Gran Canaria is one of the UK’s favourite summer destinations, marrying Spanish culture and custom with the climate and history of the Western Cape. Nearly two million visited its shores in 2021, in search of the plentiful sun and sea it provides – but the beaches aren’t the only draw to the island. What follow are four incredible locations well worth your time, and the things that make them so special.
Roque Nublo is arguably one of Gran Canaria’s best-kept secrets, and also one of its furthest inland. Roque Nublo is in the dead centre of the island, in the Tejeda region. It is a mountain crag nearly two kilometres above sea level, the second-highest peak in the island and an incredibly rewarding place to hike to.
The mountain air and views are peerless, making the area an absolute must-visit for more adventurous visitors to the island.
Firgas is a quaint mountain town nestled in the northern reaches of the island, and a beautiful place to spend a night or two. Its relative proximity to Gran Canaria’s international airport makes it the perfect stopover town before you make your trip to the western shores of the Las Palmas region.
Firgas is also a draw in and of itself, being over 500 years old – and with the culture to prove it. Come for the beautiful streets, lined with tiled art and historic buildings; stay for the incomparable northerly view of the Atlantic Ocean.
Galdar is a small town on the north-western horn of Gran Canaria, a stone’s throw from the northern coastline. Galdar’s history stretches back long before the Spanish occupation in the 1400s, at one time being a major city of the island’s indigenous population, the Guanches.
Remnants of that ancient civilisation can be visited their today; the Painted Cave is host to technicolour geometric patterns thought to represent a calendar, and a tranche of well-preserved artefacts. Galdar is beautiful enough as a town, but its historical significance is also worth the visit.
Caves of Valeron
The Caves of Valeron can be found mere miles to the east of Galdar, a short walk from the Playa San Felipe in the north of the island. The caves are another example of the indigenous Canarii people’s imprint on the island, being a manmade series of structures hewn into the weak volcanic rock for the purpose of storing grain.
The caves had been in active use until the 1400s and the arrival of the Spanish; today, the outcrop can be visited, and further evidence of Canarii presence can be found in the well-preserved ceramics and idols.