8 Top Tips For Renting a Car in Gran Canaria Spain

Renting a Car in Gran Canaria

Gran Canaria is one of the most popular destinations in the Canary Islands and so worth a visit! Renting a car in Gran Canaria can be the best way to explore and make the most of your time there. Here’s what to know before picking up your Gran Canaria rental car, location advice, and tips from our own rent a car experiences.

How to Get to Gran Canaria Spain

Before getting into our Gran Canaria rental car tips you should first know how to get there. The island is very well connected to mainland Europe with direct flights available year round into Gran Canaria Airport. It’s just a short 3.5 hour flight from Barcelona, and under 3 hours from Madrid.

An interesting way to get to Gran Canary is by utilizing Spain’s ferry system. Boats make the trip once a week from ports such as Huelva and Cadiz. Just know this will be an extremely long trip of over 30 hours on the water! 

The only reason to take this route would be if you’re bringing a vehicle with you. However, as you’ll see in this article, it’s super easy to grab a rent a car in Gran Canaria once you get there.

Gran Canaria Car Rental

Our Experience With a Gran Canaria Rental Car

We have visited Gran Canaria several times now and always have a blast! On our most recent trip we stayed with Brigitte’s family who were living in a small town just outside of Las Palmas.

We picked up our rent a car in Gran Canaria from the airport after arriving. From there, we used their house as a home base to explore more of the island.

By renting for two weeks during the winter season we were able to get a great discount! Below you’ll find our 8 essential tips for renting a car in Gran Canaria. This includes how to get the best prices, what to expect driving, and important things to watch out for. 

Gran Canaria Rental Cars

8 Tips for Renting a Car in Gran Canaria

1. How to Find the Best Gran Canaria Rental Car

There are many spots all over the island to pick up your rental car in Gran Canaria. The simplest way to go is to grab your vehicle from the Las Palmas de Gran Canaria Airport (check the current prices).

This way you can get your car right when you land, and return it to the same place before flying out. The airport also has some of the best rates as there is so much competition between car hire companies.

Picking it up at the airport will also save you the taxi or shuttle bus cost to your accommodation. Know that this can be quite expensive depending on what part of the island you are staying in.

Another idea would be to wait until you get to your accommodation and go to a local rental company. This would be a good option if you only need your Gran Canaria rental car for a day or two. 

​Many of the large hotels work directly with local companies. Some car hire offices will even drop the car off for you in the morning and pick it up at the end of the day. This won’t always get you the best deals, but it’s certainly can be nice depending on your vacation style. 

Where To Stay in Las Palmas Gran Canaria 

Ultra Luxury (High End) – VEINTIUNO Emblematic Hotels – Adults Only – Modern upscale design seen throughout the hotel property and rooms. Daily breakfast and beautiful tropical rooftop with an outdoor swimming pool.

Fun Vacation (Mid Range) – Maresía Canteras Urban Hotel – Tropical island style hotel just steps from Las Canteras Beach. Bright rooms with comfy Balinese bed. Hotel also has a beautiful terrace to relax and enjoy a drink at night after exploring.

Hostel Life (Budget) – Avocado Surf Hostel – As one of the more upscale hostels in town, the Avocado Surf Hostel is located near the beach and center of Las Palmas. Gorgeous international decor fills the rooms and even features a large terrace.

Best Gran Canaria Rental Cars

2. Book Your Gran Canaria Car Rental in Advance

Reserving your rental car in advance is the best way to secure great deals for your vacation. As soon as you know your dates, we recommend checking websites like this one to search the rental prices. 

Discover Cars allows you to filter through the different rental agencies, car types, and dates to help you find the best rental deals. Some of the companies even have free cancellation so you’ll have no worries if your plans change.

To really save money, be sure to search for week-long discounts. You also may want to opt for a small car rental in Gran Canaria if you’re on a budget, or a manual vehicle instead of an automatic.

Gran Canaria Car Rental Guide

3. Peak Season vs Low Season

The popular tourist season in the Canary Islands is similar to the rest of Europe in the summertime. July and August bring the most crowds and the higher prices during these months reflect that. 

Our favorite time to visit Gran Canaria is in the shoulder season. Months like May and June or September and October still have warm temperatures, but fewer crowds. 

From November to March is considered low season in the Canary Islands. However, it’s a great year-round destination as the weather stays nice in these months. 

The off-season is also the time of year when you can get a low price for renting a car in Gran Canaria. The vehicles are often a fraction of the cost as they are during the summer, making it a great island to visit when it gets cold in other places.

Renting a car in Gran Canaria Guide

4. Watch the Beach Parking 

The beautiful sandy beaches are undoubtedly the main attraction on the island of Gran Canaria. While many of our favorites are on Fuerteventura and Tenerife, there are so many fun places to swim on Gran Canaria as well. 

One thing to watch out for is where you’re parking your vehicle. Most of the lots on Gran Canaria are paved and just a short walk to the beach. 

However, multiple lots are made of sand, too! We encountered this at a beach in the south and had quite the issue when leaving.

