So in short: where we were, what we did and what we liked and would do again.
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (28°08’03.2″N 15°26’06.2″W)
The capital of the island. It was there that we lived and studied for half a year. The city itself isn’t very nice, there are no architectural gems (apart from a small historic district of Vegueta with a magnificent cathedral) or amazing parks. There is a 3 km long city beach Las Canteras (main photo), but there are many others on the island (although this one is really cool). It’s worth to go here, because Las Palmas is a very good starting point for short trips around the area (within bus connections).
La Isleta (28°09’39.9″N 15°26’03.6″W)
From Spanish “island”. Peninsula in the north of Las Palmas, you can go there by city bus or take a walk (about 1h). There is a beach where you probably won’t meet tourists, but also the entrance to the water is much less pleasant – very rocky bottom. There are also caves of Guanches – indigenous inhabitants of the islands. Very similar to Cenobio de Valerón, so if you aren’t going to those archaeological sites along the way, it’s worth going to the caves on La Isleta. Theoretically, there is no admission due to the slipping stones and the lack of adequate security, but in reality the path is blocked by a plastic gate that can be easily passed at your own risk. Formerly, the caves were accessible to tourists, there are still information boards. From the hill there is a beautiful view of the entire city and port. Being in Las Palmas you definitely have to go there.
Botanical garden Viera y Clavijo (28°03’53.5″N 15°27’39.1″W)
Not far from the city is a very nice, large and well-kept botanical garden. You can see there any type of cactus and many other strange plants whose names I can’t remember now. A pleasant change from the deserted landscape of La Isleta. What’s more – the garden is located near the university campus, so returning you can eat at the university canteen a delicious, cheap dinner (2.5 or 5 € – one or two dishes). Canteen can be associated with bad quality food, but there it was really tasty. The canteen is here.
Caldera de Bandama (28°01’55.7″N 15°27’22.5″W)
A huge volcanic crater, next to the Real Club de Golf, which was the first golf club in Spain. The crater can be walked around, you can enter the viewpoint on the hill above it, you can also go down to the very bottom of the crater, and on the way discover the tiny path leading to the caves. We recommend it! PS: the caves have collapsed shortly before our visit, entering them can be very dangerous! We didn’t enter. No, not at all…
Arucas (28°07’07.1″N 15°31’24.0″W)
A charming town with a big cathedral, the Montana de Arucas hill (a beautiful panorama of the city, as well as the coast with La Isleta), and… a rum factory. Rum Arehucas is a trademark of the Canaries, something you have to try. And it’s best to try it straight from the factory 🙂 You can visit it for free, learn about the production process, go through the room with barrels where rum is rumpled and where well-known personalities have signed up, and at the end taste various rum and liqueurs on the basis of rum produced in the factory. There is also a shop, where you can immediately buy what have tasted cheaper than in supermarkets in the city (not all kinds of rum in supermarkets are available). We visited the factory 4 times 🙂
Teror (28°03’34.5″N 15°32’50.9″W)
Another charming small town with a nice square with a cathedral, climatic streets with typical Canarian wooden balconies. There are also several viewpoints above the city. Maybe there is not much to do there, but it’s really a nice stop on the way to Roque Nublo.
Cenobio de Valeron (28°08’20.3″N 15°36’13.6″W)
The Guanches’ caves mentioned before. Bigger than on La Isleta, but there is nothing interesting apart from caves. If it’s not on the way, it can be skipped in my opinion.
Puerto de las Nieves (28°06’09.0″N 15°42’41.3″W)
And again, a small, nice town, this time without a cathedral, but with natural pools and a broken God’s finger – a coastal rock formation that resembled a finger until 2005, so it was called El Dedo de Dios, but during a storm the finger broke . Traditionally, we recommend a walk outside the trail, we climbed the cliffs above El Dedo de Dios and watched it from above, overlooking the city.
Artenara (28°01’12.1″N 15°38’48.1″W)
A beautifully located village in the mountains. There is a tiny ethnographic museum where you can see how the Canary people lived in houses built in caves (such houses function in mountain villages until today!) And try on traditional costumes. The entrance is ‘pay as you want’, and the museum itself is very… cosy. Maybe nothing special, but it took us by heart. It’s worth taking a glimpse there, especially since arriving from the north-west it’s on the way to…
Roque Nublo (27°58’06.0″N 15°36’35.9″W)
An absolute hit and the trademark of Gran Canaria, which is hard to reach by bus. A huge rock in the center of the island, with a beautiful view of the whole valley, and in good weather you can see Tenerife ‘levitating’ in the distance. Wonderful! We highly recommend a walk from Cruz de Tejeda, about 8 km along the trail with great views including on Roque Bentayga. It’s worth to aim so that you can come back at sunset.
Pico de Las Nieves (27°57’49.4″N 15°33’57.3″W)
Viewpoint very close to Roque Nublo, the highest peak on the island (1949 m). There is an astronomical observatory there, therefore the area is fenced. You can climb with a car to the top of the mountain with only one route and take a look from the designated point. Therefore, in our opinion, it is less interesting than Roque Nublo, but being close it’s worth coming up here.
Dunas de Maspalomas (27°44’19.4″N 15°34’47.5″W)
The further south, the more tourists. There aren’t many small towns here, rather large hotel complexes known from the Holiday Diaries, in which Michał had the opportunity to play. It is no different in Maspalomas and the twin city Playa del Ingles. However, it’s worth coming south, strolling through the huge, natural dunes and feeling a bit like in the desert. Note: there are naturist beaches along the dunes, you have to be mentally prepared for the view of naked bodies (rather older people 😉 )
Puerto de Mogan (27°49’05.6″N 15°45’55.1″W)
One of the few nice towns on the south coast. A charming little port, with white houses and colorful decorations. Pleasant for a walk. Unfortunately, photo is not ours, just from the Internet. Ours have disappeared somewhere.
This is obviously not all you can do on the island. While living there for half a year, we didn’t manage to explore every corner of it. We weren’t on the beach of Gui-Gui, which can be reached only by car, and then walking through the mountains for about 3 hours. We didn’t go down every ravine, we weren’t on every beach. But we saw a lot of this island, and we sincerely recommend the above-mentioned places.