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Gran Canaria is one of the largest of the Canary Islands, a paradise for beach-lovers of course, but with a wide choice of cultural, health and foodie excursions too. It makes sense to use the Expedia car hire tool for your stay because even if you plan to spend most of your time soaking up sun, there are so many different beaches on the island that you’ll want to try somewhere new every day.
Gran Canaria Airport is served by dozens of international carriers. Situated on the east of the island, it is well connected by road, allowing you to reach the capital city, Las Palmas, in under an hour, and other popular destinations such as Teror and Telde very quickly too. Gran Canaria has a public transport network but given the heat and the fact that this is an island just made for exploring, it makes more sense to rent a car.
There are a number of Gran Canaria car rental companies operating in the arrivals terminal at the airport. The area is well signposted, and desks are usually open until late in the evening. Making a reservation online before you travel is highly recommended to get the best choice of vehicles, especially during peak season.
You have a wide choice of car rental companies at Gran Canaria Airport, including Hertz, Avis and Budget, so whatever type or size of car you need, you should be able to find one that matches your requirements.
Maspalomas, around a 20-minute drive from Gran Canaria Airport, is one of the island’s most desirable coastal resorts - and that’s saying something! Here you’ll find beautiful strips of sandy beach, dunes that can be explored either on foot or by camel, buzzing nightlife and a wide selection of family-friendly entertainment. Ride the slides at a huge water park, dine on fresh seafood in the bustling restaurants, or pay a visit to the iconic 19th century lighthouse, Faro de Maspalomas.
The historic town of Telde, 15 minutes from Gran Canaria Airport by car, has a more laidback feel to it. Notable for its many archaeological sites - you can walk through caves dug into volcanic rock, it also has plenty of attractive beaches, craft workshops and a delicious cuisine all its own. Galdar, in the north of Gran Canaria, also has a peaceful vibe, with picturesque streets to wander, many local shops and historic landmarks. The drago tree which is common in this area produces sap which for generations has been used for medicinal purposes.
La Isleta, situated on a peninsula overlooking the busy harbour, is one of the most charming areas of the capital, Las Palmas. The old fishermen’s quarter, La Isleta has narrow streets that are full of character, lined with bars, shops and traditional eateries.
Driving in Gran Canaria is broadly very similar to driving in other parts of Spanish territory. It’s a good idea to carry your documents with you at all times, along with bottled water if you plan to be in the car for some time. When driving through mountainous territory, it’s vital to watch your speed, as the drops by the side of the road can be very steep.
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The easiest way to reach the island is to fly into Gran Canaria Airport (LPA), located 15 miles south of the capital, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Once at the airport, you’ll find several car rental agencies to choose from, including ACE and Hertz. From here you can follow the coastal GC-1 road north to Las Palmas. The town of Telde is even closer, only six miles north, while the popular beach resort of Maspalomas can be reached in just 20 minutes. Many airlines operate out of Gran Canaria Airport, offering year-round scheduled flights to a number of destinations in Europe and Africa.
If you are arriving on Gran Canaria by ferry into Las Palmas, you will find it easiest to hire a care in the city. There are plenty of car hire agencies in Las Palmas, with the majority located close to the harbour. You will also be able to hire a rental vehicle in Maspalomas, which is located on the island’s southern coast and can be reached from the airport or Las Palmas by public bus. You’ll find several car hire offices in the centre of Maspalomas, making it another excellent place to start a driving tour of the island.
You can drive the circumference of Gran Canaria in less than four hours. However, for travel into the centre of the island, you’ll want to use the arterial roads stemming from the major cities – the GC-60 offers a particularly scenic route from Maspalomas north to the hilltop village of Tejeda. Gran Canaria’s most dramatic driving route follows the GC-200 from Puerto Mogan up through the western parts of the island to Agaete on the northwestern coast. Be warned, this spectacular cliff-top route is full of hairpin turns and vertigo-inducing drops, so it’s not for the faint-hearted!
One of the best things about Gran Canaria is that it is home to large areas of wilderness. In the south of the island, you’ll find Pilancones Natural Park, and to the west large swathes of hilly woodland. Popular natural attractions include the volcanic Roque Nublo, the Guayadeque ravine, and Pico de Las Nieves, the island’s highest peak. All of these stunning natural attractions can be accessed by a combination of car and hiking trails. Driving also makes beach days incredibly easy – for the best sunbathing, head to Melenara, El Confital, and Guayedra.