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20 Best Gran Canaria Excursions – Great Tours & Day Trips for Adults

Many see Gran Canaria as a place where tourists go for the sole purpose of getting drunk in an all-inclusive atmosphere. I found they couldn’t be more wrong.

There are some fantastic things to do in Gran Canaria – from fantastic watersports, dolphin watching, jeep safaris, brilliant food in areas like Maspalomas, the Gran Canaria markets, and gorgeous old towns.

There are a multitude of Gran Canaria excursions and day trips on offer. No wonder this island is marketed as a “miniature continent” with the breadth of variety on offer.

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20 Gran Canaria Excursions

Gran Canaria is known as a miniature continent with good reason. There is a massive range of day tours and guided tours across the island.

As Gran Canaria is not that big no matter where you are based you should be able to experience any and all of the following Gran Canaria tours.

Blue door with wheel in Las Palmas Gran Canaria
The cute blue door on the harbour in Las Palmas, the capital city of the Canary Islands

1. Experience the Dunes

Maspalomas is in the south of Gran Canaria and is the home of the sand dunes. There were other areas of sand dunes in Gran Canaria (Las Palmas for one) before development. Maspalomas Gran Canaria is now the only one left and is a heritage site.

Dunes of Maspalomas Gran Canaria
The stunning dunes of Maspalomas

The dunes literally start from the beach. They are across 1000 acres and as it is rather hot on them some kind of tour is a great idea to give a feel for the dunes.

It is not easy to find your way around the dunes. There are some paths but I never feel safe wandering somewhere so dry and hot solo.

The best way to experience the Dunes is to take a Camel Ride. This tour takes about 40 minutes (which is all you need in the heat!), protects your feet and gives you a great feel for the dunes. All of that at a very low cost.

small pools of water and a bird on the waters of the maspalomas dunes Gran Canaria
Water on the dunes of Maspalomas

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2. Sightseeing and Culture Tours in Gran Canaria

Gran Canaria has some great and interesting cities to explore. The capital Las Palmas has an atmospheric old quarter called Vegeuta. The buildings of this area have been standing for nearly five centuries.

I loved hearing about how the streets of Las Palmas literally snake in shape due to the fact that locals wanted to confuse potential attackers.

street in Las Palmas Gran Canaria
The streets of Las Palmas

Then on to the lovely harbor area of Las Palmas Gran Canaria which to my mind gives the Bondi to Coogee Walk a run for its money.

If you are tight on time and want to get a feel for the island this Explore the cities of Gran Canaria tour is a great option. This is sort of a Gran Canaria Highlights tour and covers some of the key towns as well normally includes a stop at a rum distillery.

All entrance fees and pick up and drop off at your hotel are included in the price which makes it great value.

building and palm trees in Las Palmas
Palm trees in Las Palmas!

If you’re more interested in the North of the island this Full Day tour of North Gran Canaria is perfect. The day covers the gorgeous mountain town of Teror (my favourite), a climb to Roque Nublo if you are up for it (another Gran Canaria highlight), a volcanic playa stop with a swim, a coffee plantation and some almond tasting.

This really covers the highlights of Gran Canaria in one easy pickup and drop off at your hotel tour.

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3. Gran Canaria Boat Trips

As you would expect there are loads of boat trips on offer all over Gran Canaria. If you are staying in the south of the island have a look at this 4 hour boat trip from Mogan. 

What I liked about this tour is it is only 4 hours vs an entire day (can get too hot with a whole day) and is in a rather luxurious vessel.

Lunch is included (along with wine) and you are able to swim and snorkel from the boat. And this boat tour runs Monday through Friday so it is nice and flexible.

beach with boats on it Las Palmas Gran Canaria
The beach in Las Palmas

For checking out the local wildlife there is no better option than this Dolphin and Whale Watching from Mogan tour. Again, this tour is based in the south of the island and sets off from Arguineguín pier (hotel pick up and drop off is also included).

The tour only lasts 2 1/2 hours – again for me that is enough time to be out on the often very hot open sea scouting for wildlife.

The tour runs at either 1115 or 215. This way you can either have a leisurely morning or afternoon at your hotel, do an activity and still be fresh for drinks.

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4. Learn some Water Activities

There is a huge range of water activities on offer in Gran Canaria. The consistent weather means it is a great place to try some activities you may not have before.

If you are looking to try Scuba for the first time this Introduction to Scuba Diving is the perfect tour. This scuba diving course is a full day and includes getting into the open water so you really get a feel for whether or not scuba is for you.

So many scuba courses require you to commit several days which can be tough if you’re not sure if it’s for you.

The waterfront Las Palmas Gran Canaria
Walking along the waterfront in Las Palmas

The same goes for surfing. This introduction to surfing course lasts 4 hours – long enough for a beginner to have quite a few tries and see if it is for you or not. The lesson is great value and if you like it there is an option to move on to a 3-day course.

