Tours on Gran Canaria
This is the primary tour around Gran Canaria.
From Playa del Inglés the coast road runs west and comes in 17km/11mi to Puerto Rico, with a small sandy beach which has been artificially built up.
Puerto de Mogán
Puerto de Mogán is the most westerly outpost of the great tourist centers in the southern half of Gran Canaria. It is worth having a look at this high-class holiday development, complete with boating marina.
Barranco de Mogán
The coast road ends at Puerto de Mogán, and the route continues north on C 810, running up the fertile Barranco de Mogán. Beyond the little town of Mogán the road turns northwest and then returns to the coast soon after San Nicolás de Tolentino. On this stretch of coast the cliffs fall steeply down to the sea, so that it is necessary to negotiate an endless series of bends before reaching Agaete, 40km/25mi from San Nicolás de Tolentino.
Barranco de Agaete
The pleasant little town of Agaete lies near the mouth of the Barranco de Agaete, the most fertile valley on the island.
8km/5mi up the valley of Barranco de Agaete, through luxuriant tropical and subtropical vegetation, is Los Berrazales, formerly a spa.
Puerto de las Nieves
From the center of Agaete a road leads 1km/0.75mi west to Puerto de las Nieves, from which there is an excellent view of the bizarrely shaped rock known as the Dedo de Deus ("Finger of God"). Here too are numerous fish restaurants where visitors can sample seafood fresh from the sea.
C 810 runs northeast from Agaete and comes in 10km/6mi to Gáldar, a typical little Canarian town.
Gáldar's main feature is the Cueva Pintada, the walls of which are covered with colored geometric patterns. Nothing comparable has been found in any other cave in the Canaries.
Cenobio de Valerón
Some 4km/2.5mi beyond Gáldar we leave C 810 and drive on the old winding coast road. A signpost points the way to the Cenobio de Valerón, a complex of 298 caves under a natural basalt arch which is one of the most interesting relics of the ancient Canarians - and one of the most puzzling, since it is not known what function it served.
The old coast road pursues its winding course along the slopes of the hill and then, at San Felipe, joins the modern expressway. At Bañaderos a road goes off on the right to Arucas, with a huge church built of dark-colored volcanic stone which is visible from a long way off. This Neo-Gothic church of San Juan Bautista was begun in 1909, but the last of its four towers was completed only in the late sixties.
The quickest way to get to the north of Gran Canaria from Playa del Inglés is to take the Las Palmas motorway, leave it at the Marzagán exit and continue northwest from there to Tafira Alta. The opportunity of seeing the Jardín Canario, below Tafira Alta, should not be missed.
Near the little town of Tafira Alta is the Jardín Canario. In this ''Canarian Garden'' only plants are grown which are native to the Canaries or the Macaronesian (Middle Atlantic) islands. From Tafira the road continues to Marzagán, from which the motorway provides a fast route back to the south of the island.
Gran Canaria - Interior of the Island
The interior of Gran Canaria contains numerous interesting towns.
San Bartolome de Tirajana
From Playa del Inglés a road signposted to San Bartolomé de Tirajana goes due north. Soon the last houses are left behind and the road enters the mountain world in the center of the island, with magnificent views of the bizarre and barren landscape. In 24km/15mi it comes to San Bartolomé de Tirajana, the administrative center of southern Gran Canaria.
Pozo de las Nieves
10km/6mi beyond San Bartolomé de Tirajana, in the village of Ayacata, a road branches off on the right to the Pozo de las Nieves, the island's highest peak, from which, in clear weather, there are fantastic views of the whole of Gran Canaria.
Cruz de Tejeda
Pinar de Tamadaba
Beyond Artenara a narrow road continues to the Pinar de Tamadaba, a beautiful pine forest which offers good walking or, for the less energetic, a place for rest and relaxation. (From the Cruz de Tejeda to the Pinar de Tamadaba and back is something over 50km/30mi.)
From the Cruz de Tejeda the main road continues east to Vega de San Mateo, from which C 814 leads to Valsequillo. This area is particularly beautiful in December and January, when the almond-trees are in blossom.
From Valsequillo it is 11km/7mi to Telde, the second largest town on the island. The church of San Juan Bautista is worth a visit, but otherwise there is little to detain the tourist in this rather noisy little town.
From Telde C 812 runs south to Ingenio, with the Museo de Piedras y Artesanía Canaria, which is mainly a showroom for the sale of Canarian handicrafts. The road then continues via Agüimes to join the motorway at the Vecindario/Arinaga junction, from which it is 20km/12.5mi back to Playa del Inglés.
Gran Canaria - North end of the Island
Several towns of interest are to be found on the northern portion of Gran Canaria.
Pico de Bandama
From Tafira the route continues west on C 811 and at Monte Coello turns left into a road to the Pico de Bandama. From the viewpoint on the summit of the hill there are fine views into the Caldera de Bandama and northward towards Las Palmas.
From the foot of the Pico de Bandama a road runs south to La Atalaya, which is included in almost every organized tour of the island. Here pottery is still made in the traditional way without the use of a wheel - though now the ware is mass-produced.
A minor road runs north from La Atalaya to rejoin the main road 2km/1.25mi south on this road is Santa Brigida, an attractive little residential town.
Vega de San Mateo
Beyond Santa Brigida the next place of any size is Vega de San Mateo, which attracts many visitors, particularly to the cattle market on Sundays.
The next place north of Teror, is Arucas. From here C 814 runs west and then south to Firgas, which has mineral springs. More interesting than the place itself is the vegetation in this region: thanks to the abundance of water there are flowers and greenery everywhere.
Santa Maria de Guia
From Firgas we return on the C 814 to Buenlugar and from there take a road which runs west by way of Moya to Santa María de Guía. This was the birthplace of Luján Pérez, the Canarian sculptor whose statues of saints are to be seen in all the major churches in the archipelago. Visitors who have not already seen the Cenobio de Valerón can make a detour from here to visit it.