To be honest, I never thought I’d visit Gran Canaria. I always thought it was one of those touristy places with huge all-inclusive hotels. But, turns out that’s only in the south of the island. So, I decided to explore the north and west parts of Gran Canaria instead. And, boy, was I surprised! These parts of the island are very different. You get to see charming villages, colorful streets, and hang out with locals in the squares. So, I made a list of some amazing places to visit in the north and west of Gran Canaria, and a few in the south too. And, the best part is, you can easily get to all of these places using public transport from Las Palmas (the capital of Gran Canaria).

Agaete – the white village of Gran Canaria

Agaete is a wonderful spot in Gran Canaria. It’s a small village with white walls and Andalusian vibes. I recommend climbing the stairs and alleys up to Mirador de la Cruz to get amazing views of the city. Agaete is also the gateway to a green lush valley. The Valle de Agaete walk is the perfect way to explore this valley. It starts at Cafetería La Esquina intersection in Agaete, takes about 1.5 hours and ends at Lomo de San Pedro, a cute white village surrounded by lush green hills. To return to Agaete, you can either walk back or take bus 102. But keep in mind that the bus runs only four times a day.

Bus from Las Palmas to Agaete: No. 103 or 130 (semi-direct, fewer stops along the way), get off at Iglesia de Agaete. The ride is about 50 minutes, the ticket costs €4.30.

Gran Canaria places to visit

Puerto de las Nieves – best to combine with Agaete

Next to Agaete on the coast is the fishing town of Puerto de las Nieves. This place gained fame because of ‘Dedo de Dios,’ a rock that was called the Finger of God due to its pointed shape. Unfortunately, the ‘finger’ vanished during a storm in 2005. Today, some of the things to do in Puerto de las Nieves include seeing the blue and white houses and the church Nuestra Señora de las Nieves. On a sunny day, you can take a dip in Las Salinas, a saltwater pool at the end of the Paseo Maritimo. However, please note that Puerto de las Nieves is very small, so it’s best to manage your expectations. I would suggest combining it with Agaete, Galdar, or doing a longer hike in the area.

Bus from Las Palmas to Puerto de las Nieves: same as to Agaete, but you get off one stop later. If you are already in Agaete, it is about a 15-minute walk.

Gran Canaria places to visit

Teror – Gran Canaria’s sacred town

A town with a striking name, though one ‘r’ is missing. Teror is often considered as the most beautiful town in Gran Canaria, and I can understand why. It has a vibrant center with characteristic wooden balconies on the houses, and in the background, the majestic green hills emerge. For the locals, Teror is also a sacred place because of Virgen del Pino, which refers to a 15th-century tale about the Virgin Mary who is believed to have appeared on the top of a pine tree. The church has been built in that place now. Due to this reason, Teror can be quite crowded with tourists. I suggest taking advantage of siesta hours. In the afternoon, Calle Real de la Plaza is much quieter and peaceful.

Bus from Las Palmas to Teror: No. 216, get off at the final stop Estacion de Teror. The ride is 30 minutes, the ticket costs €2.30.

Gran Canaria places to visit

Arucas – the rum town of Gran Canaria

Terror is a lovely pilgrimage village, but if you’re looking for a more local experience, I suggest visiting Arucas. The city center is home to a remarkable church called the San Juan Bautista Cathedral, which stands out with its dark grey color against the vibrant and colorful surroundings. No matter where you are in the city or its vicinity, you can always spot the church. Unfortunately, we couldn’t visit the inside as it is closed in the afternoons, which is common among Spanish churches. If you want to explore the area outside the center, I recommend checking out the Botanical Gardens, where you can see peacocks roaming freely (entrance fee: €5), or the Arehucas rum distillery (tour price: €7, available from Monday to Thursday until 2:00 pm). Arehucas was the old name of the city, given by the Guanches.

Bus from Las Palmas to Arucas: No. 234, get off at the final stop Arucas. The ride takes 25 minutes and the ticket is €1.90. With a tight schedule, Arucas can be combined with Teror. Bus 215 runs once an hour from Teror to Arucas.

