You’ve seen them splattered all over glossy brochure pages, now it’s time to witness Gran Canaria’s quality of beaches for yourself. This popular Canary Island has a sand spot to suit everyone, whether you’re holidaying with kids in tow or you’re a fan of all things exhilarating.
Celebrated for its contrasting scenery, Gran Canaria’s vast collection of shores vary from natural spots in the north to populated stretches in the south. With 80 beaches to choose from and toasty temperatures all year round, avid beach-goers have their pick of the bunch.
Blackened volcanic shores together with phenomenal sand dunes and tucked-away coves – discover the best beaches in Gran Canaria as we make our way down its 50-kilometre coast.
Location: This mammoth strip of sand is divided into four areas and is situated between the towns of Maspalomas and Playa del Ingles.
Why visit: As one of island’s most famous beaches, the dunes of Maspalomas are recognised all over the world and are a must-visit during your holiday in Gran Canaria. Protected by a nature reserve and spanning for six kilometres, this idyllic shore is celebrated for its calm, shallow water, making it an ideal spot for small children.
For something completely different, you can always take a camel ride across this desert-like landscape Lawrence of Arabia style. This is also one of the best spots to watch the sunset with the day’s warm rays slowly disappearing behind the area’s sloping sand hills.
Best for: Families, couples, nature lovers and sunset viewings
How to get here: From Maspalomas, take a bus and get dropped off close to the dunes, or if you’ve rented a car, there is plenty of free parking nearby.
Need to know: If you’re holidaying with children, you may want to avoid the nudist section of the beach. Therefore, we suggest you keep an eye out for the warning signposts.
Hotels close to Maspalomas Beach:
As one of Gran Canaria’s biggest attractions, finding a hotel close to the dunes of Maspalomas isn’t difficult. Here are some of our favourites –
- Vistaflor Bungalows: These bungalow style apartments are just a 4-minute drive to Gran Canaria’s famous sand hills and come with two outdoor pool areas and a children’s playground.
- Cordial Green Golf Bungalows: With the glittering dunes sitting just 10 minutes down the road, this village-style complex places you in a prime position where you can take advantage of a nearby golf course and shopping centre.
- Apartamentos Cocoteros: Situated across from the dunes, Apartamentos Cocoteros have everything you could possibly need for a week in the sun including free Wi-Fi, a kitchenette and private terrace.
Playa de Puerto Rico
Location: Found in the southwest of Gran Canaria, this beach is situated in the town of the same name.
Why visit: Adored for its imported golden sand, it tends to attract a mix of families and watersports lovers, due to its clean clear waters and endless choice of activities. Backed by a row of palms, the surrounding landscape doesn’t get much more tropical.
On the sand things are extremely slow paced with ample room to sunbathe, while the promenade is bursting with eating and drinking spots. When your craving some tasty, Canarian food, followed by an afternoon cocktail, this is the place to hit.
Best for: Families and watersports
How to get here: Ideally positioned in the town of Puerto Rico, this popular shore can be accessed via its busy promenade. Staying elsewhere? This big-name resort is found on most bus routes.
Playa del Ingles
Location: Sandwiched between the resorts of San Agustin and Maspalomas, Playa del Ingles’ lengthy stretch is in a prime position. In fact, if you carry on walking towards the Maspalomas end of the beach, the sand starts to widen – this is where Gran Canaria’s famous dunes come into view.
Why visit: Welcoming holidaymakers since the 1960s, this Blue Flag shoreline still manages to charm tourists years later. Soaking up those warm, Canary Island rays, leisurely strolls are highly recommended.
Not only is this idyllic stretch Gran Canaria’s third largest, but it’s also one of the most visited. Dishing out nearly three kilometres of delicate sand, find a quiet spot by the sea and admire the those famous blues, or stick to the shore’s lively section and jump on a jet ski.
Best for: Couples, families and watersports
How to get here: Backed by a busy promenade, this beach is easily accessible. However, if you’re coming from further afield, most buses go through Playa del Ingles. If you’re lucky, many hotels put on courtesy transport, so you don’t have to miss out.
