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I booked our tickets to Gran Canaria on a whim – mostly because I was able to find cheap flights from Boston, and I wanted a warmer place to go before our two month stay in Barcelona. I didn’t know a thing about the Gran Canary islands – and let’s just say I was blown away.
2 Days in Las Palmas
Las Palmas is the biggest city on the Gran Canaria main island and a short drive from the airport. I picked out a beach front apartment here with a balcony overlooking the sea, so we could spend our evenings eating jamon, olives and drinking wine. Not a bad choice. During the day we strolled along the miles long promenade, albeit in windy weather, and ventured into the old city center to walk around the old streets and marvel at the architecture.
Lots of good restaurants here to choose from and a great jumping off point for our trip.
From there I did what I do best — planned a week long road trip. Car rentals are my favorite thing everywhere we go, and this island would be no different. I mapped out a route that would take us to every region of the island from small towns to look out points and jaw dropping hikes.
Let’s just say, while you’re on the coast it all looks flat, but as soon as you veer inland, the roads are seriously roller coaster worthy. What you would think is a one lane one way road is actually two lane and two way so there were some seriously adrenaline pumping moments during the car rides!
To make everything manageable it’s best to split up the island into four different regions, the first day we would head to the north west. We stopped at mountainside viewpoints and small villages where we walked around the different stores and snapped dozens of photos.
The highlights this day were all the amazing hikes and view points from the center of the island. This place is seriously mountainous. From the Roque Nublo to the Roque Bentayga – the views were simply breathtaking. A 30-40 minute hike gets you to the the heart of the big Nublo rock where you’ll have to brave some serious wind and fellow hikers, but the Roque Bentayga surprisingly was mostly deserted and allowed for a very peaceful nature experience. From there a stop in the quaint town of Tejeda was an absolute must, where we naturally had to feast after our morning of exercise.
This day I wanted to tackle a serious trek – one 10 km trek that crossed a mountain and went down to a beach – but without proper hiking boots, this proved to be a problem and so we skipped it, but all the more reason to go back to Gran Canaria again (with the proper attire)! Instead we drove along the coast and marveled at the gorgeous viewpoints and coastal roads.
A drive back inland to the dam of Presa De Las Niñas was another highlight. This dam and lake going with it makes for a perfect picnic spot and if you walk around the lake, you climb up a small hill and you can start to hike around rock formations and cliff faces while admiring the next dam over to the other side. While the picnic area by the lake was full of people, once we started walking around we were the only people in sight and this was amazing. On the way back we stopped by the super adorable and colorful coastal town of Puerto Mogon for a quick drink and a stroll. By the evening we were totally wiped and headed back to our hotel to go online and enjoy casino games in our pjs.
We were staying in the coastal village called Puerto Rice, but we needed to venture into the famous Maspalomas beach town with it’s mega resorts and sand dunes. And now the sand dunes were seriously impressive – I mean these were enormous sand dunes that you could run around right by the beach and ocean! A quick picnic lunch at San Agustin was the perfect final stop before returning the rental car back at the airport.
-Overall I was nothing short of amazed by the diverse scenery available in Gran Canaria. From beaches, to mountain villages, coastal walks and mountain hikes, it seems that this island truly has something for everyone!