We had to ask for help at a local restaurant as our tires got stuck in the sand. It took us about 20 minutes to escape the lot as we had to put cardboard under our tires to peel out. 

This is something that could easily ruin your day when renting a car in Gran Canaria. Be extra careful where you park, and it might even be worth it to put your car a little further away on a concrete surface. 

Gran Canaria Rental Car Tips

5. Day Trips When Renting a Car in Gran Canaria 

The best way to utilize your Gran Canaria car rental is by taking day trips around the island. This is an especially fun idea if you’re staying in the capital city of Las Palmas. If you’re there on a Thursday night be sure to check out Route of the Tapas which takes you through the best bars and restaurants!

You won’t need a car in the city as it’s very walkable. In fact, it will honestly be more of a pain than anything as parking can be limited. 

Yet, to see some of the islands most amazing places you will need a rent a car in Gran Canaria. Some of our favorite areas to visit are the Maspalomas Dunes, Ageate Natural Pools, Roque Nublo, and the endless mountain towns. You can even hike around the Bandama Caldera which is a dormant volcano. 

While there is a bus system on the island, know that the routes are limited. The easiest way to get around is by renting a car in Gran Canaria. By basing yourself in one location, you can rent a car and take day trips to all the best sights. 

Best Gran Canaria Rental Car

6. Using the Canary Island Ferries

As we’ve mentioned, there are so many islands to visit after your time on Gran Canaria. If you have more than a week we totally recommend adding one or two more islands in your itinerary. 

You should know that the Canary Islands are connected by a ferry system. If you rent a car on Gran Canaria you can pay an additional charge to take your vehicle on the boat with you depending on the company.

With that said, this is not something we would advise to do. Flights are often cheaper than the ferries between the islands and it’s easy enough to rent a car when you get there.

→ 10 Reasons Why You’ll Love Having a Rental Car in Fuerteventura

Canary Island Guide

7. Gran Canaria Rental Car Damage Check

Another huge tip for renting a car on Gran Canaria is double checking for damage. It’s so important to make sure the car is in excellent condition before you drive off. 

We always walk around it multiple times, take photos, and even make a video circling the vehicle for peace of mind. It can really ruin your trip if you are charged upon return for something you didn’t do!

One way to ensure you won’t have any issues is to confirm you have car insurance. Our credit card covers us for vehicles abroad and reimburses us in the case of damage. 

If you don’t have your own rental car insurance that transfers over you can buy it when you get there at the rental desks. It’s also a good idea to get an international driving permit from your home country before leaving. 

One more quick note is to always return your car with a full tank of fuel or to the level you received it. You will be charged a very high rate to fill up if you don’t. 

Gran Canaria Rental Car Guide

8. Driving Your Rental Car in Gran Canaria

So what’s it actually like driving around this amazing island? Know that it can differ depending on what part of Gran Canaria you’re exploring.

The east coast is super mountainous with twists, turns, and epic viewpoints. This is where you may want to have some experience driving in Europe and other islands. The roads are a bit tighter here and locals will pass you with reckless abandon. 

At one point if you travel far enough it will be better to loop the island than turn around. The east coast is definitely for the more adventurous travelers. 

If you stick to the main roads of the island on the west coast, you’ll find it is very smooth and easy to drive. There is a massive highway connecting the north with the south of the island as well as some smaller scenic roads you can take if you aren’t in a rush.

It’s good to note that the highway isn’t a toll road so you can use it without worrying about paying an extra cost. We’ve never had any issues driving our rental car in Gran Canaria, and hopefully you won’t either!

Renting a Car in Gran Canaria Spain

Should You Rent a Car in Gran Canaria?

Absolutely! Having a Gran Canaria rental car is the best way to see the island. After many trips, we know we could have never seen all that we did without one.

From the beautiful beaches to the picturesque mountain towns and natural pools, there’s just so much to see. For your first time visiting it will be easiest to pick up your car at the airport. 

Also, don’t hesitate to go to Gran Canaria in the wintertime and take advantage of the cheapest month for cars and accommodations. You can find great prices in the off-season and it’s the best time of year to go to save some money. 

Rent a Car in Gran Canaria

Have any questions about this article or want to share your own experience renting a car in Gran Canaria? Leave us a comment below!

Safe Travels,
Brigitte & Jake

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Spain Travel Planning 

 Flights: We always find the best flights using Skyscanner. Sometimes it’s cheaper to fly between cities in Spain than driving or taking the train! 

 Accommodation: Compare multiple sites to get to the best deal such as Booking.com and Agoda! Also,  Hostelworld should be your go-to source if you’re traveling on a budget. 

Rental Car: We use Discover Cars to explore when traveling. Consider renting a car in one city and dropping it off in another for an epic Spain road trip! 

 Tours: Check out Get Your Guide for thousands of activities around Spain. You can book a tour of the Madrid Royal Palace, skip the line and explore the Alhambra de Granada, or even jump on a Tenerife Dolphin cruise! 

 Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without protection! We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.

 Packing Lists: Find all the inspiration you need with our Amazon packing lists. Including our electronics and camera gear, must-have medical items, and long flight essentials

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