5 Best Gran Canaria Tips Before Traveling to the Spanish Canary Islands

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These Gran Canaria Tips will serve you well if you’re planning a visit to the Canary Islands in Spain. Among them, you’ll learn what to see and do, how to get around, and health and safety considerations. 

Knowing these things before you travel to the Spanish Canary Islands will help ensure your trip goes smoothly — especially if it’s your first time.

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CONTENTS – In this article, you will learn Gran Canaria Tips so you can plan a fantastic vacation to the Spanish Canary Islands, including:

Where is Gran Canaria

You’ll find Gran Canaria in the Atlantic ocean off the south-west coast of Spain. In fact, it’s closer to Morocco, north-west of Africa, 100 miles west of Morocco. 

Gran Canaria is the southernmost region of Spain and one of the outermost regions of the European Union (EU).

This beautiful island is known for soft black lava and white sand beaches, a mountainous interior, is one the Canary Islands, which is an archipelago made up of large and small islands, as well as named rocks. In addition to Gran Canaria, the main Canary Islands include: 

  • El Hierro
  • Fuerteventura
  • La Gomera
  • La Palma
  • Lanzarote 
  • La Graciosa
  • Tenerife

Gran Canaria is the largest island in the archipelago, at 602 square miles (1,560 km2)

It is similar in many ways to Tenerife, which is the more popular tourism dstination. But Gran Canaria offers much of the same allure with fewer tourists and exceptional scenery.

How to Get to Gran Canaria

One of the best ways to get to Gran Canaria if you are already in Spain is to take the ferry from Cádiz or Huelva. They will deliver you to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, the island’s capital city. 

But it’s not quick. 

From Huelva, the traditional ferry takes about 32 hours to get there, and there is no high-speed ferry. (The return trip to Huelva is about 37 hours.) Expect to pay about 110 Euros per person for the trip, one way.

Given the length of the ferry ride, it may not be the best way for you to get to Gran Canaria.

You can fly directly into Las Palmas de Gran Canaria Airport (LPA) from Spain or elsewhere in the world

Of course, you’ll want to check the latest guidelines for entry requirements to enter Gran Canaria. 

Once you get there, look to Gran Canaria’s bus system (guagua) to get around. 

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Best Time to Visit Canary Islands

Gran Canaria Weather provides sunshine year round, since it is a sub-tropical destination. This pleasant climate makes it a popular island getaway for the winter months.

And, it’s especially popular in July and September, when temperatures are favorably the 70s and 80s Farenheit.  

While winters are mild, you’ll find the resorts in the south west of Canary Islands tend to be sheltered from the north winds. Therefore, that can be the warmest part of the island.

Now that you have an introductory understanding of Gran Canaria, let’s get into some important times you need to know.

You’ll find them below.

Holidaying in Gran Canaria – What You Need to Know Before You Travel

Gran Canaria attracts millions of visitors each year

This unique and picturesque Spanish island enclave off the coast of Morocco is a great place to vacatiaon. But there are some key things you should know before you travel. 

1. On Arrival

It is easy to get wrapped up in planning events and activities throughout the holiday itself. However, you should pay attention to your arrival plans as well. 

Gran Canaria Airport is an exciting place to arrive, but also a fair distance from many popular destinations. 

As such, you should book airport transfers in advance to ensure swift and cost-effective travel to your accommodation.

2. Health and Safety 

Health and safety are key concerns with any holiday abroad. Gran Canaria is no different. 

Before you travel, you should find out if you’re eligible and ensure that you have a valid European Health Insurance Card, or EHIC. That way, you’ll receive healthcare in an equivalent fashion to the local citizens. Citizens of Gran Canaria’s healthcare is free at the point of use. 

If you require an international transfer to a hospital outside the country, you may need private insurance in order to cover the cost. 

This is an extremely rare eventuality.

In Gran Canaria, there are some simple tips you can adhere to in order to keep yourself safe and healthy during your trip. 

For starters, you should avoid drinking water straight from the tap. Tap water on the island is not safe for consumption and should be used only for washing. 

If you find yourself in need of over-the-counter medication such as painkillers or antihistamines, you cannot buy these in shops or supermarkets like in the US. 

Instead, you will need to find a pharmacy from which to buy medicine.

Related: Summer Vacation Safety Tips for 2022

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3. Avoid Tourist Hotspots

Gran Canaria is an incredibly popular destination for tourists from all over the world. As an island, it capitalizes well on this popularity. 

Tourist resorts cater to the high volumes of visitors. Yet, that’s a far cry from what makes Gran Canaria so great a destination. 

