Looking for things to do in Gáldar? No-one covers Gran Canaria’s municipalities in as much detail as us. Here’s our guide to one of the best in the north west of the island.
Enter Gáldar by road and a sign announces your arrival in Real Ciudad de Gáldar, Corte de los Guanartemes. In pre-Hispanic Gran Canaria, this royal city was known as Agáldar. But what can you get up to in the post-millennial version?
- Spend the night (or more) in Gáldar
- Tap into Támaran and more in Gáldar
- Go up country in Gáldar
- Hit the beach in Gáldar
1. Spend the night (or more) in Gáldar
The island’s two main motorways take you from the airport to Gáldar. Head north on the GC-1 before turning west onto the GC-2 in capital Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. If you’re travelling by bus, change at San Telmo rather than Santa Catalina.
There’s just the one hotel here. The three-star Hacienda de Anzo‘s a six-bedroom out-of-town mansion house lovingly restored by Canarian artist Facundo Fierro. Its tropical gardens, complete with caves, are a popular wedding-breakfast venue.
Rather more central is Los Oliva. This holiday home sleeps 10 with five bedrooms and eight beds. It’s owned by our old friends at Casa Rural La Asomadita and is as elegantly decorated as their original rustic idyll.
2. Tap into Támaran and more in Gáldar
Enrol your child in a Gáldar school and their classmates are as likely to include an Aythami and an Ayoze as an Alejandro and an Andres; a Cathaysa and a Chaxiraxi as a Cecilia and Cristina. This is a Gran Canaria which embraces its Berber past. When the island was known as Támaran, the Land of the Brave, and Agaldar was one of two capitals along with Telde.
For an intro to the island’s pre-Spanish history, head to the Museo y Parque Arqueológico Cueva Pintada. The Painted Cave Archaeological Park and Museum welcomes you to the world of the canarii, Gran Canaria’s aboriginal ancestors. Here, amongst the geometric cave art, you’ll watch a video painting the invaders as twisted fire starters who set canarii dwellings ablaze whilst the natives were still inside.
In Gáldar, there’s a statue of the canarii king Tenesor Semidán rather than the traitor he became after his capture, Fernando Guanarteme. Designed by Juan Borges Linares, it was unveiled in 1986. A year after the same sculptor’s Bajada de las Guayarminas which depicts the three canarii princesses, Tenesoya, Arminda Masequera, and La Guayarmina who became Castilian noblewomen Luisa de Betancor, Catalina de Guzmán, and Margarita Fernández.
The Iglesia de Santiago de los Caballeros, the church dedicated to St James, takes centre stage in the town’s Plaza de Santiago. This is our favourite square on the island. It’s here or just off it where you’ll find most of Gáldar’s best restaurants.
Like La Trastienda El Chago, a great place to pair tapas with beers and wines both local and national. Then there’s the equally foodie Come y Caña which has a decent selection of craft beers. Elsewhere, get your sugar fix at Alcori who pride themselves on their churros (Spanish doughnuts) and chocolate (hot chocolate).
If you want to extend your Gáldar night out, check out Discoteca Zona. Then there’s Sala Cirius C16, hosts of the north of Gran Canaria’s first electronic music festival. And not forgetting Pub Spirit Gáldar, home to beauty queen pageants and karaoke.
3. Go up country in Gáldar
Not many people know that the island has its very own Camino de Santiago. Gáldar, specifically its main church, marks the end of this cross-island, three-day hike. On the way into town, you’ll pass banana plantations as 90% of the island’s platanos are grown in Gáldar.
The municipality is also noted for its sweet red onions. These are chopped up to form part of an ensalada mixta (mixed salad). Or used to scoop gofio escaldado (scalded toasted cornmeal) into your mouth.
Gran Canaria’s vineyards are grabbing more attention from wine lovers. Not least Bodega Vega de Gáldar. Their vintages include the ecological El Convento de la Vega.
4. Hit the beach in Gáldar
Sardina del Norte has long been a weekend getaway for the Gran Canaria Local family. Where we enjoy sunning ourselves on one of the north of the island’s few sandy beaches. After tucking into sardines and seafood at La Fragata.
Mr GCL went diving for the first time on the island here. Due to its Atlanticside location, this municipality attracts watersports enthusiasts. With the likes of bodyboarders and surfers competing in regular events.
Other local beaches include tranquil El Juncal, at the bottom of a ravine and only accessible by 4×4 or foot from the car park located 10 minutes above. Go to Dos Roques for its natural swimming pool rather than postage-stamp-sized beach. And the stony beach, strong waves, and lack of a Blue Flag makes Playa Lagarto a popular retreat for naturists.