“Hiking in a musty smelling city full of cars, stressed out people and lots of ugly cement? Are you kidding me?
I´m coming to Gran Canaria for the holidays. Not for getting the same thing I already have in my hometown.”
Yes, I know, when you read the headline of this post, you thought the same thing.
I always hear that complaint from people after I tell them to take this hiking route in Gran Canaria´s capital.
Sure, there are hundreds of classic hiking tracks in Gran Canaria, where you get to see rough volcanic areas, thick jungles, deep forests, or lakes.
The full nature program. Nothing wrong with that.
But honestly, you haven´t been in Gran Canaria if you miss out on a walk along the Playa de las Canteras (Las Canteras Beach) and La Isleta (which is about 8km).
You will knock your head on your desk when you see photos and information about this area after your holidays are over if you don’t take this opportunity.
And here´s why:
1. A cosmopolitan meeting point for all ages
The Las Canteras Beach is the most important meeting point (and probably the most scenic) in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
It´s the local´s hot spot to relax in the cities jungle, to meet friends, play sports, walk around, go shopping, and take sunbaths.
Or to sit down in a bohemian cafe and enjoy the people passing by while street musicians and artists entertain you.
The possibilities are almost endless and there´s something for every age to experience.
Here is one of the most important things I love about Las Palmas de Gran Canaria:
No matter where you come from, or what religion you believe in, people of many different nationalities live here together in harmony.
2. Eat yourself through international cuisine
On your way to the north end, you will pass an endless amount of restaurants and bars. Whatever your favourite dish, chances are you´ll find it here.
Not only will you find Spanish restaurants, or places where you can try typical Canarian tapas, but there are also a couple of the cities best international restaurants.
Chinese, Mexican, German, Italian, Arabian, Peruvian…
Besides pretty good restaurants, you get the chance to order coffee from all over the world too, together with those delicious churritos.
No worries, in case you´re not open for local or exotic dishes, you´ll also find lots of typical fast food restaurants too.
Want ice cream or sweet cake after your dinner?
My personal favourite is the Casa Suecia. I´m addicted to apple cake, and they make the best one in the town. Give it a try. You find them here.
So, whatever you want to eat, there are plenty of choices available.
3. Wake up your romantic spirit
When you do this tour during the week, the beach won´t be overcrowded like the beaches in the touristic south of Gran Canaria and you will easily find a calm place on the beach to think about Life, the Universe and anything else your heart desires.
A personal tip: On your way back, get a small bottle of wine (or whatever you prefer) and sit on the beach to enjoy the sunset. Your romantic side is sure to be awakened with your loved one by your side, accompanied by the melodious swoosh of the waves.
(As a reminder: Don´t drink and drive.)
4. Take a sunbath
True, this is a no-brainer.
After all, you also chose this destination to get a bit of color, right? But be careful that you don’t burn. Use sun blocker with an ultra high UV resistance.
Just a few tourists take a sunbath in the Las Canteras Beach. Since you´re already here, search for a quiet place and lay down on the fine golden sandy beach.
The best place to get a bit toasted on the beach is the last third of the Playa de las Canteras. It´s less windy there, and the surfers are far away in the more windy south end. This makes it an ideal place to cool down a bit in the Atlantic without getting run over by a surfboard.
5. Experience the urban beach life and a desertlike area in just three hours
When you pass the Las Canteras beach promenade you will come closer to Gran Canaria´s northernmost area – La Isleta.
Half of this peninsular is a military area. It´s forbidden to build anything there (for now). The other half gives you a lot of possibilities. It‘s a nice place for mountain bikers, hikers, sunbathers, and even fisherman.
This is a rough area without any constructed streets that offers a panoramic view over the whole city and of Gran Canaria´s north coast.
During ebb tide, you can walk down the cliffs searching for a wind-protected place to take a rest.
And on very clear days, you can even see Tenerife’s Teide (Spain´s highest peak) on the horizon.
So here´s where to start your urban hike in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria:
Your starting point will be the city´s music hall, the Auditorio Alfredo Kraus, on the beach´s south end.
If you use a car, choose the underground parking of the Centro Comercial Las Arenas, which is the easiest, and safest, way to leave your car in a secured place.
The first three hours of parking are totally free.
However, there are a couple of other possibilities to park around the Auditorio.
Coming from the south, take the GC-1 highway to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
When you‘ve almost reached the capital, the highway guides you in two directions (Exit 4), after passing the Centro Commercial Las Terrazas and El Mirador in Jinamar, Telde.
The right sign says GC-1 – Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and Puerto with a yellow background.
You will take the left one that says GC-3, Tafira, Gáldar, Tamaraceite.
Follow this highway until you reach Exit 8 and choose the right direction to Galdar, the GC-23. The sign that says Puerto in a yellow background.
On its end, you´ll reach a roundabout, where you will see the word Guanarteme on a white sign and GC-2 Galdar in a blue square.
Choose the middle or left trace and take the GC-2 to Galdar.
After you passed the roundabout, and you´re on the GC-2, stay on the right trail and take the next exit to reach the Auditorio Alfredo Kraus.
You´ll already see the music hall and the Commercial Center Las Arenas on the right side. That´s your start point to the north end.
All right, head over to the Auditorio Alfredo Kraus and take a breath in probably one of the most beautiful urban beaches in the world (Yes, we love clichés.), the Las Canteras Beach.
Now the only thing you have to do is to follow the beach promenade until its end to reach La Isleta, the northern-most part of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
Pass the last houses you will reach El Confital. This stony beach marks the beginning of Gran Canaria´s peninsula.
Have fun with this tour and don´t forget to charge your camera before you start the day. And you will need space on your camera because you will take lots of unforgettable photos.