11 Awesome Beaches on Gran Canaria
Author Michael Law visited the Canary Islands and the beaches of Gran Canaria in the fall of 2022.
Gran Canaria, with its fine assortment of beaches, has long been known as an escape for winter-weary mainland Europeans. Although I didn't come here specifically for a beach vacation, I found myself enjoying the sun and surf more than expected and was very impressed with the selection.
Golden sands and crystalline waters are the norm, and when you throw in almost guaranteed sun and warm temperatures, you'll soon discover why these beaches have been drawing legions of sun-seekers for decades.
With the exception of one major beach in Las Palmas and a couple of local secrets mid-island, the most popular (and busy) beaches are located at the southern end of Gran Canaria. It's also here that you'll find an excellent assortment of hotels, restaurants, and lively townsites.
Almost all the beaches have lifeguards on duty during peak times, so rest assured that someone is keeping a watchful eye on you and your crew.
Find your perfect patch of sand with my list of the top beaches on Gran Canaria.
1. Maspalomas Beach
Maspalomas is the huge beach backed by dunes that you frequently see on social media. When I first walked out onto this beach, I found the sheer size intimidating. It was going to be a long walk to the water's edge!
Located at the southern end of the island, this is one of the most popular beaches on Gran Canaria. Surrounded on all sides by resorts, this beach is busy, but because it's so large, it never feels overly crowded.
The beach is truly spectacular, with golden sands backed by massive dunes. The dunes are fun places to explore, and families with children will find these are wonderful places for kids to run free.
Another interesting place to see, and a favorite destination for beach walkers, is the historic lighthouse on the point at the far southern end of the beach.
A somewhat odd setup for beach chairs and umbrellas exists here. They are located near the dunes but a very far walk from the water's edge. If you want to swim, it's better to bring your own chair and umbrella and set up at the water's edge.
The beach is generally easy to access if you are staying at a nearby resort. If you aren't, you'll need to park in the large parkade and walk to the beach. Count on 15 minutes minimum.
Accommodation: Best Beach Resorts in Spain
Read More: Top-Rated Things to Do on Gran Canaria
2. Playa del Ingles
Although Maspalomas gets most of the attention, it's the beach just around the corner that most people find they like better. Easily accessible, Playa del Ingles has the best vibe when it comes to Gran Canaria's beaches.
Packed with tourists from Europe, this busy beach with its soft golden sand is a fun place to see and be seen. Those laying in sunbeds sizzling under the hot sun mix easily with newlyweds, retirees, and families.
If you prefer a bit more peace and quiet, just head south. Eventually, you'll have the place to yourself, as the beach runs for roughly three kilometers before joining up with Playa Maspalomas.
Playa del Ingles has a whole host of activities to keep you busy. Facing the predominant winds, the beach usually has a good surf break that attracts surfers and boogie boarders. If the winds are really blowing, kiteboarders and windsurfers take to the waters.
Back from the beach is a long walkway lined with restaurants and shops. Behind is a large surface parking lot making access to Playa del Ingles relatively easy.
Read More: Best Beaches in Spain
3. Playa Puerto Rico
The Canarians are an enterprising bunch, not to be dissuaded from attracting tourists by the lack of naturally occurring beaches in an otherwise sunny and warm spot. So, to keep people coming (and happy) they created a string of man-made beaches down the road from world-famous Maspalomas. One of the first, and many say the best, is Playa Puerto Rico.
Constructed from an arid wasteland in the 1960s, this large, curving arc of sand makes Playa Puerto Rico one of the best beaches on Gran Canaria. Protected from the ocean by a massive breakwater, the beach rarely, if ever, has any waves, making it perfect for families. The water behind the breakwater is shallow, and with the constant sun beating down on it, tends to be much warmer than the ocean.
On the beach, you'll find plenty of sun loungers and umbrellas for rent at reasonable prices. Just back from the beach is a boardwalk area full of restaurants, all with lively patios, along with an assortment of beach shops.
Farther back from the beach extending up the sides of the valley are thousands of hotel rooms. Finding a place to stay for most budgets is an easy task here.
4. Playa Amadores
Another one of the man-made beaches along the southern portion of Gran Canaria, Amadores is located just north of Playa Puerto Rico. Carved out of solid rock and then filled with golden sand, Amadores is quite the place.
Large hotels line the cliffs above and look down on a truly spectacular beach, packed with blue and yellow sunbeds and umbrellas. Amadores is a well-thought-out creation, with ample space for walking along the red stone walkway behind the beach that is packed with restaurants and shops. This same walkway extends for a kilometer farther south to Playa Puerto Rico.
The water is shallow, clear, and relatively warm. A large breakwater on both sides protects bathers from large ocean waves.
5. Anfi del Mar
One of the newest beaches to be built in Gran Canaria, Anfi del Mar was the realization of a dream of Norwegian businessman, Björn Lyng. A northerner who always wanted a beautiful spot in the sun for himself and others, he dreamed up this place, poured millions into it, and had it created in the 1990s.
