What to do with children in Gran Canaria island? Travel and enjoy! These are the ideas what to do and what is worth visiting in Gran Canaria with kids (but not necessary). These are the places we felt in love and discovered on our own. No excursions, no tour guides, just complete adventurous freedom. Below in this article you will find our impressions and arguments, why they are really amazing. And if you decide you would like to visit them, there are two ways of doing it.
First – do it as we did. Not too much homework, just a map, rented car and a list of the must see points. This is completely flexible traveling by following the signs on the route with some extra turns on the way. It’s exciting and you never know what a random pearl you can discover. And for us with two kids it’s awesome. Because we do not have a strict plan and there is no disappointment if we do not manage to follow it. So we see some top or must see places and also some off the track points.
Second option – do your homework and prepare a complimentary list of the must see points with the detailed route map. In this case you can see more and plan your time more accurately. And, of course, visit the local tourism information centers. They will be glad to passionately tell you more about the best treasures around.
1. Drive to Tejeda and Artenara
With Roque Nublo and Roque Bandama nearby. As well as many picturesque stops for photo-shooting. Tejeda is the little white town hidden in the mountains, very Canary nature with the snow white church and magnificent views of both rocks. This is the place where while visiting it for the first time I said “I want to live here”. Just walk a bit, buy a few local sweets in the cosy local “dulceria” and enjoy the fresh mountains air with the eye-healing panorama.
Artenara is more high and here you can find few plazas with the best sceneries of the more brown and green mountains. Just see it. It has some nice must see points around as well.
These places are reached by serpentines. If you are not a serpentines’ person, a good idea might be to book a local room and spend a night there. You will have some time to rest in the nature and will be full of good energy to take the route back.
If you are an adventurous nature person you can go to the very Roque Nublo, there is a route to it, follow the signs. And there are some guided walking tours or hiking routes.
Want to see some snow in Gran Canaria – Pico de las Nieves can offer it sometimes.
2. SeePuerto de Las Nieves and Agaete, Galdar
Puerto de Las Nieves is a beautiful small town on the North shore of the island. With magnificent views of the mountains, Tenerife Island and few very good fish restaurants serving the fresh fish. Don’t be surprised that the bread is not included in the price ;). Anyway it’s really worth every cent. Don’t miss the little church with the small wooden boats on its walls inside. And the “Dedo de dios”- the finger of the God, which is not there anymore. You can see what has left and every local man or waiter can tell you the story how it happened.
Agaete, more up the hill, is a nice small typical Canarian town. There is a national park worth a visit. You will find some ancient tombs and some nice views as it is based in the lava valley.
Galdar, nice Spanish town, once a capital of Gran Canaria, now famous for it (Painted Cave Museum and Archaelogical Park. Take a break at the main plaza and try some local ice-cream.
3. Visit Teror, Firgas, Arucas
Do it on Sunday! And plan your time a bit so that you visit Teror before 1.30 p.m. There is a traditional local street market there, where you can take a walk and taste some local goodies. Teror is famous for its greasy sausages and local fresh fruits and vegetables.
Arucas has amazingly nice cathedral for the historical monuments lovers. There is one in Teror too, but you will see what we have in mind, when you visit both. And Firgas offers some nice panoramic views as well as the famous steps with the Canary Islands. Just see it.
How to explore the towns and feel the local spirit? Every small Spanish town here has a church, the main town square next to it, colorful old town, park, some cute statues around. Some specific lovely monuments and cosy restaurants or cafeterias, where local people spend a lot of their siestas. Take a walk and then take a coffee or a local meal. Relax. P.S. “leche y leche” is a sweet Spanish version of late. In fact it’s same late with some condensed milk on the bottom.
4. Go to dunes of Maspalomas
One thing is seeing them from more up place in Maspalomas. And the other experience is going there, going for a walk in the dunes. Prepare some strong sun cream, sun hats, water, food, sun glasses, some scars (if the wind is strong it’s good to hide under it from the sand) and what you need for a day on the beach. And do it! Go through the dunes, climb up and down the sandy dessert to the beach. After this hike take a swim in the ocean on one of the most famous islands beaches.
If you have some more time, visit Meloneras, famous for its lighthouse. Take a walk through the seaside promenade. Enjoy lovely holiday atmosphere.
5. The route from Agaete to Puerto de Mogan
No matter which side to start. These will be really breathe-taking views. Just stop at almost every possible stop next to the road for cars while driving through the serpentines in the mountains and across the seaside. And don’t miss the “Balcony” stop with the Tenerife and Teide views! All the other good things and places you will find by yourself. Be sure to charge your camera before the trip. And Puerto de Mogan is like a little local Venice with the yachts, small beach, and little white houses furnished with lots of flowers and tiny streets. You will find here some fine local boutique shops for clothes, souvenirs, etc. If you like the crowd, then come here on Saturday morning – it’s the market day.
P.s. If with children – check the cactus land “cactualdea” on your way. It’s few kilometers from Aldea de San Nicolas (Mogan direction). Here you can feed the donkeys, pickles, and ducks from your hand while visiting cactus park.
6. Palmitas park
It’s an exotic zoo. However, it is based in the picturesque area, surrounded by the hills. And you will have nice walk in the nature with plenty to see. We would recommend to attend the shows, children like them a lot. The dolphins and the eagles’ shows are our favorites. And the best part that it is located in such a nice hilly area.
Buy your tickets in advance (from the local agent or internet), because it’s cheaper, and spend the day walking and attending the shows. For the little ones, under 2 year old – it’s free of charge. Kids will love it. And it is possible to go everywhere with the stroller, even the area is hilly, we did it with the double one!:).
7. Day on the beach – Playa de Amadores
So here it is – do nothing! Just spend a fantastic day on one of the most beautiful Gran Canarian beaches – Playa de Amadores. It is white sand beach like from the holiday post-card, surrounded by the line of the small shops as well as the restaurants. In addition, here are some massage services available to make you feel more lazy. The ones who are looking for some luxurious relaxation can find it here as well. You will see the private green lounge where you can spend your day. And did I mentioned that the south of the island is always sunny?
To do something more – visit Puerto Rico, one of the most crowded holiday destinations here for the party lovers. You can even do this on foot – there is a special walking path from Playa de Amadores to Puerto Rico. And even more – you can take a boat trip to watch the local whales. It is available from Puerto Rico, just check the timings in advance.
8. Sightseeing in Las Palmas
Capital, history, shopping and walk through the famous Las Canteras promenade. Old town – Vegueta – greets you with the cosy old colorful streets and the beautiful St. Ana’s cathedral, standing still opposite the famous same named square. Take a tour to the top of the cathedral. You will feel Las Palmas from above. Come on Thursday – it’s tapas and pinchas day in the local Veguetan restaurants and bars. Or come on Sunday: at 12.00 there is a small folk concert and market every Sunday. When leaving the old town – visit Triana street – popular shopping street. Dorama’s park, St. Catalinas square, Las Canteras, Alfredo Kraus Auditorium. If you have the car – take a road to Las Coloradas and check the hill with the cross from where you can see all Las Palmas. This place has its own spirit.
To sum up. We have just shared our top places and ideas what to see and do in Gran Canaria. They include mountains, beaches, sightseeing activities, some great routes, our personal experiences. Not all these places are the must see ones. And you do not need to have kids to visit them, it’s jusst that we did. Some of the families might find it too exhausting. But we highly recommend to try these things they let you feel the island with your heart and take a bit of it with you back home.