Need to know: This beach has a flag warning system – green means it is safe to enter, yellow alerts the public to take care and red is for danger. We always advise checking the colour of the flag during each visit.
Hotels close In Playa del Ingles Beach:
From luxury to budget, Playa del Ingles has a wide range of hotels which sit close to its famous shoreline. Take a look at some of its best –
- Hotel Beverly Park: Not far from the ocean edge, this hotel comes with five outdoor pool areas and a choice of rooms spread across seven floors.
- Sol Barbacan: Just a 15-minute walk from the beach, Sol Barbacan is situated in the heart of Playa del Ingles.
- Abora Catarina by Lopesan: Fitted with modern interiors after undergoing a recent refurbishment, this 4 star property will wow you from the get-go.
Playa de Amadores
Location: As part of the municipality of Mogán, Playa de Amadores sits between the resorts of Puerto Rico and Puerto Mogán.
Why visit: With a name which translates to ‘Lovers Beach’, this white sand stunner has become a hotspot for couples. Boasting some of the warmest waters on the island, as well as incredible views, enjoy romantic dips by day and evenings strolls come nightfall.
As much as it’s a great place to walk hand-in-hand with your other half, it’s also perfect for families. This man-made shore is well-protected, which means little swimmers can enjoy paddle-friendly waters while their parents relax. Holding firmly onto its Blue Flag, its high standards haven’t slipped either.
Best for: Couples, swimming and sea views
How to get here: You can walk here from Puerto Rico via a clifftop path and it will take you around 20 minutes. If you’re travelling from elsewhere, we suggest hopping on a bus or flagging a taxi.
Top tip: Make sure you head here in time for sunset. With Tenerife’s almighty Mount Teide commanding your attention in the background, this is a light show you won’t want to miss!
Location: Found in the northeast of Gran Canaria, right in the heart of the island’s bustling capital Las Palmas.
Why visit: Despite its urban location, Las Canteras has been praised for its natural beauty and is often ranked among the world’s top city beaches. As the longest strip of sand on the island, it’s the perfect escape when you want to get away from those busy shopping streets.
In terms of activities, there’s a section of the beach known for its fantastic waves, while the other end is a lot calmer, making it ideal for underwater adventures. Sheltered by a natural lava reef, you can’t ignore its volcanic origins.
Best for: Families, surfing, snorkelling and volleyball
How to get here: If you’re not staying in Las Palmas, you can take any bus which stops at Santa Catalina. From here, you’ll be able to walk to the beach. Alternatively, you can always grab a taxi.
Hotels close to Las Canteras Beach:
Want to be as close as possible to Las Canteras Beach? These hotels place you minutes away from the sand –
- Alisios Canteras: With a stay at Alisios Canteras you’re just down the road from the beach, which is perfect for morning dips and idle afternoons.
- Exe Las Canteras: Focusing on luxury, this 4 star property is located right in the centre of Las Canteras Beach and offers highlights such as a spa, gym and free Wi-Fi.
- Hotel Reina Isabel: Placed conveniently in the city centre and overlooking the sand, head to the rooftop pool for the best views.
Location: Situated in the resort of San Agustin, this shore is less than a mile from the centre.
Why visit: This lesser-known beach doesn’t get as busy as some of Gran Canaria’s most famed coastlines, but that’s what people love about it. Often overlooked in terms of its beauty, this peaceful shore doesn’t get the recognition it deserves.
If you’re not awe-struck by its volcanic, black sands, then the views out to sea are bound to blow you away. With little waves, keen snorkelers and scuba divers can take full advantage of the ocean’s submerged delights, while the promenade looks after hungry holidaymakers with its range of eating stops.
Best for: Families, snorkelling, scuba diving and kitesurfing
How to get here: If you’re not staying in San Agustin, this sunny coastline is connected to the popular resort of Playa del Ingles. Simply walk along the promenade, and you’ll eventually reach this rugged body of sand. It should take no longer than 40 minutes on foot, or 4 minutes if you drive.
Which sandy stretch will be first on your list?