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Where to stay in Gran Canaria (and where NOT!)

Las Palmas beach from above

Playa del Ingles is the most visited holiday destination in Gran Canaria, but there are many other destinations on the island. Here is a quick guide to the ideal destination for your holiday in Gran Canaria.

Best hotel & destination for you in Gran Canaria

I visited over 90 of the best-reviewed hotels during my last visit to Gran Canaria. Below you find my selection of the best ones in the right surrounding and resort for you. If you spend most of the time in the hotel and don’t care too much about the surrounding area, then you can find my complete list of best hotels in Gran Canaria here.

For the mentioned hotels below I provide affiliate links to Booking.com for more pictures and pricing.

Family holiday in Gran Canaria

One of my favourite hotels and one of the best options for a family holiday in Gran Canaria is the Sol Barbacan. Located centrally in the Playa del Ingles, you have many restaurants, bars and shops nearby. Also, the hotel itself has a very nice layout and lots to do and experience for the entire family.

If you want it a bit quieter and to be closer to the beach, then Seaside Palm Beach in the more upscale Meloneras area might be the best choice for you. Also, most of the new Riu hotels in the Meloneras area deserve mention here.

Luxury holidays

If you are looking for luxury and upscale holidays, your best destination in Gran Canaria is the newer Meloneras area. The 5-star GL (basically 6 stars) Seaside Gran Hotel Residencia and the Lopesan Villa del Condes are here. These are amazingly luxurious hotels with a grand-ish feel.

Holidays without a car

If you are not renting a car in Gran Canaria but still want to explore the island with public transportation, then it is best to stay in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria as most of the bus lines leave from here. However, Maspalomas also has a lot of public transport options, and you are much closer to most of the visited attractions and beaches on the island.

If you are not renting a car in Gran Canaria and want to stay in the more complete resorts with lots of things to see and do nearby, so you don’t feel the need to explore more of Gran Canaria, then Maspalomas, Playa del Ingles and Meloneras are your best option. Also but to a lesser extent, Puerto Rico can be good.

Adults only and couples holiday in Gran Canaria

Puerto Rico and Playa del Ingles are great options for adults-only holidays with many bars, shops, restaurants, and the more active nightlife on Gran Canaria. In Playa del Ingles, the Labranda Marieta is a great centrally located hotel and in Puerto Rico. The Marina Bayview Apartments have a unique sea view setting and are within walking distance of the beach and the centrally located shopping and activity centre.

Beach holidays

One of the most beautiful beaches, in my opinion, is the Playa de las Canteras in Las Palmas. Yes, this is the capital of Gran Canaria, and you might not associate it with a beach holiday destination, but I would advise you to give it a try. The beach is big but often more relaxed than the more touristy destinations. The hotel Bull Reina Isabel & Spa is right next to it and offers easy access and great views.

Another great option is the Hotel Puerto de Mogan The Sense collection in Puerto de Mogan with direct access to the sea.

Hiking in Gran Canaria

If you want to do just a few days of hiking during your entire holiday in Gran Canaria but also want to do other things, it is best to stay in Maspalomas as the road in the back of the resort, easily gets you up the mountain to the start of the hiking trails. This you can do by car or public transport.

If you want to go hiking every day, then it is best to stay near Cruz Grande, Cruz de Tejeda or Agaete. There are many rural hotels, hostel or holiday rentals in these areas.

All-inclusive holidays

For all-inclusive holidays the location does not matter so much for most people. But keeping in mind, you might want to explore a bit outside of the hotels a few days during your holiday; these are the best ones in Gran Canaria. The Riu ClubHotel Gran Canaria in Meloneras and the ClubHotel Riu Vistamar on top of the mountain in Puerto Rico are both options with everything in the hotel you might want but still some things nearby to see and do as well. But one of my favourites has to be the H10 Playa Meloneras Palace as it is also close to the beach.

Quiet “less touristy holidays in Gran Canaria

For a holiday that is not crowded, quieter and less touristy in Gran Canaria, the best places to go are Bahia Feliz, Arguineguin and Playa del Cura in the South of the island. However, if you want to be completely away from the tourism and crowds then Puerto de las Nieves in the North of the islands is ideal for you.

Nightlife & party holidays

If you are going to Gran Canaria to party, your best destinations are Playa del Ingles, Maspalomas and Puerto Rico. Just make sure you go at the right time of year. School and university holidays and July, August, December and January are the best months to find a younger party crowd on Gran Canaria. The rest of the year, there are primarily families with young children and retirees.

Budget holidays

Gran Canaria also has great holiday destinations on a budget, like Las Palmas and Puerto de las Nieves in the North of the island. However, if you want to have a budget holiday in the South, then the cheaper resorts are Arguineguin and Bahia Feliz in general.

