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Gran Canaria cycling holiday tips

Posted by Dennis Snapper on November 30, 2020


For cyclists, triathletes and runners

If you’re considering a Gran Canaria cycling holiday, then here are things I’d like to share with you which I hope will help you have the best cycling holiday experience.

I remember my first visit to the Canary Islands. That very first impression as the plane came in for landing, I still recall thinking to myself how barren the islands seemed, despite having seen many photos and videos on the internet before arriving. 

However, as I set out exploring, I was pleasantly surprised by the wide range of microclimates and different contrasts the Canary Islands have to offer. The place grew on me. Gran Canaria is no different and offers amazing volcano-sculpted coastlines, its tallest mountain Pico de Las Nieves at almost 2000 metres, which is surrounded by fertile and scenic valleys.

Gran Canaria is probably the most popular of all the Canary Islands for cycling, not only due to its mild year-round climate, but also its excellent infrastructure of roads as well as sporting hotels, hospitals and other sporting services. It’s so popular in fact, that the Gran Canaria tourism board even has its own Sports Travel brand, TriBikeRun, promoting it as a unique sporting destination. 

Gran Canaria should be on your cycling holiday bucketlist. Here are some things you should know! 

It’s spring all year round

Gran Canaria is a popular winter getaway destination, especially for those in northern Europe looking to escape the long winter. Although flights times are a bit longer than to a standard southern European destination, they are at least direct and affordable.

Gran Canaria is a destination you can visit all year round. Both their winters as well as their summers are mild. It always seems like Spring, with maximum temperatures at 25ºC and minimums at 18ºC.

In general, short sleeves and sun-cream will be all you need, especially if you stay on the coastal roads. However, if you intend to do some more serious climbing it’s advisable to bring arm warmers are something for the rain. As you head up Pico de las Nieves, the weather can quickly turn on you. 


If you fail to prepare, prepare to fail

There is an incredible variety of cycling routes available for riders of all levels. Most of the roads on the island are smooth, however, some are not. You won’t regret doing your homework. Find some recent and top reviewed routes near to where you are staying on your favourite platforms such as Wikilok, Komoot, and Strava. 

For those who like climbing, Pico de las Nieves is a must, with its long and challenging ascent to the summit at almost 2000 metres above sea-level. On a clear day, the panoramic views overlooking the island are breath-taking! It’s probably not a good idea to tackle this one on your first day.

Another challenge could be to do a loop of the whole island. Depending on the route, it could be over 200 km including some decent climbs. If you’re up for it, it’s generally recommended to do the loop clockwise. You want the wind to blow in your favour when you’re on the east of the island and heading south. Doing it counter-clockwise could break your cycling holiday. 

Whatever the route and challenge you decide to go for, always carefully check the weather forecast, especially when heading into the mountains. The weather can turn quickly, and before you know it you could be stuck in fog or rain showers. 

And always bring plenty of water with you on your rides and fill up your bottles at every given opportunity. There are some parts of the island where there aren’t any water fountains plus there can be long stretches before you reach the next towns to stop at cafés or supermarkets. 


Pico de las Nieves


Due North

Tourists all tend to head down to the south of the island. This is where you’ll find the majority of the hotels and resorts including Maspalomas. However, the locals all tend to ride in the northern part of the island, which is quieter and has less tourism.

If you like getting away from the crowds and mingling with the locals, then I can recommend checking out the town of Agaete, located in the north-west of the island. It’s just half an hour from the capital, Las Palmas. 

Agaete is a typical town with white houses and Canarian balconies. Puerto de Las Nieves is a 15-minute walk from the town, and here is where you’ll find the best places to eat and the two main beaches. It’s also from here you can take the ferry to and from Tenerife. A short walk along the coast will take you to the natural pools of Las Salinas. 

Agaete is a typical town with white houses and Canarian balconies. Puerto de Las Nieves is a 15-minute walk from the town, and here is where you’ll find the best places to eat and the two main beaches. It’s also from here you can take the ferry to and from Tenerife. A short walk along the coast will take you to the natural pools of Las Salinas. 

Cycling holiday Gran Canaria

Hotel & Spa Cordial Roca Negra is integrated into the volcanic rock of Agaete. This is the best cycling hotel in the north of Gran Canaria.

The shortest route from Agaete to the summit of Pico de Las Nieves is approx. 40 km. Stopping in the village of Tejeda is recommended, and from here you have views towards a famous landmark protected by UNESCO called Roque Nublo, an 80-metre tall volcanic rock.

Just 5 km up the road from Agaete is Finca Los Castaños, Europe’s only coffee plantation. This is a great place to stop, learn and taste coffee. Besides coffee, you can also try other local products including cheese and wine. 

Go local or go home

One of my favourite things to do when travelling is trying local dishes and products. There’s nothing like rewarding yourself and refuelling with some local dishes after a good workout. The Canarian gastronomy is quite simple and not as elaborate as the rest of Spain. But still tasty.

One of the most popular and typical local dishes to try would be “las papas arrugás”, which translated to English would be “Wrinkled Potatoes”. These are very well boiled potatoes in their skins, served with a delicious spicy sauce called “mojo picón”. If you don’t get around to trying them in a local Canarian bar or restaurant, it’s very likely you’ll be able to find them at the hotel’s restaurant. So, no excuses!

