Gran Canaria is a fascinating island of astonishing diversity. The northern part of the island is characterised by stunning laurel forests, green valleys and dramatic, jagged mountain peaks. Meanwhile, the south resembles a desert, with a landscape of undulating golden dunes. Taking a Gran Canaria cruise also allows you to visit some stunning beaches.

The rugged volcanic coastline is dotted with striking, whitewashed towns, with a unique local culture and history. You’ll also find some upmarket resorts, geared up for fun and sunbathing. Inland you’ll discover traditional Canarian villages renowned for their local crafts.

Popular Ports in Gran Canaria

Las Palmas

The island’s only cruise port is located in the capital, Las Palmas. This lively, fascinating city is enlivened by the influence of other nationalities and cultures, from African to Arabic.

Get lost in Barrio Vegueta, the characterful old quarter; a labyrinth of cobbled alleys and sun-kissed squares. There are lots of fascinating historic attractions here, including the Casa de Colón, a museum dedicated to Christopher Columbus. Alongside these, you’ll also discover a range of chic boutiques and hip bars.

Las Palmas gets hot during the summer, but you can easily cool off with a dip in the ocean. Playa de Las Canteras is a pristine sweep of sand located within the city limits, believed to be the world’s best city beach. It offers children’s playgrounds, watersports areas, and the calm waters make it perfect for snorkelling.

Las Palmas colourful buildings

What are the best cruise ships for a Gran Canaria cruise?

There are no shortage of ships cruising Gran Canaria, so it can be hard to make a choice. Here are two sleek and stylish cruise ships that will carry you to this island’s shores in style.

Marella Discovery 2

Launched in 2017, the Marella Discovery 2 will wow you with its state-of-the-art facilities. There’s plenty of scope for relaxation, be it sunning yourself on the Veranda, an adults-only sundeck, or enjoying a treatment at the spa. The swimming pools are equipped with hot tubs, while those feeling more active can take a go on the rock-climbing wall, or enjoy a round of minigolf.

Kids and adults alike will love the escape room, where you solve puzzles to break free. There are six fabulous restaurants to choose from for dinner. These include Kora La, where you can enjoy pan-Asian delicacies, and the main restaurant, 47°, where you can tuck into fresh seafood as you enjoy sweeping ocean views.

Marella Discovery 2

Marella Dream

The tastefully-designed Marella Dream promises relaxation alongside a wealth of fantastic activities. Children will be engaged by the creative and fun activities run by the Kid’s Club, and delighted to have their own pool area. Meanwhile, grown-ups can kick back in the spa or enjoy relaxing by the adults-only pool, with a dedicated bar and daily entertainment.

Enjoy the fantastic spread of food available at the buffet in the Lido restaurant, or grilled steaks in the Terrace Grill. Meanwhile, Kora La offers you a taste of the Orient with its delicious pan-Asian menu.

Marella Dream

Shore Excursion Ideas

Shore excursions are a great way to get off the beaten track, and explore some of the fantastic sights of Gran Canaria. The following options come highly recommended.

Maspalomas Beach Transfer

If you’re looking for the island’s best beach, you’ll find it in the south of the island, where the climate is sunniest. The undulating golden sand dunes of Maspalomas will have you reaching for your camera again and again, and you’ll love relaxing on the beautiful beach. The resort of Maspalomas is worth exploring too, with a palm tree-fringed seafront promenade lined with shops, cafés and restaurants.

Maspalomas Sand Dunes

Highlights of Gran Canaria

Discover the island’s top attractions on this scenic tour around Las Palmas and beyond. You’ll explore the cobbled streets of Barrio Vegueta, including the house of Christopher Columbus, now a museum. After that you’ll relax in the verdant Parque Doramas, where you should keep a look out for their unusual ‘dragon trees’, a cross between a tree and a cactus. Nearby Pueblo Canario is a quaint village where you can pick up some traditional crafts for souvenirs. The trip culminates in a trip to the Caldera de Bandama – a striking volcanic crater located in the heart of the island. It’s located at an altitude of 3,000 feet, and is one of the highest inhabited craters in the world.

Teror and Arucas

Visit two of the island’s prettiest towns, Teror and Arucas. The former is located on the Caldera de Bandama, a cluster of whitewashed houses characterised by ornate bungalows. Culture aficionados will be fascinated by the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Pine, where local shepherds once saw an apparition of the Virgin Mary. Travel on to the historic city of Arucas, known as ‘the pearl of Gran Canaria.’ You’ll find streets of brightly coloured houses, and stunning neoclassical architecture. This is a great place to try the local banana liqueur, made using bananas from the plantations that fringe the town.

Top ports of call in this destination