If standing up on the board is a bit more than you want to try out why not see if you like Body Boarding? This lesson also runs for 4 hours and gives you a good chance to figure out if bodyboarding is for you or not.

Close up of rocks and the sea in Las Palmas Gran Canaria

Stand up paddle boarding seems to be everywhere at the moment – this 2-hour Paddle Surf lesson is a great way to test it out.

Or try a different type of padding with Paddle Yoga and Pilates. You’ll have a certified instructor to guide you through this one hour lesson. Make sure to check the weather though as it only runs at low tide.

Learn a new hobby whilst on Gran Canaria

5. Explore the Outdoors

There is much more on offer than just water activities for those seeking some adventure and activity. One of my favourite Gran Canaria experiences was the walk up to the base of Roque Nublo (1813m).

Roque Nublo is the highest point on the island and it is a stunning walk (about 1.5km each way).

Roque Nublo Gran Canaria
Roque Nublo

What I really like about the Full day Gran Canaria Peaks tour from Las Palmas is that it combines some exercise with some eating. You will climb up to Roque Nublo as well as Pico de las Nieves, the highest point of the island.

The tour also includes visits to the cute mountain towns of San Mateo and Vallesco where you can taste some of the local cheese, almond and wine delicacies – and do some shopping.

The view from the walk up to Roque Nublo Gran Canaria
Views on the walk up to Roque Nublo

Gran Canaria is a great place to figure out if rock climbing is for you. This four-hour Climbing lesson is designed for those with no experience (or with some) and has trained instructors providing a perfect taster.

Or if climbing isn’t for you why not try this introduction to Canyoning tour.

Purple wildflowers on Gran Canaria with mountains in the background
Wildflowers on Gran Canaria

The stable weather on Gran Canaria also makes it an ideal place to try paragliding. This Paragliding Tandem Flight can run for either 20 minutes or 45 minutes and takes off and lands around Las Palmas.

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6. Food and Wine Options

I was blown away by the quality of the food and wine in Gran Canaria. The temperature and location mean much of what you eat will have been grown nearby and you can taste it. The quality of the fruit and vegetables is fantastic and the seafood amazing.

If you are based in or near Las Palmas (or have a car) this Small Group 3 ½ hour Tapas tour in Las Palmas is the perfect way to explore the old town of Las Palmas and try the local cuisine.

The tour kicks off at 5 pm so it covers you for dinner (there are 5 tasting stops) and is a perfect way to spend the evening if you’re travelling solo.

Bearded man in front of jars of seeds in market in Las Palmas
A friendly vendor in the market in Las Palmas

Sunday is the market day on Gran Canaria. Some of the best markets are held in the small towns of the mountains.

However, without a car, they are very difficult to get to. Even with a car, the roads are very windy and parking is difficult.

So a great solution is to take the Explore the markets of Gran Canaria tour. This tour covers the 3 key market towns – including the wonderful Teror – and gives you all the insider tips.

Click here to read my Complete Guide to Gran Canaria Markets

Fruit market stall in Las Palmas Gran Canaria
Fruit market stall

For coffee lovers, this Finca Coffee Tour will take you to a Finca where you will see how coffee is grown and harvested – and of course, taste some. The tour runs at 930 every morning and only takes 90  minutes so you’ll be back by the pool before you know it.

Serious foodies will love the Full-Day Culinary Tour of Gran Canaria This 8-hour tour takes you across the entire island, allowing you to sample so much of what Gran Canaria has to offer.

Spices on sale in the Las Palmas market
Spices on sale in the Las Palmas market

⇒ Another fantastic island in the Canaries is Lanzarote. Read about the 14 Things to do on Lanzarote you must not miss and the Best Place to Stay in Lanzarote

I was also surprised to discover Gran Canaria wine – and that there are quite a few wineries. Winery product on the island is still very small with many steps done by hand.

This means that there are not adequate quantities to ship the wine overseas – so all of the wine stays on Gran Canaria. As the local wage on Gran Canaria is not particularly high even great bottles have quite low prices.

The quality of the wines and the processes used to produce them are there – both whites and reds. I found the whites so drinkable – scarily quaffable.

flowers at the entrance to Mercado del Puerto Las Palmas
Mercado del Puerto Las Palmas

Most hotels and restaurants serve local wines on Gran Canaria so they are quite easy to try out. If you have a car you can easily plot a route to visit a few wineries over a day.

However, it is so much easier to take a guided tour – and it means you can taste properly. This  Full-Day Wine Tour will have you visiting several wineries and even potentially meeting some winemakers.

If a full day sounds like more than you can handle why not try a Wine Tasting Morning instead?

glass of red wine up close
Enjoying a Gran Canaria red!

If you have a car and are keen to explore on your own that check out Bodega Los Lirios, a winery near Las Palmas that runs private tours and sells direct.

