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Las Palmas Mountain Trip: Gran Canaria’s Scenic North

This post will take you on a Las Palmas mountain trip through the scenic north of Gran Canaria. We will cross the lush, green northern mountains, a fertile region with pretty villages and gingerbread houses.

The highest point on the road is Vega de San Mateo at 1 100 m, after which it’s all the way down to the island’s rocky north coast.

Welcome to join our trip which we made by rental car, renting it in Las Palmas. Hope our trip will inspire you to do the same!

Driving in Gran Canarian north: Teror

Gran Canaria's scenic north

Las Palmas mountain trip into Gran Canaria’s green north

Gran Canaria’s North: The Itinerary

A bit south from Las Palmas we will turn into the mountains, to Tafira Alta and on to Santa Brigida. 

If you are a plant lover, and even if not, a place to see is the Jardin Botanico Canario in Tafira Alta. Another nearby sight is the 3000 year old volcano crater Caldera de Bandama.

Cactus plants in Jardin Botanico Canario

Cactus plants in Jardin Botanico Canario

To learn about Jardim Botanico Canario, Caldera de Bandama and more east coast sights, check out the post Gran Canaria East Coast Drive: Crater and Caves.

Las Palmas mountain trip: road to Gran Canaria's northern mountains

Road from Las Palmas to Gran Canaria’s northern mountains

So right after leaving the city the road starts climbing and you will leave behind the all traffic and crowds. Sit back, relax and enjoy Gran Canaria’s stunning nature and the villages that will follow.

The road through the northern mountains is easy and safe to drive. Wide and good all the way through there still are a lot of curves all the way which makes driving very slow. But on a Gran Canaria holiday you should not be in a hurry, the slower you drive, the more you can see.

Mountain weather can be cloudy, at least at higher altitudes and in afternoons, so be prepared for driving in a cloud and maybe it will rain a bit somewhere. And be prepared for a cooler weather than in your holiday resort.

Mountains near Las Palmas, Gran Canaria

Cloudy mountain weather of Gran Canaria’s north

Las Palmas Mountain Trip by Car: the Map

To help you navigate, we put our itinerary on Google Maps. Zoom in and out the map as you like, follow it on the road and save it in your own maps if it helps you.


Driving map to Gran Canaria’s northern mountains

The four towns in Gran Canaria’s scenic north we went to were Santa Brigida, Vega de San Mateo, Teror and Firgas. We will begin with Santa Brigida. I will show you what it looks like there:

Santa Brigida

Typical houses of Santa Brigida, Gran Canaria's north

Santa Brigida, Gran Canaria

Can you imagine that you can find a place like this just a short way uphill from Las Palmas?

Santa Brigida is like from a fairytale. Postcard-pretty town in postcard-pretty surroundings.

I love all these fancy gingerbread houses. Maybe I will choose to stay here the next time I come to the Canaries?

The colourful town of Santa Brigida in the Las Palmas Mountains

The colourful town of Santa Brigida

This gem of a town definitely needs a stop. Since you just can’t miss walking these cobbled streets. And maybe you will deserve a hot chocolate and fresh churros at one of the street cafés.

A large number of Santa Brigida homes have some kind of fairy-tale look. Painted in either white, red or yellow they typically have grey stones throughout the walls:

Click on the small photos to see them in a slideshow

Then, the Spanish churros, they were so good that we took a double portion:

Las Palmas mountain trip: hot chocolate and churros in Santa Brigida

Las Palmas mountain trip: hot chocolate and churros in Santa Brigida

Fresh herbs for sale on Santa Brigida market

Fresh herbs on Santa Brigida market

We bought Christmas flowers and fresh herbs on the marketplace and headed on to the next town, Vega de San Mateo:

Las Palmas Mountain Trip: Vega de San Mateo

Vega de San Mateo in Gran Canaria's northern mountains

Las Palmas mountain trip: Vega de San Mateo

After some more driving and curves we came to the next little town, Vega de San Mateo. Far away from everything in Gran Canaria’s northern mountains Vega has an impressive location.

The elevation is 1104 m which you can feel from the cool air. But you can also tell it from the clouds hanging all over. Pretty, refreshing!

Gran Canaria: Vega de San Mateo

Fairy-tale town high up in the mountains: Vega de San Mateo

Las Palmas mountain trip: view of Vega de San Mateo

Vega building style

Some more typical views of Vega de San Mateo, Gran Canaria:


Sunday is a market day on the town’s marketplace and at the same time they have a local food producers’ market. That’s in the market hall:

Vega de San Mateo food market, Las Palmas mountain trip

Vega de San Mateo Sunday food market

Delicious bread, goat cheese, honey, almonds, sausages and wine. They let you taste before you buy, all this and much more. And what’s best, it all comes from the region.

