The Canary Islands are a popular summer destination for many Europeans due to a combination of great weather, epic beaches, diverse landscapes, and low-cost flights available almost year-round.

Today we’ll be focusing on Gran Canaria. And considering that it’s quite a big island (and we have a lot to write about), we divided the information into 2 parts: the North and the South in 2 different blog posts. In this one, we’ll be covering the northern part of the island.

 

Climate

Subtropical. People say the weather in the Canary Islands is of an eternal spring, making it the best in the world. The average annual temperature is 24 degrees.

To check the weather during your trip go to www.accuweather.com/Gran-Canaria

 

Getting to Gran Canaria
(Inter-island transportation)

Ferry

We usually do the island crossing by ferry due to the cost being similar to commercial air travel, and because we don’t get the chance to be on a boat that often.

There are 2 ferry operators making the connecting routes between island: Naviera Armas and Fred Olsen.

 

Ferry a Tenerife

 

To give you an idea of costs and travel times, here’s the info on the trip from Tenerife to Gran Canaria:

Naviera Armas

Cost: €35
Trip duration: 2h45
Docks in the port of Las Palmas, where a transfer will take you to the city center in 10 minutes (no extra fees).

For the ferry timetables check www.navieraarmas.com/timetables

Fred Olsen

Costs: €40
Trip duration: 80 minutes for the ferry, and 25 minutes for the shuttle bus (no extra fees). The ferry docks in Agaete but a shuttle bus will take you to Las Palmas.

For Fred Olsen ferry timetables check: www.fredolsen.es

Airplane

Canaryfly and Binter have frequent flight connections between islands. Prices are reasonable — €20 on average — depending on the month.

Airplanes land at Las Palmas Gran Canaria Airport, located 19 km from the capital Las Palmas or 30 km from Playa del Inglés in the south.

 

Gran Canaria from above

Photo by Marc Ryckaert

Airport Transfer Buses (for inter-island and international flights)

To get anywhere on Gran Canaria you can hop on one of the blue buses (guaguas as locals call them) parked right outside the terminal.

The ticket cost for Las Palmas is € 2.95 and for Playa del Inglés € 3.50. You can’t beat that!

For timetables and alternative routes check: Guaguas Global

 

Accommodation

As a tourism-dependent island, there’s an array of accommodation options scattered all over Gran Canaria. Prices start at €12 a night in a hostel, up to €120 a night in a four-star hotel.

In the north of the island, most are located near the beach of Las Canteras. We’ve stayed at hotel Pujol (pronounced Poo-whole). ?

 

What to do in Las Palmas

The Historic Quarter of Vegueta

Vegueta is an old neighborhood with the best colonial architecture of the island. You can walk for hours on cobblestone streets, finding new alleys and admiring the historical houses from the 15th century.

Right on the center is Santa Ana square and Cathedral. There’s a fee to go in, but don’t bother, the interior is a bit dull.

 

Santa Ana square and Cathedral

Photo by Jvhertum

 

We recommend instead spending your money at one of the many outdoor cafes in the area eating tapas and enjoying the sun.

There’s a craft market every Sunday.





Calle Mayor de Triana (Shopping street)

Triana neighborhood — also one of the oldest in Las Palmas — has become the main shopping district of the city. Small old-timey shops, popular stores or fancy boutiques are always presented in beautifully restored buildings, making for a beautiful walk even to the most frugal.

 

Calle Mayor de Triana, Shopping Street in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria

Photo by Matti Mattila

 

Vegueta Market

Vegueta Market is the first market ever built in the Canary Islands back in 1856. And today remains the spot where locals come to buy fresh produce.

Tip: you’ll be tempted to buy some of the glorious tropical fruit displayed on the stalls. If you do, ask for the price beforehand as several vendors tend to overcharge tourists.

 

Museums

House of Columbus (Casa de Colón)

A museum about the relationship between the Canary Island and the Americas.

