Gran Canaria – Best Time – Tips – 5 Best Beaches

Gran Canaria – Best Time – Tips – 5 Best Beaches

Spain
Spain

When Is the Best Time

Gran Canaria is popular for its fantastic weather and beaches throughout the year. Even in the winter, the day temperatures are above 20°C. More than 4 million visitors enjoy the mild climate in Gran Canaria annually and the white sandy beaches in the south.

A man walking at Maspalomas Beach and Dunes
Maspalomas Dunes and Beach at sunset.

You are able to walk barefoot along the beaches and go for a swim the entire year. I prefer the wintertime in Gran Canaria, to escape the cold temperatures.

Don't Miss Out Our Gran Canaria Video

 

The best time to visit Gran Canaria for excellent weather, pleasant sea temperatures and fewer crowds are September and October, followed by May and June. 

Weather Gran Canaria 

Sunset at Gran Canary - Guayedra Beach
Sunset at Guayedra Beach - sunsets like this one occurs the entire year.

Gran Canary is called the island of the eternal spring. The cooling Atlantic Ocean causes these pleasant temperatures; otherwise, it would be hot and desert-like.

Trees on red soil and tree trunk covered with moss
Frequently fog in higher elevations causes moss and lichen at the tree trunks.

The north of the island experiences more rain and slightly colder temps than the south.

The canyon Barranco de Fataga with an agave plant on a sunny day
The desert-like Barranco de Fataga - green but hot even in the winter.

The further you get to the south and southwest, the drier and hotter it is. The temperatures at Maspalomas or Playa Inglese are always roughly two to three degrees warmer than in the east or north. 

Roque Nublo view to snow covered Teide in winter
That's me at Roque Nublo.

The winter, also spring, and autumn is a great time for hiking in Grand Canary.

Weather - Crowds - Highlights

At the bottom of Caldera de Bandama with palm trees
The Caldera de Bandama

The popularity of the Canary Islands is growing continuously. The 4th season of Amazon Prime "Jack Ryan" will be shot in Gran Canaria and Tenerife with the Bostonian actor John Krasinski this March until May 2022.

The colourful Salinas de Arinaga
Salinas de Arinaga are open from 8-12 Location Google Maps

    Spring (March-May)

    A man on a huge rock at Pico de la Nieves
    Mirador del Pico de los Pozos de las Nieves (Google Maps)

    Spring, the shoulder season, is a lovely time and not too busy. It is warm, but not hot. Temps can reach 25°C in the south and roughly 22°C in the north. Night temperatures are around 16°C in spring.

    A woman on a huge rock in Vacas Slot Canyon
    Me in the Barranco de las Vacas in the morning.

    The spring is quite dry; just some quick showers occur during this season, mainly in March. The sea is still cooler after the wintertime, around 20°C. Gran Canaria is always busy, but the spring is a bit quieter. 

    Cacti and a man on a huge rock at Cueva de Cuatro Puertas at sunset
    The vegetation is lush green in the winter and spring.
    • Most sperm whale sightings occur in spring from March to May.
    • The "Trans Gran Canaria" always takes part in March, an expanded marathon run in the centre of the island.
    • The only occurring shark, the angel shark, is most active in the mating season in spring. These sharks are small, ranging from one meter to 1.5 m in length.
    • In April, the international film festival takes place in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
    • The Challenge Family Triathlon is an athletic event.
    • May is famous for the Maspalomas Gay Pride.

    Summer (June-September)

    Playa de Maspalomas always busy
    Playa de Maspalomas is a popular beach.

    Summer is the second peak season, scorching in the south, almost always sunny, and crowded. However, it is not too hot in the Barranco de las Vacas for example or in higher elevations in the morning. If you plan your visit in July and August, expect crowded beaches and high accommodation prices the later you book your hotel.

    Guanche with garrote for sheperd jump in the mountains
    Guanches practising the shepherd jump from former times for faster movement in the mountains with a stick called garrote.

    The summer is excellent for swimming and sunbathing though bear in mind the intense power of the sun. The sea temperatures are the warmest in August and September, reaching 24-25°C. Summerday temperatures top 30°C easily, especially in the canyons.

    Exposed hiking trail along the west coast
    Me on a coastal track in the western part.

    Hiking temps in higher elevations around Pico de las Nieves are bearable but avoid the midday heat. Nights cool down however, temperatures are still above 20°C. The summer is dry, usually without any rainfall.

