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We’ve had the pleasure of visiting Gran Canaria multiple times over the past decade. Staying in and exploring different parts of the island, we’ve often had to consider how to get around.
Given that Gran Canaria is a relatively small island, we’ve always used the readily available taxis or well-connected public bus service to get around. However, if you’re planning on visiting remote locations or doing a lot of travel while on the island then hiring a car may be more economical.
Unless you’re staying in a remote part of Gran Canaria, then you’ll find most of the tourist towns and cities are built up enough that you can walk to several bars, restaurants and convenience stores.
Subsequently, if all you’re looking for from your trip to Gran Canaria is swimming in the hotel pool and relaxing on the beach, then in most cases you should only need transport to / from the airport and then be able to get everywhere else on foot.
We have travelled to Gran Canaria multiple times and not once hired a car to use on the island. However, if you plan to visit multiple towns, cities and attractions during your trip to Gran Canaria then a hire car may be a worthwhile expense.
There are multiple hire car locations across Gran Canaria, especially in the more heavily tourist areas of Maspalomas, Puerto Rico and Playa de Ingles.
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However, if you plan to hire a car for the entirety of your time in Gran Canaria then in our opinion the best place to pick up your hire car from is Gran Canaria (Las Palmas) airport.
Driving around Gran Canaria is relatively easy, the island is connected by just a handful of highways (motorways) and dense traffic is rare outside of the capital city of Las Palmas.
When it comes to the cost of hiring a car it’s also important to consider the additional charges that you may incur such as petrol / gas and parking which can in some cases double the total cost of the hire.
Subsequently, if you’re only planning on using the car for a small number of journeys during your time in Gran Canaria then it may work out more economical to take a taxi instead.
To cut costs when hiring a car in Gran Canaria consider booking a hotel with complimentary parking or located close to roadside parking that doesn’t require a meter.
Taxis are readily available in Gran Canaria with multiple taxi ranks in the popular tourist towns and cities willing to take you to different locations across the island.
Taxis in Gran Canaria work on a meter and so while the driver will be able to give you an estimated cost of a journey, the exact amount will vary. Some things that impact the cost of a metered taxi fare in Gran Canaria include;
- Time of day (evenings are a higher tariff)
- Journey duration
- Pick-up / drop-off location (the airport for example is a higher rate)
Using this service you can book private cars and minibuses in advance which means that a driver will be waiting for you at the airport when you land, ready to take you straight to your accommodation.
If you’re in need of a taxi in Gran Canaria then you can either;
- Go to the nearest taxi rank
- Ask the hotel to call a taxi for you
- Flag a taxi down in the street
To flag a taxi down in the street you simply need to look for a taxi with an illuminated green light. When you see one, simply raise your arm closest to the road (being aware of your surroundings) while making eye contact with the driver. The taxi driver will then pull over in a safe location close to where you’re standing.
Uber and Bolt are underdeveloped in Gran Canaria with very few drivers. Subsequently, if you need a taxi when in Gran Canaria you’ll likely be depending on the taxi ranks and the available taxi drivers who pass.
Whenever / wherever we are unable to walk in Gran Canaria, taxis are our preferred mode of transport. While this means that when travelling with our toddler we need a portable, toddler-friendly car seat (both by law and for his own safety) it’s still the most affordable and convenient option.
Buses are another efficient and cost-effective way to travel around Gran Canaria. The island boasts an extensive public bus service, locally known as “guaguas”, that connects various parts of the island, making them a reliable and convenient means of transportation.
If you are staying in a more remote part of Gran Canaria, or wish to visit a more secluded spot, a combination of bus and taxi travel may be required, as not all areas are served by the public bus network.
Public buses in Gran Canaria provide services to almost all corners of the island, from bustling tourist resorts to secluded villages and are a particularly good choice if you plan on visiting the island’s capital, Las Palmas, which can be difficult to navigate by car due to its busy city traffic and limited parking spaces.
The bus fares in Gran Canaria are quite affordable. The exact fare will depend on the distance of your journey but is pretty much always cheaper than taking a taxi.
You can pay for your journey with cash (exact change is preferred) or with a pre-paid Bono Bus card, which offers discounted fares and can be purchased at bus stations and many newsstands.
If you’re taking the bus to the airport, then be sure to allow extra time for your journey, ensuring that you arrive at Gran Canaria Airport with plenty of time to check-in, drop off any bags and go through security.