Do you want to swim in water that’s as clear as as swimming pool?
Or how about a beach covered in crushed seashells?
Do you want to go snorkeling and see coral reefs?
Or, do you want to trek off the beaten path and walk on fossilized lava (at least, that’s what it looks like)?
Gran Canaria has more variety than I had even imagined, when it comes to the beach.
Some people go bar-hopping; I go beach-hopping.
In the north, you get overcast skies, rocky beaches, and wind so strong, you feel like it will blow you away into the Atlantic Ocean.
Meanwhile, the south has the resorts, sunshine all year long, calm and clear water, and sand so smooth it’s like walking on silk.
Both have their charm. I guess it depends if you’re up for a lazy beach day, or an adventurous, the-wind-and-sharp-pointy-rocks-got-nothing-on-me kind of day.
So, here are my thoughts on 7 beaches in Gran Canaria: 4 that are calm and collected in the south, 2 that are rocky in the north, and 1 in the north that has a bit of everything.
1. Playa Las Canteras in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
This beach is probably the most famous in Gran Canaria, and has even been called one of the best beaches in Spain.
Assuming Las Palmas is your first stop, this will probably be the first beach you see. You can walk along the boardwalk through the entire beach, and be thirty seconds away from a swim, or an ice cream.
During the weekend, this beach is packed. But during the week, it’s much more open. On weekday mornings, the only people here are elderly people going for a morning swim, and me. (I like to read and eat breakfast on the beach. I’ve earned this.)
If you like surfing, go to the southern part of the beach. There are many surf schools you can attend. If you like snorkeling and fish, then somewhere in the north is the coral reef.
Now, a few things about this beach:
It has seaweed. A bunch of it gets washed up along the shore. I shrivel like a prune every time I step on seaweed, so if it bothers you too, then keep that in mind.
When it’s overcast, the water is cold. It seems to be overcast more often than not here.
It’s windy, and can be quite chilly in the morning and evenings. Bring a light sweater, unless you want to suffer.
On clear days, you can see Tenerife at sunset.
I’ll be honest, I’ve seen prettier beaches. But it is a beach, and I can see it from my window, so I’m not complaining.
2. Playa de Amadores in the south
Amadores means “lovers” in English. Don’t be fooled by the name; this beach is for everyone.
This is a man-made beach, and is covered in crushed seashells. Sounds romantic, until you have to walk on crushed seashells barefoot. Which was the last thing my blistered feet needed.
Even though this beach isn’t natural, it’s got turquoise water, and a line of shops and restaurants along the shore. You can also see the ocean floor perfectly, even as I swam into about 12-feet deep water.
The water is also very calm, as it has a cove shape. And the mountains around it! I didn’t know what was more stunning; the turquoise water, or the rocks surrounding it.
3. Playa Anfi del Mar in the south
I shouldn’t have visited this beach first, because now it put all the other ones to shame.
It’s very similar to Amadores Beach, but the water is even clearer and more turquoise, if that’s possible. The last time I swam in water this clear was in San Andrés, Colombia.
The scenery around it as well plucks you out of whatever bad mood you were in that day, and drops you right into a postcard-worthy, palm tree lined island paradise.
Am I exaggerating? Look at these photos and you be the judge.
Yellow sand, clear water, tropical views, and a lookout near the hotel; I have spoiled myself, and should have saved the best for last, not first.
The only thing about the water was … it was cold! I don’t know why the water is so cold here, even when it’s 85 degrees outside. But it was so pretty I had to go in anyway.
4. Playa de Puerto Rico in the south
No, not the island in the Caribbean. Puerto Rico, the resort town in the south that is sandwiched between Amadores and Anfi del Mar.
First of all, the sand. I don’t think beaches get enough love for their sand. But this one should. The sand is so soft, it feels like silk when you walk on it. It felt like I was floating on a cloud on my way to the water. Which is funny, considering it was mostly cloudless when I went.
I went on a Monday. I can’t speak for weekends, but on Monday, there were just the right amount of people. It felt very relaxing. And while the water isn’t a pretty turquoise, it is a clear blue, and it’s not windy. I recommend coming here during the week for a quiet escape.
5. Playa de Mogán in the south
There’s this adorable town called Puerto de Mogán in the south. Its nickname is Little Venice.
This little town also has a little beach.
I also came on a Monday, and like Puerto Rico, there were just the right amount of people at the beach. It looked very similar to Puerto Rico as well. If you had to choose, I’d choose Playa de Mogán, because it’s got a fun and colorful town.
6. Charco de Las Palomas in the north
So, I don’t know if this counts as a beach. Instead of sand, it has huge rocks with pools of water from the high tide that people swim in. Since the water is shallow and has been sitting in the sun all day, it feels like bathwater.
What impressed me the most about this place were the rocks around it. You’re probably thinking, this girl really likes rocks. And the answer is yes, I do. Especially rocks that look like fossilized lava.
There are places where there is something of a beach with sand where people can swim. The sand is a bit darker here, almost black. And the waves! They hit the rocks so hard, it was as if they were angry.
7. Agaete Piscina Natural in the northwest
This is another beach covered in rocks. And not little crushed seashells. Actual rocks. People put their towels on the rocks. When they go in the water, the floor is covered in rocks. And you are surrounded by big rocks that give this place a Switzerland feel. Or western Canada.
The water was a gorgeous shade of royal blue. You can see the rocks all the way at the bottom. And surrounding the pool are seafood restaurants. I went to one with new friends (my first Canarian friends!).
This restaurant served the biggest platter of fish I’d ever seen; there were 4 types of fish on there, at least. We also had baked goat cheese covered in mojo (a Canarian sauce), jam, and other local foods. All while looking out into the rocky beach.
So, which beach is my favorite?
I’m normally not a resort person, but after a months of cold weather and a year of lockdowns, Playa Anti del Mar was just what I needed.
I would love to return to Agaete Piscina Natural. I didn’t swim there, as I was passing through (I’d spent the day at coffee farms and wineries; future blog post on that coming soon). But even just being there felt relaxing.
Do you agree with my choice? Which beach would you like to visit?