Destination guides, Europe

MummyTravels’ guide to Gran Canaria with kids

Everyone knows the Canary Islands as great winter (and summer) sun destinations, perfect for a beach break and often good on a budget. And as they’re part of Spain, they’re as child-friendly as the rest of the country.

Two girls sitting on the beach at Maspalomas, Gran Canaria. Visit Gran Canaria with kids - my guide to exploring Gran Canaria with children

But what most people don’t know is how much there is to discover beyond the beach – and Gran Canaria is no exception to that rule. The photos from my trip give you an idea or check out the video blow.

So here are my top tips for travelling to Gran Canaria with children – as ever, do add your own tips and suggestions in the comments.

Gran Canaria with children: Getting there/around

A string of airlines fly from the UK to Gran Canaria including British Airways/Iberia, as well as low-cost airlines such as Norwegian, EasyJet and Ryanair, not to mention Thomson, Monarch et al. Basically wherever you are in the country, you’ll probably have a flight heading out to Las Palmas.

View from the plane to Gran Canaria at sunset - my guide to exploring Gran Canaria with children

Touchdown

Once you arrive, there are plenty of transfer and taxi services which can whisk you from Las Palmas airport to your accommodation. The majority of visitors stay on the south coast, but as the airport is on the GC-1 motorway in the middle of the east coast, it doesn’t take too long to get anywhere.

If you want to explore the island, you’ll need your own car or sign up to tours with around half a dozen rental companies in the terminal and others dotted around the island. Sites like Holiday Extras can compare prices.

Gran Canaria with children: Where to stay

With small children, I love the flexibility of having our own villa – and I also love the incredible baby-friendliness and pool safety of Tots To Travel, whose Villa Amaranthus was our home on the island.

Secure pool at Villa Amaranthus in Gran Canaria - my guide to exploring Gran Canaria with children

Or check out the hotels in the i-escape Kids collection, which are among my favourite child-friendly places to stay.

Gran Canaria with children: What to see

Kids will love the endless beaches of the south and the clear water, as well as the pool at your villa or hotel. But there’s plenty of other things to entertain – here are my top 16 things to do in Gran Canaria with kids.

Don’t miss the huge dunes at Maspalomas where you can take a camel ride as well as roaming over them on foot.

Riding a camel near the dunes of Maspalomas - my guide to exploring Gran Canaria with children

Or take a boat ride along the coast, with little ferry/water taxis stopping at various points including the gorgeous Puerto de Mogan. A perfect mini boat trip for smaller kids too.

There are several water parks on the island but Aqualand is easily one of the biggest and best with gentle baby-friendly areas as well as more thrills for teens and adults. Keep an eye out for the new Siam Park opening on the island – work started in 2015 and there’s no opening date yet but the sister site in Tenerife has been voted the world’s best.

One of the kids' pools at Aqualand water park in Gran Canaria - my guide to exploring Gran Canaria with children

Or spot dolphins and head to the zoo at Palmitos Park.

It’s definitely worth venturing beyond from the resorts in the south as well. The astonishing twisting mountain roads are stunning, and you can stop at the unusual cave restaurants and homes along the way.

Keep going all the way to the north and the picturesque town of Arucas, with the Arehucas rum distillery on the outskirts – the tours should fascinate older kids too, the free tasting is definitely just for grown-ups…

The Arehucas rum distillery in Arucas, Gran Canaria - my guide to exploring Gran Canaria with children

And there’s a new aquarium called Poema del Mar, expected to open on the waterfront in the capital Las Palmas in 2017.

Gran Canaria with children: What to eat

You’ll find an international mix including Asian and Italian but also German restaurants, for example, so plenty to choose from.

Seafood in the Canary islands - my guide to exploring Gran Canaria with children

In between there’s plenty of fresh fish and seafood at little restaurants by the sea, plus the typical Canarian potatoes, tiny and salty and accompanied by mojo sauce.

Gran Canaria with children: Plan your visit

Check out the Gran Canaria Tourist board’s website as well as more information about all the islands on hellocanaryislands.com

Lonely Planet also has a guide to the Canary Islands.

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MummyTravels' guide to Gran Canaria with kids - things to do and places to stay if you're visiting the Canary Island with children

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