The complete ultimate must-see places list
Maspalomas has several cultural and natural sites that are a "must to see". Don't leave without visiting them ! Monuments, parks, natural spaces, art, architecture, archaeology... There is something for everyone ! Here you have the ultimate complete list of things to do or places to go...
[ Dunes | Beaches | Lighthouse | Charca | ViewPoints | Botanical Park | Archeologic Vestiges | Pepe Dámaso's Art | Open Air Museum | South Park | Agricultural Market | Parl for Peace | Ecumenical Temple | Aids Memorial | Military Bunker | Cita Shopping Centre | Yumbo Centrum | Mundo Aborigen ]
1 - The dunes of Maspalomas
The dunes of Maspalomas extend over 4 km2 and form a unique protected natural area. They are the result of the tsunami that swept through southern Europe in the 18th century, displacing tons of sand along the east coast of the Canary Islands (especially in Fuerteventura and Gran Canaria). The dunes of Maspalomas have an international reputation and are one of the most important tourist attractions in Maspalomas. Today the dunes are protected, it is not possible to circulate freely and it is obligatory to follow the marked paths to cross them.
2 - Maspalomas and Playa del Inglés beaches
Playa del Inglés beach and Maspalomas beach form an exceptional natural area measuring more than six kilometres length, made up entirely of blond and golden sand. It is possible to walk along their entire length without interruption. There are several beach kiosks along the shoreline where you can stop for refreshments, food and hot or cold drinks. Deck chairs and parasols are also available for hire. Part of the beach is authorised for naturism. After Playa del Inglés, the beach continues towards the seaside resort of San Agustin and continues non stop until Las Burras beach.
3 - Faro de Maspalomas (Maspalomas Lighthouse)
Considered an emblematic symbol and one of the best known monuments in Gran Canaria, specially in San Bartolomé de Tirajana, the Faro de Maspalomas is an active 19th century lighthouse, whose construction was completed in 1889. It lies at one end of the Maspalomas beach, next to the Maspalomas Dunes, and emitted its first flash of light on the 1st of February 1890. It was conceived by the canarian engineer Juan León y Castillo, the metal engineering inside and the optical device are a French construction, made by F. Barbier & Cie in Paris. Today, it is one of the oldest lighthouses still in operation in the Canary Islands and it houses a tourist information centre and an ethnographic museum on the ground floor.
DUNAS MAP : PLAYA DEL INGLES GAY GUIDE & MAP
4 - The "charca" of Maspalomas
In Spanish, a "charca" is a freshwater basin of average size, larger than a simple puddle but not big enough to constitute a lake. It is usually a complete ecosystem that allows various animals to live or reproduce there, including certain species of fish or birds. There are also various kinds of plants. The charca of Maspalomas is located in a sandy area, between the dunes and the beach, not far from the lighthouse of the same name. It is a precious place because it is one of the few freshwater basins in the area. It is said that Christoph Columbus stopped here on one of his journeys to America to fill up with water and firewood. It sometimes happens that the charca of Maspalomas joins the sea and that fresh and salt waters merge, especially during high tides or strong storms. But in general, the place is calm and peaceful, and breathes harmony and serenity.
5 - The viewpoints of Maspalomas
Maspalomas has several viewpoints that are called "Mirador" in Spanish and that allow to admire different points of view on the city or on the nature. The three main and best known viewpoints are the one front of the dunes of Maspalomas, the one at the end of calle Francia and the one on the end of avenida de Estados Unidos. All three of them have been recently fitted out and modernized during the years 2010. They each present a vast esplanade open on magnificent landscapes and paved with stone slabs. There are also seats and some plants. They are perfect places to meditation and observation. It is particularly recommended to visit them at sunset time.
6 - Parque Botánico de Maspalomas
(Maspalomas Botanical Park)
The Botanical Garden of Maspalomas (Parque botánico de Maspalomas) presents various species of exotic or tropical plants, trees and flowers typical of the Canary Islands or from Macaronesia. It is open every day of the week, from Monday to Friday, from 10 am to 6 pm. Admission is free. A very nice and peaceful place !
7 - Yacimiento Punta Mujeres
(Prehispanic archeologic vestiges)
The archaeological vestiges of Punta Mujeres presents the remains of a site of Guanches habitation, the first inhabitants of Gran Canaria and indigenous people of the archipelago before the arrival of the Spanish settlers. We can clearly see the remains of the circular stone huts in which the guanches used to live. These dwellings were usually partially buried in the ground and barely protruded above the ground by about one metre. As the families grew larger, more circles were built, which were juxtaposed and sometimes connected to each other. The archaeological site of Punta Mujeres is even more precious as the guanches settled mostly inland and in the mountains, they were breeders and farmers, so it was rare to find villages or seaside settlements like this one. The inhabitants of Punta Mujeres were probably fishermen and knew how to exploit the products of the sea, which makes them even more peculiar. They used the pebbles of the seaside to build their houses.