    The colourful houses and flowers in Puerto de Mogan
    Puerto de Mogan
    • The summer is the peak season for the so-called  "Romerias"  the different fiestas in the towns and villages on the entire island.
    • It's the Corpus Christi festivity in late May or the beginning of June.
    • In July, an international music festival takes place in the lovely town Ingenio in the southeast. 
    • Fiesta del Carmen or Virgin del Carmen is an enormous solemnity in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Mogan, and many villages.
    • Festivity of Our Lady of the Pines, one of the more significant annual events held in Terror in September.

    Autumn (October-November)

    Molino de Viento with a clear blue sky
    Molino de Viento

    Like the spring, October and November are busy but not overcrowded. Day temps in the south are still in the mid-twenties and nights slightly below 20°C  The sea temperature is still pleasant after the summer.

    People swimming in the sea at Playa de Vargas
    Playa de Vargas - swimming and beach accessible at low tide.

    The spring is drier than autumn; however, it is more a quick shower in fall. Autumn is an excellent time for hiking.

    Pilot Whales
    Pilot Whales
    • In November, the Winter Pride is held again in Maspalomas.
    • The main migratory whale watching season starts in November 

    Winter (December-February)

    Kite Surfer in the winter at Playa de Vargas
    The winter is the windiest time; famous for kite surfer at Playa de las Vargas and Playa de las Cruces.

    The winter is the peak season and my favourite time of the year. Never too hot, swimming is possible, and hiking temperatures are excellent.

    Los Azulejos De Veneguera
    Los Azulejos De Veneguera or rainbow rocks. A trail leads to the waterfall. The waterfall appears only in the winter after heavy rainfall. Google Maps

    I am not the only one; many Europeans escape the winter for a while on the Canary Islands. Snow can occur in high elevations around 2000 m.

    A man wearing winter clothes on top of Pico de la Nieves
    Warm clothes are needed on Pico de la Nieves 1.949 m above sea level.

    Although the average daily temperatures are stated to be slightly below 20°C in the winter, the reality is different. It is pleasant at the coast, warm enough to swim in the 19-20°C warm sea.

    A lovely small village with church in Gran Canaria
    There are many beautiful churches in Gran Canaria.

    There is more rain in the north than in the south, but showers occur everywhere from time to time, and brilliant landscape pictures can be taken.

    A Christmas crib exhibition in Ingenio.
    A Christmas exhibition in the church in Ingenio.
    • In December, beautiful sand sculptures are built at Playa de Las Canteras.
    • The entire winter from December to February is also the best season to watch migratory whales, humpback and finbacks in the Canary Islands and Gran Canaria. 
    • January and February are famous for the almond blossom season. There are festivities in Tejeda and Valsequillo end of January and the beginning of February. 
    • Carnival is a huge festivity in Gran Canaria, and it is celebrated for weeks. It has a long tradition dating back to the 16th century.
    An almond tree in bloom
    Almond tree in bloom at the end of January

    Which Part of Gran Canaria Has the Best Weather?

    The south between Maspalomas and Puerto Rico is the driest and experiences the least rain. Even in the winter, temperatures are frequently in the mid 20's°C during the day warm enough for swimming. It's a golden rule on all Canary Islands that the south and southwest are warmer and drier than the other parts of the islands.

     

    My Top Accommodation Tip

    View to Ingenio from higher elevation
    To the left in the back is the tallest palm tree of the Canaries, over 30 meters high.

    With its narrow alleys, the lovely town Ingenio was the perfect place for our stay. Ingenio is rich in history and for those who seek serenity. We'd probably chosen one of the best B&Bs ever. It is run by a Dutch couple Arold and Alienka, walking an extra mile for their guests.

    The rich breakfast at Villa Nestor
    The view from their terrace is spectacular, and the breakfast always outstanding.

    He was a chef in a restaurant before, and so is the breakfast, excellent and delicious served on the rooftop terrace, perfect for a good start.

    Our Azul Room at Villa Nestor
    The blue room "Azul" with palm trees in front of the windows.

    The spacious rooms in Villa Nestor are wonderful to relax with an incredible view of the small and quiet town of Ingenio. If you prefer a more personal stay in an old charming but newly renovated house, this is the best place for your vacation. Alienka has many stories to tell about each room. Ours was a dancehall in former times, and it was like I could feel the good vibes.

    A painting showing the harbour and slaves in the 15th century in Gran Canaria.
    The blue man to the left symbolises the cruelty that happened to the slaves and locals.

