Sights & Attractions of the Canary Islands
Las Palmas is the capital of Gran Canaria and the largest city in the Canary Islands. There are many things to do in the city depending on the type of trip you want. You can go to the beach of Las Canteras, walk the streets of the old town of Vegueta, as well as visit the Las Palmas Cathedral.
Playa Del Ingles & Maspalomas
Maspalomas is home to two of the best attractions in Gran Canaria. This is where I stayed for the balance of the beach, natural attractions, and nightlife. You can spend the day on the beach then wander into the desert. Although if you are walking along the desert as an American and not used to nude beaches, just be warned that the section of the beach right around the desert has many nudists along the beach. At night you can go to Playa Del Ingles with fun nightlife and a large gay community.
A little north of Maspalomas, Roque Nublo is a great hike to take and capture views of Gran Canaria. On a good day, you will be able to see Mount Teide on Tenerife. The hike itself begins from the parking lot below. The hike is a relatively easy, but long loop. It will take around 2 and a half hours, make sure to incorporate breaks as there are many views on the way.
This volcano is on the most popular island, Tenerife. Mount Teide is the highest point above sea level in Spain. It will be an adventure even to the base of the volcano, but once you’re there, you can take a cable car up to the top. Standing at 24,600 ft, Teide is the fourth tallest volcano in the world. I suggest Mt. Teide and surrounding parks to be a whole day trip and be prepared for the day with snacks and food.
Timanfaya National Park
On the beautiful island of Lanzarote, you must go to see all of the beautiful landscapes and nature. Much of that resides within Timanfaya National Park. The entire park consists of highs and lows of mountains. The large variety of rocks and minerals, as well as shadows, creates lots of color variation in the views of the island.
3 Day Itinerary for the Canary Islands
Day 1: Maspalomas Desert & Playa del Ingles
I believe important for you to stay in the place you’re residing at least for the first night to see what the area around you has to offer. In the morning, make a quick breakfast and go down to the beach. Go back to your rental in the early afternoon to maybe shower then go out to grab lunch and wander into the desert. Pack with plenty of water or grab a frozen cocktail to sip on while you walk through the desert. I walked from Playa De Maspalomas back to my rental in Playa del Ingles, which was a long walk but worth it. After dinner, take a trip to Yumbo Centrum for a little taste of the nightlife.
Day 2: Mount Teide & Tenerife
Since I was staying in Maspalomas, Mount Teide might as well have been on the other side of the world, so I booked my trip through a third party company (Okgrancanaria), to avoid logistical complications. This was the longest day I had during my stay in the Canary Islands but it was worth the trip. The ferry from Las Palmas to Santa Cruz de Tenerife was about 2 hours, so make sure you get up early and leave late to make the most of your day if you’re not staying on Tenerife. If you have a rental car, it would probably be the easiest for this trip, but my travel guide took us to different lookouts of Teide but we never made it up to the summit, unfortunately. Then the last part of our trip was at a little town on Tenerife named La Orotova.
Day 3: Roque Nublo
This day will be a little bit more relaxing, especially since it will be the last day before you leave the Canary Islands after your 3 days stay. Take a bus or your rental car to the parking lot below Roque Nublo and take the hike after an early breakfast. Once finished, return back to Maspalomas and rest on the beach in the afternoon or wander around the various shopping malls. Get a nice dinner and enjoy the last night in this beautiful place when you realize you’ll have to come back.
Where to Eat in the Canary Islands
Located in Maspalomas right along Playa de Ingles, I went here all but one day during my stay. The environment is lively, outdoors, and fun. It is slightly more expensive than the other places but worth it for the food and amazing drinks they have to offer. They have typical American fare of burgers, sandwiches. Make sure you check their schedule routinely for live music and other performances and get a few large drinks to spend a couple of hours here.
A small, German gay bar along Playa de Maspalomas, this place is perfect for a small meal while on this side of the desert. The staff is very friendly and has a great pub environment with amazing currywurst. If it’s hot, treat yourself to one of their pitchers of sangria to brighten up your day.
A Spanish Tapas restaurant near Playa de Ingles, Mana 264 offers many delicious small plates in the comfort of Yumbo Centrum. I suggest getting a few drinks in the area before, getting dinner here, then going back to the bars that you were at earlier in the night. All of their food was delicious and service impeccable, especially compared to other restaurants in the area which scream tourist trap.
Where to Stay in the Canary Islands
I stayed at an Airbnb near Hiperdino Express Hamburgo, a convenience store in the area. The airbnb was perfect for two people. It had a balcony, kitchen, shower, and was part of a larger apartment building like the one seen in the photo. There was also a pool included with the property but I did not use it at all. I strongly recommend weighing your options in the Canary Islands as many places will be more resort-like and thus cost much more money. There are different areas with different price ranges and more cost-effective apartments like the one I stayed in.
Transportation in the Canary Islands
Every island in the Canary Islands has a bus service with stops at the main locations. This is how I got to and from the airport in Gran Canaria. Bus service and schedules vary by the island but here is the link that will direct you to all of them. https://www.angloinfo.com/how-to/spain/canaries/transport/public-transport/buses-in-the-canaries
Pictured here is the bus I used in Gran Canaria. The bus from the airport to Maspalomas takes about an hour and a half, tickets will cost 1.40 euro per trip per person.
Currency used in the Canary Islands
The Canary Islands uses the Euro, which is currently exchanged at $1.10 for 1 Euro. So it’s not that much more expensive, but keep in mind that you’re always spending 10% more. Which might not seem like a huge difference but a 40 euro meal turns into a $48 meal.