Gran Canaria places to visit

Firgas – a mini Plaza de España

Arucas is famous for its rum, and Firgas for its mineral water. The water brand is all over the island. Firgas’s top spot is the Paseo de Gran Canaria, which is a staircase with a little water stream in the middle and benches on the side. Every bench represents a town on Gran Canaria. It’s similar to the Plaza de España in Seville but on a much smaller scale. If you climb up further, you will find the second set of stairs, Paseo de Canarias, which is dedicated to the 7 Canary Islands. Apart from these steps, Firgas is up in the hills and has breathtaking views. Visit Mirador Plaza de San Roque and Mirador de Moya to see the beautiful scenery. You will only need an hour or so to see everything in Firgas, so best to combine this trip with Arucas.

Bus from Las Palmas to Firgas: No. 204, get off at the final stop. The ride is 45 minutes and the ticket is €2.85. From Firgas to Arucas, there is a smaller bus (number 211, ticket is €1.40). Check the schedule because this bus does not run very often.

Gran Canaria places to visit

Places to visit in South Gran Canaria

Puerto de Mogan – the pretty flower town

If you’re heading down to the southern part of Gran Canaria, brace yourself for a lot of tourists. It gets pretty crowded over there, so it may not be everyone’s thing. But there are still some cool spots worth checking out, like Puerto de Mogan. This little harbor town is a photographer’s dream, with all those red, pink, and orange Bougainvillea flower bushes everywhere! And if you’re feeling hungry, there are plenty of restaurants around the harbor, including Home Bakery, which has some vegan options. Plus, there’s a nice beach where you can chill out.

Bus from Las Palmas to Puerto de Mogan: No. 1 or 91. It’s a long journey (1 – 1.5 hours), so bring some entertainment. Ticket is €8.75.

Gran Canaria places to visit

Dunas de Maspalomas – a desert experience

Maspalomas is a resort town located in the south of Gran Canaria, and it’s famous for its unique landscape. The coastline is filled with a 6-kilometer-long golden sand dune landscape. Wind from the sea pushes the sand up into high hills, and sand is even blown onto the boulevard. The Dunas de Maspalomas is a Special Nature Reserve, which means that visitors cannot just walk into the dunes freely. To access the dunes, you need to use the marked walking paths, starting from the viewing platform near Hotel Riu Palace. However, many ignore or are unaware of these rules. There are more areas where you can access the dunes (for example, the boardwalk from Playa del Ingles) and I did not see any signs there explaining the rules.

Bus from Las Palmas to Maspalomas Dunas: No. 30, the stop is Dunas. The ride takes an hour, and the ticket is €5.60. From Puerto de Mogan, take bus 32 to the dunes, ticket is €4.15.

Gran Canaria places to visit

More places to visit in Gran Canaria

Other great places to visit in Gran Canaria are Agüimes, Fataga, and Galdar. You can also plan a hike to Roque Nublo and Pico de las Nieves, both of which are located in the center of the island. Please know that traveling by bus from Las Palmas to Roque Nublo or Pico de las Nieves is quite difficult. You need to take three buses (numbers 303, 305 and 18) and then you still have to walk. Your best option is to take a tour. I would advise you to book a tour as soon as possible because during our stay, tours were sold out for the entire week. This tour is a great combination of hiking and sightseeing in Teror.

Public transport in Gran Canaria

The public transport network in Gran Canaria consists of buses. The blue buses are for intercity travel, and the yellow buses are for within Las Palmas. If you plan to travel by public transport, staying in Las Palmas is best. San Telmo bus station is the starting and ending point for almost everything. Check the bus schedules in the Global Guaguas app or on the Global website. For the blue intercity buses, you buy a ticket with the driver. The yellow buses work with a fixed rate of €1.40, no matter how long you stay on the bus.

And there you have it, 7 great places to visit in Gran Canaria.

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