All the resorts in Gran Canaria

Las Palmas

Las Palmas or Las Palmas de Gran Canaria as some people call it is the capital of Gran Canaria. The place where you will find most of the culture, museums but also a great beach… The Playa de las Canteras.  

When I first visited Gran Canaria, this was my first stop as I needed to buy some gear for filming in Gran Canaria. While I was looking for the shopping centre, getting a bit lost in the city, I suddenly stood face to face with the Playa de las Canteras. I could not believe that a busy capital could have such a unique, long and fantastic beach.  So if you are worried that since this is the capital, it is not a great place to have a beach holiday… think again. This beach is also very popular with surfers and surf schools. On top of this, there is also a great shopping centre, and prices here are often lower than in most European countries.

Be a little bit careful booking a hotel in this area tho as many hotels are not near the beach. Many are further away on the other side of the city. Where there is heavier traffic and less “holiday-ish vibe”.  I like, however, that Las Palmas is not known as a summer holiday destination. Because of this, you won’t find any PR staff trying to constantly sell you something or try to get you into bars or restaurants.

Best places to stay in Las Palmas
Beach holiday – Bull Reina Isabel
Boutique hotel – Bed&Chic Las Palmas

Las Palmas summary:

Bahia Feliz (Playa del Aguila)

Bahia Feliz beach with yellow sunbeds

The Bahia Feliz you will find as the first resort when you drive South from the airport towards where you will find most of the holiday resorts in Gran Canaria.  This area is a tiny little holiday destination with just a few hotels. There are some stone pebble beaches and a sandy one just a bit outside the resort.  In the small shopping centre, you will also find a selection of restaurants. This place is excellent for a relaxing holiday in Gran Canaria but has no busy nightlife if you are looking for that.

Bahia Feliz summary:

San Agustin

San Agustin coastline

San Agustin is similar to Bahia Feliz as it also has only less than ten hotels. However, San Agustin has some lovely sandy beaches and more choices of bars, restaurants and shops.  When visiting San Agustin and eating outside of your hotel, I would very much advise reading reviews before going into a place. This is because many of the places I drank and ate were not to my liking. For example, they served Pepsi when asking for coke, served drip coffee when asking for espresso and, some even served instant coffee for 3 euro price.  I am not saying other places in Gran Canaria, Spain or the world don’t have this, and maybe I was just unlucky, but I would like to give you a quick warning about this. Especially be aware of this for the places next to the beach. Otherwise, San Agustin is a great place for a holiday on the beach.

Best places to stay in San Agustin
Beach adults-only – Bull Costa Canaria & Spa
Family – Gloria Palace San Agustin
Budget – Sunsuites Carolina

San Agustin summary


Maspalomas dunes

Maspalomas is by far the best-known area in Gran Canaria and also the oldest and biggest. This resort has been around since tourism started on the island about 50 years ago. Some people will refer to Maspalomas as the whole area of Meloneras, Playa del Ingles and everything in between there. So this can be confusing as it is, in reality, only a small part of it. So if you are looking at a hotel in Maspalomas, make sure to check the exact location before booking.

Maspalomas summary:

Playa del Ingles

Beach of Playa del Ingles

Playa del Ingles is big, busy and PR-people everywhere trying to get you into bars and restaurants., This resort is popular and famous for its nightlife and 2-for-1-deals all day, every day.  You will find most restaurants and bars on the front line and in some of the big open-air shopping centres spread out over the area.

The beach is a lovely sandy beach and very long but depending on where you are staying, you might need to take a lot of stairs up or down to get to it.  In some places, they also have elevators going to the beach to make it easier. Playa del Ingles is great for people who want sun and beach but still all the comforts from home. Like international pubs showing your football games and to speak your language and be understood. In the resort, you will find a mix of 1-star hotels to 5-star hotels.  

Playa del Ingles is huge, so I advise you to quickly look at a map before booking any hotel. Especially if you are older or travelling with small children, many hotels are located far from the beach, restaurants, and bars.

Best places to stay in Playa del Ingles
Luxury – Bohemia Suites & Spa
Family – Sol Barbacan
Unique – Gold Playa del Ingles
Adults only – Labranda Marieta
Close to beach – Santa Monica Suites

Playa del Ingles summary:


Beach of Meloneras

Next to Playa del Ingles is the new Meloneras area.  Well, it is not new, but recently many new hotels have established themselves here.  These are massive hotels, and all of them have great reviews and are 4 or 5 stars. One even has 5-star GL… so basically 6 stars.  It is much quieter and relaxed there and a bit more upscale. There are 2 great beaches here… the Maspalomas and the Meloneras beach. Both are on the outside of the resort, just 2 or 5 minutes walking from the centre.  Meloneras is great for a relaxing holiday and if you stay within the hotel most of the time and don’t visit the beach often. This area also has excellent all-inclusive hotel options.

