Whether it’s a family getaway with the little ones, a couple’s retreat or a night out on the tiles, Gran Canaria has something for everyone. Based just off North West Africa, you can be assured of hot weather and gorgeous beaches. Often the resort for a one or two week holiday, it can be easy to be trapped into the ‘sit on a beach all day’ attitude, therefore it is best to draw up a list of everything you want to try while in Gran Canaria. I would therefore take a look through my list of things to do in Gran Canaria and use it as a base.
1) Scuba Diving
Well, no surprises here. The turquoise sea is home to a huge range of underwater creatures, making it a top spot for scuba divers. Yes, there may be sharks, so if you’re a bit on the nervy side you might want to speak to a guide to find the right area for you. Alternatively you could try snorkelling, but then you may miss out on spotting a sea turtle, one of my ultimate things to do before you die.
2) Maspalomas Aquapark
Whether you’re on a holiday with kids or you never truly grew up yourself, waterparks are always amazing fun! I never went to one as a child, being based in the cold UK, however when I was in Texas I visited my first and I felt instantly addicted. Maspalomas is open all year round, meaning you don’t have to worry about visiting off-season. There are also some bigger rides for the older members, including Mamut, which you can raft in a group.
Plus, if water parks aren’t your thing, but you find yourself stuck there with the children, you can give the mini golf a try, which is on resort.
3) Caldera De Bandama
Also known in English as the Cauldron of Bandama, this natural wonder is on most travel guides for Gran Canaria. A volcanic crater itself, it is around 1,000 metres wide and 200 metres deep. It also offers a nice alternative for those who like to go out and explore a little and see the more wild and natural side of a destination. Remember to wear hiking boots, as some parts can be a little bit slippery, meaning people have complained in the past when wearing their flip flops.
4) Maspalomas Dunes
I’ve already mentioned the aquapark in Maspalomas, well now I want to highlight the complete opposite, the wide-spread dunes that stretch across the landscape. If you’ve never been to a desert before, it is quite a cool experience. I’m waiting for the moment they introduce sandboarding, that would be amazing. I have to be honest, I was given this tip when speaking to a Gran Canaria expert at DealChecker and it was a top tip.
5) Roque Nublo
Standing a hefty 80 metres tall, Roque Nublo is Gran Canaria’s biggest icon and normally the centre piece of any travel guide for the area. If you’re brave and get some ropes, you can even climb to the top of it, but I stuck to standing below looking up. If it’s a cloudy day, you might want to avoid, as it has a reputation for disappearing behind the clouds, meaning you might not get that photo you are after.
6) Ride A Camel
I mentioned visiting the dunes, but if you get the chance and you’ve never done it before, camel riding is quite a cool experience. Costing around £30 for an adult and £16 for a child (at last time I checked), it isn’t the cheapest option, but is something you have to tick off in your life. Alternatively, you can also horse ride across the dunes if this suits you better.
7) Do Some Stargazing
Whether you book a stargazing guide through your hotel or just go to a clear area and look up at the sky above, Gran Canaria has a huge reputation for star gazing, thanks to the lack of air pollution and the location on the equator. Also, you will get to see constellations they will normally point out for both Northern and Southern hemisphere. I’d definitely recommend taking a look at the astronomy observatory.
8) Buggy Tour
Forget walking around, it’s all about the buggy tours! Lasting approximately 2 hours, this trip is on a 2 seater buggy, while up to 8 buggies are available. For most hotels, they will also be able to pick you up directly from your hotel, which is a nice addition. One quick note, you will need a valid driving license if you want to drive yourself.
9) Catamaran Trip
Sailing right along the coast of Gran Canaria, these trips normally cost around £40pp. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to offer a discount for children (or at least last time I checked). The 14 metre long boat can hold up to 35 people, however you normally hope for a few less so not to be so crowded. The trip will normally last around five hours, so I’d use this for a full day activity. The boat normally docks at a couple of locations, where you can try some other water based activities, such as banana boat rides and jet skiing. Before you ask, as it was the same question I had, it should include one meal (albeit not huge) and some refreshments, but I’d pack some extra bits for when you get peckish, it certainly isn’t enough to fill me up.
You have to start somewhere, why not make this the holiday where you finally learn to surf the waves? I can’t talk, I’m absolutely useless at surfing, but you have to give it a try anyway! The waves can get pretty big, while there are plenty of surf schools where you can learn to be like a pro.
11) Dancing At Pueblo Canario
This beautiful plaza is a great location to eat your lunch, ponder about your holiday and generally relax. But probably the most appealing factor for visiting is they run a Gran Canarian folk dance every Thursday afternoon and Sunday morning. Best of all, it’s completely free to watch.
12) Jardin Canario
There is something truly special about seeing a botanical garden. Known as the Green Jewel of the island, Jardin Canario is Spain’s biggest botanical garden, with over 600 unique plants. If you do decide to visit, you can hire out some bikes and cycle over there. There is also a lake filled with fish which is pretty cool to see. As a stereotypical boy, I find the cactus garden the best bit!
I have been on beach holidays where you forget to actually see anything! Gran Canaria looks like you wouldn’t want to miss any of these great sights. I would check out the Caldera de Banama, the Maspalomas Dunes and go for a camel ride!
I visited Gran Canaria a couple of times as a child and I remember those day trips we took around the island – your list brings back precious memories. May I also add to try some of the local dishes while you are there. In particular papa arrugadas con mojo rojo… So delicious! Damn, I need to go back there!
Dancing looks good for starters! But, the landscape is stunning isn’t it? I need to go back and see places like Cauldron of Bandama which I’ve heard of but never seen in real life
I have never heard of this place. Looks like there is plenty to see and do. I would like to go one day and star gaze and see the big sea turtles.
Dang! Gran Canaria really does have it all! The Caldera, the Sand Dunes, and Roque Nublo top my list. I love seeing unique natural sites and it seems that Gran Canaria has them all! Thanks for enlightening me on this awesome destination!
Who can resist swimming with a turtle or snap a photo of someone riding a camel? The latter is not a typo – I would very much prefer being on the ground so to speak than on a camel’s back. I was reading through all these activities and noticed how visual presentation in the form of a colorful picture makes an offer much more attractive. I am not into camel riding, but the photo definitely caught my attention. Maspalomas Dunes look delightful, and I would never miss watching the dancing performance.
I am so impressed by the wide variety of incredible adventures you can enjoy in Gran Canaria. I had no idea! The Cauldron of Bandama and Sand Dunes are just stunning. I’d even enjoy riding a camel again. Would love to explore all of your suggestions.
Now, that’s a lot of incredible adventures in Gran Canaria. How was the camel ride? That’s the one thing that immediately caught my eye. Your pictures are stunning especially the scuba diving and the turtles. Makes me want to get into the water. With all the options, it looks like it would be easy to spend at least one month in the area and never get bored.
I’ve never been there but you make Gran Canaria sound like I should. I’d be the guy walking around the botanical garden, the woods, and the dunes…
Wow there are so many fun activities you can do at Gran Canaria! I would love to ride a camel and do star gazing!
Never been to Gran Canaria but this post has peaked my interest. Would love to do the camel ride on the dunes. Also a catamaran trip is always fun (with a cocktail of course)