Last updated on December 20th, 2023
Among all Gran Canaria road trips, Guia to Las Palmas drive was my favorite for two reasons.
The first one – it showed us an authentic side of the island with cultural and historical attractions. And second – the route took us through diverse landscapes in the heart of the Gran Canaria mountains and along the coast, providing a varied journey. So just in one long day, we were able to see a bit of everything and visit some of the most beautiful small towns on the isle.
If you look at the map, the distance between Las Palmas and Guia is very short (only 25 km). But with all the detours and scenic spots hidden in between, there are plenty of activities for the whole day and even longer.
If you have enough time in Gran Canaria, I recommend you devote 2 full days to this drive if you want to see and do everything from the list below. Otherwise, by skipping places and activities you don’t like, you can fit everything in one long day.
Guia to Las Palmas Road Trip – Tips to Consider
1). Car Hire
To be able to save on car hire in Gran Canaria, rent a car from EconomyBooking or OkayMobility. They always have lowest prices and are honest companies, unlike some others like for example GoldCar or Thrifty that rip off customers.
2). Place for the Night
If you stay in the north of the island, then returning to some places on this road trip is easy on the following day. But if you don’t have accommodation yet and want something special for the night, consider the Parador Hotel. It is a beautiful 4-star property in the heart of the Gran Canaria mountains (see my photos below) with gorgeous views, a panoramic pool, and sunsets to remember in a serene location.
3). Other beautiful and budget-friendly accommodations for the night
Other places where we stayed (and considered staying) were Hotel Veintiuno in Las Palmas (great quality on a low budget in the very center with views), Santa Catalina a Royal Hideaway (upscale heritage hotel in Las Palmas), Hotel Rural Villa del Monte near Gran Canaria’s most famous volcano (great for hiking and mountain retreat on a budget).
Stops to Make on Guía to Las Palmas Drive
Guía is a town and province at the same time which holds a lot of natural beauty and ancient buildings. I’d recommend you visit both but if short on time then at least spend time in the town.
Guia town is one of the first old towns in Gran Canaria that dates back to the pre-Hispanic era. It played a significant role during the pre-Hispanic period as part of the aboriginal kingdom of Gáldar, which was one of the native kingdoms on the island. After the conquest of Gran Canaria by the Castilians, Guía continued to be an important center during the colonial era.
Today, this town retains elements of its historical past, including architectural remnants and cultural influences that reflect its long-standing heritage. Exploring the streets can offer glimpses into Gran Canaria’s pre-Hispanic and colonial history, making it a fascinating destination for those interested in the island’s old past.
So there, you will find a charming small old town center with the Church of Santa Maria de Guía, a beautiful example of Canarian architecture along with traditional houses with wooden balconies.
But Guia is mainly famous for its cheese production, particularly Queso de Flor, a unique cheese made with flower petals. You can try it in one of the local cafes or buy it for later in one of the shops.
To try this cheese in an authentic environment, I recommend stopping at this farm shop – La Bodega de Guia. It is a nice atmospheric place in the center to do the tasting and have a cup of coffee with snacks (and different types of cheeses).
And then in the end, before leaving the town, I suggest you make one more stop in Guia’s legendary old shop Dulces Artesanos. It is here where famous Gran Canaria biscuits are made and sold. The shop has been open since 1978 and is run by the family where recipes have been passed down through successive family members.
Their cookies are so good! You can buy a package or one by one different types.
Roque Prieto Piscina (Pool)
This is a natural pool in the area, in my experience one of the better pools in Gran Canaria among all (although compared to many pools in Tenerife, it is rather average).
So if you feel like making a quick stop for a swim or to take in the scenery (beautiful views here), make a quick detour to this location before heading to the next spot. It is also a nice area to take photos.
The exact location of the pool is here.
Cenobio de Valerón
Another place worth stopping at on Las Palmas to Guia drive is Cenobio de Valerón, an archaeological site known for its ancient granaries or storage caves, which were used by the indigenous Guanche people to store crops.