    In the 15th-century, sugar cane was harvested here. Mineral deposits from South America were reloaded. This painting tells the story of the cruel conditions the slaves and Canarian had to bear.

    Entrance Hall of the house of Christophe Gollut
    The breathtaking house of Christophe Gollut, a famous interior designer from London

    I was very lucky to visit the house of Christophe Gollut in Ingenio, which is usually not open to the public. Actually, these are three houses in one bought and designed by Christophe 40 years ago.

    The spacious living room at Christophe Gollut.
    Each room is different all influenced by his journeys around the world.

    Movies and photo-shootings were held here in former times. After the tour through the house, Christophe prepared tea from Lebanon for us.

    The kitchen of Christophe Gollut.
    Jani, Christophe, and Matthew Field a journalist from the Telegraph.

    Curious to learn more about the history or get to know the island like a local, how to prepare the best Canarian Sangria, visit hidden caves, and fall in love with Gran Canaria?!!

    A man watching the sunset from one of the caves at Cueva de Cuatro Puertas
    Cueva de Cuatro Puertas in the east.

    I highly recommend Jani, a local tour guide living in Ingenio and grown up bilingual. He speaks several languages and really knows how to give pleasure to his guests. Check out his tour company Diamante Tours. (This is neither an ad nor an affiliate link, and I do not earn any commission).

    Thanks, Alienka and Arold, for the fantastic time at Villa Nestor in Ingenio. We definitely come back to this unique place to enjoy your hospitality and the excellent coffee in the morning ;)

    Restaurant Tips

    Arinaga Lighthouse and coast from the distance
    The Arinaga lighthouse and restaurant

    There are many excellent restaurants in Gran Canaria. I describe two of them in detail, the first has a spectacular location and delicious food and the second is remote located but perfect if you travel through the western part of the island. After our strenuous hike to Güigüi Beach, we were desperately looking for a good restaurant that turned out to be fantastic.

    Restaurante Faro de Arinaga (Google Maps)
    Restaurante and lighthouse Faro de Arinaga
    Fantastic location for lunch and dinner.

    The restaurant is located on the top of a hill and faces the ocean, protected from the wind. What a fantastic spot away from the hustle and bustle. Usually, a reservation is recommended. We were lucky to get a table outside in the late afternoon. Markus always tries octopus, and it was one of the best he ever ate.

    Two main dishes; octopus plus gambas and mussels
    Both meals were yummy. They even offer gluten-free bread. 

    I can't resist mussels and clams, and I was also happy with my choice. Do you like to have a closer look at the menu? Check out the QR Code for the entire menu of Faro de Arinaga. On top, it is just a 300 m walk to a nice and quiet beach to Playa del Cabrón.

    Industria Qulinaria (Google Maps)
    Restaurant Industria Qulinaria in Veneguera in the evening
    What a gem and quiet location of this restaurant.

    After the strenuous day hike to Güigüi Beach, we were starving, but we definitely did not expect to find such a treasure of a restaurant far away from the tourist hot spots. My grilled Dorada was far too big for one person, the veggies super tasty, the pork Markus had delicious, too.

    A grilled Dorada and pork in the restaurant
    It was as yummy as it looks. 

    If you plan to drive around the entire Gran Canaria, going to Arinaga or hiking in the western part this is the best choice of all. The opening hours are also a pro; open from 11 am - 11 pm from Wednesday to Saturday and on Sundays until 5 pm. Get a closer look at the menu of Industria Qulinaria.

    Two of the biggest spurges in the Canary Islands.
    The biggest spurges - "Cardonal" of Gran Canaria more than 100 years old.

    Next to the restaurant are two spurges, probably the biggest of the Canary Islands. There is a path around the two impressive plants. 

    Best Months to Visit

    Jan
    Feb
    Mar
    Apr
    May
    Jun
    Jul
    Aug
    Sep
    Oct
    Nov
    Dec

    Location and Tips

    Canary Islands, Gran Canaria
    Spain
    Spain

    Gran Canaria has some of the finest beaches and an excellent climate located 200 km east of Western Sahara. It is the third biggest island and has the second-highest population of the Canary Islands, with almost 875.000 inhabitants. Gran Canaria is so diverse this island is like a mini continent. 

    5 Top Beaches in Gran Canaria

    Playa de las Nieves in Agaete
    Agaete - Playa de las Nieves and harbour in the northwest. 

