Maspalomas is a world-renowned tourist haven in the southernmost part of Gran Canaria within the San Bartolome de Tirajana municipality. Drawing an increasing number of visitors each year, it boasts endless sand dunes, upscale hotels, and captivating beaches. This vibrant town has undoubtedly crafted the ideal formula for an appealing European destination, blending natural beauty and modern amenities for travelers seeking an unforgettable experience.

Maspalomas Sand Dunes Overlooking Sea
Maspalomas Sand Dunes Overlooking Sea – ©eyewave

History

Archaeological discoveries offer insights into the existence of indigenous settlements in Maspalomas and nearby areas. The Guanche people, the earliest inhabitants of the Canary Islands, sustained themselves through a harmonious relationship with the land and sea, their lives unfolding against the backdrop of a landscape that is as arid as it is breathtakingly beautiful.

Fast forward to the late 15th century, and the island underwent a transformative conquest, bringing Maspalomas under the sway of noble families from Spain. In those times, Maspalomas was an agricultural estate where the soil whispered stories of cultivation and labor.

But the turning point didn’t arrive until 1961 when Count Alejandro del Castillo decided it was time for Maspalomas to spread its wings into the realm of tourism. A dynamic development contest unfolded, and the victor was a forward-thinking French company, SETAP, armed with an environmentally responsible vision. From that moment on, Maspalomas didn’t just grow; it soared. The unstoppable tourism boom that followed transformed the town into a sought-after destination, leaving behind the echoes of its agricultural past.

At a Glance

During the winter months, a wave of European and international tourists flocks to the perpetual summer of Gran Canaria and the rest of the Canary Islands. Beneath the commanding presence of the iconic lighthouse, visitors immerse themselves in the timeless charm of Maspalomas, where a 6-kilometer shoreline has witnessed countless moments of leisure, romance, family vacations, and soul-searching journeys. This coastal haven caters to diverse preferences, embracing couples, lovers, nudists, and members of the LGBT community who all find solace on the sandy beaches of Maspalomas.

Stretching inland from the coast, the expansive dunes not only create a mesmerizing landscape but also shelter a myriad of endemic species. A breathtaking sunset awaits at Dunas Mirador, where the sky paints a perfect canvas for the golden sand hills and the deep blue waters of the Atlantic. As night falls, the lively atmosphere continues at the night bars in Meloneras or Playa del Ingles.

Maspalomas Lighthouse During Sunset
Maspalomas Lighthouse During Sunset – © albertoloyo

For families, Maspalomas offers delightful parks to keep the little ones entertained. Whether spending a leisurely afternoon at Palmitos Park or seeking thrills at the Holiday World Amusement Park, there’s something for every taste. Meanwhile, shopping enthusiasts can indulge in a grand time, and golf enthusiasts can tee off at Maspalomas Golf.

Completing the island experience is a diverse range of accommodations, predominantly upscale hotels and apartments. Beyond providing a comfortable stay, the town boasts numerous restaurants and cafes, offering a delectable array of both local and international cuisine.

Things to Do

While Maspalomas is famous for its stunning beaches, there’s much more to discover in this vibrant town. From beach hopping to water sports and nightlife, here are some must-do activities for your next trip.

Beach Hopping

The sandy shores and cool Atlantic waters along the long coastline of Maspalomas never fail to attract people. The coast is divided into smaller beaches, each with its own unique features, making it a diverse destination for beachgoers.

Playa de Meloneras

Spread on the southwest coast of Maspalomas, Playa de Meloneras effortlessly holds its own among its famous neighboring beaches. Following a recent makeover, the area now showcases opulent hotels, high-end designer shops, and a plethora of seafront restaurants. Golden sands also stretch out with the added luxury of available sunbeds and parasols for enhanced beach comfort.

Ideal for both swimming and sunbathing, the beach also has some rocky sections, which, far from being obstacles, create an excellent environment for snorkeling enthusiasts to get up close and personal with diverse marine life. Meloneras is characterized by its serene ambiance, offering the perfect setting for enjoying a delightful meal, sipping coffee while watching the sunset, and concluding the day with a relaxing sundowner drink, rather than a hub for lively parties.

Playa de Maspalomas

Strolling eastward from the picturesque lighthouse, visitors are welcomed by the serene Playa de Maspalomas. This tranquil beach spans a 3-kilometer stretch of golden sand, providing an ideal setting for leisurely lounging, walks, or basking in the sun. The beach section near the lighthouse features exceptionally tranquil waters and is complemented by a variety of shops and restaurants.