Today beachgoers from around the world are able to enjoy the fruits of his labor. A small, but exquisite beach filled with soft white sand imported from the Caribbean washed by calm waters makes the memory of home filled with cold days and short nights fade away.
Anfi del Mar has all the typical beach amenities like chair rentals, umbrellas, and a pleasant walkway behind it full of restaurants and shops.
The beach is perfect for families. The waters are always calm; the large breakwater system offshore protects the shoreline from large waves.
Up from the beach are luxury hotel rooms and a massive time-share resort.
6. Playa de las Canteras
Playa de las Canteras is beloved by the residents of Las Palmas. A wonderful urban beach, it's easily accessible by all who live here. The beach is really two in one: the northern end, where sports rule; and the southern end, where relaxing is the norm.
The north end receives the brunt of the ocean and frequently features large waves. This area is a hot spot for surfing on the island, and some of the best riders, both local and traveling, perform impressive moves on consistent rollers. The sand here is a dark brown, almost black color, and is very fine.
The southern end is more protected. An offshore reef stops the waves, ensuring that only small rollers reach the shore. The sand here is more akin to a normal beach: golden brown and soft. At this end, an extensive array of services are on offer, including chair and sunbed rentals, restaurants, and ice-cream shops.
Running almost the entire length of the beach is a raised walkway. It's a popular spot to watch the beach action, go for a run or walk, or just soak up the scene on a sunny patio.
7. Playa del Veril
The beaches of Gran Canaria are all a bit different from one another. Playa del Veril, just slightly north of Playa del Ingles is an excellent example of this phenomenon. Backed by a cliff and protected from the onslaught of the ocean by a curving breakwater, this beach looks and feels completely different to Playa del Ingles.
This beach is a good one to come to if you are looking to escape the wind and waves. The large breakwater stops the waves and also helps slow up the breeze. Tuck yourself up against the rocks for the best protection from the breeze and the maximum warmth from the sun.
The brown sand is soft and the water quite shallow, making Playa del Veril suitable for families with small children. The only downside to this beach is the long set of stairs down from the walkway above.
8. Playa de San Agustin
Located in the same lively stretch as Playa del Veril, but just around the headland, is the small but delightful Playa de San Agustin.
The beach has several advantages over ones farther south, the foremost being ease of access. A large free parking lot is located off the main lot, providing parking for many vehicles — just drive through the always-open gate. From the parking lot, the beach is a short stroll, making it easy to haul all your beach gear to the water's edge.
The beach is made up of an arc of brown, grey, and black sand at the north end extending southwards towards a rocky section.
The northern end is the best part of the beach. In this area, the waves are small, and the wind is reduced by the large headland behind.
The El Capitan restaurant dominates the area behind the beach. Grab a table and enjoy some of the area's best seafood.
9. Playa del Hombre
Gran Canaria has a few local beaches that the residents would prefer you didn't know about. One of the standouts is Playa del Hombre. If you've never been to a black-sand beach, this is definitely one to visit.
Set in a large cove, this beach is spectacular not only for the quality of the sand but for the large dune at the southern end. If you are traveling with kids, they'll have a great time running up and down the dune.
Playa del Hombre has a decent offshore and shore break, and it's common to see surfers doing their thing on the consistent waves. If you've had enough of the packaged tourist scene, head here; the only other people on the beach will be locals.
The only downside of Playa del Hombre is that parking can be challenging. There is no parking at the beach access trail; however, street parking is free and can generally be found nearby. Count on a five-minute walk from the car to the beach.
10. Playa del Pozuelo
The second secret locals' beach is Playa del Pozuelo. This small cove has dark sand and is very protected from both wind and waves. In fact, it can get quite hot here, making a dip in the refreshing waters a delightful experience. Your towel neighbors will be local Canarians taking a break from regular life.
In behind Playa del Pozuelo, you'll find a restaurant serving up fresh food and drinks.
Accessing the beach is easy, just follow the road signs through a small town to a huge free parking lot located behind on the hill. Amenities here include changerooms, showers, and washrooms.
If you are a fitness buff or need to work off some of the extra kilos gained lazing around the resort, plan an adventure to Güigüi. This beach is truly spectacular, and the effort expended during a two-hour (one-way) hike to get here might just be worth the effort.
Sandwiched in between two rocky headlands, the brownish-black sand is smooth and soft and the waters are clear and inviting (but chilly!). It's a full-day excursion to get here if you hike, and you'll need to bring everything, as absolutely no services exist, and your phone will have no service.
Be sure to check the tides. If high tide is during the afternoon, most of the beach will be covered.
Not interested in all the effort but still want to go? You might want to consider a boat taxi. I didn't do this, but it also allows you to see all the highlights of southern Gran Canaria along the way.