This stunning island is a popular destination for good reason, with its beautiful beaches, amazing boat trips, delicious food and vibrant tourist spots. But, there’s so much more to Gran Canaria than what meets the eye. We’re going to explore some of the island’s best-kept secrets – places where you can escape the crowds and experience the true beauty of Gran Canaria.
Guayedra Beach and Mirador de Guayedra
Imagine a secluded beach where the only sounds you hear are the waves crashing and the occasional call of a seabird. That’s Guayedra for you. It’s not your typical tourist beach, which is exactly what makes it so special.
To get there, you’ll take a scenic drive south from Agaete on the GC-200. After about 5 km, there’s a little parking bay. You can either park there or venture down a dirt road to reach the viewpoint directly. If you’re up for a bit of a walk, it’s about 750 meters downhill to the viewpoint, and trust me, the view is worth every step. You’ll be treated to a stunning view of the valley, perfect for those Instagram-worthy shots.
From the viewpoint, there’s a path leading down to Guayedra Beach. The walk is downhill, so remember, you’ll have to walk back up later! But once you’re there, the beach is a slice of paradise, with Playa de Sotavento to your left and Playa de Guayedra to your right.
It’s a perfect spot if you’re looking to escape the busy tourist beaches and just want to soak up some sun in a more peaceful setting.
Charco de las Espejos
Next on our journey through Gran Canaria’s hidden gems is the mesmerizing Charco de las Espejos. This spot is a paradise for photographers and nature enthusiasts alike. Imagine a small, tranquil area dotted with large tidal pools that create stunning reflections of the nearby Punta Sardina lighthouse. It’s like nature’s own mirror, creating a picture-perfect scene.
Now, getting there is a bit of an adventure. The drive might make you wonder if you’re headed in the right direction, as the surrounding area isn’t the prettiest, but you’ll see why it’s worth it. The pools themselves are pristine and teeming with life. You might even spot some crabs scuttling around – if you sit still, they’ll come out of hiding, allowing you to observe them in their natural habitat.
Wear comfortable shoes, as you’ll need to walk a bit on a dirt trail and navigate some volcanic rocks to move between the tidal pools. It’s a bit of a rugged experience, but for those who love exploring and don’t mind a bit of a challenge, it’s an incredible spot.
Ventana de Morro
Now, let’s talk about Ventana de Morro, a spot that’s a bit of a hidden gem, even though it’s less than 100 meters away from the popular Pico de las Nieves viewpoint. The ‘Ventana’ or ‘window’ offers a stunning view of the iconic Roque Nublo and, on clear days, even Mount Teide on Tenerife. It’s an impressive sight, one that encourages visitors to linger and take in the panoramic views.
Reaching Ventana de Morro isn’t for the faint-hearted, though. It requires a bit of a scramble and is best suited for experienced hikers who are comfortable with rough terrain and cliffside paths. The trail to the natural window is somewhat obvious, but getting to the spot that frames Roque Nublo perfectly is more challenging. You’ll be walking along a cliff, so sturdy footwear and caution are absolutely essential.
This spot can be a bit of a wait, especially if the clouds roll in, as they often do in this part of Gran Canaria. But, waiting for the clouds to part and reveal the stunning view can be a magical experience in itself, offering a chance to see the ever-changing landscape.
Tejeda and the Valley of the Tears
Let’s venture to Tejeda, a place that will sweep you off your feet with its stunning green landscapes. Tejeda sits on the edge of an ancient volcanic crater and offers views that are often compared to the Andean valleys in Peru. With Roque Bentayga forming a majestic backdrop, this place is perfect for both leisurely strolls and more ambitious hikes. One great option is the circular walk to Cruz de Tejeda, which deserves a day of its own for full enjoyment.
But for the thrill-seekers, especially those who love driving or cycling, the nearby Valley of the Tears is a must-visit. Known colloquially for the ‘joy’ its steep road sections bring to cyclists, the route GC-606 offers some of the most stunning drives you’ll experience. Starting at La Aldea de San Nicolas, the journey takes you through a valley giving off strong Grand Canyon vibes and up to a ridge with awe-inspiring vistas on both sides.
Now, let’s escape to Playa GüiGüi, one of those secret beaches that are hard to reach but totally worth the effort. Nestled on the west coast of Gran Canaria, Playa GüiGüi is a hidden paradise, accessible only by a challenging 2-hour hike or a more leisurely boat ride from the nearby village of Tasarte.
The journey to this beach is an adventure in itself. If you’re hiking, prepare for a bit of a trek through some breathtaking landscapes. Playa GüiGüi is the epitome of a wild beach – no facilities, no crowds, just you, the sand, and the sea. It’s the perfect spot for a peaceful day out, where you can truly disconnect and enjoy the natural beauty of Gran Canaria. Remember to bring your own food and water, as there are no shops or restaurants in sight.
For a change of scenery, let’s head over to Agüimes, located on the eastern side of Gran Canaria. This place is often overlooked by tourists, which is exactly why it’s such a hidden gem. Agüimes offers a more authentic, local experience with easy access to almost every part of the island.
The town itself, with its rustic charm and colorful streets, feels like stepping back in time. You’ll find bronze statues scattered throughout, adding to the artistic vibe of the place. The heart of Agüimes is its central plaza, dominated by a striking domed church. It’s the perfect spot to sit back, relax, and soak in the slow-paced, easy-going atmosphere that’s so characteristic of this town.
For foodies, Agüimes has a treat in store. There’s this Argentinian eatery, La Bodeguita De La Villa, that’s only open from Fridays to Sundays. It’s a must-visit for meat lovers – the friendly owner passionately explains the menu, and the vibe is so welcoming that you might end up chatting with locals and other visitors alike.
Puerto de las Nieves in Agaete
Puerto de las Nieves in Agaete is a serene seaside village that offers picturesque views of the Atlantic Ocean. This spot is particularly known for its iconic Dedo de Dios (Finger of God) rock formation. It’s a great place to enjoy fresh seafood at local restaurants and immerse yourself in the tranquil atmosphere. The harbour area is particularly charming, making it a perfect spot for a leisurely stroll or a quiet evening watching the sunset.
Guayadeque Ravine in Ingenio/Agüimes
Next, we have the Guayadeque Ravine, located between Ingenio and Agüimes. This area is renowned for its natural beauty and historical significance. The ravine is home to some of the island’s most important archaeological sites, including cave dwellings that were once inhabited by the island’s indigenous people. It’s a place where history and nature blend seamlessly, offering a unique and educational experience.
Risco Caído y las Montañas Sagradas
Risco Caído y las Montañas Sagradas is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, known for its archaeological remains and stunning landscapes. The area is characterized by its unique cave complexes, some of which were used for astronomical purposes by the ancient inhabitants. This site is not only significant from an archaeological perspective but also offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains.
Discovering Gran Canaria’s Best-Kept Secrets
From the secluded coves of Playa GüiGüi to the historical depths of Agüimes, Gran Canaria is a treasure trove of unique experiences waiting to be discovered. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a culture vulture, or simply someone seeking a quiet escape, this island has something special for you.
Remember, the true beauty of travel lies in exploring the lesser-known paths and uncovering the stories they hold. Gran Canaria’s hidden gems offer a chance to step away from the tourist crowds and immerse yourself in the island’s diverse landscapes and rich cultural heritage.