The best way to get around Gran Canaria is to hire a car. There are numerous local and international car-hire agencies located at the airports and in all major resort areas.
Gran Canaria is also excellent locale for cycling, with a choice of scenic rides throughout the island.
Alternatively, a bus network links all the major towns and is an inexpensive, safe and reliable way of getting around the island. Taxis are availabe everywhere but are expensive and best for short distances only.
Smooth surfaces, clear signage and well-maintained highways makes Gran Canaria an easy island to get around by car, motorcycle or bicycle.
The island has four stretches of toll-free motorway – GC1, GC2, GC3 and GC4 – plus a network of single carriageway roads which crisscross the island.
Some steep mountain roads are only wide enough for one vehicle, so caution may need to be taken when driving on them. There are also numerous unpaved rural roads – perfect for off-road cycling.
Car hire: Numerous international and local car-hire firms operate from Gran Canaria Airport, at the ferry terminal and throughout the Santa Catalina district in Las Palmas.
Firms who operate from industrial estates near the airport offer a shuttle bus to and from the airport.
To hire a car you need a valid driving licence, be aged 21 or over and have a credit card. Visitors with a non-EU licence should also have an International Driving Permit (IDP), however national licences from countries including Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the USA are generally accepted.
You're not allowed to take a hire car from Gran Canaria to another island without the car-hire company’s explicit permission.
It's a good idea to reserve in advance during high season.
Third-party motor insurance is compulsory in Gran Canaria. Be careful to understand what your liabilities and excess are, and what waivers you are entitled to in case of accident or damage to the hired vehicle. Proof of identity and your driving licence must be carried in the car at all times.
Larger international car-rental firms such as Avis, Hertz and Europcar tend to have a comprehensive vehicle insurance policy built into the quote, so you are pretty well covered for damage to the car, but check when you hire.
Note: Driving on a dirt road may render your policy null and void, so check with the car-hire firm.
Traffic drives on the right-hand side of the road. The speed limit in built-up areas is 50kph (31mph), increasing to 90kph (56mph) on major roads and up to 120kph (74mph) on autovías (motorways).
Speed cameras are in operation on motorways and major roads. Safety belts are compulsory front and rear. Drink driving is a serious offence in Gran Canaria. The legal limit is just 0.05%. The use of a mobile phone whilst driving is classed as a serious offence.
Parking laws are rigorously enforced and illegally parked cars are often towed away.
Motorcycles and mopeds are available for hire in most major towns and resorts. Riders of motorcycles over 75cc must be at least 18. Crash helmets are compulsory.
Taxi: Taxis on Gran Canaria are metered with fares regulated by the government. Taxis can be found at the airport, ferry terminals and at all resorts and major centres. Taxis can be flagged down on the street.
Bus: A comprehensive network of large, blue buses – operated by Global (www.guaguasglobal.com) – service the island from Las Palmas, with Puerto Rico, Maspalomas and Playa del Inglés serving as regional hubs. You can expect frequent services to all the major towns and popular tourist attractions during weekdays, with less-frequent services on weekends.
Buses are known locally as guaguas (and pronounced ‘wa-wa’). In the larger towns and cities, buses leave from the estación de guaguas (bus station), while in villages and small towns, they usually terminate on a particular street or plaza.
Fares in Gran Canaria are reasonable; destinations within the island are calculated according to distance: ticket fares vary from €1 for a short city hop to €10 or so for journeys of more than an hour (on the larger islands).
Routes, timetables and fares are available on the website (www.globalsu.es).
In Las Palmas, a fleet of yellow buses operated by Guaguas Municipales (www.guaguas.com) provides an extensive network of routes throughpout the city.
You need to buy an electronic swipe card as you can't pay for rides in cash. Cards are sold in local shops and at bus stations.
A Bono-2 card offers two trips for €2.40, while the Bono Bus (yellow) electronic swipe card provides 10 trips for a cost of €8.50. There is a one-time cost of €1.50 to buy the card, and you can reload to a maximum of €50.
The Tourist Card (www.guaguas.com/tarifas-carnets/tarjeta-turistica) is for use on city routes only and offers a one-day unlimited travel for €5 and three-day unlimited travel for €12. The card is available from tourist offices and bus stations in the city.
An open-topped red bus offers a hop-on, hop-off facility in Las Palmas. The bus route takes in all the main attractions from the old town to the beach. Tickets are available from any bus station in Las Palmas.
There are also numberous private bus services (called guiri guaguas) operating in Gran Canaria.
Bicycle: Cycling is popular in Gran Canaria and bikes are widely available for hire, but cycle lanes are few and far between.
Only Las Palmas has cycle lanes and beachside roads are starting to incorporate space for bike riding.
Local drivers are generally tolerant and patient with cyclists, although on narrow and hilly roads some drivers may become impatience.
You can hire mountain bikes, city bikes and e-bikes at numerous bike shops and most large resorts in Gran Canaria. Expect to pay a minimum of €12 per day, with a standard deposit of around €50. Rental rates typically include a helmet and some basic equipment. Some rental outfits offer guided bike tours.
In Las Palmas, there is a public bike hire scheme called Sitycleta (www.sitycleta.com). Look for the blue bikes secured in stations around the city. The basic rate is €1.50 per 30 minutes of use; electric bike rates are €2.50 per 30 minutes of use. There are also weekly, monthly and annual rates.
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Latest update: How to get around Gran Canaria : 31 July, 2020
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