Further along, in the midsection, is a marked area designated for nudists and the gay community. You won’t miss it! Besides the throngs of beachgoers in their birthday suits, the ultra-popular Kiosk 7 bar is another telltale indicator that you’ve arrived. Beyond the beach, the expansive sand dunes provide an additional expanse for sun-seekers to achieve a bronzed glow.

Playa del Ingles

Undoubtedly one of the most sought-after beaches in Europe, vacationers must encounter the captivating allure of Playa del Ingles when in the Canary Islands. While bustling with beachgoers, it manages to maintain a sense of spaciousness, thanks to its expansive stretch of golden sand. Towards the beach’s eastern end, a designated area accommodates nudist beachgoers.

Playa del Ingles Full of Life
Playa del Ingles Full of Life – ©nito500

Playa del Ingles is flanked by a lively promenade and a surrounding landscape dominated by commercial centers, high-rise buildings, hotels, pubs, clubs, and cafes. This vibrant setting makes it a preferred destination for those seeking modern amenities and the convenience of a central location. The lengthy walkway, adorned with various shops, provides ample space for jogging, leisurely walks, and even picturesque moments. Renowned as the premier beach spot for those craving vibrant nightlife along the shore, Playa del Ingles caters to those with a penchant for beachside revelry.

Playa de San Agustin

Opting for a significantly more tranquil ambiance than Maspalomas and Playa del Ingles, Playa de San Agustin is the perfect choice. This serene beach, favored by locals, particularly on weekends, offers a peaceful escape from typical tourist hubs. Despite its tranquil setting, ample accommodation options are available for those who wish to extend their stay and further explore the surroundings.

The calm waters of Playa de San Agustin create an ideal environment for activities such as snorkeling and even scuba diving. When hunger strikes, a selection of cafes, shops, and restaurants along the picturesque promenade caters to visitors, ensuring a delightful dining experience by the sea.

Faro de Maspalomas

Perched majestically on the southern tip of Gran Canaria, the Faro de Maspalomas, or Maspalomas Lighthouse, is an iconic beacon that entices visitors with its timeless charm. This historic lighthouse, dating back to 1890, has witnessed the transformation of Maspalomas from a quiet coastal town to a bustling tourist destination.

Beyond its historical significance, the lighthouse is a striking white structure, contrasting beautifully against the azure sky, and it commands breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean and the sweeping sand dunes that define the landscape. As the sun sets, the lighthouse bathes in a warm glow, creating an almost magical atmosphere that encapsulates the essence of this coastal paradise.

Nature Trips

The Dunas de Maspalomas, or Maspalomas Dunes, is the town’s main tourist attraction. It is reminiscent of the Sahara and exudes a rugged beauty all nature lovers fall for. However, for naturalists and those who want a break from the beach, Maspalomas offers much more than its magical sand.

La Charca

The Maspalomas Nature Reserve is intricately divided into three distinct sections: Dunas (dunes), Charca (pond), and Palmeral (palms). La Charca, a charming lagoon, runs parallel to the walkway leading to the shore. Inhabited by a variety of fish and frequented by wild birds, this pond provides a picturesque landscape for nature enthusiasts.

A pair of binoculars is a must for avid bird enthusiasts, as La Charca offers an excellent bird-watching venue. During migration seasons, birds traveling from Europe to Africa often find respite in these waters. Keep your camera ready, as egrets and herons are known to gracefully descend into the water, showcasing their fishing skills in pursuit of their next meal.

Mirador de las Dunas

Sculpted by winds that sweep in from all directions, the ever-shifting sand hills at Maspalomas create a dynamic landscape, ensuring each visit becomes a unique experience. And there’s no better vantage point than the Mirador de las Dunas for an unparalleled view of the enchanting sand dunes.

From here, one can witness the dunes casting undulating shadows, gracefully embracing the sun’s golden rays as it retreats along the ocean-lined horizon. The view is nothing short of breathtaking, especially during the enrapturing moments of sunrise and sunset, sometimes accompanied by occasional live music. Notably, this spot is a near-obligatory passage for vacationers heading to the gay beach and its iconic kiosk number 7.