Papas with mojo” from La Bodega restaurant, at Seaside Palm Beach sports hotel.

One of the benefits of self-guided cycling holidays is that you call the shots. Discover little towns and villages and stop where you like and whenever you like. Buying local helps support and improve the quality of life of the local population. 

Locals in Gran Canaria are welcoming and respectful, and many will command a basic level of English. But nothing will impress them more than a bit of effort from your part to learn some local words. Some interesting words in “Canario” are Guagua (bus), Choso (home), tenderete (a good party), calufo (immense heat), and pelete (cold). I don’t think they know what cold is as they use the word “pelete” for anything below 18ºC.

Don’t leave without having visited…

Even though you’ll want to do most of your sight-seeing by bike. I would recommend hiring a car in Gran Canaria. The best place to do so is on the Award-winning site Discovery Cars. You can pick up the car straight from the airport and head to your favourite cycling hotel in Gran Canaria.

Whether by bike or on your well-deserved rest days, don’t leave Gran Canaria without having visited some of these places.

Maspalomas beach, the second longest beach in Gran Canaria and famous for its impressive dunes.  
Visit the towns of Agaete, Puerto de Mogán and Tejeda.  
Destilierías Arehucas, the oldest rum factory in Europe dated back to 1892. Located in the north of the island in the town called Arucas.   
Finca los Castaños, the only coffee plantation in Europe, located near the town of Agaete in the north-west of the island.   
Sioux City, a replica of an American Wild West Town with an animal farm and different shows and events. Located in Maspalomas.  


TIP: Maspalomas dunes is one of the most popular attractions. Be aware that the dunes are protected. Failing to stay on the designated walking trials will result in fines.

Gran Canaria is a family-friendly destination and offers plenty of activity and excursion options. Some of the most popular family attractions include Dolphin and whale watching, beach buggy tours, and the crocodile park. 

I usually don’t mention attractions with animals in captivity. The crocodile park, however, is a rescue centre, the only one in the Canaries. It´s home to many animals brought by individuals or seized by governments. Many have terrible stories of abuse and neglect before going there. 

Book a Sports Hotel

Not only is Gran Canaria a well know sporting destination for its ideal climate, great infrastructure, and variety of routes and landscapes. But it also offers a wide range of premium sports hotels catering to sports lovers seeking an active holiday.

The facilities and services available at sports hotels are truly amazing. For you as a cyclist, the most important one will probably be the fully equipped cycling centres with cycle hire options, storage, workshops, spare parts and accessories. 

Bringing your own bike is also an option and rest assured it will be treated just like another guest. If you prefer to travel light, then you can always ship your bike using professional services like Sherpr.

Cycling centre at Hotel Suites & Villas by Dunas

But why not also complement your cycling training with some alternative workouts and core exercises in the inspiring and modern gyms available at the sports hotels. 

For the days you’re not on out on the bike exploring the island, but still want to keep active and break a sweat, there are plenty of other sporting options, from tennis to golf. 

All these facilities will keep the non-cyclists in your group active and healthy as well. Your family will be well taken care of as well, with plenty of activities and fun available for the kids. 

Chances are you’ll be putting in some hard work on your bike when in Gran Canaria. So why not treat yourself to a bit of comfort and luxury when you’re off the bike. Get the rest your body needs, not only in terms of a good night’s sleep, but by making use of the amazing Spa facilities, sports massages, and athletes’ meals available in the hotel. 

Surround yourself with like-minded people who share the same passions as you do. You will find the atmosphere in a sports hotel so energising and inspiring, that you’ll just want to keep coming back for more. 

Read my blog post 7 Reasons To Stay In A Sports Hotel for more benefits as to why you should book a sports hotel for your next cycling holiday. 

So, take advantage of the amazing facilities and services available at sports hotels and give yourself an amazing Gran Canaria cycling holiday experience.


Bike Hire Gran Canaria

There are plenty of options when it comes to renting a bike in Gran Canaria. If you book a cycling hotel you will have a wide range of bike rental options available directly on site including premium bikes.

If you’re staying elsewhere and are looking for a bike hire company in Gran Canaria is FreeMotion. They have seven cycle hire shops on the island, including one in Las Palmas and many along the south coast. Freemotion offer a wide range of bike hire options including road bikes, mountain bikes, urban bikes, and e-bikes. They also run the cycling centres at the Hotel & Villas by Dunas in Maspalomas, Seaside Sandy Beach also in Maspalomas, Hotel Gloria Palace in San Augstín, and Hotel Cordial Mogan Playa in Puerto de Mógan.

Still not convinced?

Download your FREE sports travel guide to Gran Canaria below, and start dreaming of your next sports holiday break!



For cyclists, triathletes and runners

DISCOLUSURE: The hotels and products/services I recommend on Sports Hotels have been carefully handpicked and reviewed. None of them have been paid to be listed here. I may earn a small affiliate commission should you purchase through these links. This will no way affect the purchase price. I really appreciate your support!

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