Best places to stay in Meloneras
Family – Riu Gran Canaria
Luxury – Seaside Gran Hotel Residencia
5 star family – Seaside Palm Beach
Luxury – Lopesan Villa del Conde

Meloneras summary:


Empty beach in Arguineguin

Arguineguin, this is just a typical small Gran Canarian village with just a few hotels.  Pretty much everything here is Spanish, but a large community of Norwegian people has found their way here, especially pensioners who like to come here in winter.  There is are both black sand and white sandy beach. A bit further down is Anfi, well known for the timeshare hotel there.  It has one of the nicest fluffy sandy beaches in this area and has a great relaxed vibe.  In the evening there are also live shows and a mini disco each night in the harbour area.  

Arguineguin summary:

Puerto Rico

Coastline of Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico in Gran Canaria is one of the biggest resorts in Gran Canaria.  There are many hotels here on the side of the mountains in all price categories and star ratings.  These surround a centrally located shopping centre where most of the bars, restaurants, and nightlife is in the evening.  The resort is also very popular with Scandinavian people. Especially in winter when the temperature is still mild here compared to most Scandinavian countries at that time.  

This resort has a well equipped sandy beach, and there is now also a walkway to the neighbouring beach of Playa de Amadores, so if you want a change, it’s just a short walk away.  This resort is excellent as it offers everything you could wish for on holiday however it is not so big you would get lost or need to do a lot of walking. Everything is easy to find because of the layout.

Keep in mind that you might have to walk a bit uphill or take a taxi each time, depending on your hotel.  Also, when I was last here, there were many people on the strip trying to convince tourists to go to a timeshare presentation. Don’t! In my opinion, nothing good can come of it, no matter the promises they make! This is a great way to waste an entire day of your holiday in a conference room.

Best places to stay in Puerto Rico
Close to beach – Marina Suites
All-Inclusive Family – Riu Vistamar All Inclusive
Amazing views – Marina Bayview Apartments

Puerto Rico summary:

Playa de Amadores

Playa de Amadores beach

Playa de Amadores is a little resort just outside of Puerto Rico.  If you want to be close to everything Puerto Rico offers but want it more quiet and relaxed, this is a great choice.  There aren’t many restaurants or nightlife here but a great beach just in front of the resort.  Puerto Rico is within walking distance from here. Most hotels are located high up the hill, but many offer a free shuttle bus down to the beach.

Playa de Amadores summary:

Playa del Cura

Playa del Cura in Gran Canaria is a small chill resort for an “escapist feel” holiday.  There are just a few hotels set up against the hill and a few in the front near the beach.  The new Tauro beach is just a short walk away, which has recently been constructed to have a sandy beach here.  There are not very many shops, bars or restaurants but enough. Since you can find hotels here at lower prices than the more popular and well-known resorts in Gran Canaria, it is also a great place to explore the island by car.  Also because of its central location between all resorts and a great connection to the highway.

Best places to stay in Playa del Cura
Adults only – Idyll Suites
Amazing views – Riviera Vista

Playa del Cura summary:


People sunbathing on Taurito beach

Taurito is best described as a mini Puerto Rico.  It has the same layout and a nice beach. All the hotels are set up against the mountainside with most restaurants and bars in the centre and the beach in front.  In the centre, you will also find the water park, mini-golf, nighttime entertainment, and mini disco for the public.

Taurito summary:

Puerto de Mogan

Puerto de Mogan empty beach

Next is Puerto de Mogan, well known for its postcard-worthy houses in the harbour area.  This used to be a quiet little fishing village but recently has seen expansion and construction of 2 huge hotels in this area.  Also, the construction of a large shopping centre is on the way. Puerto de Mogan is a great place. However, I hope it does not get over-commercialized in the coming years.  If you want to visit here, I would visit as soon as possible… now it still has that nice authentic feel.

Best places to stay in Puerto de Mogan
Boutique Hotel next to sea – Hotel Puerto de Mogan THe Senses Collection
Family – Cordial Mogan Playa
New and modern – Radisson Blu Resort & Spa Gran Canaria

Puerto de Mogan summary:

Puerto de las Nieves

Palmtree beach in Puerto de las Nieves

On the other side of the island, you will find Puerto de las Nieves, a typical Spanish fisherman village.  It is very cheap to stay here. There are only 3 hotels here, 1 with a pool and 2 city-style hotels. It’s a unique and surprising place.  If you want to visit Gran Canaria but don’t want mass tourism, this is one of your best choices. Also, it is easy to pop over to Tenerife with the ferry that arrives here.

Puerto de las Nieves summary:


Hi, I'm Ive. I lived, worked and travelled on the Spanish Islands for over 20 years. It is there that I started the YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/@checkedholidays) and website (www.checkedholidays.com) to help people have better holidays on the islands. This hobby turned into a fulltime job and mission overtime. While I do not live in the Spanish Islands fulltime anymore, I still go there many times a year to update and improve all my holiday guides.

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