Las Nasas restaurant on the beachfront at Puerto de las Nieves has a stunning terrace and a huge artwork by the Canary Islands' most famous living artist.
As if Agaete doesn't have enough fun at the La Rama fiesta, it also puts on Gran Canaria's coolest music eco-festival.
The Agaete Valley is Gran Canaria's barranco of secrets and it doesn't give them up easily. Here are five things that you never knew about the Agaete Valley.
Puerto de las Nieves in north-west Gran Canaria is more famous for its seafood than its beach. A shame, as few realise that the area gets some of the best weather on the island and that PDLN beach is a calm, sunny haven with fishing boats on the pebbles rather than sun loungers.
Puerto de Las Nieves is the prettiest coastal village in Gran Canaria and while its iconic rock lost its finger in 2005 the village still has its fishy charm. The houses are all whitewashed, the window frames blue, and the beachfront restaurants serve local fish.
And it's sunny: The area has its own microclimate and gets almost as much sunshine as the southern resorts. Even when the whole of the north coast is cloudy, Puerto de las Nieves and Agaete get blue skies.
Other than eat, swim and relax there's not much (and that's why we love it):
With the locals cramming in at the weekends for a weekend seafood feast, it's best to visit during the week when things are calmer.
Puerto de Las Nieves’ iconic Dedo de Dios (Finger of God) rock sadly lost its finger during a storm a few years ago. You can see the knuckle by looking left from the end of the jetty.
The natural swimming pools, with lava arches and plenty of space to sunbathe, are a great sunset spot.
The famous set of Dutch paintings that give the town its name are in the church, but it's permanently locked.
Most restaurants close in the evening and the nearest bars are in Agaete just inland.
The Agaete Valley behind the town is one of the prettiest in Gran Canaria and is full of traditional houses, palm trees and coffee. The road up ends at the top so you have to drive back the way you came.
Adventurous drivers head from Agaete along the west coast on the spectacular, cliff-edge road to La Aldea de San Nicolas. It’s windy and the drop offs extreme. For those with vertigo, it’s a no-no.
There're several natural, nudist beaches within walking distance.
From the town walk up the hill to Turman (a housing estate on the little hill behind the town). Here, a dirt path runs to La Caleta Bay with its pebble beach and rock shelves. There's a set of convenient steps running down to La Caleta. It takes ten minutes to walk from the town up to Turman, and another 15 to get to La Caleta.
El Juncal is another 40 minutes walk past Caleta: It’s a pretty valley with a bigger pebble beach at its mouth. Juncal is clothing optional and often empty as the only way in is on foot or with a four-wheel drive. The walk is pretty dusty, but you get some great views of the coast and the spectacular west coast cliffs. Take food and water as there are no facilities at all at El Juncal. The water is crystal clear and the snorkelling is excellent.
Further away, to the south, is Guayedra Beach: A firm favourite for locals and people from the nearby town of Galdar. The walk from Puerto de Las Nieves has some steep drop-offs and takes about an hour-and-a-half. The beach is mixed sand and pebbles (no facilities) and mostly nudist.
Most restaurants have outdoor terraces with views of the beaches. Until recently they all did seafood stapes like fried fish, calamares, sardines, etc. Now there's a couple of Italian options as well.
Always ask for an ensalada mixta as the Puerto de Las Nieves version always comes with tropical fruit along with the standard Canarian salad ingredients (lettuce, tomato, cucumber, red onion, tuna, asparagus, corn, etc). Order a salad for half the number of people at the table.
The Las Nasas restaurant is the most famous restaurant in town because of its lovely terrace. Arrive at 13.00 at weekends for a guaranteed terrace table. A
The Dedo de Dios restaurant (left of the stone jetty) doesn’t have outside terrace space but is cheap and does huge portions of very reasonable food. It even opens at night.
Gran Canaria's North Shore, sandwiched between the breakers and the banana plantations is riddled with authentic seafood restaurants. Ignore the roadside warehouse restaurants between Bañaderos and San Felipe and head for these tried-and-tested spots instead.
Puerto de las Nieves in the far north west of Gran Canaria caters to mobs of seafood-hungry Las Palmas locals at weekends. You won’t get a table at the beachfront restaurants after 13.30.
Visit during the week and Puerto de las Nieves reverts back to its natural, peaceful state. The odd carload of intrepid tourists that have driven from Las Palmas or along the West Coast road are often the only people on the terraces.
Puerto de las Nieves shuts up shop during the evenings. Most restaurants close but you’ll always find somewhere to knock out a plate of calamares.
El Dedo de Dios restaurant is the only one to the left of the old jetty. While it doesn’t have outdoor seating you can sit by the big windows if you arrive early. The food excellent and the best value in town. The Dedo opens at night.
The quintessential Puerto de las Nieves seafood restaurant with a whitewashed terrace right by the beach and fishing nets on the walls. The seafood is good and the slight premium you pay is worthwhile if you can get an outside table.
This tiny fishing harbour clings improbably to the narrow platform at the base of a high sea cliff in north west Gran Canaria. It’s a popular local spot because of its sandy beach, value restaurants and top-notch dive spots
The beach is small and sometimes gets washed away in winter but is the only sandy beach along the north coast. It has toilets, showers and sunbathing platforms.
Sardina’s restaurants serve seafood and Canarian dishes and their prices are local.
Right by the diving jetty the ramshackle El Ancla restaurant does great seafood, serving it without a trace of irony to divers just out of the ocean. The seafood and vegetable fry up is superb.
Embedded in the cliff overlooking the beach Mama Lolilla has to be one of Gran Canaria’s Top Location Restaurants. Arrive early (before 13.30) and you get the one-table terrace with the best view.
Las Canteras beach ends at La Puntilla but the walkway continues all the way to El Confital beach two kilometres north. It’s a much quieter part of the city with residential streets and little rocky bays.
The restaurants here are local and serve seafood at lower prices than along the beachfront.
Amigo Camillo is first restaurant on the front as you walk north from the big square at the north end of the beach. It's right on the edge of the rocks with greats views from its covered terrace. The calamares and puntitas (deep-fried baby squid) are delicious and there’s always fresh fish on display.
The most northerly village in Las Palmas is tucked away in the La Isleta Peninsula and surrounded by a military base.
Las Coloradas isn’t by the sea and its restaurants don’t have a great view. However, its been a city hotspot for seafood for decades and after a lull is coming back onto the radar.
Drive west out of Las Palmas along the coast road and you soon get to Tony Gallardo's amorphous but feminine sculpture. It represents the legend of Atlantis and looks like a giant woman facing the ocean.
Just past the sculpture is the Mirador del Atlante outdoor restaurant serving seafood and local dishes. It’s the only decent restaurant along the north coast with a good view of the city although you do pay for the location.
To reach the Mirador as you come into Las Palmas you have to drive past and turn around in the city: Just take the first exit past the bridge and use the roundabout by the Las Arenas shopping centre.
Every house in colourful El Roque village sits on a huge rock sticking out into the ocean in north Gran Canaria. Perched right at the tip is the Italian run Locando El Roque. It does a range of pasta and fresh fish and while it's more upmarket than most seafood places in north Gran Canaria, its location is exceptional.
The only sandy beach along the Gran Canaria North Shore, El Puertillo has a couple of fantastic local seafood spots right by the sand. There's not much to choose between them and they fill up fast at weekends.