close to the fun but far enough away that the noise from clubs and bars won't disturb your sleep.

This resort community offers two pleasant beaches and a breezy location. Vacation rentals and large hotels abound, making it easy to find a place to stay, even when the surrounding communities are packed.

8. Patalavaca

If you're hoping to hole up in a hotel room with a view of the sea, the town of Patalavaca delivers. A wall of resorts and apartment buildings lines the shore, creating a huge array of accommodation options.

Patalavaca has a beautiful black-sand beach that guests of nearby properties mostly use. You may need a car to get to the island's major attractions. If you don't drive, the local bus stops nearby.

9. Playa de Amadores

With its perfect curved shape and rugged mountain backdrop, Playa de Amadores is one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. If you're serious about spending time by the sea, this area is the best place to stay in Gran Canaria. You'd be hard-pressed to find better swimming and sunbathing anywhere else.

The neighborhood above the beach is largely residential, with a few hotels mixed in for good measure. You can eat at the small selection of restaurants along the beach or walk over to the main part of Puerto Rico.

Photographer: Sergiu Iacob

10. Meloneras

The Meloneras neighborhood is located on the southwestern edge of Maspalomas. Known for its upscale resorts and luxurious spas, it's the perfect place to relax and pamper yourself. Most properties here are within walking distance of the sea, so you spend your entire vacation without setting foot in a car.

Playa de Maspalomas is the highlight of Meloneras. It's popular with families and people who want to climb around the massive sand dunes to the east. For a quieter experience, you can also walk west to Playa de las Meloneras.

Quaint Towns and Rural Escapes

If busy cities and beach towns aren't your style, steer clear of the coast and head inland. Hidden in the mountainous interior is a wealth of rural villages steeped in the island's storied past. These picturesque towns are among the nicest places in Gran Canaria for history buffs and outdoor adventurers alike.

11. Tejeda

The Spanish village of Tejeda is set high in the mountains near the center of Gran Canaria. White houses with red roofs perch on the hillsides, surrounded by rocky peaks and lush greenery. The area is known for its almond trees, and tourists come from far and wide to see them blossom in the spring.

When you're not exploring Tejeda's stone streets and hidden plazas, spend time popping into the small artisan shops. The town center offers a small selection of restaurants. You'll need a rental car to travel between your hotel and other island attractions.

Photographer: Vikino

12. Teror

Nestled in the verdant hills of northern Gran Canaria, the town of Teror is a lovely place to spend a few nights. This area has been a religiously significant spot since 1481 when shepherds witnessed a vision of the Virgin Mary. Today, it's best known for the Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Pino, a church dedicated to the patron saint of Gran Canaria.

The streets in the old town are an attraction in their own right. The colorful facades and traditional wooden balconies create a palpable sense of history. Most hotels in town are within walking distance of the Sunday street market and the shops along La Calle Real.

13. Fataga

Terraced rock cliffs tower above the village of Fataga, a tiny hamlet set in Gran Canaria's Valley of a Thousand Palm Trees. The whitewashed houses create a striking contrast with the surrounding landscape. It's almost impossible to take a bad photo here.

The town itself is quiet, but the mountains offer a wealth of treasures. Lace up your sturdiest shoes and hike the Fataga trails, or enjoy leisurely scenic drives on winding roads. Feeling adventurous? Book a camel ride through the valley with a local outfitter.

14. Santa Brígida

The small town of Santa Brígida is popular for day trips, but we prefer to stay overnight. This is one of the best places in Gran Canaria to learn about the region’s centuries of history. Stroll the narrow streets and soak in the age-old energy of the unusual stone buildings.

If possible, book your stay for the weekend. That way, you can stuff yourself with artisan goodies at the local market. They pair perfectly with the delicious local wines. When you're ready to go further afield, check out the El Tejar archaeological site.

Picturesque Villages and Quiet Retreats

Want to feel awestruck by nature's might? Longing to live out your Mamma Mia! dreams in a fishing village by the sea? Plan the vacation of a lifetime in these quaint Gran Canaria towns.

15. La Aldea de San Nicolás

We're not exaggerating when we say the municipality of La Aldea de San Nicolás has some of the most breathtaking scenery in all of Gran Canaria. Jagged mountains run up to the ocean, green valleys stretch between peaks, and cacti-studded hillsides line the roadways.

You can see all these natural wonders from your base camp in the town of La Aldea de San Nicolás. Book one of the small local hotels, and plan day trips to sights, including Playa de Güigüí, Tamadaba Natural Park, and La Aldea Beach.

16. Puerto de Mogán

Puerto de Mogán is one of the most appealing towns in Gran Canaria. The snow-white buildings are trimmed in varying colors, and flower-laden arches soar above the quiet streets. It's impossibly pretty. You'll find yourself stopping for photos on every block.

We recommend booking a hotel or apartment close to the shore to avoid long uphill walks. Near the ocean, the protected village beach is a kid-friendly swimming spot. Practice your angling on one of the regular fishing tours from the marina. Or, take a page from our book and sip wine at a café while watching yachts sail into the bay.

Photographer: Jonny_Joka

17. Agaete

Hiking, swimming, and scenery—Agaete of Las Palmas has it all. Set between the peaks and the sea, this enchanting village is the jewel of northwestern Gran Canaria. Book a stay in one of the town's gleaming white hotels and settle in for a few days of sheer enjoyment.

Start your trip with a dip in the natural rock pool by the shore, and follow it up with a stroll along the coast. At Maipés de Agaete archeological park, you can wander among ancient funeral mounds with a view of the mountains. Are you in the mood for island hopping? Ferries to Tenerife leave from the dock opposite the town beach.

18. Taurito

Tiny Taurito doesn't get as much attention as many of the other towns on the southern coast, but it has plenty to offer. The wedge-shaped community is bounded by a series of resorts, each with hundreds of rooms.

The real attraction is Lago Taurito Water Park. With pools and high-speed slides, it's one of the best family activities in Gran Canaria. Book your stay in Taurito early, especially during school breaks. The rooms fill up fast with families who come to play mini-golf and lounge in the sun.

19. Arguineguín

In the town of Arguineguín, you're just as likely to hear Norwegian as you are Spanish. This fishing village's condos and resort rooms are a popular winter escape for people from Norway.

What brings them here? The dazzling Playa de Anfi del Mar, to start. With its white sand and rows of palm trees, it's what you expect from an island vacation.

Closer to town, you'll find the dark-sand Playa Las Marañuelas and the adorable Playa Costa Alegre. Beyond the beach, Arguineguín offers dolphin-watching, markets, and fantastic restaurants.

Choosing Your Ideal Stay in Gran Canaria

Despite its small size, Gran Canaria has many places to stay. Book a peaceful weekend in a historic mountain village, or dance until dawn in a sparkling beach resort town. Everywhere you go, the island's wild and wonderful landscapes await.

While you're on the island, book tickets to one of our shows in Gran Canaria. Our performers take you on a storytelling journey, introducing you to places and creatures that are only possible in our collective imagination. After an evening of gravity-defying acrobatics, you'll dance all the way back to your hotel.

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