Although the first days of a winter holiday on this sunny island made me doubt the decision to go there, once I got to know the not so touristy parts of Gran Canaria, island adventures became enticing again.
But the truth is that Gran Canaria is the most visited Canary Island. Did you think that would be Tenerife, too?
The island’s south is a tourist mecca. So if you decide to stay in the southern part, brace yourself for bad food and humongous resort hotels lining the beach. Never a good thing in my book.
Taking into consideration that it only takes 40 minutes to get from the north to the south of the island, no big deal. You can easily drive to visit Maspalomas desert and Port Mogan in the south.
Maspalomas vast deposits of sand were brought to Gran Canaria by the wind from Africa. The island is just a volcanic rock otherwise. Imagine how long it took to accumulate all that mass of sand!
Telde & Tufia
On our way south from the airport we stopped for breakfast in Telde. A beautiful little town with an imposing Cathedral and where the edges of the buildings are painted in typical local style (see picture above).
After a breakfast of café con leche and tostada con jamón in Telde we decided to drive to the unusual village built in a rock on the edge of the island – Tufia.
There are literally maybe only 30 houses in Tufia, and some of them are built in to the rock. A clear must-visit for me!
Although we tried to figure out how people get to their dwellings built in the rock, we couldn’t. We did spend half an hour on the beach, watching huge waves crashing into the cements of the houses on the opposite side!
Come to Port Mogan early, if you can. The town is small and its roads are not made for the huge amount of tourists flocking here around lunch time.
Take the stairs weaving through a hilltop village located to the west of Port Mogan. After a 10-minute walk you will reach a viewpoint overlooking black rocks lining the bay, the shore studded with white houses, the blue sea.
From the viewpoint, across the town of Port Mogan, you can see a little archeological site with remains of an aboriginal village that is worth visiting.
Another, larger, archeological site on the island is the Cueva Pintada Museum. A perfect insight into what life was like on the island before the invasion of the Spaniards.
There are more archeological sites on the island, so if you are into this kind of thing, definitely explore them!
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
One of the highlights of the trip was a hike to Roque Nublo. The drive to the location was spectacular! A serpentine road that was a lot of fun to drive along.
The hike is not very long and is not strenuous. From the top of Roque Nublo amazing vistas are guaranteed!