8 - Pepe Dámaso's Mosaic Art
Born as José Dámaso Trujillo in December 1933 at Agaete, Pepe Dámaso is one of Gran Canaria's most popular contemporary artists. His work is influenced by ancestral Canarian and African traditions and mainly includes painting and sculpture. He has exhibited all over the world, especially in Africa, Europe, North America and Latin America. In Maspalomas it is possible to admire a unique and big mural fresco that he created in painting and mosaic on the ceiling of the entrance hall of the Las Arenas building at Playa del Inglés and which dates from 1966, just at the beginning of the construction of the seaside resort. All you have to do is raise your eyes to the sky and you'll be amazed.
9 - Open-air museum
(More than 30 master piece sculptures in the area)
Maspalomas is a real open-air museum of contemporary art. More than thirty monumental sculptures signed by the greatest and most famous local or national masters are spread throughout the resort, including Playa del Inglés, San Fernando, San Agustin, Campo Internacional and Meloneras in the vicinity of the lighthouse. Keep an eye out on the Avenida de Tirajana, which runs through San Fernando and Playa del Inglés; almost all the central areas of the crossroads are embellished with impressive sculptures. Several of these sculptures come from a creative competition launched in 1993 by the municipality of San Bartolomé de Tirajana under the theme of "9 sculptures for 9 villages" to renew a little the representation and vision of the Canary Island people and villages, in order to escape their widespread folk style. The idea was to turn to a more modern, abstract and refined form of art.
10 - Parque del Sur (South Park)
The "Parque del Sur" is an urban park of 6 233 square meters of surface. Its peculiarity is that it is made up of several sectors for different uses, connected to each other by walkways and grassed areas. One of the first sectors is intended to house a Gallo-Roman-style green theatre where open-air shows can be performed. The stage and stands are protected by a vast canvas stretched across the air above the theatre. In another area we find a vast artificial lake which is home to a colony of ducks, fish and wet or aquatic plants. Unfortunately this lake was partly filled in at the end of the 2010's due to an invasion of rats and parasites. Today, there is almost nothing left of it. The other areas of the park are reserved for a food area, a children's play zone and sports fields. The park is open every day and attracts many families and walkers. People come here to picnic, relax or walk. Access is free of charge.
11 - Maspalomas Agricultural Market
(Mercado agrícola de Maspalomas)
The Maspalomas agricultural market is a craft market reserved for agriculture and its by-products, but always processed in a traditional way and with respect for nature and the environment. There are mainly fruits and vegetables, bread and cookies, jams and sauces, flowers, plants, freshly squeezed juices, olive oil, wine, honey... The market takes place every two weeks, Sunday morning, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., and is held in San Fernando. A real good opportunity to discover the local products of Gran Canaria sold without intermediary by producers directly from the various farms on the island.
12 - Parque de la Paz (Park for peace)
The "Parque de la Paz" (Park for Peace) was created as a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi and his commitment to non-violence and peace all over the world, among humans of any race, country or religion. It was financed and conceived by the Indian community of Maspalomas and donated to the municipality as a thanks for the welcome and prosperity that this community has enjoyed in this city and in the south of Gran Canaria since the 1970s. A giant statue of the philosopher sits enthroned in the middle of the park along the Avenida de Europa (also known as GC 500). In addition, the park is dotted with phrases of the thinker, scattered along the paths and reproduced on panels, which invite the walker to reflect and remind him or her of certain concepts related to peace and non-violence. Parque de la Paz is an invitation to reflection, open-mindedness and altruism. It is also a place of teaching and learning for new generations.
13 - Ecumenical Temple "El Salvador"
The Ecumenical Temple of Playa del Inglés was built in two years from 1969 and inaugurated in January 1971. It is the work of the Canarian architect Manuel de la Peña and has a futuristic and avant-garde form inspired by an upside-down ship. It is dedicated to accommodate all Christian religions and no less than nine different cults are celebrated there. It also hosts classic concerts thanks to its monumental organ of very good quality. The stained glass windows inside are the work of the artist Juan Antonio Giraldo and the monumental wrought iron gate at the entrance is signed by the creator of Tenerife José Abad, it measures no less than 300 square metres. The temple is very famous and represents one of the major architectural works of Maspalomas.
