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Maspalomas is the main large city in the south of Gran Canaria – and also one of the most popular places for hotels and resorts. The best part of Maspalomas is when it meets Melonaras on the seafront. Here is my guide for the Best 8 Things to do in Maspalomas for Adults!
How to get to Maspalomas and Getting Around
Gran Canaria is a 4 hour flight from London. Considering how far it is flights are very reasonably priced! However, the key carriers are Easy Jet, Ryan Air, Tui etc which means Stansted and Luton. A pain for me but might work for you! Easy Jet does do flights from Gatwick but their return flight gets you in quite late eg after midnight.
Once you arrive definitely the best option is to hire a car. It is super easy to drive around the island – it is essentially one big round road. Do watch out when heading into the interior. What can seem a short distance on the map can take some time due to windy roads and mountains! Maspalomas is about a 30-minute drive from the airport.
When to Visit Maspalomas
Due to its location, Maspalomas has quite consistently spring-like weather all year round. Peak season is generally seen as May through November where temperatures vary between 24 and 26 degrees Celsius from August to October. December till April temperatures hover around 22 degrees Celsius – so basically a great temperature all year round! Seasonality tends to be more driven by the price of airfares rather than the temperature.
What to Pack to Visit Maspalomas
With an eternal spring temperature, you will want to bring a swimsuit and sunscreen all year round! The island is great for walking. I like Uniqlo for dual purpose activewear and not so active tops. Kathmandu is great for some of the more serious stuff. Flip flops are essential as are some decent runners.
Generally, the island is quite relaxed so I spent most of my time in bathers, cover-ups and maxi/floaty dresses for evening. Check out Top Shop and Marks and Spencer for some reasonable priced yet stylish options for all of these.
1. Things to do in Maspalomas – Visit the Dunes
The beach literally merges with these amazing dunes! Most of the coastline of Gran Canaria was dunes until they were converted into beaches. The dunes of Maspalomas are one of the only dunes left and are a protected site that covers over 1000 acres.
When it comes to experiencing the dunes there are two options. The first is to visit them yourself. If you are driving put the Maspalomas lighthouse into your sat nav. As you drive towards it there is a parking lot on the left just before the bus station. This is the closest parking. Walk down to the lighthouse. Turn left and walk along Maspalomas beach – which is actually quite nice. It is about a 5-minute stroll along a path with hotels and restaurants before you hit the lagoon which is just, well, there!
At the western end, between Avenida Tirajana and the Charco de Maspalomas lagoon, the dunes are covered in bushes and palm trees. To visit this walk west from the Dunas Mirador in Playa del Ingles.
And there are some nudists you may come across!
The lagoon is quite photogenic. It is of course all about lighting with something like sand dunes so the best time to visit is beginning or end of the day. From here keep walking up the dunes as much as you like.
The second option, and probably the best way to experience the Dunes, is to take a tour. The area is large and it is not the easiest to navigate. Sand dunes are not somewhere to get lost! I think the best option is to take a Camel Ride across the dunes. The camel ride lasts 40 minutes which is enough time to get a feel for the dunes and take some photos – and definitely enough time to be on the back of a camel!
2. Maspalomas Things to do – Botanic Garden
My expectations were low on this one as it didn’t seem to feature much in blog posts or coverage of the area. So it was a lovely surprise! Entrance is free. If you like cacti and brightly coloured flowers this is for you. Otherwise, it isn’t extraordinary. It is only about a 5-minute drive from the lighthouse and next to the golf course so it is quite easy to pop in.
I love photography so I spent about 20 minutes wandering around and taking photos. Unless you are horticulture mad that is probably more than enough time.
3. What to do in Maspalomas – Enjoy Some Great Food!
There are lots of good restaurants around Maspalomas – particularly on the waterfront at Meloneras. I had a fantastic lunch at Las Rias. This restaurant is located virtually on the Meloneras seafront and very near the lighthouse. It specializes in seafood and has a great menu. I had two starters – pulpo and prawns with potato foam and then grilled calamari and wow they were terrific.
