Are you ready for a winter escape to an island full of adventures? Choose Gran Canaria if you are: a hiker, a windsurfer, a wavesurfer, a diver, a cyclist, a climber, an explorer, a beach lover, a romancer or a parent looking for a great family vacation! ;=)
In January, Jerry and I desperately needed vitamin D, so we found our next adventure in Gran Canaria - one of the 7 Canary Islands near Morocco! Before we set our feet on this Spanish island, we were looking for an adventurous/exploring-type of travel itinerary on the internet but in the end we weren't quite satisfied with what we've found. Now, in order to help you guys, we listed our travel itinerary for 7 days in Gran Canaria:
Gran Canaria - Travel Itinerary
Day 1 - the Arrival and Beach Time
San Augustin or Wherever You are Staying
Relax! It's your first day on the island! Spread your towel on the beach or spend a quiet day wherever your base is and save up some energy for the next days of adventure! Our hotel was located at the San Augustin beach which gave us the possibility to enjoy a walk on the beach already on the first day.
Day 2 - the West and Northwest Coast
Puerto de Mogan
Puerto de Mogan is a lovely stop if you are looking for a nice place to eat, have your coffee, plunge into the water or shop some souvenirs! If you don't need anything of that, just skip it and head to the wonderful dam called Presa de las Ninas!
Presa de las Ninas
The place which should NOT be skipped on your trip to Gran Canaria, is the dam called Presa de las Ninas. The picturesque road leading to this amazing spot is quite impressive too but be prepared for many curves. Once there, hike around the lake or take the walk from Presa de las Ninas to the next dam called Sorria! If you don't like hiking, just enjoy your time at the dam, relax or have a BBQ! It is such a beautiful place - actually one of our favourites...
Playa de la Aldea
The small beach in the South-West corner of the island is a perfect stop to plunge into the water and to let some sun rays on your skin! Nearby, there is a path (impossible to miss) leading to the top of a hill - walk up and enjoy the views over the cliffs!
Mirador de Balcon
After 5 minutes of driving, there is this viewpoint called Mirador de Balcon. It is one of those stops which get your breath away! The view of the cliffs launched from the sea with the Teneriffe vulcano in the back will make you realize how stunning the Canary islands are!
When you drive along the West Coast, you will be surprised how the landscape changes all the time! From the brown-coloured rocks to the area with green surfaces! There is this viewpoint called Andes Verde - stop there and take some great pictures!
Puerto de las Nieves
This village was one of our favourite villages on the whole trip! It is a small fishing village, known for its houses with its white/blue facades! Everyone who visits this village, I'd suggest to sit down in one of the restaurants on the promenade and order the famous Canary meal - potatoes with local fish and the mojo sauce! Soo tasty! It's also worth to stay in order to capture a picturesque sunset!
Day 3 - the Central Island
Remember, Roque Nublo is one of the MUST-SEE places in Gran Canaria! Why? It is a volcanic rock, protected as a natural monument and has a height of 1,813 metres! It is therefore the second highest peak on the island! It offers some of the best views on the island, as it is picturesque in all directions! It makes also a perfect hiking experience, since there are many hiking paths to conquer! (Look out for a circle hiking path around the Rock)
Tejeda is one of the highest located villages in Gran Canaria! The white houses in the middle of the mountainous area make the visit of this village worthy! Maybe you want to book your stay right here? Why not!
It's about a 40-minute to 1 hour up and down walk if you wanna climb the Roque Bentayga. With its 1,803 metres, it is one of the highest points in Gran Canaria! And the views up there are great!
Day 4 - the South and Central Island
Another day, another adventure! Now it is time to drive some curves to see probably the most green part of the island - if you drive from Maspalomas towards Santa Lucia, right at the beginning, there will be an obvious viewpoint (Mirador in Spanish), which just needs your attention! Look at the photos below, it will make your heart skip! ;)
Presa de la Sorrueda
Another great stop is the area called Sorrueda. Aside of the amazing mountainous landscape, full of palms and cactuses, there is this dam which makes the view even more interesting! Now, don't drive back - go to the next must-see stop - La Fortaleza Grande.
Believe me, your day will feel perfect if you stop at Fortaleza Grande. Ascend 5 minutes and reach the famous hole. Once there, you will have an impressive view over the canyon and the majestic mountains on the other side!
Santa Lucia is a cute mountain village in the Southern part of the island! It has an impressive church to visit, a beautiful park to sit in and some great cafes resp. restaurants with terraces! Oh yes, you can order a fresh orange juice too!