14 - Maspalomas AIDS Memorial
The Maspalomas AIDS Memorial is part of the 'Plaza de la Diversidad Daría Jaén Rivero', the central space of the Yumbo Centrum. The memorial consists of a Red Ribbon made of broken red tiles placed in the concrete resting area amidst a succulent garden accompanied by a monolith with a bord reading : 'Este lugar especial, está dedicado a todos las personas que sufren a cause del SIDA. El lazo rojo es el símbolo de la lucha y la esperenza. A los que se han ido, nuestro recuerdo por siempre...' [This special place is dedicated to all people who suffer from AIDS. The red ribbon is the symbol of struggle and hope. To those who have left, our memory forever...] The Maspalomas AIDS Memorial has been unveiled by major D. Marco-Aurelio Pérez Sánchez and president of Amigos Contra el Sida, Orlando Viera, on Christopher Street Day, 28 June 2017, after a unanimous vote of the Municipal Plenary of the Ayuntamiento de la Villa de San Bartolomé de Tirajana on 31 May 2016.
15 - Military Bunker of San Agustin
During the Second World War, Franco's Spain feared an invasion by the Anglo-American allies, particularly in the Canary Islands. This is why it was decided to build an anti-aircraft defense wall on the coast of the islands. This coastal defense consisted of concrete bunkers that housed anti-aircraft guns (DCA) that could be used to combat an air attack and to shoot down enemy aircraft. In the south of Gran Canaria, the San Agustin beach bunker is one of the few and last testimonies of these military constructions. It is preserved in relatively good condition and we can still clearly distinguish the loopholes which allow the barrels of the machine guns to pass. It is located at Playa de las Burras, at the place called "Punta de las Burras", it is easily accessible and it is worth the visit. This is an excellent walking lens. Note that, at the end, the Canary Islands were never attacked by the allies and that the bunkers were never used for anything.
16 - Cita Shopping Centre
The Cita Shopping Centre was inaugured in 1970, and during some decades, it was the gay life epicentre in Gran Canaria. For this reason, it is still considered as a part of the gay scene. Some gay institutions are still there, for example the famous Cafe Wien terrace. Cita Centre also hosts the last porn theater in the island, several erotic shops, fashion stores, massage studios and some bars owned by gay people (most of them are german). Today a large part of the shopping centre is empty and many businesses are abandoned, but the place deserves the visit for its old-fashioned architecture, typical of the 70s, the decorations, paintings, lights and sculptures, outside and inside. On the street side, you can see various European monuments in miniature, reproduced in cardboard paste... This mall is really a curiosity to discover. Finally, note that the men's toilets in this shopping centre are one of the busiest public spaces gay-cruising spots in town. The merry-go-round is incessant !
17 - Yumbo Centrum
The Yumbo Centrum is wordlwide known as the Gay Shopping Centre of Europe and not for nothing ! With hundreds of shops including gay bars, cafes, restaurants, as well as a wide variety of fashion, electronics and jewelry stores, it is said to be the shopping centre with the highest concentration of gay and gay-friendly establishments in the world. Yumbo Centre is undeniably the epicenter of gay life and gay tourism in Gran Canaria. The centre of 20,000 m², spread over 4 levels, was inaugurated in october 1982. Today, the Yumbo also hosts many festive and popular events throughout the year such as the Winter Pride, the carnival or the Gay Pride. In general, the Yumbo is not very lively during the day, unless the weather is bad, and it is especially from the end of the afternoon (17h in winter -18h in summer), in the evening and in the night he comes to life. The more we advance in the day, the more the atmosphere is gay and festive.
18 - Mundo Arborigen Park
Mundo Aborigen is a theme park where you find out about aboriginal life, it is located a litte out of the city of Maspalomas but it is also very close. It's about the unique historic museum in the area. Surrounded by the rugged landscape of the Fataga valley and within the Ayagaures Natural Park in south Gran Canaria, Mundo Aborigen theme park is a journey through the history and culture of the Canary Islands. Visitors learn about the lives of the original inhabitants of the Canary Islands. This theme park is a reconstruction of an old canary island village. In its interior you might see a reproduction of the guanche pre hispanic culture with more than 100 real-size figures doing daily life tasks and displaying moments of everyday life, and showing intimate details of aboriginal life.
This park has a marked trail with signs showing you the way to go, leading through vivid descriptions of everything, from a butcher gutting a goat, a doctor holding a surgery, a farmer sowing a field to a convict being executed with a stone… Thanks to it you might discover how the original guanches aborigines used to live. To emphasise the most important aspects of Guanche culture, the park also houses a small archaeological museum. The whole enclosure has been declared Historic, Social and Cultural Interest Site by the Canary Islands Government. Don't miss this open-air museum surrounded by impressive Gran Canaria landscapes. On the background you’ll hear animal sounds giving it more realism. You will love love being outdoors in the sunny climate of the Fataga Valleyand interacting with the Mundo Aborigen dogs, pigs and goats while the grown ups get to travel back in time and discover what life was like in the Canaries 2,000 years ago.
Opening hours: everyday from 9.00 to 18.00