The GC-200, Gran Canaria's great road trip

Sometimes, it's the journey that makes a trip special. Whilst there are interesting places to stop off on the GC-200, merely driving along this serpentine road is something special. Only experienced motorists should attempt this drive, though.

The GC-200: the numbers

The GC-200 is 68.1km long. It connects Agaete with Puerto de Mogán, although the 36.1km stretch to La Aldea de San Nicolás, taking an average journey time of an hour, is the more dramatic section. For added fear factor, take a Global bus whose drivers know the road and so whizz along it faster than your average tourist.

The last time I was on it, however, we were returning as a family from a break in the west of the island. Our journey time was extended by regular stops to take photos. Although we could have taken even longer if we returned to some of our favourite places located off the GC-200.

Floral GC-200 

Lovers of flora will adore the displays of flowers which cling to the GC-200's clifftops. But there are also bouquets which are an altogether sadder sight. This is one of Gran Canaria's most dangerous roads and sadly tragic accidents do occur.

If there is heavy rain, the authorities shut the road to traffic until weather conditions improve. The long-term plan is to replace the bulk of the Agaete-La Aldea de San Nicolás section of the GC-200 with a tunnel from the Agaete side of El Risco. However, this remains very much a work in progress despite tunnelling having started.

Mirador del Balcón

Travelling back to our Las Palmas de Gran Canaria base, we made an early stop off at the Mirador del Balcón. Here's our Alex surveying the crashing waves of the ocean below. This is definitely the Atlantic at its least pacific.

Mountainous GC200

The Mirador del Balcón's 360 metres above sea level. Travelling in the direction of Agaete, the GC-200 snakes even higher before dipping to the likes of El Risco and then descending into Puerto de las Nieves itself. So, if you suffer from vertigo, this is very much a no-go zone.

Andén Verde

Passing through Andén Verde, I was reminded of my recent cliffwalking adventure but I didn't stretch my legs much this time. When we come the other way from Agaete, it's usually at night. And my wife requires me to near-constantly reassure her that she has plenty of room.

El Risco

The hamlet El Risco's home to both Rastatún, the founder of BioAgaete Cultural Solidario, and the Charco Azul. There's also a Finisterre-style beach which makes you think you've reached the ends of the earth. But most people tend to refuel at the central Bar Perdomo.

Home alone

Just after or just before El Risco (depending on which directon you're travelling in), you'll come across a folly. Whoever chose to build this house at the mercy of rockslides from above can't have been thinking straight. As you'll see, there's a large boulder on top of the roof and rumour has it that the owners packed up and left soon after this unwelcome visitor arrived.

Guayedra

If you want a quiet beach, turn off the GC-200 for the Playa de Guayedra at the bottom of the ravine with the same name. Here, there's always somewhere to plant your towel. Principally a stony beach, there's dark sand on Guayedra which increases and decreases with the seasons.

Agaete

The whitewashed village of Agaete is another great place to break up  your journey if you're continuing to or arriving on the GC-". Whether you choose to feast on fresh fish in one of Puerto de las Nieves' beachside eateries. Or enjoy complimentary unshelled peanuts in Agaete main square's Bar El Perola accompanying the beverage of your choice.

 

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