Recommendations for the beautiful Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, including Maspalomas, Las Palmas, Playa de Amadores and more!
Beautiful, sunny Gran Canaria is the perfect winter getaway. We left freezing temperatures in Germany for a long weekend in November and enjoyed 75-85° F weather on the island.
Three days was a nice amount of time to see different areas of Gran Canaria, but I would love to stay for a week. There certainly is a lot to do!
We flew from Frankfurt International to Las Palmas via RyanAir for about €300 (round trip, two persons). Prices fluctuate and you’ll find cheaper or more expensive fares based on the dates you choose.
The flight was just under five hours long, which is a long time to sit on a RyanAir flight with no complimentary food or beverages, no reclining seats, no seat pockets and minimal leg room. My knees were killing me on arrival since they had been pressed against the hard plastic seat in front of me for the duration of the flight. If we go again, I think we’ll pay a bit more to take a nicer airline!
It is possible to get around Gran Canaria via bus, but it may be inconvenient if you have limited time. The buses stop pretty frequently, so a 25-minute journey via car could be closer to an hour via bus.
We rented a car so we would be able to get to and from destinations fairly quickly, as we had a good amount of ground we wanted to cover! The rental from Sixt at Las Palmas airport was €70 for three days.
Where to stay
We stayed at a lovely Airbnb in Arguineguín within walking distance to several restaurants and bars. It was a steep climb up and down the hill, but we didn’t mind the exercise! From our apartment, Playa de Anfi was about a 10-minute drive. We loved the apartment – large balcony, nice view and a pool.
We liked this area a lot, but next time we might consider staying in Las Palmas (more to do) or next to Playa de Anfi because I love the beach and could spend a week sunbathing on it!
Things to do
Maspalomas is known for its sand dunes, which are definitely worth a visit. It also has a long beach with plenty of room to lay out and soak up the sun.
Adjacent to El Faro de Maspalomas (the lighthouse) is a promenade with restaurants that provide a lovely spot for food and drinks overlooking the water.
We walked from the lighthouse to the dunes and climbed up and down the massive hills of sand. It was a pretty windy day, so the sand was everywhere! We were covered from head to toe, to include in our teeth, in our ears, etc. Definitely wear sunglasses – I can’t imagine being pelted in the eyeballs by all that sand!
After playing on the dunes, we walked back to the promenade where there was a foot washing station that at least cleaned our legs of the sand, but we had to pull out the towels for our seats to avoid getting sand all over our rental car.
We ate at El Senador on the Maspalomas promenade. This place is a bit pricey compared to other places we visited in Gran Canaria, but it had nice ambiance and live music. We ordered the black (squid ink) paella and it was very good. If you want a spot to relax in Maspalomas with a lovely ocean view, El Senador is nice!
Las Palmas is the capital of Gran Canaria, and it’s quite a large city!
Upon arrival, we walked along Calle Triana, the city’s main shopping street. This pedestrian street offers so many stores – I could easily spend an entire day here! Alas, we only had time for window shopping because we were en route to Catedral de Santa Ana, a short walk from Calle Triana.
Catedral de Santa Ana was built in the 16th century and remained the only cathedral in the Canary Islands until the 19th century. It is quite beautiful, as is the surrounding Vegueta neighborhood.
After the cathedral, we drove over to Playa de las Canteras.
Playa de las Canteras
Playa de las Canteras is perhaps the most popular beach amongst tourists. It’s humungous! The sand and the accompanying promenade stretch over two kilometers. The promenade is full of great places to eat with a lovely view of the calm water.
We didn’t go swimming here, though we should have since the sun beaming down on us was so hot! We walked along the promenade for quite some time and enjoyed tapas at one of the beachside restaurants.
Playa de Amadores
While researching Gran Canaria online, this man-made beach came up as one of the top recommended beaches due to its white sand and clear, calm water. It was stunning to see in person! I can see where it gets its name (“lovers’ beach”).
It does get super crowded, though. We walked the length of the promenade, which is full of restaurants and shops. Sun chairs and umbrellas were a bit pricey, along with the inflatable fun zone in the water.
Playa de Anfi
Playa de Anfi is a man-made beach belonging to the beautiful Anfi del Mar resort, open to the public for use. Just like Playa de Amadores, the beach boasts beautiful white sand (from the Caribbean!) and clear, calm water. There are also several water activities you may take part in if you wish, including jet skiing, boat rental, banana boat, parasailing and more.
We spent hours soaking up the sun and swimming in the water at Playa de Anfi.
What we wish we would’ve known in advance is that there is a glass bottom ferry that leaves from Arguineguín and goes to Anfi, Puerto Rico, Mogan and back. That would have been a fun way to spend the day! So, if you’re staying in the area, look into Líneas Blue Bird ferry service.
Anfi del Mar looks like the type of resort you can stay in for two weeks and never set foot off the grounds. It has shopping, a supermarket, a salon, a spa, restaurants, bars, the gorgeous beach and who knows what else — this is just what we gathered from the outside! Unfortunately, you cannot stay there unless you are a member. However, the Radisson Blu Resort is right next door!
Things to eat
We spent two of our three nights at Restaurant Cabosuroeste at Playa Patalavaca (walking distance from our apartment in Arguineguín). This restaurant is fantastic. The food is delicious and the service is top notch!
Our first evening, we ordered four tapas to share. The portions were large! We couldn’t finish it all. The second night, we ordered one tapa and the seafood paella. The paella was absolutely outstanding, from the presentation to the taste, and was a large portion as well — we had a whole serving to take home with us for later.
The wait staff are so friendly here. They recognized us after the first night and took such good care of us. On Saturday, there was live music which made our experience so romantic and perfect. Plus, this restaurant has a stunning view of Anfi del Mar’s coastline.
We loved Gran Canaria. It was hard to return to Germany after only three days. If we go back, we’ll make it a longer trip. This island is home to what has been named the best climate in the world, so any time of year is a wonderful time to visit. Enjoy!