From coastal walks to hidden gardens and flower-filled parks, the highlights of Gran Canaria’s resort areas are often off the beaten track.Here’s a selection of Gran Canaria’s surprising resort spots, and a day trip that’ll show you Gran Canaria’s wild side.The Puerto Rico to Amadores beach walkIn Puerto Rico the walk between Puerto Rico resort and Amadores beach gives you panoramic views out over the ocean and down to the azure water.The one-kilometre walk, starting in Puerto Escala marina, winds along the cliff edge but is paved and perfectly safe. It takes about 20 minutes with a couple of stops to take in the view.At then end of the walk you get to white sand Amadores beach and its beach front bars and restaurants. Perfect for a cooling swim and lunch by the sand.
Taking in the DunesAnother spectacular Gran Canaria walk goes from the centre of Playa del Inglés resort all the way along the coast to San Agustín six kilometres to the east. The path goes past the most spectacular part of the Maspalomas dunes where the bare sand glows in the sunshine and the sea glistens in the distance.Carry on east and you get to quiet golden beaches like El Cochino and Las Burras before ending up at San Agustín beach.Walk this path in the evening for fabulous views of the dunes as they change colour with the setting sun. There are plenty of places to stop for a cold beer or a sunset cocktail.
Boat tripsWith dolphins and turtles in the water and the sea breeze blowing through your hair, a boat trip in Gran Canaria is a must.Take a ferry ride between marinas and you’ll see the island the way Columbus did when he sailed past on his way to America. For a full day out, catch a ferry to Puerto de Mogán on Mondays and Fridays for the island’s biggest street market.Want to spend a whole day out on the water? Head to Puerto Rico’s Puerto Escala marina for the island’s boat trip headquarters. From here you can go out dolphin watching or trawling for marlin, relax on a yacht cruise or party all day long on a pirate ship.
Green MaspalomasFor a day out in Maspalomas resort that doesn’t involve sand, head to the small but fascinating Botanical Garden in Maspalomas. Here’s you’ll see over 500 species of tropical flowers and fruit, such as bananas and papayas, thriving in the Gran Canaria sunshine.Or go for a day in the park at the Parque Sur just next door to the Holiday World funfair. With a lake full of fish, lawns dotted with palm trees and a café right by the play park, it’s a great spot for a lazy family morning.
Meloneras BeachUpmarket Meloneras resort is best known for its smart hotels and seafront restaurants but also has its own relaxed sandy beach.Meloneras beach is at the far end of the Boulevard Faro walkway along the Meloneras seafront. Just walk west away from the lighthouse until you get to the sand. The Ciao Ciao Italian here does excellent pizza.Laid Back San AgustínSan Agustín is Gran Canaria’s most laid back resort and has more palm trees per visitor than anywhere else on the island. The beach here, while occasionally windy, never gets as busy as Playa del Inglés and Maspalomas.Eat at long-standing local favourite El Capitán restaurant just by the beach. It has a huge terrace and does good Canarian food and seafood.
Prehistoric ruinsWith its bougainvillea arches, quiet lanes and golden beach, Puerto de Mogán draws the crowds but most people miss the oldest part of town.The Cañada de los Gatos archaeological site, just up the hill behind the east end of Puerto de Mogán beach, features an excavated aboriginal village and cemetery and long walking paths. It’s a fascinating and peaceful introduction to a long-gone way of life.An added bonus at Cañada de los Gatos is the site’s tiny bar with a view of the beach and marina.Daredevil OptionTo see Gran Canaria at its wildest, rent a car and take the GC 200 road to the west coast. It takes you through rugged valleys and to the cliff edge drive between La Aldea de San Nicolas and Agaete in the north west corner.This isn’t a road for the faint-hearted as some sections are over a kilometre above the sea but it really does show you another side of Gran Canaria.Return to the resort by driving from Agaete to the capital Las Palmas, perhaps stopping for a wander around the cobbled Vegueta old town or the Triana shopping district, then back down the motorway.About Gran Canaria Info: Gran Canaria Info started in 1998 and is now the island’s biggest independent website. It focuses on useful information about the best things to do, see and eat in. Thank you to Alex Bramwell from Gran Canaria Info for writing this blog post and providing the images.