La Churassco is visible from Las Rias and is known for great steak. Ciao Ciao and Gran Italia both have great reputations for Italian food. Café del Mar is the place for cocktails and pre-dinner drinks. For classic Spanish food check out El Senador.
4. Maspalomas Market
Maspalomas San Fernando market is held on Saturdays. This market moves around the South of Gran Canaria – there is a smaller version in Arguienta on Tuesdays and the big one is Fridays in Puerto Mogan where everyone comes out. The Saturday version is held in the town of Maspalomas not the beachside area with Meloneras so you will need to drive or get a cab to get there.
I arrived lateish on the Saturday – about 1pm – and many stalls were packing up. There was a broad range of stalls – from clothing to fresh produce – and a couple of restaurants. There were also many stalls selling aloe vera products – native to Gran Canaria.
For a complete guide to the Markets of Gran Canaria read my post here.
5. Go Shopping
The beginning of Boulevard Faro has a nice upmarket shopping area featuring well-known labels like La Perla, Burberry and Tommy Hilfiger. This area is immediately to the right of the Maspalomas Lighthouse. Walking further you will come across the Bellavista Shopping Centre and its dome and El Varadero Shopping Centre.
Avenida de Galdar in town has loads of shops and cafes. Placido Domingo is the place to go for phone and electronic needs. El Tabero is the newest shopping mall and has Zara, Timberland etc.
6. Walk along the Melonaras waterfront
This is a lovely waterfront for a stroll -, particularly around sunset! The 2km Boulevard Faro has restaurants, shops and palm trees. To get there head to the Maspalomas lighthouse and turn right. This is the beginning of the waterfront walk which runs along Playa del Ingles beach. The first half of the walk is upmarket restaurants, hotels and shops. The second half is quieter and runs along Meloneras beach and has some great sea views.
If you make it all the way to the end of Boulevard Faro there are cafes and restaurants outside the H10 Hotel.
7. Visit Maspalomas Beach
At a mile and a half long Maspalomas is the second longest beach on the island after Las Canteras in Las Palmas. The sand is nice and clean and there are loads of options for hiring umbrellas and sun loungers. Back from the beach, there are lots of stalls selling everything from snacks to drinks to suntan lotion so everything you need is on hand! And if you want a slightly different experience just follow the sand and head into the Maspalomas Dunes!
To get to the beach head to the Maspalomas Lighthouse and turn left. Walk through a small boarded area and within 1-2 minutes you will be on sand and at the beginning of the Maspalomas beach.
8. Have the Luxury Sunset Experience at Salobre
A bottle of bubbles, an outdoor bed, delicious snacks and a sunset – what more do you need? Salobre Resort is about a 15-minute drive from Maspalomas town and is usually known for its golf course. However, on the 11th floor, it has the adults-only Sunset Pool and Sunset Bar. Even better than the Sunset Bar is the sunset experience!
The resort has quite a few lovely outdoor daybeds that have amazing views over the mountains of Gran Canaria. The Sunset Experience kicks off as the sun drops (times of course vary) and begins with a cold bottle of Cava. Relax on the large beds and you will then be brought a huge tray of food – olives, dips, cheese, ham – which ended up being all I needed for dinner. Then just lie back and eat and drink and watch the sunset – a lovely experience!
Boutique Hotels in Maspalomas
I really enjoyed my stay at the Salobre Resort. Salobre is near Maspalomas but is about a 15 minute drive into the interior of the island – mainly due to the fact that it is based around a golf course. For quite a large hotel Salobre has a fantastic boutique feel. The design and the details are all very stylish. As the hotel covers quite a big area physically it never feels busy.
Importantly the hotel has seven pools! Yes, seven! My favourite was the adults-only Sunset pool which is located on the top floor of the resort. The pool has its own bar and a very large area for deck chairs and beds.