Gran Canaria is teeming with beautiful towns, villages and seaside gems to visit complete with colourful Canarian architecture and awe inspiring vistas surrounding them. With so many places to choose from, how can you visit them all? Trust me, it was hard to decide what places I wanted to visit and because I did not rent a car while staying in Las Palmas, I strictly relied on the public buses as my transit choice, which were quite easy to use and pretty reliable when it came to being on time.
Visiting other villages and towns outside of a capital city is by far, one of my favourite ways to get a grasp of the traditional culture of the country I am travelling in, especially early in the morning when the townspeople are still sleeping and only the scent of coffee can be noticed wafting through the air and making its way down the narrow streets.
As the locals awake, they open their shops and are seen going about their day. They are talking to each other on the street, sitting on a bench people watching, or enjoying sharing some daily small town gossip. I love being there early and watching villages and towns come to life in the morning. It gives me a more authentic experience while travelling.
While basing myself in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, I made it my mission to try and visit a new village, or town during my unplanned days while I was there. I had a total of three free days while in Las Palmas, so here are just a few of the many picturesque places that are accessible as day trips from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria by public transit and will inspire you to get out of the city and experience true Canarian culture.
Located in the northern part of Gran Canaria, Arucas is the third largest town on Gran Canaria and is home to the largest Neo-Gothic cathedral on the island as well. San Juan Bautista Cathedral is absolutely covered in gorgeous details, inside and out. Its construction took many years and started in 1909 and was officially completed by 1977. New to European standards when it comes to cathedrals, but it still has an ancient Gothic look to its architecture that would have you guessing it was hundreds of years old. Arucas’ old town is straight out of a Spanish postcard. Colourful buildings, wrought iron balconies, inviting cafés, blooming hibiscus flowers and steep cobblestone streets, which grant you with picture perfect views from the top of the town below and the massive iconic cathedral within the centre of it all. If you also have some time when in Arucas, make sure to visit the Rum factory, Arehucas, which is a very popular stop for local rum. Take the blue Global bus 210 from Las Canteras beach in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria to arrive in Arucas in approximately 45 minutes and will cost you €2,10 each way. Enjoy the views out the window of the approach to Arucas and get a glance of how magnificent San Juan Bautista Cathedral’s size is from a distance.
Situated in the lush green mountains of northern Gran Canaria, 14 kilometres southwest of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, lies the beautiful Canarian village of Teror. Surrounded by deep valleys, mountains and vegetation, Teror may arguably be the most picturesque village on the entire island. The Plaza del Teror is the heart and soul of the village with intricately carved wooden balconies lining the quiet streets and colourful flower baskets hanging above. The Basilica de la Virgen del Pino sits in the lively square with bustling restaurants and an absolutely unique looking tree smack dab in the centre of town, which is not to be missed. Teror was one of the prettiest and charming places I visited during my trip. To get there, take the blue Global bus 210 or 234 to Arucas (€2,10 each way) from Las Canteras beach in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, then transfer to the blue Global bus 215 to Teror (€1,40 each way), which will be the last stop on the route. The total ride with transfer takes approximately 55 minutes to an hour.
Ah, Vegueta. The romantic old quarter of Las Palmas and the old capital city, was my favourite place to visit. Chalk full of charming old world Canarian architecture and Spanish music playing from the tiny restaurants, Vegueta is the quintessential Canarian experience. Getting to Vegueta is easy. From Las Canteras beach in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, take the local number 17 yellow Guaguas, which will run you about €1,40 each way and takes about 35 minutes. While you’re there, make sure to explore the narrow cobblestone streets and visit sites such as Santa Ana Cathedral and take the elevator to the top for spectacular views of Las Palmas, Casa de Colón (Columbus’ house), relax with a beer and tapas in Plaza de Santa Ana while people watching the afternoon away and take a stroll to Plaza del Espíritu Santo, which is located next to the Ermita del Espiritu Santo (Hermitage of The Holy Spirit). Walking the streets of Vegueta will transport you back in time and surround you with beautiful Spanish balconies, colourful buildings, the smell of brewing coffee and sounds of the church bells and chirping birds filling the streets as you wander around.
Read more: Things To Do In Las Palmas De Gran Canaria
Although my time was only spent exploring these three towns on day trips on Gran Canaria, there are so many more to see. During my motorcycle trip with Canary Ride, we visited many naturally stunning places in the countryside that were bursting with beauty such as the west coast along the GC-200 near Agaete, the colourful oxidized rainbow rocks of Los Azulejos De Veneguera and Pico de las Nieves just to name a few.
When I plan my return to Gran Canaria (and I will return), I want to continue visiting more towns and villages, since I fell in love with the ones I did get to see and the vibe within each of them was so relaxed, it just made me want to never leave. Some other places I would love to visit are: Firgas, Agüimes, Ingenio, Fataga, Puerto de Mogán, Tejeda and Artenara – just to name a few!
Have you ever visited Gran Canaria’s smaller villages and towns? If you have, which one was your favourite and why? If you are from Gran Canaria, which other places should I visit when I return? Let me know in the comments below! xo