10 top things to do on a family holiday in Gran Canaria
Gran Canaria is a popular choice for many looking for some fun in the Spanish sun, especially for those with little ones in tow.
The third largest of the Canary Islands, coming in behind Tenerife and Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria is a holiday destination particularly suitable for families with children, thanks to its many kid-friendly hotels and attractions aimed at delighting the youngsters.
Most families with children stay on the south side of the island, where there are plenty of child-friendly beaches and comfortable temperatures all year round.
Here we give you some tips on what to see and do on a family trip to Gran Canaria.
Tip: If you’re looking forward to a holiday but thinking about the challenges of a plane ride with tots, then check out our tips on how to do air travel with kids (and no stress).
Note: Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, the availability of the activities could be affected. Remember to check current travel restrictions before booking travel.
1. Water parks
This one could almost be said to be mandatory. Gran Canaria, children and holidays mean playtime and fun in the water, and where better to do all that than a water park?
In Gran Canaria, the two best water parks are Aqualand Maspalomas and Lago Taurito Water Park. The latter is located in a larger complex with a hotel, mini golf, and a spa centre. Perhaps dad or the grandparents would volunteer to look after the kids for an hour or two?
Both Aqualand Maspalomas and Lago Taurito have everything you could want from a water park, including fast rides, plenty of excitement and pools for the little ones. Remember to pack sunscreen and face masks!
Reward tip: Book your tickets to Aqualand Maspalomas via GetYourGuide and earn CashPoints towards your future flights with Norwegian!
2. Holiday World Maspalomas
Holiday World Maspalomas is a relatively small and compact amusement park that has everything you’d expect: Ferris wheels, multiple roller coasters, dodgems, a rocking boat, a children’s carousel, and more.
Adjacent to the amusement park you’ll also find a bowling alley.
Other attractions here are four different escape rooms, where you have to solve different tasks to get out. This is a popular activity among the older children and is also well suited for adults. If you’ve not done this before, you may want to start with the room for beginners, “Around the World in 80 Days”.
3. Hangar 37
This Gran Canaria activity is great for adults and kids. At Hangar 37 you’re essentially immersed in a videogame, and will get a fully body workout and some intense excitement as teams battle it out with airsoft balls (a kinder variant of paintball).
There’s no age limit to enter Hangar 37, but this is probably not something for the very young. The smaller children can try their hand at target practice in the shooting gallery.
4. Sioux City Park
Take a trip back to the Wild West in the desert of Gran Canaria!
At the Sioux City theme park, you can catch various shows including bank robberies and duels, as well as witness a real-life horse stampede and enjoy the atmosphere at a Wild West saloon.
This is a great place for families visiting Gran Canaria and kids even have the opportunity to become a cowboy for a day and try their hand at horse riding.
5. Angry Birds Activity Park
Download the Angry Birds app so the kids can practice on the plane journey to Gran Canaria. And when the time comes, take a trip to this theme park!
Here there’s no time to sit and play on a device, as the little ones can immerse themselves in a variety of Angry Birds-themed attractions from slides and trampolines to laser mazes and a 10D cinema. Zip lines, Parkour tracks and climbing walls keep them active while the splash zone and foam parties make use of that pre-packed swimwear!
6. Camel rides
How about taking the family on an exciting camel ride across the Gran Canaria desert?
This is a wonderful experience for the kids, and something they’re likely to remember for the rest of their lives. With GetYourGuide, you can book a camel ride among the dunes of Maspalomas, and earn CashPoints on your trip!
7. Take a trip in a submarine
Just like in the song by The Beatles, you can see what it’s like to dive under the sea in a yellow submarine.
Head to Submarine Adventure at Puerto de Mogán and experience the incredible underwater life at a depth of 25 metres. Here you’ll see all different kinds of colourful fish such as parrotfish, damselfish and wrasse, as well as two shipwrecks.
8. Shopping at Mogan Mall
Travelling with teenagers or want to treat yourself to something nice? Mogan Mall is a large shopping centre on the south side of the island with over 40 shops. Remember that the Canary Islands have their own sales tax rules equivalent to around 7% VAT, which means you could potentially save quite a few pennies.
Puerto de Mógan is known for being the most idyllic place in all of Gran Canaria, so if some of the family isn’t in the mood for shopping, then a pleasant stroll along the promenade or a quiet drink by the marina makes for an ideal alternative.
9. City sightseeing in Las Palmas
Las Palmas is the capital of Gran Canaria. Here you can take a walk, shop, eat, go to a museum, explore the sights, and enjoy everything else you can do in a big city.
We highly recommend a stroll around the beautiful Vegueta area. This is the oldest part of the city where you have plenty to see, including the Canary Islands Cathedral, which dates back to 1497, the Vegueta market, and some picturesque squares to stop and have an ice cream.
In the centre of Las Palmas. you’ll find shopping streets and restaurants, as well as the Poema del Mar Aquarium, which is located by the harbor, not far from the shopping centre, El Muelle.
A car ride to Las Palmas from the south side of the island takes 30-45 minutes, while a bus takes about twice that time.
10. Try some Canary Islands bananas
Taking a bite of a Canary Islands banana, or ‘plátano canario’ is an absolute must. These bananas are a different species than the ones we’re used to at home, with a sweeter flavour and a different texture. They’re also a bit smaller, making them perfect for a kid-friendly snack.
Unlike the typical bananas we usually buy at the supermarket, the production of these Canary Islands bananas isn’t controlled by large multinational corporations, but instead by over 8,000 independent farmers.
Another Canary Islands delicacy to try is ‘mojo picón’: a sauce made from garlic, olive oil, peppers, cumin, salt and vinegar that is usually served at local restaurants. If you like it, you can buy a jar to take home with you.
Book your family holiday in Gran Canaria
Gran Canaria is not that big, and you can get almost anywhere in an hour by car. All attractions except Las Palmas are located on the south side of the island and are only a short drive away. You can hire a car through Avis, and earn CashPoints with Norwegian Reward.