Road trippin’ around Gran Canaria

posted in: Spain | 17

Gran Canaria is one of the islands that makes up the Canary Islands which lays of the Morocco coastline. Owned by Spain and a popular holiday destination for Europeans especially in the winter months as it has the most sunshine and warm temperatures in the whole of Europe (even though the islands are technically in African), the islands are all not just about beach resorts and partying. One of the top things to do on any of the islands is to get away from the resorts and check out what there is. Danik had the chance to do this when he visited the island of Gran Canaria and hired a car for the duration of the trip and here are some of the top sights he has checked out.

Gran Canaria - in the mountains

Arucas

In the north of the island not too far from the main city of Las Palmas is Arucas. This is a good stopping of place for fuel etc before heading inland as the island is very hilly in the centre. Also here (and what can be seen for miles) is the church of San Juan Bautista which is built with stones from the local area and has stood here since 1909. This is worth stopping off to see the beautiful carved stone columns and heads and the stained glass windows here are amazing.

The Church of San Juan Bautista in Arucas
The Church of San Juan Bautista in Arucas
The Church of San Juan Bautista in Arucas
The Church of San Juan Bautista in Arucas
Arucas
Arucas
Arucas
Arucas

Ruta de las Cumbres

This is known as the mountain route which takes visitors all over the mountain range and is highly recommended. Most of the major lay-bys which had a view to take in, I was pulling over to capture the amazing scenery. The photos just say it all.

Ruta de las Cumbres - Gran Canaria
A view from Ruta de las Cumbres

Roque Nublo

This is probably the main place to hit up whilst driving around. Roque Nublo (which means ‘Clouded Rock’ and ‘Rock in the Clouds’) is a huge volcanic rock standing at 80m (262 ft) tall and is 1,813m (5,948ft) above sea level. My advice is to stay here for a few hours (or even more if you want to go hiking) and to get here early for parking as there isn’t many spaces. The walk from the car park to the rock itself takes about twenty minutes but it’s all uphill and very rocky in places so I don’t recommend people with wheelchairs to attempt this.

Roque Nublo - Gran Canaria
Having fun at the top of Gran Canaria

The view from the top is amazing and a great opportunity to see the top of the volcano on the nearby island of Tenerife from here. Here is also a great chance to see the strange clouds and the environment of the islands of Tenerife and Gran Canaria. The cloud is always on the north of these islands and the temperature is much cooler but as soon as the clouds hit the volcanos they disappear which leaves clear blue skies over the south of the islands and its hear the warmer temperatures are found (and most of the resorts for holidaymakers).

Roque Nublo - Gran Canaria
A view from the Roque Nublo – Gran Canaria
A view from the Roque Nublo - Gran Canaria
The Roque Nublo (the big rock on the right)
A view from the Roque Nublo - Gran Canaria
A view from the Roque Nublo to the north, where the clouds disappear when they hit the mountains in this area.
A view from the Roque Nublo - Gran Canaria
A view to the north from the Roque Nublo
Roque Nublo - Gran Canaria
Roque Nublo
A view from the Roque Nublo - Gran Canaria
A view of Tenerife’s mt. Teide from the Roque Nublo – Gran Canaria
Roque Nublo - Gran Canaria
At the top with the beautiful Roque Nublo

The road from Roque Nublo to Maspalomas

This is one of the main routes into the heart of the island from the south coast and can get quite busy during the peak season. The GC-60 goes through some pretty villages but there is a stop off, half-way between the Roque Nublo and Maspalomas called Mirador de Fataga. This is a perfect place to get amazing views of the southern side of the mountain range and check out the Atlantic Ocean to the south.

Gran Canaria
A beautiful church I came across along the route
Gran Canaria
I found this statue quite interesting as well.
Gran Canaria
The road to Maspalomas – a great road to drive along. The roads are so smooth.
Gran Canaria
A view to the south coast and the route out of the mountains
Gran Canaria
The mountain range to the north from the main viewpoint.
Gran Canaria
Taking in the beautiful surroundings.
Gran Canaria
Just doing my usual ‘road trippin’ pose as one does.

The north-western side of the island

This is not to be missed. There is a coastal route which goes all the way around the western side of the islands and connects to the highways in the north and the south but it does take a while as it winds and bends along the rugged coastline and mountain ridges. I didn’t have time to do all of this road but I did do a part of this just south of the town of Agaete.

Agaete, Gran Canaria
The beautiful church in Agaete

Agaete – this is a pretty little town with white paint-washed buildings and makes the ideal spot to pick up food if thinking of an idea to have a picnic or have lunch here (don’t forget to check the fuel levels!).

Agaete, Gran Canaria
Agaete
Agaete, Gran Canaria
Agaete
Agaete, Gran Canaria
Agaete

Lomo de San Pedro – just bear away from the coastal road for a few minutes and follow the GC-231 from Agaete and check out the beautiful villages along this route, most noticeable is Lomo de San Pedro. This is a great place to have a base and go hiking into the valleys but I found the area to be a great place to get those photogenic views in.

