Gran Canaria is the second most popular island in the Canary Islands, and home to the capital, Las Palmas. Despite its popularity with tourists, it has a more laid-back atmosphere than other major resorts in the archipelago. It also offers some great local attractions, giving you a more authentic experience in the region.
While most tourists stick to Maspalomas or Las Palmas, there are plenty of lesser-known spots waiting to be discovered. It’s important to get an overview of everything on offer in Gran Canaria before settling on a place to stay; however, most guides avoid the less popular neighbourhoods.
That’s why we’ve built this guide! We’ve figured out the five best places to stay in Gran Canaria – as well as the best accommodation options in each. We’ve obviously included the two main resort towns, but we also have some more off the beaten path options for your consideration.
So, let’s get started!
Map of Where to Stay in Gran Canaria
Gran Canaria holds so many surprises. Which is why it should definitely be on your backpacking Spain list – yes, Spain! With stunning beaches, incredible nature, great culture and one of the most lively nightlife, the flight from mainland Europe to the island is definitely worth it!
- Las Palmas – Overall Best Place to Stay in Gran Canaria
- Puerto Rico – Best Place to Stay in Gran Canaria for Families
- San Agustín – Most Romantic Place to Stay in Gran Canaria for Couples
- Maspalomas – Coolest Place to Stay in Gran Canaria
- Agaete – One of the Most Unique Places to Stay in Gran Canaria
- Top Places To Stay in Gran Canaria
- Final Thoughts on Where To Stay in Gran Canaria
Las Palmas is the capital of the Canary Islands and, to the surprise of many visitors, one of the largest cities in Spain! For first time visitors, this is where you will take in some of the best cultural and historical attractions in Gran Canaria. Las Palmas is full of centuries-old architecture and fascinating art galleries.
While the city is not without its tourists, most tour groups tend to stick to the south of the island. This means Las Palmas enjoys a more authentic atmosphere.
The nightlife here is an excellent option if you want to party with locals. It’s also a major student hub in the archipelago, making it a great place to stay in Gran Canaria on a budget.
Las Palmas location on the north coast might mean it takes extra time to get to the main tourist hubs in the south, but transport connections are still manageable. As the capital, it also has plenty of great ferry connections to other islands in the region.
Best Places to Stay in Las Palmas
La Vegueta is the historic centre of Las Palmas, and a great base if you want to explore the city’s culture. Playa Las Canteras is the main beach in the city and is often regarded as one of the best city beaches on the planet. Both areas are well connected by public transport.
Best Airbnb in Las Palmas: Bohemian Loft
Airbnb Plus properties are carefully selected by staff for their fantastic design and above and beyond levels of service. This one-bedroom apartment is the perfect getaway in Gran Canaria’s capital. With a walk-in shower and a king-sized bed, this apartment is particularly popular with couples visiting the area. The beach is only a two-minute walk away.
Best Hostel in Las Palmas: Ventana Azul
This stunning hostel is one of the longest-running on the island, and it’s easy to see why it has consistently remained one of the best-rated in Las Palmas. The rooftop area comes with sweeping views of the beach, which is located right on the doorstep of the hostel. They offer regular activities where you can socialise with other guests; these include tapas, tours and dinners.
Best Hotel in Las Palmas: BULL Reina Isabel & Spa
Another great option right on the beach, this four-star hotel is perfect if you want to splash out on a lavish experience! It comes with a stunning rooftop pool boasting views across the coast, as well as a separate terrace where you can enjoy some beers or cocktails in the sun. Las Palmeras Golf Course is only a short walk away, as well as many of the main city centre attractions.
Gran Canaria is easily the most family-friendly of the Canary Islands! While you’ll be spoiled for choice, Puerto Rico de Gran Canaria is our favourite spot for families.
The vast beach has plenty of family-friendly activities. The water is also calmer in this part of the island, meaning even young children can safely enjoy a paddle.
The soft sands are imported from the Sahara, making it the perfect spot to build a sandcastle. Puerto Rico is known for its stunning scenery, as well as a calm atmosphere when compared to other towns on the island. Atlantida Water Park is a short walk away if the kids want to enjoy some slides and wave pools.
For more adventurous travellers, there’s also a wide selection of water sports activities on offer. These have lower waiting times than elsewhere on the island, and windsurfing is a popular choice. There’s also an excellent dolphin and whale spotting excursion that’s sure to keep the whole family entertained.
Best Places to Stay In Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico is a small town, so most accommodation options are within walking distance of the beach. If you head to the outskirts of town, you can enjoy gorgeous views of the coastline, but they are an uphill walk from the waterfront.
Best Airbnb in Puerto Rico: Luxury Villa
This villa is about five minutes away from Puerto Rico – making it a perfect choice for families looking for a more secluded location. It can sleep up to six guests in three bedrooms, with a spare bed in the living area. There’s a private pool, and the Tauro Golf Course is within walking distance.
