Gran Canaria is an island full of diverse landscapes and beautiful nature. Sometimes it’s even referred to as “miniature continent”. Unfortunately, its reputation often portrays it as a crowded mass tourism destination for beach holiday tourists. While this is not completely wrong the island does have much more to offer than just beaches. Once you leave the main tourist hotspots you’ll discover the true beauty of Gran Canaria.
1. Barranco de las Vacas
Barranco de las Vacas is an impressive natural wonder which reminds of the famous Antelope Canyon in the United States. The only difference: It’s for free and there are no visitor crowds!
Attention: Don’t just put Barranco de las Vacas in Google Maps because it will lead you somewhere else. We had to learn this after hiking in the wrong place for 20 minutes.
These are the exact coordinates: 27°54’54.7″N 15°28’33.6″W
You can copy+paste them into Google Maps to get there.
Coming from Agüimes you find a small parking space on the left side of the road. From there you walk down the canyon until you reach a grey brick bridge. You walk through it and keep walking for 5 minutes to get to the spot of my photos. I recommend visiting in the morning or in the evening to avoid sharing the spot with other visitors. We went there just before sunset and had the whole canyon to ourselves.
2. Sunset at Mirador Pico de las Nieves
This is definitely my favourite sunset spot of Gran Canaria. Pico de las Nieves is the highest peak of the island. From there you have an amazing view of Roque Nublo, which is Gran Canaria’s most famous landmark. Roque Nublo is basically just a mountain with a weird looking rock on top of it but for some reason it’s considered as a must-see.
You need to drive up a steep and curvy road to get there. On top there’s a small space where you can park your car. Be there on time because the parking lot is quite small and there will be others too. Make sure to bring warm clothes as it can get extremely windy up there.
3. Playa Güigüi
Playa Güigüi is a hidden beach which can only be reached either by boat or on foot by crossing a mountain. If you’re an active person I definitely recommend hiking there. During the hike you can enjoy stunning views and it’s a great experience.
We arrived after 2 hours of hiking and were more than happy to finally jump into the cool ocean. There was nobody else but us on the beach which was awesome and super relaxing.
We had brought a tent to stay a night on the beach. Like this we could enjoy the whole day there without having to think about the hike back on the same day. The best part of it all was the beautiful starry sky at night combined with the sound of the waves. Camping on this beach was an incredible experience.
If you’re interested in hiking to Playa Güigüi, I have a whole blog post dedicated to it:
This hike is a must-do if you enjoy off the beaten track travel!
4. Natural Pools “Las Salinas” in Agaete
The northern part of Gran Canaria is way less crowded than the touristy south. Agaete is located on the north-western coast and not too many tourists make it that far up as it takes quite a while to get there. There are some natural pools where you can go swimming or just relax in the sun. On a sunny day you won’t be all alone but it’s not as crowded as other beaches. Plus, it’s rather locals that go there.
I recommend staying there until the evening and have dinner in one of the numerous fish restaurants in Puerto de las Nieves which is only a 5 minutes walk away. They have a great offer of fresh fish and local dishes. Make sure to watch the sunset from there, it looks beautiful and if it’s a clear day you can even see the peak of the volcano Teide in the distance.
There are definitely more hidden gems on Gran Canaria but these are my four favourites. Do you enjoy off the beaten track travel? If you’ve been to Gran Canaria what were your favourite places?