The 9 most beautiful towns and villages on Gran Canaria: an island roadtrip
Gran Canaria is so much more than Las Palmas (the capital), and the popular spots of Maspalomas and Puerto Rico. The island is dotted with pretty little towns and villages that are ideal for exploring. Whether it be a small fishing port or somewhere far from the beach surrounded by volcanoes, the smallest places on Gran Canaria are fine examples of the local architecture, economy and customs.
It’s easy to get to know a few of them because they are all reasonably close to each another. Take a trip around the island and uncover some of its best-kept secrets.
Gran Canaria towns and villages that are really worth a visit
Here is a selection of towns and villages to guide you on your trip around Gran Canaria. Of course, there are also many more places that are a delight to visit.
Not-to-be-missed locations in the north of the island
Governors and land owners settled in Arucas following the Spanish Conquest and, to this day, there is still an air of the old financial power that existed back in the day. The local artistic heritage includes San Juan Bautista Church, which is actually commonly known as Arucas Cathedral. It is an impressive Gothic Revival-style building made of black stone. If you like rum, you can also visit the Arehucas rum factory where the archipelago’s most famous rum is made.
Firgas undoubtedly boasts one of the quaintest and best-kept old quarters on the island. The two main streets – Paseo de Gran Canaria and Paseo de Islas Canarias – have been pedestrianised. On the first, you can see twenty-one heraldic coats of arms, one for each of the island’s municipalities, and on the second, the seven islands in the archipelago have been carved into the ground.
Don’t miss Casa de la Cultura, an attractive multi-purpose local government building; San Roque Church; and Acequia Real, the impressive recently-restored irrigation canal. Near the centre, you will find Las Madres viewpoint and a picture postcard view of the island where the landscape blends into the ocean.
It is really worth your while taking a walk around beautiful Agaete. It has pretty white houses and a quaint old quarter where you will find Concepción church and Huerto de las Flores garden. One of the island’s most important archaeological sites – Maipés necropolis – is also in the locality. It is an ancient and impressive cemetery with around 700 tombs carved into solidified lava. And that’s not all: Agaete has some amazing natural pools and, as you might expect from a good fishing village, you can eat incredibly fresh fish in any of its restaurants. La Rama, the local festivity, is held in August.
In Teror, you can visit Nuestra Señora del Pino Basilica in the main square. You can also stroll through the streets, many of which have been pedestrianised, and admire traditional Canary Island architecture. The traditional homes have wooden balconies, many of which are alive with brightly-coloured floral displays.
Inland Gran Canaria
This area of Gran Canaria has been populated since ancient times. In fact, Roque Bentayga crag, which is in the locality, was a sacred place for the natives. Enjoy the surrounding countryside and impressive views or visit Roque Nublo crag. Tejeda is perfect if you are interested in culture. If you’re keen on ethnography, then the local museum (Museo Etrnográfico) will be of interest to you. However, if sculptures are more your thing, then don’t miss the Museo de Esculturas where you can enjoy Canarian Abraham Cárdenes’ work.
Agüimes dates back to the period following the conquest of the Catholic Monarchs. San Sebastián Church, which was built in the neoclassical style, is well worth a visit. If you are keen on ancient history, you can visit the remains of ancient settlements in the area. For example, the Temisas and Guayadeque native settlements and the spectacular surrounding landscapes.
- Puerto de Mogán.
Puerto de Mogán has grown over the years but it still retains an air of tradition. The canals, traditional whitewashed homes and colourful plants and flowers are enchanting. It also has a small port with a charming marine walk. It is a perfect spot for taking a seat and having some refreshments.
The prettiest towns and villages in southern Gran Canaria
- San Agustín.
This tourist spot is pure tranquillity with just the odd surfer or fan of water sports to break the silence. The beach is a haven of peace and quiet and nothing like busy Playa del Inglés. It gets a limited number of visitors and the sea is quite calm.
Arguineguín is a traditional fishing village and a perfect spot for a dip in the sea. There are excellent beaches and natural saltwater swimming pools in the area. Since you will undoubtedly have built up an appetite, treat yourself to the local fresh fish next to the port. If you’re lucky, there will be clear blue skies and an opportunity to spot the summit of the Teide mountain across the way in Tenerife.
Other lovely towns and villages on Gran Canaria
This list of beautiful towns and villages on Gran Canaria is by no means exhaustive. Galdar, Santa María de Guía, Vega de San Mateo and Ingenio are also great places to visit. If you’re driving along and spot a signpost to any of them, don’t think twice about turning off and spending some time there.