At first sight, it looks like a burial site but in reality, it is an ancient agricultural complex with storage caves that were used by the Guanche people to store crops in a cool and dry environment.
300 caves distributed over several levels on the side of a ravine and carved into the volcanic tuff play a significant role today as they provide insights into the agricultural practices and daily life of the Guanche people.
They offer visitors a nice look into the Gran Canaria’s pre-Spanish history, shedding light on the lifestyle and agricultural practices of the ancient Guanche population.
Make a stop here to walk to the top of the granaries and take in some views of the canyon next to it. There is also an interactive route here showcasing how Guanche people lived in the area while guiding the storage caves.
Firgas is another charming town not a very long drive away. It has a rich history, and one of its most iconic features is the Paseo de Gran Canaria with a series of cascading fountains.
This monumental stairway, which ascends from the town center, together with fountains features impressive mosaics illustrating the history and culture of the Canary Islands. The most iconic is the “Monumento al Agua,” a waterfall monument representing the importance of water on the island. It’s a picturesque spot for a leisurely stroll and some photos.
Firgas also offers panoramic views of the northern coast of Gran Canaria. The Mirador de la Montaña de Firgas is a viewpoint where you can enjoy vistas of the surrounding landscapes and the Atlantic Ocean.
What I particularly like about Firgas is that compared to larger tourist destinations, this town tends to have a quieter and more peaceful atmosphere with very few tourists. It’s a place to unwind and appreciate the simplicity and authenticity of Gran Canaria island.
You don’t need to spend a lot of time there but have a nice walk, a cup of coffee, and get some nice pictures before you move on towards the next stop.
Arucas is another old town going back in its history to pre-Hispanic times and is a must-stop on a Las Palmas and Guia drive. It is home to the Church of San Juan Bautista, a neo-Gothic cathedral that is one of the most iconic landmarks in Gran Canaria.
I advise you to visit the church inside to see the altar, stained glass windows, and other religious artwork showcasing the period’s craftsmanship. However, the church is open from 9:30 to 12:30 and from 16:30 to 19:00. So if you start this drive early, you can arrive in Arucas around 11:30- 12:00.
The church is located in a picturesque square, Plaza de San Juan, enhancing its visual impact. It provides a charming space to enjoy the surroundings and appreciate the architectural grandeur. Walk around to take photos and pop into a few local shops.
If you need/want to buy shoes, I recommend you stop at this shoe store. It offers a good (and cheap) selection of shoes made in Gran Canaria and mainland Spain.
Another unique place between Las Palmas and Guia that can be of interest to many is the Arehucas Rum Distillery on the outskirts of the town. It is a local production site with a museum that tells the story of the rum and educates about the production of spirits.
This distillery has been producing rum since the late 19th century and is one of the oldest distilleries in Europe. They offer guided tours to learn about the rum-making process, explore the facilities, and, of course, sample different varieties of Arehucas rum which by the way is a well-known rum brand in the Canary Islands. When I went, it reminded me of good old times visiting one of the distilleries in Kentucky.
Finish your visit to Arucas with a stop at Cafe El Parque. This cafe is facing the Church of San Juan Bautista, so you can get a beer with croquetas or one of their smoothies with a view of the church. There are usually tables set outside the church on the square, during the first part of the day they are usually free.
The town of Teror turned out to be a big surprise to me due to its one interesting business which is a very old perfume shop – Casa del Perfume Canario.
Overall, Teror is one of the prettiest towns in Gran Canaria with well-preserved historic architecture with traditional Canarian buildings. It is nice to quickly walk through it enjoying the atmosphere with the traditional island architecture.
While there, make a stop to find the famous Basilica of Our Lady of the Pine (Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Pino) and Casa-Museo León y Castillo (a museum housed in a historic building showing the history of the Canary Islands and the prominent León y Castillo family).
But the main reason why I’d travel to Teror is Casa del Perfume Canario which specializes in fragrances inspired by the Canary Islands and features locally crafted scents.
When we arrived there, they had just finished their last tour of the day which was a pity to miss. But one of the girls in the shop introduced us to perfumes and offered a nice presentation.
