Where to stay in Gran Canaria?. If you’re visiting this spectacular island don’t miss our guide about the best places to stay in Gran Canaria!! Let us help you decide what is the best city or beach resort for you.
Gran Canaria is like a continent in miniature. This third biggest island of the Canaries is where half of the archipelago’s population lives. The variety of terrain contained in the island constantly astounds visitors. This ranges from the green north of the island to the desert southern part and lush mountains in between.
The island offers as many as four seasons in a single day thanks to its coastal and hilly microclimates. It all combines to ensure that there is no shortage of best areas to stay in Gran Canaria.
Gran Canaria remains an incredible destination for families thanks in no small part to its over 37 miles (60 km) of beaches and the island’s western Biosphere Reserve. There is enough to do so that each day is fun-filled.
Some of these activities include walking in pine forests, watching whales, strolling though shopping avenues, enjoying a day at the water park, going to museums, and sunning on the gorgeous beaches.
The island is sure to keep your blood pumping with such variety as water sports, cycling, and hiking. The capital Las Palmas is both historic and cosmopolitan. It will satisfy culture lovers of all kinds.
Nature is a huge draw on Gran Canaria. One quarter of the coast is covered in sandy beaches. These are continuously covered in a delightful energy-giving sunshine. The UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve covers a one of a kind Macaronesian flora, volcanic vistas, and vast pine forests.
Culture fans should try to come in Carnival season. Gran Canaria offers the fantastic Spanish festival for a full three weeks. This event is so highly anticipated and celebrated that it rivals Rio de Janeiro’s celebration for vibrancy and energy. This time of year sees many of the best places to stay in Gran Canaria fully booked.
Where to Stay in Gran Canaria: The Best Areas to Stay in Gran Canaria
The island has many great choices of neighborhoods and areas you can choose from as a visitor. We look at some of these in more detail below.
1. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
The capital of the exciting island is Las Palmas. This is definitely where to stay in Gran Canaria if you are looking for culture and local traditions. This capital city has gained the distinction of having the best climate for a city anywhere.
Besides dependable, fantastic weather year round, it offers many sites to see. It is also a perfect base from which to enjoy the neighboring villages and towns.
The city’s historic district is called La Vegueta. Walking down the streets of Las Palmas, you will see architecture dating back to the colonial era. The Museo Casa de Colon is the site where Christopher Columbus stayed when he visited Gran Canaria.
There is also the awe-inspiring Cathedral of St. Anne that is well worth a visit. You can spend several hours going through the Canary Museum to understand the basis of the culture of the Canaries.
Triana is another of the city’s oldest sections. This is a great spot for enjoying local specialties from the pubs. “Papas arrugadas” is one you should try. In these sections of the old town, you can appreciate the history filled houses that date back to the 1100’s.
If you are looking for nightlife, Las Palmas does not disappoint. The island’s biggest city serves up a varied assortment of restaurants, clubs, and bars. A range of discotheques pack in crowds of students, locals, and tourists each night.
Besides the typical bars, you will see Irish pubs, fashionable clubs, and music concerts. Some of the rooftop bars occupying the highest buildings in Las Palmas provide fantastic panoramic vistas.
Playa Las Canteras is located in this city. It has the distinction of being awarded the title best city beach on earth. This stems from it receiving more good weather days than any other spot on the planet. Another advantage that helped it to win this honor is that it lacks the air pollution of other large cities containing beaches.
Playa Las Canteras is still large enough to feel natural and wild. This is despite the fact that it is found in the middle of the city. The beach’s south side does not have a reef. This makes the waves good enough to surf on practically every day.
Kitesurfers and windsurfers find the beach ideal because of these nearly perfect weather conditions and the absence of perilous rip tides. These surfers find this to be among the most ideal areas to stay in Gran Canaria.
Maspalomas has earned its reputation as among the most family centered locales for where to stay in Gran Canaria. Besides hotels catering to people with children, there are also villas to rent that overlook the island’s beautiful beaches.
The sand dunes are the biggest draw to this part of the island. These dunes are protected and look like the Sahara Desert sands. Children will spend hours in happily climbing up one side and rolling down the other.
The town has more than long and safe beaches to offer families. It has positioned itself ideally for catering to family tourists. Amenities include supermarkets, shops, kiosks, and many different international and Spanish restaurants.
Maspalomas also boasts a few theme parks close by the town. Holiday World offers traditional amusement park attractions such as roller coasters, a Ferris wheel, and bumper cars. Aqualand Maspalomas is more fun for those who love exciting thrills.
3. Playa del Inglés
Playa del Inglés translates literally to the English Beach. Including adjacent resorts Maspalomas and San Agustín, it has the distinction of being the largest holiday complex in the whole of Spain.
Playa del Inglés offers typical fun in the sun with enormous high-rise styled hotels, fast food restaurants, and shopping malls. This resort dates back to the 1960’s. It was constructed on what had been barren land up to that point. Today its reputation extends throughout all of Europe as a tourist mega center.
Restaurants extend to much more than just traditional fast food here. Bounded by several Indian bazaars (selling all manner of goods) are an endless range of restaurants serving from the traditional breakfasts of half a dozen nations to international dishes of all types.
