Seven secret Gran Canaria beaches

If you were asked to name a beach on Gran Canaria, it's likely you'd name one of the big three. Playa del Inglés, definitely maybe. Maspalomas, almost probably. Las Canteras, quite possibly.

There are however around 80 more beaches to choose from. But you're not a local, you're not from these parts. So, check out some insider info to help you discover playas off the beaten track. Here, in no particular order, are seven secret beaches on Gran Canaria.

1.) Playa del ConfitalEl Confital

Yes, yes, and indeed, yes, I know El Confital's part of Las Canteras' 2.8km sweep. But just look at it, will you? It's nothing like other parts of this capital beach and offers something out of the ordinary to see on a visit to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.

Where's the golden sand which extends from La Puntilla in the east to La Cicer in the west? This is a rough and ready playa entirely in keeping with its blue-collar surroundings in La Isleta. You'll be jealous of the local kids who are able to cycle out to this beautiful wasteland with the minimum of time and effort.

Municipality: Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

Beach length: 180m

Distance from airport: 30km

Distance from centre of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria: 5.3km

Distance from Playa del Inglés: 59.8km

2.) Playa del JuncalEl Juncal

If you get to know somebody in Gran Canaria who's got a beachside property, chances are they're sandphobic. Take my mother-in-law, for example. If there wasn't a chance of flooding, upon arrival she'd gladly hose down visitors who had been on Canteras beach below.

If it wasn't so inaccessible, she´d much prefer to live near El Juncal. This north-west beach's typical of both the north and west coasts in that it's stony. Located off the GC-2, you'll have to negotiate a ravine by foot of 4x4 to reach Playa del Juncal.

Municipality: Gáldar

Beach length: 120m

Distance from airport: 53.9km

Distance from centre of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria: 30.6km

Distance from Playa del Inglés: 85.9km

3.) Playa de GuayedraGuayedra

Although it doesn't undergo such a dramatic transformation as the beach at San Andrés which metamorphoses from a sandy beach to a stony one and back again, you can still feel sand under your feet at rocky Guayedra on occasion. Located off the GC-200's winding way, Playa de Guayedra's a great place to break, or even make, a journey. As with other isolated beaches on the island, it's a magnet for nudists.

Municipality: Agaete

Beach length: 200m

Distance from airport: 62.2km

Distance from centre of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria: 38.9km

Distance from Playa del Inglés: 94.3km 

4.) Playa de San FelipePlaya de San Felipe

I don't recall ever being in San Felipe and not seeing a red flag flying high over its beach. One way to keep the crowds down, I suppose. This is north-coast Gran Canaria where the Atlantic Ocean is in full flow, roaring itself to shore.

The locals have tried to tame the Atlantic, though. There are natural swimming pools dotted along the north coast, including the nearby Charco de San Lorenzo. You'll see this as you turn off the GC-2, just after the hamlet of El Roque.

Municipality: Santa María de Guía

Beach length: 450m

Distance from airport: 42.5km

Distance from centre of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria: 19.3km

Distance from Playa del Inglés: 74.6km

5.) Playa del PuertoPlaya del Puerto

My aforementioned mother-in-law (hola suegra) has a finca in La Aldea de San Nicolás. We go there for an escape in the summer and over New Year. Except it's not much of not much of a refuge as it houses my mother-in-law's 20+ grandchildren along with their mothers and fathers.

So to get away from it all, I go hiking. One of my favourite treks is to an isolated beach near La Aldea's port. When you visit for the first time, you'll be lulled into thinking you've discovered it especially if it's empty.

So I was surprised to learn that the beach even has a name. And that's not the only thing I found out during my guided tour with Turismo La Aldea's Rocio Araña. For she also pointed out the new signposts which have made this beach rather more accessible.

Muncipality: La Aldea de San Nicolás

Beach length: 30m

Distance from airport: 87.3km

Distance from centre of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria: 64.2km

Distance from Playa del Inglés: 60.9km

6.) Playa de VenegueraVeneguera

If you get off the bus at Veneguera and expect to find the beach of the same name on the hamlet's doorstep, think again. For Playa de Veneguera's a hike and a half away. If your legs are on holiday along with the rest of your body, consider travelling to this rural beach by hire car instead.

Although there's more passing traffic than you'd imagine on the dirt track which links hamlet to beach. For Veneguera's an agricultural area. So, there's always the chance of hitching a ride with a farmer.

Municipality: Mogán

Beach length: 370m

Distance from airport: 75.4km

Distance from centre of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria: 100km

Distance from Playa del Inglés: 47.9km

7.) Playa de Sardina del NorteSardina del Norte

My father's screensaver on his desktop is of a game of cricket played with his son and grandsons on Playa de Sardina del Norte. This is easily the most popular beach of the seven but it's still relatively unknown to tourists. As was obvious when an inquisitive local strolled up to interrupt our cricket match.

He explained he'd lived in London before exclaiming, "I never thought I'd see the day when they played cricket on this beach." More popular pastimes include the ubiquitous beach football along with bodyboarding. Sardina del Norte's also one of the most established diving centres on Gran Canaria.

Municipality: Gáldar

Beach length: 80m

Distance from airport: 54.1km

Distance from centre of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria: 30.8km

Distance from Playa del Inglés: 85.1km

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