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Gran Canaria, beach holiday destination in the Canary Islands – advice on Gran Canaria car hire

With water temperature rarely dropping below 19 degrees Celsius even in the coldest months, Gran Canaria, the third largest of the Canary Islands, is a perfect destination for a winter beach break. The island offers a wide variety of beach locations to suit every taste.

The most popular beaches of Cana Canaria are located on the southern coast of the island, but many beautiful (and less developed) spots can be found also along the eastern and northern coast of the island.

See map of Gran Canaria beaches.

Many tourists in Gran Canaria who would like to explore the island beyond their holiday resort, opt for car hire as the most convenient, and when booked in advance, also inexpensive way of moving around during their stay.

VW Polo cheap car rental Canary Islands
VW Polo cheap car rental on Canary Islands

Gran Canaria weather – year round beach destination
Often referred to as the island of “Eternal Spring”, Gran Canaria enjoys a mild sub/tropical climate which guarantees sunshine and pleasant temperatures throughout the year. Gran Canaria summers are dry and warm, with temperatures reaching comfortable 26 degrees. The “summer weather” in Gran Canaria lasts from late March to November.

Winters are slightly cooler, especially during the night, with daytime temperatures between 18-22 degrees Celsius and occasional showers, weather conditions still very appealing to holidaymakers from northern Europe seeking refuge from the harsh winter climate in their home countries. Gran Canaria is a winter holiday destination particularly popular amongst Scandinavians and UK tourists. Find more detailed information about Gran Canaria climate (temperatures, rainfall and sunshine hour). 

Please note that Gran Canaria is a volcanic island with a considerable difference in elevation between its mountainous centre and the coast. Even during the warmest months of August and September, warm clothes will be required when venturing to Gran Canaria’s interior. The island’s highest peak, Pico de Las Nieves at 1949 meters, is covered in snow through a large art of the year, the phenomenon which is unseen on the coast.

Playa del Ingles – most visited beach of Gran Canaria
The Englishman’s beach (translation of the Spanish Playa del Inglés) is the busiest and liveliest beach of Gran Canaria, although hardly the most spectacular one. A well-developed tourist infrastructure (plenty of restaurants, bars, showers and restrooms, shops, on-beach entertainment and leisure activities) as well as the proximity to some of the biggest hotels of Gran Canaria, do not fail to attract tourist to Playa del Ingles, a great majority of them British, during the summer and in the winter. This Gran Canaria beach is especially known for its vibrant night life. Playa del Ingles is located on the southern coast of the island.

Unspoilt nature of Gran Canaria – Maspalomas beach
Right next to Playa del Ingles, at the southernmost tip of the island, visitors to Gan Canaria will be stunned by completely different natural settings: Maspalomas Beach, located in a walking distance from the bustle of Playa del Inglés is considered to be Gran Canaria’s most beautiful beach. The 7-miles long strip of sand of Maspalomas beach extends inland as a sand dunes area offering a desert-like landscape, dramatically different from the bustling with life Playa del Ingles.

See the landscapes of Maspalomas and the sand dunes:

Maspalomas sand dunes are a nature reserve. In order to protect the fragile ecosystem, hiking in the dunes is allowed only along the designated paths. It is not possible to make bonfires o pitch tents in the area.

Maspalomas beach is also a popular location for nudists and gay community in Gran Canaria.

Maspalomas car hire - get quotes online with Cartrawler Canary Islands

Mogan Beach in western Gran Canaria
Puerto de Mogán, once a small fishing village on the western coast of Gran Canaria has developed into an interesting and versatile tourist destination, much quieter than the resorts of the south coast and also more upmarket. Amongst Mogan’s attractions are a golf course and a yacht marina. Tthe town’s waterfront is lined with chic stores and restaurants.

The man-made Mogan beach is a quiet, sheltered paradise of white sand, turquoise waters and palm trees, perfect for families and holidaymakers seeking peaceful relaxation in the sun.

Black sand beaches Gran Canaria
Although Gran Canaria is of a volcanic origin, much like the other of the Canary Islands, it does not have as many black-sand beaches as for instance, Tenerife or Lanzarote. For a different beach experience try Playa de Taurito, also in Puerto de Mogan:

More black sand beaches are found on the opposite coast of Gran Canaria and especially in the municipality of Telde.  The beaches of Telde, on Gran Canaria east coast are smaller and more peaceful than in the south. La Garita, Melenera, Playa de Salineras and Ojos de Garza are the most popular ones. Please, be aware that the black sand beaches often pebbly (if not rocky) and may be of a difficult access to, for example, strollers.

Playa de Amadores – a blue flag beach of Gran Canaria
Not far from Mogan, on soutwestern coast of Gran Canaria, the Puerto Rico resort attracts holidaymakers with two, quite distinct beaches: the busy main beach of Puerto Rico de Gran Canaria and more peaceful Playa de Amadores. What both beaches have in common are the protective jetties which shelter their waters from the open ocean, making it safe for swimming. Playa de Amadores is a regular winner of a blue flag distinction for safety and cleanliness. Amongst other blue flagged beaches of Gran Canaria are: Mogan, Las Canteras, Melenera, San Agustín, Maspalomas and Playa de Inglés.

