Maspalomas Beach: Gran Canaria's Biggest And Most Famous Beach

Maspalomas beach Maspalomas beach

Maspalomas has its own palm tree oasis, lagoon and sand dune system. It's basically a miniature desert by the sea rather than a beach. It even has camels (which you can ride) but unlike a desert, there are convenient snack stands, comfy sun loungers and trained lifeguards.

maspalomas beach snack barBlue Flag Maspalomas beach stretches from the lagoon and Faro lighthouse at its western end all the way to the dogleg where the dunes stick out into the sea. The beach doesn't end here but turns into Playa del Inglés beach and continues on for kilometres as PDI beach merges into El Cochino and El Veril beaches. 

The Maspalomas beach section of this vast sandy paradise is about 3.5 kilometres long. Apart from a few pebbles at the western end, it's all golden sand and is wide enough to absorb the crowds of people that use it every day of the year.

The west end of the beach is where most families and couples choose to sit as it's normally calm and sheltered from the wind. Here you also have a convenient row of bars and restaurants right on the sand. As you head east past the lagoon and towards the dunes the beach merges into the mini-Sahara behind you. Loungers are clustered around the snacks bars and cost 2.5 euros per lounger and 2.5 euros for a parasol. 

Maspalomas dunes The famous and well-signposted Maspalomas nudist area is right in the middle of the beach where the dunes meet the sea. It's hard to miss but also easy to avoid if you'd rather not see anybody else's dangly bits: just stay on the first 1.5 kilometres of beach.

While there are snack stands at intervals along the beach, we advise you to take plenty of food and especially liquids if you plan to spend a whole day on Maspalomas beach. Shade is also essential if you spend a whole day at Maspalomas; either bring a parasol or rent one.

Lex says: Be aware that there are no toilet facilities in the middle of the beach and that it's a long walk back to the toilets in the round building here. It's fine to pee in the ocean (whales do as well ;) ).

To explore the dunes, it's best to set off from the Dunas Mirador in Playa del Inglés (see this map for location) and either walk to the shore along the crests of the dunes (it takes longer than you expect) or west back towards Maspalomas. If you go west, follow the marked trail and be aware that the scrubland here is popular with nudists.

Alex says: Avoid walking in the dunes at midday because it gets hot and the sand swallows shoes. 

Maspalomas lagoon on the way to the beachGet to Maspalomas beach by taking any bus that stops at the main Maspalomas bus station (called Faro Maspalomas). Then walk down the palm-shaded road that goes east from the roundabout until you reach the lagoon (about 300 metres). The beach is right there and stretches out east for over three kilometres.  For convenient access to cold beers, food and toilets, turn west towards the lighthouse. For the full natural splendour of Maspalomas beach, walk east and head towards the sand dunes. 

Parking close to Maspalomas beach can be tricky unless you arrive early. There's a paid car park here or you can try your luck on the roads close to the ExpoMeloneras conference centre here. There's always somewhere to park in this area but you may end up 10 minutes walk away from the sand. 

 

Additional Info

  • Lifeguard: Yes
  • Calm water: Yes
  • You're sitting on: Sand
  • Sand colour: Sahara yellow
  • Looks best at: Sunset
  • Nudist: Yes
  • Hippy rating: 5
  • Lat/Long: 27.735900, -15.582968

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  • How To Choose A Legal Gran Canaria Airport Transfer
    How To Choose A Legal Gran Canaria Airport Transfer

    Gran Canaria's hotels have to be licensed and offer a quality level of service as well as having insurance and complying with fire regulations. The same goes for the boats that take people out to watch dolphins, the companies offering jeep safaris, and even the holiday let apartments. 

    However, not everybody in Gran Canaria follows the rules. For example, there is a significant industry running illegal and uninsured transfers between Gran Canaria airport and the island's resorts. These cars, driven by locals and foreign-residents, are just private vehicles and the drivers are unregulated and uninsured. They don't pay tax and there is no way to hold them responsible if something goes wrong. 

     At Gran Canaria Info we believe that all people and all companies offering services to tourists should legal and above board.

    So, how do you know that your airport transfer service is legal and registered with the Gran Canaria authorities?

     Using legal Gran Canaria airport transfers

    It is quite easy to know if your airport transfer service is operating in a legal way because all registered transfers have the following...

     A blue license plate: Taxis and other public service vehicles in Gran Canaria all have blue plates.

    A VTC sticker in the window: This stands for Vehículo de Transporte con Conductor, the official designation for licensed transfer drivers ans chauffeurs.

    An SP sticker on the car: This indicates that the car offer a Servicio Publico or public service and is therefore allowed to pick up and transfer members of the public. 

    Parked in the transport zone: Official airport transfer vehicles don't park in the public car park of the airport. Instead they have their own parking zone right by the arrivals gates at the airport (next to the taxis and package tour buses). Your transfer driver therefore should not have to pay a parking fee before leaving the aiport. 

    How to spot an unlicensed transfer service

    Unlicensed drivers get away with offerring their service because they claim that they are just members of the public picking up a friend. They are allowed to stand at arrivals with a sign (just like any member of the public can).

    However, they also have to park their car in the public car park and will walk you there with your luggage, stopping to pay the parking fee at the meter. A licensed transfer driver does not need to do this because they have their own parking zone right by arrivals.

    Some unlicensed drivers don't even wait at the arrival gate because the official drivers recognise them and get annoyed. Instead they have to stand further away (often by the Spar supermarket or the car rental desks). 

    When an unlicensed driver drops you at the airport they will not want to be paid in a public area because this proves that they are charging rather than "transporting a friend" for free. 

    An unlicensed car will not have a blue license plate, or a SP or VTC sticker, and will often look like a private car (because it is a private car). 

    What's the problem with unlicensed airport transfers?

    Some people use unlicensed cars because they are the cheapest option and don't realise that they are unlicensed. 

    There are several problems with unlicensed services. The most obvious is that they are uninsured so if something goes wrong or there is an accident, you are not protected. The price that unlicensed drivers offer is only low because they cut corners (hopefully not literally). You have no way of even knowing if your unlicensed driver has a Spanish driving license, insurance and a good driving record. Licensed drivers are vetted regularly and must be fully insured and licensed to work.

    Another problem is that unlicensed transfers undermine the legitimate transfer drivers and businesses in Gran Canaria. Local drivers make a living from transfers and offer a legal, regulated service with minimum standards. Every time an unlicensed service undercuts them, it is effectively stealing from local people and the island economy.

    We believe that everybody in Gran Canaria deserves better!

    Gran Canaria Airport Transfer Services

    To find out more about the Gran Canaria airport transfer, see our Gran Canaria airport transfer article which explains the three different models; man/woman from pub with car, online transfer websites, and local transfer services.

    Or you can book a legitimate Gran Canaria airport transfer at a great price right here. Our service uses local drivers and supprts the island economy because all the money you spend stays in Gran Canaria.

    Alex Says: Using our service also helps the Gran Canaria Info team to keep providing quality local information here and in our Facebook Group

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