You will find the shop together with a mini museum in a cute old red house next to the Basílica. The family has been running this perfume business for many generations and is strongly going today. They offer a small guided tour of the little museum they have, plus an excellent product that you will not find in regular stores.
So if you love fragrance and plan a road trip in northern Gran Canaria on Monday, Wednesday or Saturday, you’ll have a chance to join the tour of the perfume room and learn about the techniques of making fragrances. It is one of the most unique things to do in Gran Canaria! Check the details and make reservations through their website.
Now you come to the center of Gran Canaria up in its mountains. Tejeda is a small quiet mountain village known for its impressive natural surroundings and prominent volcanic rock formations. It is also a nice place to stop for lunch or dinner or to try almond sweets as it is big in producing local delicacies such as marzipan and almond pastries.
Another thing Tejeda is famous for (probably the main thing) is the panoramic view of the Roque Nublo, a distinctive rock formation that is an iconic symbol of Gran Canaria which you could have seen in many photos. And it is best to view at sunsets.
There are a few hikes that start from the village and one of them goes close by the Roque Nublo. Reaching the very top of the Rock is not allowed for safety reasons but coming to it close is very possible.
By the way, if you are not in a rush, there is a good stop to spend a night, the Parador Hotel. This 4-star hotel is just outside Tejeda and if the sun hasn’t set yet, you could watch it from their terrace over dinner or a drink. If you decide to stay at the hotel, you could take a swim at their pool that faces West and offers stunning views of the mountains.
Caldera De Bandama
After Tejeda, if there is still sunlight in the day (or on the following day if you stay overnight in Parador Hotel) take a scenic drive towards Caldera de Bandama.
It is a volcanic caldera, which is a large, bowl-shaped depression formed by the collapse of a volcano after a major eruption that was formed there over 2,000 years ago.
Today this is a natural reserve and of course, there are a lot of outdoor activities you can do in the area like hiking, explorations with licensed guides, and the crater walk, not to mention the paid activities like horse riding, paragliding and even visiting the local vineyards.
The thing is, if you are doing a one-day road trip and don’t stop anywhere for the night, then you are probably very close to the dark and it is safer to skip this place. Just take a scenic drive through the area towards Las Palmas or your lodging area. Otherwise, you could easily spend at least a few hours in the reserve.
If you have a car for the length of your vacation and stay overnight in Las Palmas, just come here on another day and at least walk inside the crater or see it from above (from the Pico De Bandama viewpoint).
Las Palmas deserves another post with its own list of things to do. But I wanted to quickly mention a few words about it.
This city is one of the most beautiful cities in the Canary Islands archipelago, so if you have time, devote at least one day to it.
If on a shoestring budget, there is an interesting free tour of the Historic Center of Las Palmas that concentrates on details on an indigenous Canarian era and shows architectural monuments and their different styles.
Otherwise, do not miss a walk through Vegueta Old Town, drive to Las Palmas central beach Las Canteras (where you can kayak with a transparent bottom), and see examples of well-preserved colonial architecture such as the Cathedral of Santa Ana and the Casa de Colon museum in Triana old neighborhood.
If you have a chance, I’d also recommend you stay overnight in Las Palmas as it is home to many heritage hotels that occupy old colonial homes or palaces.
Travel Outside Gran Canaria
I have a lot of posts about Tenerife. Since I am calling it home now, I constantly produce content on travel around this island. Check out my posts if you plan to go there as well:
- Northern Tenerife – introduction with suggestions on what to expect
- North of South Tenerife – how to decide which one is better where to stay
- Tenerife Road Trip – most scenic drives to take on Tenerife island
- Places in North Tenerife – with best things to do
- Visiting Guimar – beyond pyramids, what else to do & see
- Beautiful Towns in Tenerife – prettiest towns not to miss
- Loro Park in Tenerife – things to know before going & experiences not to miss
- Tenerife Car Hire – things to know to find the cheapest car
- Tenerife Travel Blog – all my posts about Tenerife