Wednesday, April 13, 2011

10 tips when you're traveling with kids to Gran Canaria, Canary Islands

I loved our recent family holiday on the island of Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands, but really, anytime you go somewhere for the first time, it's like a trial run. You make some mistakes, you learn a lot about places you liked and didn't like, what worked better and what didn't, and then the next time you go, you have a better idea of what to do and where to go.

Here are 10 tips based on what I learned on our trip to Gran Canaria.

1. Try the local seafood if you're eating out: fish, squid, prawns, octopus... The meat is good too in lots of places, but really, on an island in the Atlantic, fresh seafood is the way to go.

2. If you're shopping for souvenir t-shirts, including for your kids, try the "T-Shirt Palace" in Playa del Ingles. Great selection, nicely presented, and easy to find the sizes you want.

3. Do try the local coffee, at least if you like your coffee strong and smooth and just plain awesome. 

4. If you or your kids like juice when eating out, order orange juice. The OJ was often fresh-squeezed and extremely delicious.

5. Don't bring inflatable toys/rings/balls to the beach: they're very likely to end up blowing away or getting washed away in the waves and currents. Especially if you're going to Playa del Ingles or another beach with nice, biggish waves. Save the inflatables for the pool.

6. Don't assume that going to the public washroom near the beach will be free. It is in some places, but 0.50 euros seemed to be the going rate at Playa del Ingles.

7. Bring sunscreen with you, because even though a lot of things are cheap in the Canary Islands, sunscreen is not one of them.

8. Study maps carefully if you're driving somewhere: road signs don't always show up where you'd like them to, and it's definitely good to know where you're going without relying on signage.

Puerto de las Nieves near Agaete on the west coast.
9. Take the time to head up into the mountains, even if it's just for a half-day drive. It's a very different atmosphere than the busy-busy south coast where most of the tourists stay, and makes for a nice change of pace.

Sunset in ArguineguĂ­n.
10. If you're heading out at night or in the early morning, bring a sweater, at least if you're not visiting in the middle of summer. We visited the island in March, and I found that the whole family appreciated having a sweater to put on once the sun started to go down.


  1. Sounds like my kind of place with great stong coffee along with everything else!

  2. Oh you would LOVE the coffee! I miss it already. :(

  3. Good summary. I also recommend a trip up to the capital Las Palmas. Great shopping, and an awesome beach!

    There is more info about Las Palmas on my blog (I live there):

  4. Thank you for the link and info! It's always great to get a local's perspective! :)


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