Are you looking for tips on visiting Gran Canaria in winter? Read on for all the information you need!
If you’re looking to escape Northern Europe or North America for some winter sun, there’s nowhere better than the Canary Islands.
Gran Canaria is the second largest, most famous for its warm weather attractions like Aqualand Maspalomas water park and boat trips and water sports in the glorious Atlantic Ocean.
If you’re looking for a gorgeous island with plenty of beaches and authentic and colourful villages and towns.
The Canary Islands as a whole have warm weather in the winter, only 8-10 degrees cooler than the summer months, thanks to their southerly location.
This means that all of the attractions are open in the winter time; but winter is also a wonderful time to enjoy authentic Canarian culture too!
What’s the weather like in Gran Canaria in winter?
The Canary Islands have such distinctive weather patterns, they’re almost like a miniature continent. In the winter, they’re much warmer than anywhere else in Spain, even Mallorca and the Balearic Islands.
Even in the middle of winter, the temperature rarely dips below 15°C / 59°F, and you’ll often find temperatures exceeding 20°C/ 68°F in Gran Canaria in December, January and February!
The summer average temperature is only around 24°C/ 75°F, so there really isn’t much differentiation between the two.
Winter is the rainiest time in Gran Canaria, but it still remains very dry. The average rainfall in December, the wettest month, is around 31 mm. You might experience the odd afternoon downpour, but there are usually plenty of sunshine hours too!
Where to stay in Gran Canaria in winter
There are plenty of incredible places to stay in Gran Canaria; here’s our pick of the best that are buzzy throughout the winter months.
Playa del Ingles
A busy resort, Playa del Ingles is popular with families and groups alike.
There’s quite a lot of nightlife here, but also plenty of chilled-out bars, perfect for an afternoon of sangria drinking, and family-friendly restaurants here.
Accommodation prices can be higher in Playa del Ingles thanks to its popularity!
Hotels in Playa del Ingles
The four-star Abora Catarina by Lopesan Hotels has a gorgeous pool complex, surrounded by tropical trees. Rooms have comfy mattresses and crisp bed linen, and there’s also a fitness centre on-site. Click here to read more.
Hotel Ritual Maspalomas is an adults only resort in Playa del Ingles. Ideal for couples or groups of friends, enjoy beautiful pool facilities and incredible restaurants here! Click here for more information.
The capital of Gran Canaria, stay in Las Palmas for local culture. You’ll find plenty of traditional restaurants, gorgeous streets and places to practice Spanish!
Plus, hotels can be more affordable here and the transport connections are great.
Las Palmas Penthouse is an incredible place for a group or family to stay, with immense views over the city and a terrace with BBQ facilities. It can accommodate up to six people! Click here to read more about Las Palmas Penthouse.
AC Hotel Gran Canaria by Marriott is a luxury residence with comfortable beds, a fantastic breakfast buffet and a fantastic swimming pool. Click here to read more.
A popular tourist resort in the south west of the island, Puerto Rico is great for families. Think long beaches, plenty of hotels and fun holiday resorts!
Bahia Blanca is a three-star hotel with a swimming pool and free WiFi. Choose from a one or two-bedroom apartment, some with incredible ocean views. Click here to read more.
Sunshine Beach Villas are wonderful spots to stay in Puerto Rico, sleeping seven to eight people; some of them have a private pool, and they all have cooking facilities along with comfortable beds. Read more information by clicking here.
Things to do in Gran Canaria in winter
There are so many amazing things to do in Gran Canaria year-round; you can enjoy so many all-weather attractions even in the winter months!
Here are some of the best things to do and tours to arrange while you’re on the island.
Day tour around the island
If you want to make sure that you see as much of the island as possible, take a day tour to see some of the best towns of the island, like Arucas and Firgas.
You’ll also take in some of Gran Canaria’s best nature!
Some of these trips are private and some are group, and you can usually choose pick up from your selected hotel.
Click here to read more about a guided tour around the island.
You can also take a jeep tour around the island – click here to read more about it!
Did you know that the waters around Gran Canaria are full of fish and sea mammals?
There are so many options to see dolphins and whales, and you can do so year-round thanks to boat trips in Gran Canaria!
Typically, these last a few hours and some include lunch. Swim stops are always a possibility, although the sea can be a bit chilly, especially in January and February!
Click here to read more about dolphin-watching trips in Gran Canaria.
While the water around Gran Canaria can be a little chilly in the winter months, snorkelling is still a possibility, especially in the shoulder season.
With a three hour session, you’ll have a chance to see plenty of fish and other marine life!
Click here to read more about this dolphin-watching cruise.
If you don’t fancy snorkelling, you could just take a boat trip around the island!
For example, this luxury catamaran cruise (with food!) sails around hidden beaches and takes in gorgeous views from the seafront.
Take a look at this boat trip by clicking here.