Bodega Los Lirios has a strong focus on quality and produces only a superior and a table wine some years. Their superior wine is delicious and amazing value for money.

I had a lovely tasting at Bodega Los Lirios (they also have a very strong sweet wine) which included some amazing local cheese and “hard bread”.

small houses with coral roofs on a hill in gran canaria
Mountain top towns in Gran Canaria

Bodega Las Tirajanas is a winery that is nearly in the middle of the island. It was highly recommended to me by my hotel but I didn’t get a chance to visit – so if you do please write to me and I will update this post with your views.

The winery is open Mon-Fri 10 am-1600 and sat-sun 10 am-1400.

It is possible to book a guided tour of Bodega Las Tirajanas and a tasting with cheeses and olives from the area.

And finally, a great local company which I used and runs a mix of the above is Trip Gran Canaria. Ask for Selene – she is brilliant.

How to get to Gran Canaria & Get Around

Gran Canaria is a 4-hour flight from London. Considering how far it is flights are very reasonably priced. However, the key carriers are Easy Jet, Ryan Air, Tui etc which means Stansted and Luton.

A pain for me but might work for you. Easy Jet does do flights from Gatwick but their return flight gets you in quite late eg after midnight.

Flights to Gran Canaria

Once you arrive definitely the best option is to hire a car. It is super easy to drive around the island – it is essentially one big round road.

Do watch out when heading into the interior. What can seem a short distance on the map can take some time due to windy roads and mountains.

The beach in Las Palmas Gran Canaria
The beach in Las Palmas

When to visit Gran Canaria

Due to its location, Gran Canaria has consistently spring-like weather all year round. Peak season is generally seen as May through November, where temperatures vary between 24 and 26 degrees Celsius from August to October.

December till April, temperatures hover around 22 degrees Celsius – so basically, a great temperature all year round. Seasonality tends to be more driven by the prices of airfares rather than the temperature.

Bar at a market restaurant in Las Palmas Gran canaria
Cute bar at the market in Las Palmas

Gran Canara Boutique Hotels

The two key hotel areas in Gran Canaria are Las Palmas and around and then down in the south in the Maspalomas and Meloneras areas.

These are where most Gran Canaria hotels are located and usually ensure that you are not too far from the action for dinner or drinks.

I really enjoyed my stay at the Salobre Resort. Salobre is near Maspalomas but is about a 15-minute drive into the interior of the island – mainly due to the fact that it is based around a golf course.

For quite a large hotel Salobre has a fantastic boutique feel. The design and the details are all very stylish. As the hotel covers quite a big area physically it never feels busy.

Gran Canaria Salobre Resort sun bed and glass of cava
Cava at lovely Salobre Resort

Importantly the hotel has seven pools. Yes, seven. My favourite was the adults-only Sunset pool which is located on the top floor of the resort. The pool has its own bar and a very large area for deck chairs and beds.

⇒ Salobre Resort > Read Reviews on Trip Advisor Book Your Stay

For style, a spa and a great location only 200m from the beach in Maspalomas

⇒ Bohemia Suites and Spa > Read Reviews on Trip AdvisorBook Your Stay

Rustic Chic and great value in Las Palmas

⇒ Hotel El Mondalon > Read Reviews on Trip AdvisorBook Your Stay

For an authentic Finca stay just north of Las Palmas

⇒Finca Las Longueras > Read Reviews on Trip AdvisorBook Your Stay

Who Paid for What with this Post

Gran Canaria Tourism was kind enough to cover the costs of my hotel, hire car, most meals and activities during my visit. I paid for my airfare. But as always my opinions are my own.

This post on Gran Canaria excursions contains affiliate links. What that means is that if you click through on them and make a purchase I will generally receive a small commission. I just wanted to make sure that you knew.

Like this post? Why Not Post it?Gran Canaria has so much to offer! It is so much more than just a beach and drinks destination! Find out all about the 20 best Gran Canaria Excursions here #canaryislands#canaryislandsgrancanaria#canaryislandstour#canaryislandstravel#canaryislandsthingstodo#grancanariathingstodo#grancanariamaspalomas#grancanariatours#grancanariatips#grancanariafood#grancanariawine#grancanariawater#grancanariafood#grancanariahikingGran Canaria has so much to offer! It is so much more than just a beach and drinks destination! Find out all about the 20 best Gran Canaria Excursions for grown ups here

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gran canaria boat trips

Wednesday 6th of March 2019

Thanks Luna! Gran Canaria is well known for excellent hikes and a lovely place to visit! also for boat trips and boat tours and private yacht charters


Saturday 22nd of September 2018

It seems like a great place for hiking. Thanks for your sharing Amanda and keep up your excellent work :)

The Boutique Adventurer

Saturday 22nd of September 2018

Thanks Luna! Gran Canaria is well known for excellent hikes and a lovely place to visit!

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