    The beaches are listed clockwise. There are more lovely beaches spread around the island, and all mentioned beaches are perfect for swimming and or snorkelling.

    1 Playa de Tufia - East (Google Maps)

    Playa Tufia and the Cave dwellings view from the cliff top
    View from the parking to Tufia.

    This is a gem of a beach and my second favourite because the protected bay is ideal for snorkelling. You can either relax on the tiny beach or along the rocky coastal shore during low tide.

    View to Playa Tufia from the rocky shore with swimmers and snorkler
    Our favourite place for snorkelling.

    There is plenty of parking available on top of the cliffs, and it's a two-minute walk to the fisherman village and the sea. This picturesque village with its white houses is utterly beautiful, and there is just a small bar, nothing else. Bring water and a snack and if you like to snorkel, this underwater treasure is your place.

    A huge school of fish in the bay of Tufia
    Excellent visibility in the crystal clear sea.

    It is also excellent for diving; easy to get in. Tufia itself is a protected area due to its history of still inhabited cave dwellings.

    2 Playa de Maspalomas - South

    One man in the distance on the Maspalomas Dunes
    More about the Maspalomas Dunes 

    The “Dunas de Maspalomas” in Gran Canaria are for sure unique and the most visited sight. When we visited the dunes for the first time, we were utterly amazed, and we didn’t expect such a desert vibe here.

    Sunset at Maspalomas
    Do you love to watch sunsets? These are my 5 Best Sunset Spots.
     

    3 Playa Nudista Montaña Arena (Google Maps)

    Sunbather and swimmer at Montana Arena Beach.
    The secluded Montana Arena Beach.

    By chance, we stopped at Playa las Carpinteras, the beach of the carpenters, for a break. We saw many people walking on a coastal path to the south and followed them. It is a 10 minutes walk on a rough trail; proper shoes are necessary. The secluded Montana Arena beach is well protected from the wind.

    People are sunbathing and swimming at the beach of the carpenters
    Playa Las Carpinteras and the main road GC 500

    Although a nudist beach, there are more people with textiles nowadays. You have to bring everything you need; water, food, a parasol. Even a public bus stops at the main road nearby.

    4 Playa de Amadores - Southwest (Google Maps)

    Amadores Beach
    The most picturesque of all beaches. Hotels at Amadores Beach

    Amadores beach is probably the most beautiful of all beaches in Gran Canaria. This human-made beach with its shallow turquoise waters is an eye-turner. Sunbeds and parasols are for rent, essential even in the winter. Water sports activities, restaurants, bars, a small supermarket, and public restrooms are available.

    Amadores Fun Park
    The Amadores Fun Park

    Also, this beach and bay are well protected, and the calm waters attract everyone for swimming. Free but limited parking is also available. However, if you want to experience real beauty, come in the morning or the winter.

    5 Playa de Güigüi - West (Google Maps)

    Playa de Güigüi on a sunny day with a clear blue sky
    A black basalt sand beach in front of the towering volcanic cliffs.

    Güigüi is my favourite beach in Gran Canaria, and it easily can compete with Masca in Tenerife. Getting to Güigüi Beach is definitely an effort if you can't get a boat. It is a strenuous hike of 2 hours, one way climbing up for 400 m and then down for 600 m elevation and vice versa on the way back.

    The view from the top of the Güi Güi each hike into the canyon and the sea
    The top of the climb before the trail descended - to the left you can see Teide.

    The landscape and vegetation are breathtaking along this well-marked track. The view from the top reminded me to Grand Canyon because of the impressive and massive red rocks. Even in the winter, it is hot while hiking. It is recommended to start early and go back late afternoon or evening, depending on the season for shade on the exposed trail.

    The breathtaking landscape and vegetation along this trail
    The exposed trail without any shelter.

    Carry plenty of water, 2 litres for each adult minimum rather more. This secluded beach is not crowded, even not at weekends when younger residents hike to the beach to stay overnight. There is a second beach but accessible during low tide only.

    Picture taken in the water view to other visitors having fun in the waves.
    The fantastic Güi Güi Beach and the powerful waves.

    The current is strong the reason I took a bath but I did not swim. There is plenty of onside road parking on the gravel road next to the trailhead. Parking and trailhead Google Maps

    5 Popular Beaches in Gran Canaria

    1 Playa de Las Canteras - North (Google Maps)

    Las Canteras on a stormy winter day
    Las Canteras empty on this stormy winter day.