Road trip around gorgeous towns
The weather in Gran Canaria in winter is ideal for road tripping!
As it’s not too hot, you won’t mind spending time in the car, but you’ll still enjoy the most gorgeous beach vistas and tranquil towns from the car window.
Bask on the best Canarian beaches
While you might not be spending all day sunbathing in Gran Canaria, there are still plenty of beaches to walk along, photograph and admire! Here are the some of the most popular:
- Maspalomas: This is a great beach with impressive sand dunes!
- Playa del Ingles: One of the most popular touristy beaches in the island, Playa del Ingles is incredible.
- Güigüi: This has one of the best vistas of the whole island!
Places to visit in Gran Canaria in winter
Gran Canaria is full of incredible places to visit, whether it is summer or winter, both near the sea and in the mountains.
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
The main city and the capital of the island, Las Palmas is full of shops, cinemas and places to have a drink or eat.
Las Palmas is bookended by two beaches, one to the east, which is close to a marina and another to the west. This is one of Spain’s best urban beaches; it’s just a few minutes walk to the city centre, and is loved for its mild weather even during the winter months.
It’s a popular place for snorkelling, although the water is quite cold during the winter months.
This is another of the main cities, located in the northern part of the island.
Gáldar originated from an Indigenous village.
La Cueva Pintada one of the most important Indigenous archaeological sites in the Canaries.
Walking through this living museum is like voyaging into the past, and it’s a really important spot to take in authentic Canarian culture and history.
Surrounded by banana plantations, you’ll love the drive into Gáldar, but the city centre is equally charming.
Also, enjoy also natural pools with crystal clear water that are located close by. They’re perfect for a swim; they’re colder in winter, but people dip in the pools year-round!
One of the most popular touristy parts of Gran Canaria, Maspalomas loved by locals and visitors alike.
Here, you’ll find amazing beaches, lots of choice of hotels and plenty of bars and restaurants.
It’s also a globally-recognised known LGBTQ+ destination. There are plenty of bars for the LGBTQ+ community that are open the whole year.
If you’re into natural attractions, you’ll love Maspalomas Dunes.
They’re like a bit of desert between the city and the beach and they’re actually better to visit in winter because they’re too hot in the summer months!
Also in the south of the island, Amadores is a touristy village, full of hotels, apartments, and hostels.
One of the most famous accommodations is the Hotel Riu Vistamar, located at the top of a cliff this hotel has breathtaking views as it’s just above the beach.
Another reason to visit Amadores is its beach.
Enjoy the powdery white sand, stunning vistas between two cliffs and the chilled out club next to it.
Here, you can swim, relax, sunbathe and forget all your worries just before Christmas!
A municipality and a small village in the south of the island, Mogán is famous for having some of the best weather in Europe year-round!
It’s also known as the Small Venice of the island, because of its canals in the marina area.
Another very exciting thing to do here is to look out for dolphins from rented boats and discover the caves along the coast.
There are winter excursions where you can go snorkelling and diving, discovering species and underwater caves as you go!
From Mogán, go straight to the island’s centre to visit the Roque Nublo.
This is a giant monolith, 80 metres high, that has been declared a natural monument.
Located 1813 meters above sea level, it stands proudly with an incredible vista over the island.
It’s only a 30-minute hike from the car park to the top of the mountain, and once you get to the top the landscape is eerie and almost moon-like!
Next to the Roque Nublo there’s another monolith that looks like a frog. You can even climb through a small hole in it, which is called the frog’s eye!
Pico de las Nieves
Close to the Roque Nublo, you’ll find el Pico de las Nieves.
This is the second-highest spot on the whole island.
You can drive all the way to the top, which makes it perfect if you’re not into hiking but still want to enjoy the views.
Getting to the top of Pico de las Nieves is possible also by bike, a really impressive route because of the breath taking landscapes and vegetation, even during the winter.
Sunsets from the viewpoint are glorious; you’ll see Roque Nublo and all of the best features of this gorgeous Canary Island.
Tejeda is a very little village and municipality next to the Roque Nublo.
It’s close to another monolith called Bentayga, situated in the middle of the mountains in the heart of the island.
The area is surrounded by natural protected areas, it’s part of the Most Beautiful Villages in Spain Association.
This is the village where people collect almonds to make bienmesabe. There are also plenty of cafes and restaurants to enjoy other local desserts.
However, because of Tejeda’s altitude, you’ll need some warm clothes in winter – temperatures may drop to five degrees!
Arucas is located close to the capital of the island.
It’s a historic place, with charming, coloured houses in the old town and with an incredible gothic church made of local stones.
It’s a glorious place for a stroll, and the weather is incredible all year round.
There’s also an incredible rum factory here, which was established even before the ones in Cuba – so it makes exceptional rum! Factory tours are available all year round.
