Beaches were at the forefront of my mind when I was reading up on the Canary Islands. There are tons of them (Gran Canaria is basically the Florida of Europe), but they are all a little bit different. The top five, according to my research, were:
Mogan Beach is fondly referred to as “Little Venice” by the locals because it’s tied together by charming little bridges. It’s a little horseshoe of a beach, much smaller than the three above, and part of me wishes we’d gone a little bit earlier in the day to enjoy it rather than saving it for our last night in Gran Canaria. The hubs and I followed some signs that were sprinkled throughout the alleyways off the main drag, all the way to the top of a lookout, which offered spectacular views of the beach and marina as the sun set. Again, the restaurants along the beach mostly offered the same things and catered mostly to tourists, but we couldn’t complain too much (plus I was tipsy on mojitos). Sitting next to us was a Nordic fellow who is essentially a snowbird—he spends half of his time in Norway and the colder months in his condo in Mogan—and to him, that place is paradise. I was only slightly jealous of his condo up in the hills with the rooftop terrace overlooking the water. (Only slightly jealous.)
The defining feature of Agaete Beach is the natural tidal pools, about 1 km down from the main beach, that are filled with salt water (I don’t recall seeing the “main beach,” per se, as it was rather boulder-y along the water, but we did walk along a fairly lengthy boardwalk to get there).
It’s not marked very well, and it took us a minute to realize we had actually arrived. The pools are completely natural and are linked by volcanic tubes. We spread out on an even part of what I can only assume is fossilized volcanic ash and sat there for a few hours, just breathing in the fresh air, and, if you were my husband, braving the chilly water for a swim. The ferry to Tenerife is also located in Aegete, if you’d like to skip over to the next island. There’s also an assortment of fresh fish eateries a little further inland.
Umbrellas and lounge chairs dot the Caribbean-like white sand Amadores Beach. Along the boardwalk are tons of bars, shops, and restaurants, mostly catering to tourists, but the view is the perfect accompaniment to some Canarian potatoes or (even better, in my opinion) fried cheese with honey or jam. Amadores Beach is also one of the best places on the island to catch a beautiful sunset.
The beaches themselves are surrounded by miles and miles of sand dunes. When we went to Maspalomas, our intent was to check out the dunes rather than the beaches—while we attempted to trek the hot-as-coals dunes in midday, the beaches in the far distance felt like a mirage. If you intend to trek the dunes all the way to the beach, I’d advise going in the morning and bringing lots and lots and lots of water. Wear a hat, wear closed-toed shoes, and slather on that sunscreen! If you would like to skip the dunes and aim straight for Maspalomas beaches, there seems to be plenty of parking!
Playa de las Canteras
I think the biggest draw for Playa de las Canteras is that it’s great for swimming and snorkeling because it’s protected by a reef (I’ve heard rumors that certain areas aren’t so safe due to sharks—yikes!). There are also plentiful restaurants sprinkled along the boardwalk, so if you’ve got a hankering for a snack, there’s plenty there. It wasn’t my favorite beach in Gran Canaria, but it’s probably a good place to chill beachside with the family.
Have you been to Gran Canaria? If so, what was your favorite beach? Tell me in the comments!
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