Best Hostel in Puerto Rico: Blablabla Tasarte
Housed within a converted country house, this hostel has a rustic atmosphere, giving backpackers the chance to discover something a little more authentic. It is a ten-minute walk from Puerto Rico beach, with plenty of excellent facilities nearby. They also include a complimentary breakfast, helping to save you some money. The spacious roof terrace is a popular socialising spot for guests.
Best Hotel in Puerto Rico: Gloria Palace Royal Hotel & Spa
Located right on the waterfront, this gorgeous hotel has a large infinity pool where you can bask under the endless sunlight! Though a little secluded, Puerto Rico can easily be accessed on foot, though we do recommend this mostly for families with cars. It is built using the native stone from the islands, giving it a rustic charm while still benefiting from modern levels of service.
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San Agustín might be right next to Maspalomas, but it benefits from a calmer atmosphere and spacious beach! This town is more exclusive than the bustling resort areas, but still comes with all of the excellent tourism attractions Gran Canaria is known for. The beach has darker sand but experiences fewer crowds.
The town itself has some great restaurants showcasing local cuisine, as well as some upmarket eateries featuring Spanish and Moroccan cuisine. Shopaholics will be delighted to discover locally-owned boutiques where you can pick up some great souvenirs, clothing, and ornaments.
For couples, San Agustín offers a wide selection of adult-only hotels. This means you’re less likely to encounter families.
Paired with the relaxing atmosphere and incredible sunset views, San Agustín is the perfect retreat for a romantic getaway. There are also a few hotels that cater specifically to gay couples, making it a warm and welcoming destination for all.
Best Places to Stay in San Agustín
The adult-only hotels are mostly located in the boundary between San Agustín and the Playa del Inglés area of Maspalomas. Staying in this area gives you easy access to both towns, while still benefiting from the laid back vibes of San Agustín.
Best Airbnb in San Agustín: Cozy Apartment with Pool
Another gorgeous Airbnb Plus apartment, couples will enjoy the romantic atmosphere of the seaside location. The balcony provides a stunning backdrop for morning coffee, with smells of the ocean floating through the air. Interiors are modern yet comfortable – and there’s plenty of natural light. This is a truly peaceful getaway in Southern Gran Canaria.
Best Hostel in San Agustín: CIW Hostel
This is one of the more basic hostel options in Gran Canaria, but for those on a tight budget, it’s a great alternative to the city centre locations. It’s well connected to the rest of Southern Gran Canaria by public transport and within walking distance of all the main San Agustín attractions. There’s a large pool where you can mingle with other guests, as well as a well-equipped kitchen.
Best Hotel in San Agustín: Don Gregory by Dunas
Couples visiting Gran Canaria will be pleased to discover there are plenty of Adult-Only options in San Agustín! Don Gregory is our top pick, thanks to their fantastic reviews and a four-star rating. It has its own private stretch of beach, so you can enjoy some sunbathing without being interrupted by noisy families. There’s also a large sun terrace and a calming garden.
Located in the middle of the island’s South Coast, Maspalomas is easily the most popular destination in Gran Canaria. Whether you want family-friendly thrills, bustling nightlife, or stunning beaches, there’s a little something for everyone in Maspalomas.
The town itself is great for families, with the Aqualand Maspalomas Waterpark a must-visit attraction. There are plenty of huge shopping malls where you can find everything from local boutiques to international brands.
Maspalomas is also the most diverse destination on the island when it comes to food, with a wide array of cuisines on offer.
Playa del Inglés is often considered a separate town in its own right, but for most tourists, it is indistinguishable from Maspalomas. This is home to the biggest nightlife area in Gran Canaria, with the world-famous Pacha Gran Canaria opening its doors to locals and visitors alike throughout the year.
Best Places to Stay in Maspalomas
For families and those looking for a more peaceful stay, central Maspalomas is your best bet. If you want something livelier, we recommend staying closer to Playa del Inglés. Both areas are accessible by public transport and have great connections to San Agustín.
Best Airbnb in Maspalomas: Beach Bungalow
This authentic Gran Canaria bungalow is not only a stone’s throw from the beach, but it also has a gorgeous outdoor space where you can soak up the sunshine and enjoy a peaceful breakfast. It can sleep up to four people across two bedrooms, making it a great pick for small groups and families. There is a playground area, as well as a ping pong table.
Best Hotel for Backpackers in Maspalomas: Parque Nogal
While there aren’t any hostels in Maspalomas, the two-star bungalow resorts available in the area are perfect for backpackers! Parque Nogal is our top pick as it comes with a free bus shuttle to the main beach area. There is also a small pool on-site, and a mini-golf area where you can mingle with other guests.