Street View of Vega de San Mateo, Gran Canaria

A place to visit in the Canaries: Vega de San Mateo, a mountain town

Cappuccino and cake in Vega de San Mateo

Cappuccino and cake at a local bakery

Walking past a local bakery they happened to open their doors. So in we went and sat down for a coffee.

From Vega you can continue to the top of the island: Pico de las Nieves, Tejeda and Roque Nublo and it’s not even a long way to drive. Read about the highest mountains in Gran Canaria.

We instead took the other road down to Teror. Seeing all the wild plants, wildflowers and massive Canarian forests of Canary island pines was a great experience on the way down.

Las Palmas Mountain Trip: Teror

Gran Canaria's scenic north: Teror

In Las Palmas mountains: Teror, Gran Canaria

The next town Teror is the island’s religious capital and the home of Nuestra senora del Pino, the island’s patron saint. That makes it a place where pilgrims from all over the island want to come.

So have a look at the basilica that has such a meaning for the local community, and then wander through the town’s old quarters.

Or why not sit down and have a coffee? A coffee in every village :). There are plenty of cafes and eateries around the market place. Teror definitely is worth a cup of coffee.


We skipped the coffee as we instead needed some food items for the next day which we found at a supermarket.

Below you will see one of my favourite houses in Teror, the island’s religious capital. A mountain town so close to Las Palmas, but so different!

Driving in Gran Canarian north: Teror

In the small town of Teror in the Gran Canarian north

Drive in the Scenic North: Teror to Firgas

Gran Canaria's scenic north

Green mountain slopes between Teror and Firgas

Teror is a good base for Gran Canaria hiking and so are the neighbor towns Firgas and Moya. The terrain here is like made for mountain walks and there is a good trail network. What would be better than explore this green landscape on foot?

Lower down comes a banana region::

A bunch of bananas

Driving through banana plantations

Leaving Teror you can clearly see the whole Gran Canarian north coast and all the way to Las Palmas. The right place to stop and take in the views:

View of Las Palmas

Gran Canaria’s north coast and Las Palmas seen from the mountains

Nature of the scenic north of Gran Canaria

Lush, green nature of the scenic north of Gran Canaria

Firgas, the Water Town

Visiting Firgas in Gran Canaria's north

Getting up Firgas stairs

Firgas tiles in Gran Canaria's scenic north

Fantastic Firgas tilework

Firgas is famous for its spring of natural, fresh water which they bottle and deliver to the whole island.

So the tiny hill town celebrates there valuable spring water with fountains and a long water flow along the long stairs uphill to the village church.

Some more views of Firgas in the small photos.  Click to see them better in a slideshow:

But then it was getting late and we had to hurry on –  one more look at the pretty hill town and its stairs:

Firgas, Canary Islands

The hill town of Firgas in the Gran Canarian north

Back to Las Palmas – via Puerto de las Nieves!

Puerto de las Nieves seafood restaurant

In a Puerto de las Nieves seafood restaurant

After Firgas there are two more hill towns to visit, Arucas and Moya. If that’s too much, you head back to Las Palmas and return another day. Using the coastal road this is not far away at all.

We, however, suddenly felt super hungry and did something else: took a side trip to Puerto de las Nieves on the west coast. It’s a village famous for its good seafood restaurants.

So there we went, had a seafood dinner and watched the sunset before driving back to Las Palmas:



So that was the trip. Hope you enjoyed traveling with us. I really recommend leaving your resort for a day and exploring what more the sunny holiday island has to offer.

For a trip like you only need to rent a car, just a small car. Small cars are good on mountain roads, they are both easier in curves and better to park in mountain towns

And now the sunset:.

Sunset in Puerto de las Nieves

Sunset in Puerto de Las Nieves, Gran Canaria’s north

If you are planning your visit to the Canary Islands, these posts might interest you as well:

More about Gran Canaria Travel

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One comment

  1. I cannot tell you how I appreciated this post. My spouse and I will be going to Gran Canaria sometime in April. Much planning is going into our adventure.
    The time you spent putting this itinerary together will serve us well. This was better than many guide books that I picked up lately.
    Your dedication has not gone unnoticed ;o)

    All the very best travels ahead.

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