Firgas is a village in the centre of the island; although you might recognise the name from a Canarian brand of water!
The weather is in Firgas mild the whole year round. In the winter, enjoy picturesque beauty, fountains and a beautiful sculpture of all of the Canary Islands.
Also, take in views over the north of the island and the Atlantic ocean while you’re here!
Also located in the middle of the island, Teror is a very picturesque village. It’s famous for its cute little coloured houses in the downtown area, all of which have wooden balconies bedecked in flowers.
Teror also features a big church in the main plaza, which is stunning fro. inside and out.
Like most of the island Teror’s temperatures are perfect for walking, and there is also a street market full of typical handmade goods and food every Sunday morning.
This transforms the village into a very lively area with locals and tourists!
Head to the coast and find Tufia, which is one of the most beautiful beaches of the island.
In fact, it’s often thought to be a “secret beach”, with black volcanic sand and small white houses of fisher people and crystal clear water – it’s perfect for a sun soaked winter holiday.
This village is close to the airport, which makes it great if you’re flying into Gran Canaria, but it’s also perfect for those who like plane spotting – you can see the vehicles take off from here!
Agaete is one of the most stunning stretches of sand on the north coast.
It’s the perfect place to go and have lunch, walk around or spend a whole day at the beach.
Agaete has a rocky beach and a small dock.
However, there are also natural pools in the other part of the village.
These are perfect for sunbathing if you’re looking for a little bit of peace and quiet. If you fancy a dip, they’re open year-round too!
Back to the south of the island and very close to Maspalomas, Meloneras is a tourist-focused village with plenty of hotels to relax and sunbathe with all-inclusive options.
It’s next to the Dunes of Maspalomas, and has a huge coastline which is perfect for swimming and strolling or enjoying the sunset in winter.
Sunsets here are particularly magical – it drops down below to sea and turns the water all shades of yellow, red and orange.
How to get to Gran Canaria
Being an island, the most popular way into Gran Canaria is flying.
Gran Canaria Airport is fairly large and has flights to many European cities, particularly in the UK and Germany.
There are ferries from the Spanish mainland, but be aware that it’s quite a distance and takes 24 hours! You can also fly to Gran Canaria from most Spanish cities.
If you’re travelling around the Canary Islands, perhaps visiting Lanzarote or Tenerife, ferries ply the route.
How to get around Gran Canaria in winter
Public transport in Gran Canaria is probably the best in the Canary Islands, so it’s easy to get around by bus.
There are also lots of different payment methods; pay with cash or card on the bus or at the station!
However, the buses don’t go everywhere, as decent as it is in Gran Canaria! If you want to visit some more off-the-beaten-track places, go for a car rental.
Driving in Gran Canaria is a beautiful experience, as most of the highways are just next to the sea, boasting incredible views over the Atlantic Ocean.
The island’s beautiful winter weather makes driving around Gran Canaria even better – but pay attention if you’re driving inland.
Although it’s usually sunny, in winter you might find clouds because of the altitude, but it’s worth it because once you get to the top the view with the clouds below is amazing!
What to pack for Gran Canaria in Winter
When you’re heading to Gran Canaria in winter, forget about bad weather, chilly climates and rain; the weather is very summery!
Don’t forget summer and spring clothes – t-shirts and shorts – and flip flops or sandals are generally best for footwear. Of course, if you’re hiking, you might want some trainers!
Of course, don’t forget a cap, sunscreen, and at least one swimsuit.
Unfortunately, there can be also cloudy or rainy days and it gets cool at night, so bring a light jacket or sweatshirt.
Like the rest of the Canaries, Gran Canaria is a volcanic island, so you might need even warmer clothes if you’re venturing to higher altitudes!
What to eat and drink in Gran Canaria in winter
When you’re in Spain, you’ve got to grab a cerveza!
Spanish beer is a must-try, and in Gran Canaria people usually drink it almost frozen!
Gran Canaria’s cuisine is varied, but they have lots of tapas if you like trying different dishes.
Sample grilled limpets with mojo verde, squid rings or the well-known papas con mojo.
If you’re a meat fan, Gran Canarian meat dishes includ baked goat or ropa vieja.
This literally translates to old clothes which doesn’t seem delicious, but the combination of meat with chickpeas, onion, pepper, and species, is really quite exquisite!
There are also plenty of vegetarian and vegan options.
There’s also a superb variety of desserts!
Don’t miss bienmesabe, which hails from the village of Tejeda. Bienmesabe literally means good taste; it’s sumptuously sweet, made from almonds, eggs, and cinnamon, and is commonly served with ice cream.
Are you ready to see Gran Canaria in winter?
If you’re looking for a fabulous European winter sun destination, there’s nowhere better than Gran Canaria!
With warm and sunny weather, gorgeous villages and plenty of incredible nature, you’ll love exploring this stunning Spanish island.