Where and What to Hire
For a small island Gran Canaria has a reasonable selection of places from where to hire a car. Thrifty, Cabrera, Goldcar, Hertz, Cicar and Europecar all have premises at the airport. He southern tip of the island has car companies, Cicar, Islacar, Sixt and Motos Rocamar while Cicar, Sixt and Lencar are located in the northeast tip of the island. Cicar has another branch in the northwest of the island. Sometimes cars are available to rent from the resorts on Gran Canaria. Types of cars may be more limited than in other locations and booking ahead is also advised. However, various two-door and four-door options should be available for hire.
Driving in Gran Canaria varies depending on where you are. Driving in Las Palmas can be a headache due to volumes of traffic and one-way systems, particularly during rush hour which is from 7.30am to 9am and 4pm to 7pm. Driving in Gran Canaria is on the right-hand side of the road. Many roads are mountainous which can be challenging. They are narrow and very winding which requires nerves of steel and unwavering concentration.
There are some underground car parks in Gran Canaria but most parking is the on-street metered kind. Charges are approximately €1.35 per hour with some areas costing quite a bit more. It is best to practice reverse parking before driving in Gran Canaria as parking is often haphazard and it may be necessary to fit a large car into a space designed for one half its size. Just be careful not to park on a yellow line. While parking your car, check for blue marks on the ground - these spaces are known as blue zones, and require you to buy a small ticket from the machine and put it inside your window. In some areas, you can pay for the amount of time you think you will be there. Rates are written on the machine. In other areas, such as the main street, there are employees with yellow jackets who sell the tickets. Here, 2 hours parking is just 50 cents.
Where to Go and What to See
Located off the West Coast of Africa, having a car on this exotic island is a must for those who want to go off and explore at their own pace. The huge capital Las Palmas is a bustling city with plenty to see and do but for those who want to experience the quieter side of Gran Canaria, a good place to start is a one hour drive southwest from Las Palmas to Roque Nublo – the islands most famous rock. This 80 meter high volcanic masterpiece is in a beautifully isolated location, ideal for an impromptu picnic. Another sight worth seeing is the spectacular sand dunes of beautiful Maspalomas beach in the far south of the island. They are thought to have been created by a tsunami that struck the island in 1755. Don’t think this place is all desert – on the contrary, the area has a splendid golf course and botanical gardens in which to cool off. Gran Canaria is ideal for a family holiday for over 140 miles of sandy beach that kids of all age will love to play on. While younger ones can build sandcastles or play in the saltwater pool on the promenade, bigger kids can enjoy some fantastic water-sports like windsurfing, surfing, scuba diving and snorkelling on this wet and wild island often dubbed ‘the Hawaii of the Atlantic’. For a romantic ‘private beach’ experience, head to ‘Sand Mountain’ in the very south of the island for unspoilt beautify and solitude. Hiker and walkers will love the canyons, caves and coast of Gran Canaria. While walking tours are available, it is easy enough to go off on your own adventure. From pine forests to cactus strewn landscapes, between them the ‘Parque Natural de Tamadaba’ and the ‘Parque Natural de Pilancones’ boast strikingly different scenery to wander through. Gran Canaria also offers plenty of opportunity for trekking off-the-beaten-track.