    Canteras is one of the most beautiful urban and golden beaches stretching over two kilometres north of Las Palmas. It's a popular beach with locals and tourists alike, therefore busier during sunny weekends. Lifeguards watch the swimmers at specific times. Smoking is not allowed at this wonderful clean beach, and it's hot in the summer, and a parasol is needed. It's a lovely place for the entire family and pretty safe for children. Map Playa Las Canteras

    Information Sign at Las Canteras
    All well-marked

    Clean public restrooms, showers, and changing rooms are available. A huge variety of restaurants and bars are dotted along the boardwalk with reasonable prices. It's a lively atmosphere, and the promenade fills up during sunset.

    2 Playa del Confital Las Palmas (Google Maps Parking)

    Surfer watching the sunset at Playa del Confital

    Playa de Las Canteras is a lively location, sometimes a bit too busy IMO. If you wish to watch an incredible sunset at a much quieter place, it is just a two-kilometre walk to Plays del Confital, and you can continue furthermore. The waves are higher, and the current strong, but the surfers don't care about riding on the waves.

    Boardwalk to Playa del Confital
    A well-maintained boardwalk leads to the beach.

    We watched the breathtaking scenery for more than an hour. If you take the car, I recommend parking the car around this area. (Google Maps Parking) Afterwards, the road is pretty rough better to walk than drive.

    3 Playa de la Laja - Northeast (Google Maps)

    The quiet Playa de La Laja beach
    The beach is easy to access on stairs.

    This beach was a recommendation by Alienka and she was right. Although the beach is situated next to the highway you don't hear any traffic. Even better there is huge parking and it's a lovely black sand beach to walk barefoot.

    Playa de la Laja with a red flag on a very windy day.
    It was too windy for swimming.

    This beach is overlooked and therefore not crowded, although close to the capital Las Palmas. Most of the time the beach is secured by a lifeguard. Low tide is the best time of the day to walk along the entire beach. Another pro from here starts a 9.5 km walk to Las Palmas and back.

    The Triton at Playa de la Laja
    The Triton; the son of Poseidon - half man and half fish. The impressive statue is 29 feet high and situated next to the car park.

    Consider the beach is located in the east, and the sun disappears late in the afternoon behind the mountains.

    4 Playa Anfi del Mar - Southwest (Google Maps)

    View from the hotel to Anfi del Mar
    Excellent spots for swimming.

    It is a lovely clean spot perfect for families and kids. Due to the breakwater, the beach is well protected and the sea calm. The white sand was imported, looking like being in the Caribbean. Usually, lifeguards are at the beach. There are shops, restaurants, and a Spar supermarket within walking distance. Finding parking is almost impossible if you do not stay in one of the hotels.

    5 Playa de Puerto Rico - Southwest (Google Maps)

    Playa de Puerto Rico with sunbathers and swimmers
    A huge breakwater protects the beach and bay.

    Due to the breakwater and the location, the beach is protected from the wind, and the sea is a bit warmer. It's shallow water here, and you need to walk to get into the deeper sea for swimming, therefore, excellent for children.

    View from the sea to Playa de Puerto Rico
    Puerto Rico is situated in a valley; hotels are built on different levels.

    Plenty of shops and restaurants are close to the beach. Most hotels are higher located, which is a steep walk back, but the bay's view is great. Puerto Rico is pretty busy in July and August but quiet in the winter.

    Rough sea on the other side of Puerto Rico.
    The promenade leads along the rough sea - catamaran trips are offered.

    A promenade leads from Puerto Rico to Playa de Amadores. Ferries, boat trips along the coast, and whale watching trips are available in Puerto Rico.

    How Long Does It Take To Drive Around Gran Canaria

    Sunset view to Roque Nublo Gran Canaria
    Small parking lots offering sensational views here Roque Nublo and Teide on the horizon. Sunsets Gran Canaria

    You can quickly drive around the island, especially from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria to Mogan on the main highway GC1, just an hour drive. Getting to Agaete takes more time; another 1.5 hours on minor roads if there isn’t much traffic. To drive around the entire Gran Canaria takes roughly 3 hours – 180 km. 

    Roque Nublo and Roque Bentayga
    View and hike from Pico de la Nieves to Roque Nublo to the left.

    Getting to the heart of Gran Canaria is quite a ride on narrow winding roads but definitely worth it. It takes roughly from all main tourist hubs an hour to get there.

    Most of the pictures were taken by me and some by my wonderful brother René. If you wish to use one, get in contact with me.

     

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