Lomo de San Pedro, Gran Canaria
The stunning scenery around Lomo de San Pedro
Lomo de San Pedro, Gran Canaria
Looking south into the valley around Lomo de San Pedro, Gran Canaria
Lomo de San Pedro, Gran Canaria
Lomo de San Pedro, Gran Canaria

Parque Natural Tamadaba – head back into Agaete and follow the GC-200 which goes through the heart of the Tamadaba natural park. Here there are plenty of stopping off places to see the rugged coastlines and take in the breathtaking mountain and ocean views. I got as far as El Lomo on the westernmost point of the island before heading back north.

Parque Natural Tamadaba, Gran Canaria
Parque Natural Tamadaba
Parque Natural Tamadaba, Gran Canaria
Driving through the Parque Natural Tamadaba
Parque Natural Tamadaba, Gran Canaria
A view to the west into the Atlantic Ocean
Parque Natural Tamadaba, Gran Canaria
The rugged coastline of Parque Natural Tamadaba
Parque Natural Tamadaba, Gran Canaria
Parque Natural Tamadaba
Parque Natural Tamadaba, Gran Canaria
Parque Natural Tamadaba
Parque Natural Tamadaba, Gran Canaria
Parque Natural Tamadaba
Parque Natural Tamadaba, Gran Canaria
Parque Natural Tamadaba

Overall – I wish I had more time to drive all over and even a few more days to do some hiking jaunts whilst I was here. The island is just pretty, breathtaking in many places. My opinion of this island was thrown out as soon as I headed into the centre and wanted to explore more. I would recommended doing this when visiting the island and there are plenty of cheap car hires near the airport. (Tip: Canary Islands maybe part of Spain and use the Euro currency but they are not part of the European Union and have cheaper tax laws which helps visitors get a better deal). Choose a small car and you be on your way. I never regretted it and had an amazing time.

Parque Natural Tamadaba, Gran Canaria

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17 Responses

  1. Hi,

    Great post. Gran Canaria is a favourite of Janis’s parents, who escape there at the end of the UK winter. They’ve described how pretty the island can be, but your post has added a lot more depth, and the incentive to visit the Islands. (although I’ll need to avoid the two weeks the in-laws have made it home!)

    The views look amazing, and the little towns so charming. The thought of discovering the islands really whets my appetite.

    Cheers & happy travels,

    Gary

  2. those pictures are absolutely amazing! thank you for sharing!

  3. Wow! This will make me sound naive but this is NOT what I thought Gran Canaria looked like! It is very Spanish for sure! Love all your photos

  4. I would love to visit this place. It’s full of adventures and it’s very scenic.
    karlaroundtheworld recently posted…Bohol Travel Guide

  5. What a beautiful place! Love the architecture.

  6. Wow! Eye-popping shots Danik 😉 I love those azure blue skies. Brilliant. 100% up my alley, as I am a sucker for tropical type islands with dramatic scenery. So peaceful looking too. I could stare down from those hills at the ocean for days.
    Ryan Biddulph recently posted…BFP Podcast 25: Why I Reject 99% Of Pitches And How To Be The 1%

  7. Yes, Gran Canaria’s perfect for road trips. We love to go off road, however, whenever we have a chance. Did you know that the island’s got its very own Camino de Santiago?
    Gran Canaria Local recently posted…DO Mercado by Atelier: Las Palmas cocktail bar

  8. Wow that landscape is truly stunning. I would love to do some road tripping and hike around Gran Canaria for sure!

  9. massive gulp at your road trippin image in the middle of the road. I so can not do that!

  10. There’s really no graceful way to take a jumping picture, but you came pretty close. On a serious note, Gran Canaria was on my radar, so thanks a ton for the information and insight!

  11. I took a cruise through the Canary Islands last spring, and it was so beautiful. My one regret is that I didn’t have a lot of time to spend in each place. I would love to get back to Gran Canaria and do a road trip akin to yours–so many great sights to see.
    Wanderlust Wayfarer recently posted…Things to do in Kuta, Bali, in One Day — Beaches, Barong, and Temples

  12. Roque Nublo looks absolutely stunning! I love the look of that cloud rolling in – it’s so stunning. Parque Natural Tamadaba offers some of the most beautiful coastline news I’ve ever seen a photo of. Thanks for sharing!
    Paige W recently posted…Exploring Ha Ha Tonka State Park, Missouri

  13. Looks like an epic island to road trip around!
    Jean recently posted…The best podcasts to listen to when you’re off travelling.

  14. When I lived in England I thought I’d visit Gran Canaria but never made it, and now I really regret it. I had no idea that the scenery was so dramatic or that the weather is so different on different sides of the island. I’ve never thought of it as more than a beach destination but you’ve shown me that it’s well worth travelling inland.

  15. I’m really impressed with the roads in Gran Canaria – it looks like an excellent place to ride a bike. I didn’t realize the Canary Islands are warm weather winter destinations – tempting! Thanks for sharing, Danik!

  16. Wow, the hiking here looks unreal. I could spend several weeks just hiking around this island. Plus the roads look fun to drive.
    Jennifer Melroy recently posted…The United States’ National Parks are Under Attack

  17. Definitely an off-the-beaten-path destination. Looks amazing. Great post!

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