Dunas de Maspalomas
In Gran Canaria, mother nature was really generous in terms of diverse landscapes! The view of the dunes of Maspalomas are special mostly due to the oasis and the mountainous area in the back! Go for a sandy sunset stroll and have fun with taking some hilarious photos!
Watch the sun go down while walking along the coast from the Maspalomas dunes to the Meloneras Beach! Once you arrive the promenade of Meloneras, have dinner in one of the restaurants!
Day 5 - the North and Northeast Coast
Caldera de Bandama
Don't miss out this great viewpoint called Bandama! Once you access it, you will be awarded with great views in all directions!
Arucas is one of the villages, you just have to visit while cruising around the island! And why is that? It's the great centre with lots of cafes and restaurants, houses with colourful facades, an astonishing park and an impressive cathedral! But don't forget to visit the highest point of Arucas - La Montana de Arucas! You can go there by car and enjoy the stunning views over the North coast of Gran Canaria!
After Arucas, another cute village is waiting for you! Make sure to stop here, walk through the small but nice centre, observe the colourful houses and enter one of the restaurants to enjoy a delicious meal - e.g. paella or potatoes with the mojo sauce! Yummi ;)
La Isleta lies in the most Northern part of Gran Canaria. It's a great place if you wanna skip the crowds of the city Las Palmas and enjoy a nice walk on the peninsula. Nevertheless, if you skip this part, don't worry to much. Although it's nice there, it's is not a part of the island you should definitely visit!
Day 6 - the Beach Day
It's your the last day on Gran Canaria - why not relaxing on the beach, reading a book or sipping some fresh juices? No hustle and bustle, just enjoy a quiet day on the island!
Day 7 - the Departure
It's a sad day - time to pack your things and prepare to leave the beautiful island! And.....make sure to return ;)
When to Go
Visiting Gran Canaria in January turned out pretty awesome! The temperature was between 20 - 23 C Degrees during the day, with some chilly mornings and evenings, the water was a bit cold (20 C Degrees) but as many others, we plunged into the water too! The whole week, except from one evening, when it started to pure, it was sunny! There were many tourists in Las Palmas and Maspalomas, but not many on the Beach of La Burras and San Augustin. The island can be visited the whole year around, the peak season is concerned to be in July and August. If I were you, I would try to avoid it since it can get pretty crowded!
Where to Stay
Our choice were the apartments of Tarahal in San Augustin near Maspalomas (didn't have much choice due to late booking). A pretty great stay if you want to be near the beach, the dunes, the restaurants, the shopping centres, nightclubs, the motorway etc., however I think you can do even better! Choose a hotel or an airbnb stay, which is somewhere in the mountains - e.g. in Santa Lucia, Teror, Arucas or Tejeda (must be awesome!), or in one of the villages on the coastline - e.g. Agaete, Puerto de las Nieves or Puerto de Mogan! The only thing I want you to know - if you choose to stay in the aforementioned places, you will have to drive the small curved roads each day to reach other places on the island! But still, I think it might be worth it ... ;)
Check the accommodation prices here:
A coffee costs about 1.5 Euros, a beer 2 Euros.
A paella is between 8 - 19 euros. In many places around 12 Euros, though. A fish with potatoes and the mojo sauce will cost about 8 Euros.
Renting out a car for a week (Fiat Panda) costed around 180 Euros (incl. full casco - 3 Eur per day)
The last minute accommodation costed around 400 Euros. You can do better! ;)
Good to Know
- Views while you have your coffee or eat your lunch: I wish people would tell us this prior to our arrival - where to have a coffee or lunch with a view: Between Mogan and Las Casas de Veneguera; Between Santa Lucia and Fataga
- Make sure to take the map of Gran Canaria right after your arrival at the airport - all viewpoints and must-see places are marked on the map!
- The roads are very curvy - if you tend to have stomach problems, make sure to take some medicine with you
- The roads are also very narrow - be careful and take the full casco insurance!
- Visit the highest peak of Gran Canaria - Pico de las Nieves (1,949 m) - must be nice!
- Drive to the highest located town called Artenara - I've heard its lovely!
- If you are a cyclist, Gran Canaria is definitely for you - many cyclists were seen on the road Maspalomas - Mogan - Presa de las Ninas; Maspalomas - Fataga.
- Vegetarian? You can order also a vegetable paella - a delicious one can be ordered in the village called Teror!
- Try the Canary speciality - the mojo sauce!
- Apparently it is also worth to stop at dams called Presa de Soria, Presa de Chira!
- There is a great coffee house right on the Meloneras beach!
- You can pay with credit card almost in all restaurants, bars or cafes!
- According to a local, the Canary island, called la Gomera, is one of the hidden gems you have to see!