We arrived in Gran Canaria on the day before New Year’s Eve hoping to relax in warm weather and sunshine. We got lucky and it indeed was sunny and warm every day. However, evenings were cool so it’s best to pack along warm clothes if you’re traveling to the Canary Islands in winter.
Top 5 things to do in Gran Canaria (especially if traveling with school-aged kids):
- Walking and running at the magnificent Maspalomas Dunes
- Having fun at the hotel pool
- Renting bicyles
- Renting a car and visiting Puerto Rico
- Day trip to Puerto Mogan
Walking and running at the magnificent Maspalomas Dunes
The highlight of the holiday was the morning outings – the sunrise is just amazing! Close to our hotel, there was a dried-up river or canal down to the Maspalomas Dunes and alongside are good walkways for walking, jogging and bicycling. Close to the seaside, there’s a beautiful natural reserve lagoon La Charca with lots of bird life.
Having fun at the hotel pool
Honestly, many kids enjoy most having fun at the pool and our hotel Canary Garden Club in Maspalomas had a great pool area with sunbeds to enjoy. There’s also a kiosk offering snacks and lunch. The breakfast buffet was excellent, lots of options including fresh fruit and vegetables. The bungalows are small and simple but fine when you spend most of the time outside anyway. There’s a small playground for kids and the surroundings make it easy for kids to run around without disturbing others. There’s a mini convenience store next to the reception and not far, within around 10 minutes walking distance, was a small mall Faro 2 with a Hyperdino grocery store.
We rented bicycles which we found to be lots of fun with just 15 euros in total for kid’s and adult’s basic bicycles for 24 hours and helmets were included. We recommend Elemi & Lino’s Bike located in Faro 2 shopping mall – they have a wide range of bicycles and helpful staff.
We had a wonderful day bicycling to the beach, having lunch at our favorite restaurant Café Colon that’s located at the root of the Meloneras lighthouse “Faro”.
Renting a car and visiting Puerto Rico
We rented a car for three days at a very reasonable price (around 150 euros) including full insurance cover. It was easy to drive around but finding a parking place close to popular places can be a challenge. We visited Puerto Rico and spent the day at the Angry Birds park. It’s basically a big playground with different activities like trampolines, climbing wall, slides, mini golf, etc. The 8-year-olds loved it and seemed to find more things to do all day. Other interesting attractions for an active day out with kids would have been Aqualand and Palmitos Park, but had to save those for another time.
We spent half a day in Atlantico shopping center that has a big Carrefour store and lots of popular brand stores like Zara, Mango and Desigual. The capital of the island Las Palmas is the number one shopping place but we skipped it this time.
Day trip to Puerto Mogan
On the last day with the car we drove up to Puerto Mogan which is a really beautiful small town by the sea. I would have liked to get there early in the morning to make it to the morning yoga on the beach. Unfortunately it wasn’t possible and I couldn’t find any outdoor yoga classes in Maspalomas. Anyway, we had a very nice lunch in a restaurant on the beach boulevard.
Overall, it was a wonderful holiday and Gran Canaria became one of my all-time favorite family travel destinations and there’s still plenty of things to do for our next visit!