Around 80 beaches frame sun-kissed Gran Canaria, so it’s no wonder that some four million visitors hasten to its shores yearly. From Saharan dunes in the south, to stretches of black sand and pebble in the north, we’re giving you the lowdown on some of the best beaches this island has to offer.
The most popular beaches on the island lie on the southern coast. They’re far more touristic than their northern counterparts because of their abundant golden sand and proximity to well-known resorts like Playa del Ingles. These beaches draw in crowds of northern Europeans who spend their holidays thawing out under the balmy rays that provide warmth year round.
Playa de Maspalomas has beautifully fine sand which has swept its way up the coastline settling in shapely mounds – these are the otherworldly Maspalomas sand dunes which look like they’ve been lifted straight out of the Sahara Desert. And considering the island’s proximity to it, that idea is not much of a stretch.
Playa del Ingles
Also in the south and one of the busiest beaches on the island, Playa del Ingles continues what Maspalomas started, ending with all inclusive resorts each claiming their own section of sandy coastline.
The beach at Pasito Blanco is imbued with an air of exclusivity thanks to the swanky yacht club perching on its shoreline. Golden sand and calm swells create a great setting for sunbathers and, despite its upmarket vibe, it’s open to all for free.
Bahia Feliz beach is mostly pebble, with sand in places. Strong gusts supply good windsurfing conditions and not so good swimming conditions. If you’re not confident with your breaststroke, these waves won’t show you any mercy.
Playa de Amadores
Image © El Coleccionista de Instantes
The 800-metre-long stretch of Playa de Amadores, or Lovers’ beach, paints the bay gold and has been a designated Blue Flag bearer since 2004. The sunsets from this beach create an incredibly romantic setting, which is most likely why it was given its name.
Less touristic, yet equally striking beaches lie in the north of the island. These beaches are renowned for their coastline, not for the manicured golden sand which appears frequently throughout the south. These are the kinds of beaches that attract the more adventurous holidaymakers – those who like to hike, surf and generally avoid the sun lounger.
Puerto de Sardina
It’s not that there’s no sand in the north, there are just fewer sandy beaches. Puerto de Sardina, however, does have sand, and it’s a good place to experience the slow-paced way of living on the island. It’s one of the less touristic beaches, visited largely by local residents. Backed by colourful houses, it derives its name for the area’s preferred source of protein – yep, you guessed it – sardines.
Puerto de las Nieves
Image © El Coleccionista de Instantes
The pebbly beach bordering this quaint fishing town is frequented mostly by local fishers and residents. Its harbour shelters an enclave of indigo seawater and from the shore, views of the alpine coastline in the distance provide stunning photo opportunities.
If you’re in the north and looking for a sandy beach, Las Canteras, is your best bet. There’s a coral reef at its sea bed which makes it a good snorkelling spot, and its close proximity to the capital, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, means that there are numerous bars and restaurants nearby.
Playa de Guayedra
Image © Ramon Sanchez Bruhn
This off the grid gem has no shops or tourist attractions nearby. It’s also quite difficult to get to. If you’re driving, you’ll have to park at the top of the cliff and trek down. Don’t let that put you off, though – when you get to the foot of the cliff you’ll find clear waters and a crowd-free area of stony beach.
Playa del Juncal
Image © Juan Fco. Marrero
After hiking down a craggy precipice, you’ll end up at the mouth of a calm body of water which is safe to swim in. This is surrounded by a pebble beach which is a popular picnicking spot with families.
To check out some of these beautiful beaches for yourself (north and south) fly into Gran Canaria. Search here for flights or take a look at some greart last minute holiday deals.