Gran Canaria in 3 Days - The Ultimate Island Retreat

Craving a blend of sun-soaked beaches, sumptuous cuisine, and a splash of culture? Gran Canaria has it all! This Canary Island jewel is more than just a pretty beach; it’s a hotbed of outdoor activities, historic sites, and local flavors. Within just 3 days, you can have an adventure that you’ll reminisce for a lifetime.
Pro Tip:Rent a car for the utmost freedom; public transport here can be sporadic.

Day 1: The Sunny South Side of Gran Canaria

  • Maspalomas Dunes:
    • Begin your Gran Canaria adventure by sinking your toes into the golden sands of Maspalomas Dunes. Imagine miles of sandy hills beneath a clear blue sky—nature’s masterpiece.
    • Why Visit: The contrast between the golden sand and azure waters creates an awe-inspiring landscape.
    • How to Get There: A quick bus ride from Playa del Ingles will take you straight to the dunes.
    • Pro Tip: Early morning visits give you the dunes almost to yourself. Perfect for photography!


  • Playa de Amadores:
    • Second stop, Playa de Amadores. Dive into crystal-clear waters or relax under the sun.
    • Why Visit: The pristine condition of the beach and its calm waters make it ideal for swimming.
    • How to Get There: A 20-minute drive from Maspalomas will get you there.
    • Pro Tip: The beach bars serve incredible seafood. Don’t miss out!


  • Puerto de Mogan:
    • Known as “Little Venice,” Puerto de Mogan offers charming canals and radiant blooms.
    • Why Visit: The romantic setting is a picture-perfect way to end your day.
    • How to Get There: Just another short bus ride from Playa de Amadores.
    • Pro Tip: Friday is market day, so it’s a great opportunity to snag some local goods.


Want to know about the Canary Islands more? Here is our Tenerife 3 days itinerary. Explore, and compare to Gran Canaria and make your own choice.

Gran Canaria, Spain

Day 2: Dive into Northern Culture

  • Las Palmas Cathedral:
    • Starting up North, the Las Palmas Cathedral is an architectural marvel.
    • Why Visit: A peek into Canary Island history, with the bonus of panoramic city views.
    • How to Get There: Direct buses from Maspalomas.
    • Pro Tip: The tower is a must-visit, especially for panoramic Instagram posts.


  • Casa de Colón:
    • Literally a minute’s walk from the Cathedral, this is where Christopher Columbus took a breather.
    • Why Visit: It’s a museum now and offers a captivating look into maritime history.
    • How to Get There: Walk from Las Palmas Cathedral.
    • Pro Tip: Check out the free guided tours.


  • Caldera de Bandama:
    • A huge volcanic crater offering stunning 360-degree views of the island.
    • Why Visit: For the breathtaking natural scenery and hiking trails.
    • How to Get There: Bus or a 25-minute drive from Las Palmas.
    • Pro Tip: Wear sturdy hiking boots. The terrain can be challenging but rewarding.

Gran Canaria, Spain

Day 3: Explore Gran Canaria's Rugged Beauty

  • Roque Nublo:
    • A hike to Roque Nublo offers an intimate experience with Gran Canaria’s natural beauty.
    • Why Visit: The views from this volcanic rock are unparalleled.
    • How to Get There: A hiking trail that’s well marked.
    • Pro Tip: Start early to avoid crowds and enjoy a serene experience.


  • Pico de las Nieves:
    • The highest peak in Gran Canaria offers views you won’t easily forget.
    • Why Visit: Get your camera ready for the 360-degree panoramic views.
    • How to Get There: A 30-minute drive from Roque Nublo.
    • Pro Tip: Early morning visits offer the clearest skies.


  • Barranco de Guayadeque:
    • This deep ravine offers caves, some of which are still inhabited.
    • Why Visit: A fascinating look at how the original inhabitants of the island lived.
    • How to Get There: A car ride from Pico de las Nieves, around 40 minutes.
    • Pro Tip: The local restaurants serve traditional Canarian food, like “papas arrugadas.”


Still have extra time? Here is other top 10 places to see on Canary Islands. Ready to have a trip across the islands?

Best areas to stay and to avoid

5 Areas to Live in Gran Canaria

  • Maspalomas:
    • Close to some of the most famous beaches, it’s the hotspot for tourists looking for a sunny vacation.
    • Why Choose: Variety of accommodation options, from luxury resorts to budget hotels.
    • Pro Tip: Booking months in advance can secure you some serious discounts.
  • Las Palmas:
    • The capital city offers a mix of urban and beach life.
    • Why Choose: Great for those who want amenities and nightlife alongside the beach.
    • Pro Tip: Choose a place close to Playa de Las Canteras for the best experience.
  • Puerto Rico:
    • A family-friendly area with a host of activities.
    • Why Choose: Well-equipped apartments and a ton of water activities.
    • Pro Tip: Check if your accommodation has shuttle services to popular beaches.
  • Playa del Ingles:
    • Known for its vibrant nightlife and endless stretch of sand.
    • Why Choose: Ideal for younger tourists looking for fun after the sun goes down.
    • Pro Tip: Renting a bike is a convenient way to explore the area.
  • San Agustin:
    • A quieter, more relaxed atmosphere for those looking to escape the crowds.
    • Why Choose: Close enough to hotspots like Playa del Ingles but offers more tranquility.
    • Pro Tip: Look for sea-view apartments; the sunsets are incredible.


5 Areas to Avoid in Gran Canaria

  • El Tablero:
    • Primarily a residential area, lacks tourist amenities.
    • Why Avoid: Limited dining and entertainment options.
    • Pro Tip: Visit for shopping but don’t stay.
  • Vecindario:
    • A busy industrial area.
    • Why Avoid: It’s far from the main attractions.
    • Pro Tip: Only a place to pass through en route to more scenic spots.
  • Arucas:
    • Although charming, it’s isolated from the main attractions.
    • Why Avoid: Not convenient for a short Gran Canaria itinerary.
    • Pro Tip: If you do visit, the church is worth a look.
  • Bahía Feliz:
    • Known for strong winds and rocky shores.
    • Why Avoid: Not ideal for those who want a beach holiday.
    • Pro Tip: Windsurfers may find it appealing, but not for general tourists.
  • Cruz de Tejeda:
    • High altitude can be an issue.
    • Why Avoid: It can get quite cold, and it’s not near the beaches.
    • Pro Tip: Visit for hiking but consider other places for your stay.