Las Canteras – the city beach of Las Palmas
On the northern coast, in the area of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Las Canteras beach is by far the most popular. The proximity to the city (Las Canteras is sometimes referred to as Las Palmas’ playground) makes it easy to reach and the sheltered location, protected by a natural reef guarantees ideal conditions for bathing. The seaside promenade connects the urban beach of Las Canteras to the capital of Gran Canaria.

Surf in Gran Canaria
Surf spots in Gran Canaria are found almost all along the shore, with the exception of the western cliff coast. For professional and/or experience surfers northern Gran Canaria and especially the beaches of Las Palmas, are an ideal location. Las Canteras beach and its natural extension, El Confital on the west coast of La Isleta peninsula offer the best wind conditions for surf, attracting surfers from all around the world. Since 2009, El Confital beach hosts a Movistar Ocean & Earth surf championship.

Amongst other popular surf locations in Gran Canaria (and probably not so demanding in terms of surfing skills) are: Maspalomas, Tauro and Arguineguin in the south and Pozo Izqueirdo, Playa del Hombre and La Laja in the east.  In the north, apart from Las Canteras , El Confital and El Lloret in Las Palmas area, some of the popular surf spots are: El Paso, El Circo, La Guancha and Galdar. Many of these surf location, however, have difficult access and are suitable only for advanced surfers.

Cars for rent in Gran Canaria - advice on which car to hire
The size of Gran Canaria makes car rental a popular option for holidaymakers. The miniature continent which is the Gran Canaria island, stretches out virtually in the form of a circle with a measure from east to west of about 45 km/18 miles.

From Bañaceros in the north to the beaches of Maspalomas in the south, the Canary Island equally measures some 45 km/18 miles although distances on Gran Canaria by car are much longer due to the extremely varied types of landscapes and mountainous interior of this holiday hotspot.

Advice on which car to rent on Canary Island
In terms of accessability, any normal passenger car will do fine. The Gran Canaria roads are well-appointed for standard vehicles. Only if you fancy venturing off-road out in the few places where it is possible, will you need more than just a regular 2WD vehicle.

You can find the odd 4WD car for rent at The Canary Islands and also on the island of Gran Canaria, but there is really no need to bother as the road network around the island is very well developed and perfectly suitable for regular passenger cars. A lot of tourists chose to splash out on renting a convertible of which there are plenty to have on Gran Canaria. If you are a group of more than 3, the convertible option will, however, turn out to be cramped on longer trips. Also bear in mind that luggage space if renting from the Las Palmas airport, is very limited in cabriolet rental cars.

For a twosome holiday, the cabriolet car rental on Gran Canaria is perfect. Especially in the winter time when the Canary Islands sun is less strong, the open roof option really makes for a pleasurable drive. Most holiday makers prefer the economy or compact class rental car when booking Gran Canaria car hire.

Convertible car hire Gran Canaria - VW Beetle
Open top cheap car for hire at Las Palmas Airport, Gran Canaria - the improved VW Beetle

Advice for easy booking and comparing Gran Canaria cheap rates for car hire
The best Gran Canaria car hire rates are available in Las Palmas Airport.

You will be spoilt for choice and since the competition is strong, cheap Gran Canaria rental cars are plenty and the pitfalls are few.

If you can, try to book your vehicle well in time for the holiday. Walk-in customers, inevitably, will be charged higher rates - plus risk no rental cars to be available.

Booking your Gran Canaria hire car in advance can give you very advantageous rates. A few price-examples for one week rentals in august 2015 (prices seen in January 2015):

Economy class rental cars Gran Canaria

  • VW Polo 5-door from Budget Car Rental, Las Palmas Airport: £77 / €99 per week
  • Ford Fiesta 5-door from Goldcar, Las Palmas Airport: £74 / €95 per week

Compact class rental cars Gran Canaria

  • Citroen C4 5-door from Budget Car Rental, Las Palmas Airport: £88 / €113 per week
  • VW Golf 5-door from Budget Car Rental, Las Palmas Airport: £95 / €122 per week.

It is purely coincidence that Budget car rental Gran Canaria, when the above sampled prices were collected, turned out to be amongst the cheapest car hire options.

There were even cheaper cars available (a Fiat 500 from £67 / €87 per week).

Compact car hire Gran Canaria
Citroen C4 - cheap hire car in the compact class, Gran Canaria Airport

Price adjustments are common and companies Interrent, Goldcar, Avis, Europcar, Cicar, Orlando Rent A Car and Hertz all, frequently, will pop up with the cheapest cars available in Las Palmas Airport, Gran Canaria.

Book car hire in Gran Canaria Airport online

Best to book your car in advance
The only way to keep track on the price fluctuations is to compare prices before booking - and, if possible, to try to book well in advance for the Gran Canaria holiday.

Especially if booking larger MPV or minibus car hire on Gran Canaria, it is essential to compare prices and make a booking before high season arrives.

Renault Espace 7-seater to rent in Gran Canaria
MPV rental with 7 seats - here the new 2015 Renault Espace

Car hire in Las Palmas (city centre) - get rates and book online with Cartrawler Canary Islands


Gran Canaria, beach holiday destination in the Canary Islands – advice on Gran Canaria car hire
Article: Gran Canaria, beach holiday destination in the Canary Islands – advice on Gran Canaria car hire
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Published: Monday, January 12 2015
Latest revision: Thursday, January 15 2015

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