Walking in Maspalomas Coastline
Walking in Maspalomas Coastline – @tupungato

Parque Urbano del Sur

Fancy a morning run or a quiet afternoon spent reading? The landscaped urban park in Maspalomas offers the ideal setting. Adorned with palm trees, it serves as a shaded retreat away from the hustle and bustle of busy shops and beaches. Aside from a dedicated jogging path, the park features a charming pond where visitors can unwind while observing ducks, birds, and fish gracefully going about their daily activities. Families with children can enjoy the expansive playground, providing a lively space for kids to have some fun.

El Parque Botanico de Maspalomas

Much like any desert landscape, Maspalomas boasts its own oasis, offering more than just a scattering of cacti and palms. At El Parque Botanico de Maspalomas, visitors can enjoy a revitalizing stroll or a leisurely picnic amidst a vast array of tropical and Mediterranean plants.

The tranquility of this botanical park is a treasure appreciated by any traveler. The diverse plant collections include fruit trees such as papayas and bananas, alongside an abundance of vibrant flowers and shrubs. Keen-eyed visitors may even catch glimpses of butterflies and various bird species. The park is open on weekdays, and entrance is free, making it a welcoming and accessible destination for those seeking a serene escape into nature.

Theme Parks

A tourist town truly comes alive with the inclusion of exciting amenities for both kids and the young at heart. Maspalomas caters to families seeking adventure, with numerous theme parks located in close proximity to the beaches, providing hair-raising and adrenaline-pumping experiences for all thrill-seekers.

Palmitos Park

Palmitos Park is one of the must-visit destinations for non-beach recreational activities in Gran Canaria. Set amidst ravines and palms in Maspalomas, the subtropical theme park is only a couple of minutes away from the beaches. It provides tourists with an opportunity to explore the diverse flora and fauna of Gran Canaria.

Palmitos Park Maspalomas
Lovable Stork in Palmitos Park Maspalomas – ©aaabbbccc

Beyond the zoo’s captivating animal and plant attractions, Palmitos Park offers extraordinary animal shows. Visitors are left in awe as exotic birds and birds of prey take flight, showcasing their natural beauty and grace. The renowned dolphin show adds an extra layer of joy as these gentle mammals display their tricks and intelligence, leaving smiles on the faces of delighted onlookers.

Holiday World

If the sudden yearning for funfair rides strikes, there’s no need to resist the urge. Sitting inland between the beaches of Maspalomas and Playa del Ingles is Holiday World, an amusement park that caters to excited visitors of all ages.

Here, guests can experience the thrill of riding the Ferris wheel and other classic funfair attractions. In addition to the rides, friends and families can enjoy knocking down pins at the bowling alley. For the little ones seeking to defy gravity, the trampoline area promises loads of fun. With its diverse offerings, Holiday World proves to be a delightful destination, providing enjoyment for visitors both day and night.

Aqualand Maspalomas

More nerve-wracking fun awaits the thrill-seekers in Aqualand Maspalomas Water Park. Boasting over 30 slides, it is the largest water park in town, offering a thrilling array of adrenaline-pumping attractions.

With well-classified sections like Chill Out and Play, Family Fun, Kidzworld, and Adrenaline Fun, guests can easily choose their preferred level of excitement. Whether starting with the leisurely Pirate’s River or Jacuzzi or cranking up the intensity with the Tornado or Aquamania, every slide at Aqualand Maspalomas guarantees laughter and fun for visitors of all ages.

Adult Recreations

Each year, Gran Canaria attracts millions of visitors, ranging from solo travelers to couples seeking a romantic getaway. Among these travelers are a significant number of adults who specifically choose to fly directly to Maspalomas, making it a sought-after destination for those seeking adult-oriented entertainment and leisure options.

Golf

Maspalomas beckons adult adventurers with its enticing array of golf courses, catering to diverse skill levels and preferences. The renowned Maspalomas Golf Course, featuring 18 holes and a history of hosting international events, offers a challenging yet picturesque experience set against the stunning backdrop of the Maspalomas Dunes and the Atlantic Ocean. Lopesan Meloneras Golf, another 18-hole gem, provides a serene setting for golf enthusiasts seeking a well-maintained course. For those yearning for variety, Salobre Golf stands out with not one but two 18-hole courses, promising a dynamic golfing adventure amidst the captivating landscapes of Maspalomas.

Golf Maspalomas Gran Canaria
Who’s Got a Mean Game of Golf? – ©philipus

Wellness and Spa

Maspalomas is synonymous with relaxation and well-being, boasting several esteemed spa and wellness centers. The opulent spa facilities at Lopesan Costa Meloneras Resort offer a luxurious retreat, providing a haven for rejuvenation with a comprehensive range of treatments and top-notch amenities. For a sophisticated wellness experience, Bohemia Suites & Spa stands out, offering a refined atmosphere and a holistic approach to pampering. Meanwhile, the serene Seaside Palm Beach Wellness Center provides a quick, tranquil escape where guests can unwind amidst peaceful surroundings. These well-regarded spa and wellness centers in Maspalomas ensure that visitors can truly enjoy a world of pampering and tranquility, enhancing the overall experience of this enchanting destination.

Nightlife

Playa del Ingles is renowned for its vibrant nightlife, offering an array of entertainment options catering to diverse tastes. The Kasbah Shopping Centre and the neighboring Centro Comercial Plaza form a lively hub, particularly favored by the younger crowd, offering a mix of bars, clubs, and late-night venues. The iconic Yumbo Center, on the other hand, is a key destination, particularly for the LGBTQ+ community, featuring an energetic nightlife scene with numerous bars, discos, and drag shows. Meanwhile, the C.I.T.A. center attracts a predominantly German and Scandinavian crowd, featuring a variety of bars, restaurants, and nightclubs tailored to their tastes. Collectively, these destinations contribute to Playa del Ingles’ reputation as a dynamic and inclusive nightlife hotspot, drawing visitors from all walks of life to revel in the energetic atmosphere and diverse entertainment offerings.

Air Tours

Not for the faint-hearted, many have raved about the incredible paragliding and parasailing experience with Sky Rebels. Fly like a wild bird for more than 30 minutes and experience Gran Canaria differently.

Where to Eat

Maspalomas boasts a diverse culinary scene catering to every taste preference, with an array of restaurants, cafes, and bars offering Mediterranean, Italian, French, Canarian, Asian, Vegan, and more. Guests can effortlessly explore these culinary delights by strolling through the shopping centers and along the promenade that graces the shores of the various beaches, ensuring a satisfying dining experience for every palate.

LoLa

Indulge in a culinary delight at one of Maspalomas’s finest dining establishments, LoLa, where each course promises delectable flavors. Whether savoring the Octopus Carpaccio or Red Mullet, or treating your sweet tooth to their irresistible Churros, the restaurant offers a memorable gastronomic experience. The attentive staff and exceptional service further enhance the enjoyment, and to conclude the evening on a high note, LoLa boasts an impressive selection of wines.

Wapa Tapa

Wapa Tapa, located in the vibrant Yumbo Center, has earned incredible popularity for its diverse and flavorful culinary offerings. This sought-after restaurant, helmed by the dynamic duo of Carlos, who manages the front of the house, and Adrian, showcasing his culinary expertise as the chef, is renowned for its exquisite hot and cold tapas selection. Standout dishes include the Canarian wrinkled potatoes, Spicy Korean Fried Chicken Wings, Burgos Black Pudding and Quail Eggs, Spicy Pumpkin Soup, and Acorn-fed Iberian Ham Bruschetta. The need for reservations, at times even months in advance, speaks volumes about its coveted status, urging patrons to plan ahead for an exceptional dining experience at Wapa Tapa.

La Palmera Sur

An enchanting fusion kitchen with a tapas flair, La Palmera Sur is a delightful culinary gem intricately connected to the Gold by Marina Hotel. This cozy restaurant is known for its top-notch dishes, including artisan bread with authentic Canarian sauces, scallop ceviche, and spicy red prawn curry. With its offerings and emphasis on quality, La Palmera Sur is a must-visit for those seeking a memorable and tasteful exploration of gastronomy in Maspalomas.

Where to Stay

Exploring the enchanting town of Maspalomas often leaves visitors longing for an extended stay, and the abundance of hotels in the area ensures that finding sophisticated accommodation is never a challenge.

Seaside Gran Hotel Residencia

Seamlessly blending luxury with tranquility amidst lush gardens, Seaside Grand Hotel Residencia exudes timeless elegance and exclusivity. Guests experience a haven of relaxation in this five-star retreat with its refined colonial-style architecture, personalized service, and a focus on privacy. The hotel’s proximity to the iconic sand dunes and the Maspalomas Golf Course enhances its appeal, providing an ideal blend of natural beauty and upscale comfort for an unforgettable stay in Maspalomas. Book Now!

Sheraton Gran Canaria Salobre Golf Resort

A compelling choice for tourists due to its unique advantage of being nestled amidst the picturesque Salobre Golf Course, Sheraton Gran Canaria Salobre Golf Resort offers a distinctive blend of luxury, modern design, and unparalleled views of the surrounding landscapes. The modern and stylish accommodations, coupled with exceptional amenities such as several pools, a spa, and world-class dining options, ensure a lavish and relaxing stay. Plus, its strategic location provides easy access to both the vibrant beaches of Maspalomas and the scenic interior of Gran Canaria. Book now!

H10 Playa Meloneras Place

Indulge in a delightful Grand Canaria retreat at H10 Playa Meloneras Palace, situated in a tranquil spot just along the coast from Meloneras. Boasting a fairly quiet location, this hotel offers a peaceful escape just moments away from the lively energy of the town. What sets it apart, especially for families with young children, is the presence of an exceptional entertainment team and a dedicated kids club. Parents can unwind while their little ones engage in age-appropriate activities, creating a harmonious balance between relaxation and family fun. Book Now!

Getting to and Around Maspalomas

Whether you are arriving from Gran Canaria’s airport or traveling from other major towns on the island, there are various ways to reach Maspalomas. Here’s a guide on how to get there:

From Gran Canaria Airport (LPA)

Driving: Take the GC-1 highway south towards Maspalomas. Follow the highway for approximately 30 minutes until you see exits for Maspalomas. Take exit 46 from GC-1 towards GC-500, and follow the signs directing you to Maspalomas. 

Public Transportation: Use the Global Bus service. Line 66 goes directly from the airport to Maspalomas. The journey takes about 45 minutes. Check the Global website for the latest schedule and fare information.

From Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

Driving: Start on GC-23 then take GC-1 from Las Palmas heading south. Continue on GC-1 for around 40 minutes until you reach the exit 46 for Maspalomas. Follow the signs to your destination.

Public Transportation: Bus line 30 (Global) connects Las Palmas with Maspalomas. The journey might take about an hour depending on traffic conditions. Always verify the latest bus schedules on the Global Bus website.

From Puerto Rico de Gran Canaria

Driving: Take GC-1 north towards Maspalomas. The drive should take about 15-20 minutes as you follow the highway until you see signs for Maspalomas and take the appropriate exit.

Public Transportation: Use the Global Bus service. Line 1 and 33 connect Puerto Rico with Maspalomas directly. The bus journey can take about 35-45 minutes. Check the most current schedules and fares on the Global website.

From Agaete

Driving: Head east on GC-2 towards Las Palmas, and then take the GC-1 south towards Maspalomas. The total drive takes around 1 hour and 20 minutes, depending on traffic.

Public Transportation: First, take a bus line 103 to Las Palmas, then transfer to line 30 to Maspalomas. This will take a few hours, so planning ahead is essential.

General Tips

– Driving times can vary based on traffic, especially during peak travel seasons. Always allow extra time for your journey.

– Public transportation times and routes may change, so it’s a good idea to check the Global Bus website or app for the most current information before you travel.

– Renting a car might be a more convenient option if you plan to explore various parts of the island or if your schedule doesn’t align well with public transportation options.

Getting Around

Traveling around the beautiful Maspalomas is made easy and convenient for holidaymakers, thanks to the extensive bus network. Key attractions and destinations within this resort town are well-connected through bus routes 1, 25, 30, 36, 45, 66, and 90. This allows visitors to explore Maspalomas effortlessly by simply hopping on and off the bus at their desired locations.

In addition to the bus service, getting around Maspalomas by taxi is equally straightforward and hassle-free. Taxis are readily available in areas with high pedestrian traffic, such as shopping centers, where you’ll often find a taxi stand. During peak seasons, numerous taxis are typically on standby, waiting for passengers. If you see a taxi with a green light, it indicates availability, and you can easily hail it on the street. For added convenience, the reception desk at hotels or apartment complexes can provide guests with the contact information for local taxi services, making it simple to arrange for a taxi ride from your accommodation.

Maspalomas: A Tourist Haven for Perpetual Fun

With its welcoming climate, golden beaches, and a blend of upscale hotels and shops, Maspalomas stands as a quintessential tourist haven in Gran Canaria. It offers various activities catering to kids and adults and acts as a natural reserve for endemic species, ensuring an unforgettable experience for all visitors. At its heart, the historic lighthouse has been a silent witness to centuries of sunsets, symbolizing the town’s enduring appeal. This unique combination of natural beauty, leisure opportunities, and historical charm makes Maspalomas a timeless destination. It invites travelers from across Europe and beyond to create memorable stories under its sun-kissed skies, promising perpetual fun for everyone who visits.