 

Casa de Colón in Vegueta, Gran Canaria

House of Colombus museum

Location: Calle de Los Balcones, on the historic quarter of Vegueta.
Admission fee: €4 (you can visit the building’s library for free).
Opens: Mondays to Saturdays 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Sundays 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM

 

Museu Canario

A museum about the prehispanic population and the history of the archipelago.

Location: Calle del Dr. Verneau, on the historic quarter of Vegueta
Admission fee: €5 (free for kids under 12 y.o.)
Opens: Mondays to Fridays 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM
Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM.

 

Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno

Exhibition and activity center of contemporary art from the Canary Islands, Europe, Africa and the Americas.

Location: Calle Los Balcones, on the historic quarter of Vegueta (near Casa de Colón)
Admission fee: €5
Opens: Tuesdays to Saturdays from 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM

 

Beaches in the North of Gran Canaria

Las Canteras

Las Canteras is the largest beach in Las Palmas, covering a 4 km slice of coast. Being located right by the city, it is the central hub for local life and the favorite spot for surfers and tourists.

 

Playa Las Canteras Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

 

If you’re not up for an entire day just laying on the beach, you can hang out on one of the numerous cafes, restaurants, and shops in the wide promenade by the sand.

 

Las Canteras Gran Canaria

Photo by Pepelopex

Gui Gui

Gui Gui is a secluded beach on the west side of the island (it’s actually two: small Gui Gui and big Gui Gui). Getting there means a 2.5-hour hike or a boat trip from the nearest town of Tasartico.

The long walk to Gui Gui is worth it as the mountains and scenery along the way are just as impressive as the destination. The beach itself is an unspoiled paradise where you can spend the rest of the day and even spend the night (if you do so, take the appropriate gear as the nights get quite cold).

Many hikers that come to Gui Gui and camp overnight say the night sky is breathtaking.

Typical villages on the North of Gran Canaria

Agaete

A fishing village in Puerto de las Nieves, with one of the most picturesque landscapes on the island made of white and blue houses by the sea.

 

Gran Canaria

 

Besides the small town itself, we recommend:

• The necropolis of Maipés
• Las Salinas de Agaete where you can swim in a natural pool

 

Firgas

Firgas is known as the “balcony of the Atlantic”, for having the best viewpoint on the ocean and the entire northern part of the island.





Artenara

It is the highest city of the island and the perfect spot to rest from the beaches of the coast.

 

El mar de nubes en Artenara Gran Canaria

 

Here in Artenara, we recommend:

• Natural Park Pinar de Tamadaba
• The caves of the Guanches
• Acusa Archaeological Park
• Astronomical observatory Vega de Acusa

 

Night Sky in Artenara, Gran Canaria island.

Photo by El Coleccionista de Instantes

Nature attractions

Tamadaba Natural Park

Close to Agaete, Artenara and San Nicolás de Tolentino is the Natural Park of Tamadaba.

 

Tamadaba

 

Here you’ll find the oldest and best-preserved pine forest on the island classified by UNESCO as a Biosphere Reserve extending from the summit of the mountain all the way to the west coast. Along the park, you can expect some breathtaking views of the Atlantic and the Teide (all the way on Tenerife island), stunning valleys, and little old villages.

?‍♂️ Great hiking and walking site.

Getting to Tamadaba Natural Park by Bus

From Las Palmas bus station, take the hourly Bus No. 102 to Agaete. In Agaete stop at El Lomo and follow the trail to Tamadaba.

 

Rural Park del Nublo

Right in the center of the island is the Rural Park del Nublo, a natural wonder also classified by UNESCO as a Biosphere Reserve.

 

Parque Rural Nublo

Photo by Tamara K.

 

We recommend visiting:

• The natural lagoons
• The volcanic boilers of Tejeda Valley
• Roque Nublo ravines
• Roque Bentayga
• Las Niñas dam

?‍♂️ Great hiking spot.
⛺ Campground available

 

If you have any question or some extra info to add, let us know in the comments.

Cover photo by El Coleccionista de Instantes

Nuno and Mario

Hi there! We’re Nuno and Mário and we share helpful tips to make travel planning easy for you.

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