For one, tourist destinations can be overcrowded and unpleasant. 

Tourist areas can also take advantage of tourist naivety. So, beware of getting charged higher prices for lower-quality products, accommodation, or experiences.

Ahead of setting off, you should research some smaller, quieter areas a little off the beaten path. 

Here you can find a more authentic Gran Canaria. Don’t worry. You’ll still enjoy the same climate and hospitality. 

But you’ll find fewer tourists obscuring the breathtaking views.

Related: 3 Benefits of Shoulder Season Travel

4. Explore Widely

Speaking of views, there are a lot of magnificent places to find and explore in Gran Canaria. In fact, there are more than can be enjoyed in one trip alone. 

Even so, you should plan to take in as much as possible.

This means availing yourself of the various ways you can get around the island. 

A rental car can make it easier to get to harder-to-reach locations. Joining a guided tour of the island can introduce you to beautiful landmarks and locations you might never have found otherwise.

5. Best Places to Visit on Gran Canaria

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Here are some suggestions of attractions and best things to do in Gran Canaria that will appeal to the types of travel you may enjoy.

  • Enjoy the beach vibe along the coast. You might have dinner overlooking the beach then catch the sunset in the sand dunes at Meloneras. Or, walk one of Gran Canaria’s longest beaches (2 mi./3.5 km) at Masopalomas. Check out different beaches, like Amadores, Playa de las Canteras, x, or Taurito until you find your favorite. (Tip: For the Caribbean beach feel, look to Puerto Rico Beach.)
  • Get some retail therapy and upscale shopping on Calle Triaana in the city of Las Palmas.
  • Sample traditional Arehucas Rum, made in Gran Canaria and shipped world-wide. You’ll find the distillery in Arucas.
  • Try Canarian food, inspired by its cultural crossroads. You’ll discover delicious  grilled meats, an assortment of fish, and hearty soups and vegetables. Find out where the locals are eating and head there for the most authentic taste of Canarian dishes.
  • Enjoy the varied scenery and unspoiled landscapes. Gran Canaria is a beautiful mix of beaches, mountains, red rocks, even a caldera (Caldera de Bandama).
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  • Visit the picturesque fishing village and marina, Puerto de Mogán. (While you’re there, head over to Anfi playa for crystal-clear waters.)
  • Get into the island nightlife and live music in Las Palmas, Playa del Ingles, and Maspalomas.
  • Embrace the water sports, which are especially good at Pozo Izquierdo beach on Gran Canaria’s east coast.  You can surf, scuba dive, kitesurfing, stand up paddle board, and windsurf in the area.
  • Discover Gran Canaria’s history, like in Vagueta, an ancient town in Las Palmas. Along these historical streets, you’ll find the Santa Ana Cathedral. You can also visit Casa de Colón, which is said to be where Christopher Columbus stayed in 1492.
  • Immerse yourself in nature at a botanical garden. Gran Canaria offers several, but you might start with Jardin Botanico Viera & Clavijo.

As you can see, there is something for everyone in Gran Canaria. No wonder it’s a popular holiday destination!

You’ll have no trouble finding a perfect place to stay either. The island has plenty of hotels, popular resorts, and lovely hotel rooms for you to rent. And with a little bit of searching, you’ll likely find a good deal on any one of the beach resorts in Gran Canaria.

So, start thinking about sandy beaches, calm waters, and the refreshing fresh air of Gran Canaria. It’s never too soon to start planning your Gran Canaria holidays!

Final Thoughts on Gran Canaria Tips

Now that you have a more intimate understanding of Gran Canaria, you can better plan your itinerary. With these tips, you’re sure to have a fabulous time!

Jackie Gately at the beach

About Jackie Gately, editor-IN-CHIEF

I'm Jackie Gately, your travel confidante and the creative force behind Enjoy Travel Life, awarded the "Best Casual-Luxury Lifestyle Blog (USA)" in Travel and Tourism by LUXlife Magazine for four consecutive years.

With 25 years of published expertise, I'm a seasoned writer, editor, and photographer curating inspiring travel guides and lifestyle tips for empty nesters. I hope to kindle your spirit of exploration, encouraging you to overcome obstacles and turn your dreams into reality.

Learn to minimize your pre-travel angst and maximize the joy of exploration with insights from my experiences. Let's make every adventure a celebration of this exciting phase of life! 

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Next Steps

If you’re traveling to Gran Canaria, you may want to explore mainland Spain, too. Read these articles to learn more about Spain: