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One of the coolest things to do in Gran Canaria, Spain is to go on a road trip. If you rent a car in the Gran Canaria airport, you get the ultimate freedom to choose where to go on the island, as every piece of it is easily accessible within a few-hour drive. And the most exciting roads lead to the mountains.
My favorite road trip on Gran Canaria includes Puerto Rico town, Roque Nublo, and Pico de las Nieves. It’s beautiful and exciting and includes some of the most iconic parts of the island.
When I first noticed Puerto Rico on the map, the name intrigued me to go there. It’s not world-famous Puerto Rico, but it’s the one accessible on this island.
And the visit was totally worth the time spent getting there.
Puerto Rico is a resort with two sandy beaches and several hotels and shops between them. The town is not that big, but it is quite charming and has its character. I liked it better than the bigger resorts in Maspalomas and Las Palmas.
There were old white houses with tiny streets between them. Flowers in vibrant colors were climbing up the walls. Doors with green tile ornaments. Charming small cafes with a view of yachts in the small harbor.
If you are looking for a small-town vibe and a place for beautiful photos, then Puerto Rico is a must-see.
I suggest parking a car near the port and going for a stroll through the charming streets. When you reach Puerto Rico beach, you can go for a swim. Afterward, you can walk back along the waterside, so that you would see the variety this town has to offer.
The other beach in town is also very popular among tourists. There is a free parking spot near Amadores beach, and you’ll find even a water fun park there. But as the beach is usually quite crowded, and it’s surrounded by hotels, I wouldn’t recommend it as something unique.
After visiting Puerto Rico it’s time to go up in the mountains. The roads get narrower and have a lot of hairpins, so be prepared to drive much slower. The quality of the roads in the mountains is excellent, so no need to worry about that.
As you go higher in the mountains, the views get more amazing. All the shades of brown mountains lead to the ocean surrounding the island. From time to time there are parking spots so that you can stop driving and just soak in the view.
In the middle of the island, there is Roque Nublo, which is a famous landmark. It’s an enormous volcanic rock standing on seemingly plain ground.
The big rock is visible from multiple viewing points, and it’s quite easy to go there on foot. You don’t need any special equipment or preparation. Only sports shoes would be good, as the path would be hard to conquer in flip-flops. Hiking up there offers some great sights. Here is a full post on how to hike to Roque Nublo.
When you drive close to the point in the map where the Roque Nublo should be, you’ll notice several parking spots and the markings of the beginning of the path. It’s well marked. It takes around 30 minutes to go 1.5 km to the Roque Nublo and about the same time to go back.
One tip for visiting this place would be going in the afternoon when the large buses have already gone away. When we visited the place at the beginning of May at around three in the afternoon there were only several people on the path. But it seemed that the parking spaces and the width of the path are meant for larger crowds.
Pico de las Nieves
Close to Roque Nublo, you’ll find another noteworthy peak Pico de las Nieves. It is the second-highest mountain on Gran Canaria and has a great viewing place. One can see Roque Nublo and many other peaks from there. In good weather, it’s even possible to see Teide volcano on Tenerife.
There is a military base nearby the sightseeing platform with a large ball-shaped radar. It looks quite futuristic among the wild mountains surrounding the building.
Other great things to do in Gran Canaria
If you spend just one day exploring the mountains, you will be left with many more days to enjoy Gran Canaria. There are just so many great things to do on the island!
If you enjoy attraction parks, there is Aqualand waterpark and Palmitos Park that is really fun. Or you could do another road trip across a different part of the island. Or you could just choose a beautiful beach and relax.