Best Hotel in Maspalomas: Hotel Riu Palace
This four-star hotel is located right on Playa del Inglés, giving you immediate access to all of the biggest attractions in Maspalomas! It also has a gorgeous pool area with sun loungers, palm trees, and a bar. Families also benefit from the kids’ playground area, where the little ones can let off some steam. A breakfast buffet is included in the rate.
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With all the tourist crowds focused in either Las Palmas or along the South Coast, Agaete offers a unique opportunity to discover a more authentic slice of Gran Canaria life. The beach here is a bit rockier, but there are still some tremendous sunbathing spots. It also benefits from stunning views of the nearby cliffs.
Agaete also has some unique cultural attractions where you can get your own glimpse of local life. It is home to one of the only coffee plantations in Europe, with regular tours on offer to visitors.
The Botanic Gardens also house a truly unique selection of indigenous plant species from across the Canaries.
With whitewashed buildings, Agaete is an idyllic retreat for couples and solo travellers looking to get away from the bustling tourism hubs. Nevertheless, it has quick transport links to Las Palmas and Maspalomas. If you want a base for exploring the rest of the island from, this is worth considering.
Best Places to Stay in Agaete
Agaete isn’t a major tourism hub, so most of the accommodation options are renovated housing. This makes it a great spot to snap up an Airbnb at a budget-friendly rate. If you are more interested in a hotel, the best options are in the nearby Tamadaba Natural Park.
Best Airbnb in Agaete: Breezy Beachy Vibe
Designed to reflect the nautical location, this stylish Airbnb Plus apartment is perfect for larger groups wanting to veer slightly off the beaten path in Gran Canaria. As part of a larger complex, there is a shared pool where you can soak up the Gran Canaria sunshine. Its secluded location makes it perfect for enjoying a peaceful retreat.
Best Hostel in Agaete: Casa Calma Yoga Guesthouse
This small hostel is actually outside Agaete but has easy public transport access to the town! Casa Calma is very secluded and is a popular choice with backpackers wanting to avoid the huge crowds in the south. It is surrounded by Tamadaba Natural Park, giving you the chance to enjoy some of the most beautiful scenery on the island.
Best Hotel in Agaete: Charco Azul B&B
Also located just outside Agaete, this quaint bed and breakfast is a short walk from the village of El Risco. If you want to enjoy the mesmerising scenery of the natural park, as well as the rustic charm of an authentic Canarian village, you must spend a few nights at Charco Azul! All rooms come with private balconies and mountain views.
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Top Places To Stay in Gran Canaria
Gran Canaria is a surprisingly diverse destination with plenty to offer across the island. Don’t mind which neighbourhood you end up in? These are our top accommodation picks across the entire resort.
Best Airbnb in Gran Canaria – Cozy Apartment with Pool – San Agustín
This stunning apartment is our favourite in Gran Canaria thanks to the unbeatable views and immediate beach access. San Agustín is a peaceful alternative to Maspalomas, while still enjoying direct transport links to the larger resorts. It is also one of the more affordable options in the Airbnb Plus range, letting you enjoy some luxury without breaking the bank.
Best Hostel in Gran Canaria – Ventana Azul – Las Palmas
Consistently rated one of the best hostels on the island, Ventana Azul had to take our top choice for backpackers accommodation in Gran Canaria! They have free activities every evening – whether you want to sample tapas with your new friends, take a tour of the city, or enjoy an outdoor movie screening. Their rooftop terrace also comes with panoramic views of Las Palmas.
Best Hotel in Gran Canaria – Hotel Riu Palace – Maspalomas
This gorgeous four-star hotel is an excellent compromise between cost and luxury! It comes with a beachfront location in Gran Canaria’s most popular resort town, as well as some peaceful areas on-site where you can escape the crowds. Hotel Riu Palace is very highly rated by previous guests thanks to the extensive breakfast, spacious pool area, and an unbeatable kids playground. Playa del Inglés is a short walk away.
Final Thoughts on Where To Stay in Gran Canaria
Gran Canaria is a stunning island with some truly vibrant destinations waiting to be discovered. As well as the capital of the Canary Islands, Gran Canaria is home to locally-owned restaurants, vast beaches, and buzzing nightlife venues. If you want something a bit more authentic, this is our favourite Canary Island.
In terms of best neighbourhood, we’re going to veer slightly off the beaten path and opt for San Agustín! It’s well connected to Maspalomas but has its own beachy atmosphere and a good range of boutiques and restaurants to let you truly soak up the Canarian culture.
That being said, everywhere mentioned in this guide has its own charms. If you can, we recommend hiring a car and taking a few trips around the island to truly take in everything on offer. Otherwise, we hope this guide has helped you narrow down your accommodation options.
Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments!
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