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Driving in Gran Canaria: Top Tips and Routes

Gran Canaria is one of the biggest of the Canary Islands based in the Atlantic Ocean with over 3000 hours of sunshine each year. The Island was formed from volcanoes and is only 29 miles from East to West. So what is it like driving in Gran Canaria?

When we arrived at the airport we were greeted by the gentleman holding my name card and took me to our hire car. I’m not going to lie, I was very nervous. This was my first time driving abroad and I had no ides what to expect, never mind what car I was going to be driving.

The gentleman was lovely but didn’t speak any English. He took me to my hire car, a Fiat Punto. Classic cream run around. Handed me the keys, signaled to drop it back at the same point, then left us. I wasn’t sure what to expect. Being honest, if you drive, what was he supposed to say to me apart from drive on the other side of the road.

We had 2 large cases each which fitted perfectly into the back with the seats down. In case you don’t know I am 4 ft 9 and so having a small car was perfect for me. I was about to see if it was perfect to explore the island.

Leaving the airport was super easy. I went slow at first and the other drivers on the road were very accommodating. The roads are very good and kept up to date which was a huge confidence boost. Straight out of the airport takes you onto the only motorway around the island, the GC1. It didn’t take me long to realise that all roads led to here. Once i merged onto the motorway we headed south to the tourist resorts and our hotel.

It didn’t take long for me to get my bearings. Without stating the obvious. The gearstick is on the right, you give way to the left and go around roundabouts to the left. At the beginning there was plenty of traffic to follow to guide me on the right side of the road but as we explore some rural areas it was quieter.

Tips for driving in Gran Canaria

The island in terms of roads are either flat, coastal areas and main cities. However if you plan on going rural while driving in Gran Canaria, the chances are you will be going uphill. Although I had a Fiat Punto, we took a guide up the mountains. I would recommend a larger car for more off road trips up the mountains. It can get very steep and some of the road are not in the same condition as the highways.

The island in terms of roads are either flat, coastal areas and main cities. However if you plan on going rural while driving in Gran Canaria, the chances are you will be going uphill. Although I had a Fiat Punto, we took a guide up the mountains. I would recommend a larger car for more off road trips up the mountains. It can get very steep and some of the road are not in the same condition as the highways.

We were staying at the Lopesan Baobab resort in Las Canteras, a most southern area of the island. The area we stayed was full or resort hotels and a brand new hospital. The roads were very new and there was plenty of on street parking.

Parking was the most difficult part of the whole experience in my opinion. We decided for on street parking because I like to challenge myself. Once a found a spot, it was sometimes difficult to get out, even in a Fiat Punto. The locals like to park a little closer then we would here in the UK. My suggestion would be to use the local care parks, there are lots of them about and relatively cheap.

Parking

When planning your trip around the island, if you are not confident in parking or getting out of tight places. My suggestion is to look up the local care parks before you leave and plan your trip. There are lots available.

Coastal Trip

This route took us from our resort at Las Canatars, Maspolomas area up to Puerto de Mogan. You simply MUST visit this village. it’s an Instagram heaven and to beautiful. We got back on the motorway and headed east up to the village. This is the last stop before you start to make your way up the mountains. I would recommend you head here first and make you’re way back. On our way back we took the coastal route which offered the most amazing views!

On the coastal route beware to look out for cyclists. There are some steep drops off the cliffs and so I would recommenced to drive when it is well lit. On the way back you can stop off at town of Puerto Rico and enjoy some mini golf or shopping. If you’re looking explore the beaches the head to the stunning Llaya de Amadores. There are lots of car stop off points along the coastal route. It makes it easy to pull over and enjoy the views.

Mountain Adventure

Trust me, there is more to Gran Canaria then the beaches. The Mountains have so much to offer.

My top tip would be as above, make sure you have the correct car to take the sharp corners. I would advise to leave early to avoid driving when it gets dark as the roads in the hills are not very well lit. And they are very very steep. If you get car sickness it may be worth taking anti sickness tablets.

To explore the towns and villages in the mountains you have to drive to the North of the Islands first. From here you can enjoy a steady include as far up as you feel comfortable.

Our first stop was the colourful town of Arucas. To the west of Las Palmas it is a short drive yet a huge contrast from the buys city. The buildings are very colourful and standing out of the centre of the town in the Gothic cathedral. This cathedral is neo classical style and made from local stone. The building really blows you away and the views surrounding the town are stunning. The green fields go on forever. There is lots of agriculture to explore here and you may want tog o back to spend more time.

From here you MUST visit the old town of Teror. A popular town for locals and many visit here to pay pilgrimage.The architecture is simply beautiful with local shops, cages and lots of balconies. The town is packed full of arts and crafts shops. We regretted not taking extra cash to buy items but then I was worried how I’d get them home too! Worth a look and support local artists.

If you head up the winding road of the GC15 you will come to the highest area of Tejeda. I thoroughly recommend doing this, you get the best views of driving in Gran Canaria. If you’re a fan of natural beauty and rock formations, and a good..GREAT view then you will love it here. I 100% recommend a visit to the Parador De Cruz. It has an extensive spa, amazing gourmet food and panoramic views. It really is a natural paradise. I really wish we had booked in for the night.

From here you can make your way down the mountains and stop of at Roque Nublo. Maybe get some photos and a hike/walk and then a steady slow drive back down the south side back to your resort. This is a long day so I would say make it an early start.

So there you have my top 2 routes to explore the best of the island. This may have been my first time driving but will not be my last. I cannot wait to get in a car and explore again and hopefully back in Gran Canaria soon!

If you are wanting to plan you’re trip then Head to the Gran Canaria website for inspiration.

For more reasons to visit Gran Canaria check out this post.

*Care Hire was gifted as part of a press trip

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