Playa del Inglés is the go-to place for enormous commercial centers. The largest two of these are the Kasbah (found in Plaza del Teide) and Yumbo Centrum by the Tourism Office. There are an endless variety of shops and boutiques offered here.
The town is also one of the three best nightlife centers in Gran Canaria, along with Maspalomas and Puerto Rico. The nightlife here is not found in traditional clubs but instead in shopping centers. These centers become enormous night clubs after dark.
The most popular places to party here are Kasbah, Yumbo, and Plaza. Among the most famous nightclubs on earth is located here in Pacha Gran Canaria. This club is active with events yearlong. Some of these parties require tickets for you to enter. Playa del Inglés is clearly one of the best places to stay in Gran Canaria for wild nightlife.
This resort offers a variety of hotels for couples and groups. There are four star choices on down to more budget friendly options. With all of its attractions, it is not the least expensive place to stay on Gran Canaria.
For individuals who prefer higher-end resorts that are both sophisticated and chic, Gran Canaria offers Meloneras. This resort town is ideally situated near the party resorts of Playa del Inglés and Maspalomas, but it is more upscale.
Found along the south coast, the resort has recently enjoyed a substantial refurbishing that has turned it into an impressive destination. Luxury and affluence are evident everywhere here with a stylish flair that is not overdone.
Meloneras boasts countless jewelers, expensive boutiques, and designer shops. For lovers of retail shopping and fine dining, it is a perfect match.
Here you can choose from cafes, restaurants, bars, and shopping centers lining the promenade. They provide dining choices from around the globe. International cuisine is complemented by incomparable sunsets.
Meloneras also offers an excellent sandy beach. This ideal location in which to sunbathe features a peaceful setting in crystal clear Atlantic waters. Local visitors come to enjoy this spot from around the island because of the peace and quiet it provides. They are the ones who know which beaches are most worthwhile on Gran Canaria.
After dark, Meloneras proves again why it is one of the best places to stay in Gran Canaria. The nightlife is not as wild here, but it does offer excellent venues for live music and enjoying a cocktail while watching the sun set.
The neighborhood provides nightlife for the more discriminating crowd. Among the most popular venues here is the casino. After a night spent playing black jack or wagering on the roulette wheel, you can take in their famed Legends Cabaret Show.
Hotels here are replete with grandeur. This complex is big on four and five star choices. Most are both inspiring and palatial structures. A great number of them offer best in class food provided by among the finest chefs on all of Gran Canaria.
5. Puerto Rico
Gran Canaria’s Puerto Rico lies along the island’s south west. This is another of the resorts that is most family friendly on Gran Canaria. The beach Playa Amadores is artificial, with sand brought in from the Sahara Desert.
It remains among the most cherished spots for beach days out with the children. Younger swimmers and toddlers are well served by the beach’s calmer waters and soft sand.
There are also a number of restaurants and bars here alongside the family friendly amenities. Older aged children will love the many water sports offered. The whole family can take a boat excursion to look for whales and dolphins enjoying their own natural habitats.
Before it became a hot destination for families, Puerto Rico was a little fishing port. Its location along the south coast helped it to develop along with neighboring popular resorts. Nowadays, it centers on a beautiful promenade, but it still retains its incomparable natural setting in a valley.
Visitors here enjoy strolling down this promenade and perusing the many cafes, restaurants, and bars that line it. It is an excellent place to stop for good food and refreshing drinks or to visit some of the shops around the locale.
Playa de Puerto Rico is justifiably famous for being among the sunniest places on Gran Canaria. This draws people to the calm beach with its crystal clear waters year round. Thanks to the wide range of water sports that range from windsurfing to jet skis, visitors of all ages will find something to keep them entertained on this memorable beach.
The hotels in Puerto Rico include a number of excellent four star locations. Most of these are situated with incomparable views of either the sea or the town’s postcard perfect marina. Expensive boats line the marina.
The town also features a well-known sailing club and center. Members of this club have gained international acclaim. This includes winning five gold medals at the Olympics. Deep sea fishing is hugely popular here as well. The fisherman leaving from this port have gained over 50 world records.
For leisure offerings, there is no shortage to pick from in Puerto Rico. Pleasure crafts take visitors up and down the coast, on glass bottom boat excursions to enjoy the underwater views, and on dolphin watching cruises. Many visitors come to stay here to enjoy these attractions.
Just a little distance on foot from the marina is the Atlantida water park. This theme park delivers both thrilling rides and exciting water slides. Its location adjacent to the Puerto Rico Shopping Center helps it to be even more popular with visiting families. After a day at the water park, families have choices at the shopping center including fast food restaurants, bars, shops, and a disco.
It is only a five minute drive from here to the nearest golf course found in Mogán. The island’s south offers a number of such courses from which golfing enthusiasts can choose.
With all of these varied attractions, it is no mystery why so many people love Puerto Rico. They have beaches, dependable sunshine, incredible scenery, rocking nightlife, and a plethora of attractions offered alongside upper-scale accommodation choices.
6. Puerto del Mogán
Puerto del Mogán is lovingly referred to as Gran Canaria’s Little Venice. It has achieved this nickname because of the many canals in town that provide a link from the harbor to the marina.
The town is still a working fishing village with a great deal of charming narrow streets, complete with authentic character and color.
It is easy to find a restaurant here with a romantic view of the marina to enjoy for a lunch or dinner with incredible views of the marina. On Friday, Puerto del Mogán has its own renowned market that offers traditional Canary Islands’ souvenirs.
This is an excellent place from which to start or finish a hike as many of the island’s most beloved trails begin close by the town.
It does not offer as much in the way of accommodation, but the town Puerto del Mogán makes an excellent day trip or an inviting end of day stop after an invigorating hike.
Agaete lies in the north of the island. It is one of the best places to stay in Gran Canaria for couples. The town is big on romantic meals with incredible sunsets, and it offers beautiful long walks on the seafront.
Part of this charm comes from the local law that requires all of the whitewashed houses to showcase either brown or green shutters and doors or blue doors and white walls if they are located in the port.
The island is among the few destinations in all of Europe where the climate is ideally suited to grow coffee. When you choose to stay in Agaete, you have the choice to indulge in a romantic outing to visit one of the neighboring settlement’s coffee plantations.
You can enjoy a guided tour of the operation and grounds at Finca Los Castaños. This teaches you all about how they grow and prepare coffee. The tour concludes with an opportunity to sample the local specialty coffees.
The town’s romance continues with the traditional architecture in the narrow streets. There are also charming botanical gardens in El Huerto de las Flores. Here you will enjoy a beautiful place for a picnic (especially for couples) that is overflowing with lush surroundings.
Couples who want to get away from hordes of tourists will find that it is an ideal spot to take in the local life too. You can even stop at a rock spring and sample the healthy waters that locals claim give both long life and excellent health.
The places to stay here include terraces looking out on the sea. You can take advantage of the apartments for rent offered in a peaceful and secluded location. It all adds to the romantic ambiance of the town.
8. San Agustín
San Agustín is a town with a calmer and quiet beach that rivals Maspalomas and Playa del Inglés. Visitors come here to escape from the crowds. This beach is more unique in Gran Canaria for its darkly colored sand.
Here you will not lack for plenty of space to spread out comfortably. On the weekends, the beach is somewhat busier as locals come down to enjoy the beautiful spot.
The beach is around 670 yards/meters long, providing plenty of room. Its slope is gentle, and the beach is ideally protected from the waves. This combination makes it an ideal place for both scuba diving and snorkeling. Visitors also have a selection of fine seafood restaurants, bars, cafes, and shops along the promenade.
The beach resort has a car park and good bus service along with shower facilities. Two excellent hotels provide some choices for those visitors who find this more secluded beach to be their ideal destination. It makes it easy to stay in a Gran Canaria resort that is far less crowded than the other locations.
The second tiniest village on Gran Canaria is Tejeda. This turns out to be the geographical center of the entire island. You will find the Cross of Tejeda here that marks the 5,184 feet (1,580 meters) point in the mountain pass.
The village may be small, but it is popular with visitors who come to see the cross and mountains. It bustles with bars and restaurants that feature the local specialties such as fantastic honey.
You can also buy souvenirs here and take advantage of donkey rides for children. Those who prefer peaceful destinations will not want to come to Tejeda on the weekends when the island locals love to frequent the site.
A big attraction in Tejeda is the heights. Climbers and walkers who are serious about the activities find the area sufficiently challenging. There are also easier walking trails with shorter strolls in the eye-popping vistas.
One of the famous walks here is the Royal Paths (Caminos Reales) that the Guanches made as ancient tracks. They were the original inhabitants of the islands who used them to traverse the island’s center.
Thanks to tourism, Tejeda still exists today. There are countless archaeological sites from the Guanches’ time. These include caves, graves, rock paintings, and engravings. The village itself is surrounded by orchards and cornfields.
If it were not for tourism, the site would have been abandoned decades ago because the area cultivation is not sufficient to support modern life. Today the village is half its former size.
This makes it a better day trip location than a place to stay. When here, you can enjoy a nice lunch and buy the local specialties such as marzipan and the sweet Bienmesabe (that translates “to me it tastes good”).
Tejada’s most beautiful and popular time to come visit happens in the first half of February. This is when the village celebrates its Almond Tree in Flower fiesta. It is always popular.
Arguineguin used to be a tiny fishing village. In recent years, the working port has grown into a tourist resort. Today it includes hotel complexes that are modern. Somehow the town has kept its original center and character.
It offers a few nice seafood restaurants as well as fairly exciting fishermen’s bars down in the harbor. Stopping by the village is a worthwhile endeavor even if you do not choose to stay here.
Tuesday is the most active day of the week. The main attraction here is the biggest market held on Gran Canaria. An easy way to sidestep traffic when it is busier on market days is to opt for boat service coming down from Puerto Mogán and Puerto Rico.
If you get bored with the harbor here, you can stroll on the coastal promenade that connects the village with gorgeous coves and beaches found at Patalavaca. For those who love quiet places with local charm, this is where to stay in Gran Canaria.
See also: Where to stay in Tenerife