Maspalomas is a tourist town located on the southern tip of the Spanish island of Gran Canaria.
There is plenty to do in Maspalomas for holiday-goers, including a water park, zoo and dolphinarium, amusement park, a large bi-weekly market and plenty of restaurant and bars.
However, the reason that most people visit this area of the island is for the beautiful golden sandy beaches lined by the iconic Maspalomas sand dunes.
So here’s how to spend the perfect day at Maspalomas Beach, Gran Canaria…
Things to do in Maspalomas Beach in a day:
Spend the morning wandering the length of Maspalomas Beach
Maspalomas Beach itself is over 6 kilometres in length, meaning there’s plenty to see and explore. To take in the entire beach, start from ‘Faro de Maspalomas’ (the lighthouse) and wander East towards the sand dunes until you reach ‘Punta de Maspalomas’, the peninsula which intersects with Playa del Ingles on the other side.
The section of beach closest to the lighthouse is where you will find the majority of families with young children, building sandcastles on the beach and splashing around in the shallow water. This area is also lined with several cafes, bars and shops, selling everything from giant pool floats to €5 cocktails.
Watch out for nudity – or get involved yourself – at Maspalomas Nudist Beach
Follow the waterline up the beach for around 10-15 minutes and this is where you’ll start to notice the change in beachgoers, namely a lack of swimming gear. Yes, welcome to Maspalomas nudist beach, and there are plenty of people willing to make the most of the clothing-optional rule!
Walk on for another 10 minutes and you’ll see a second beach hut ahead proudly donning a large rainbow flag. This section of the beach is not only popular with nudists but has also become popular with the gay community, particularly in the month of May when Maspalomas is home to one of Europe’s largest gay pride festivals – Maspalomas gay pride.
The beach hut is, in fact, a small bar selling a selection of drinks, meaning this part of the beach can have a great party atmosphere later in the day, just as long as you’re not shy around all of the nudity!
Of course, everyone is welcome to join in themselves, but even if you’re not a ‘bare-all’ person, wandering along Maspalomas nudist beach is fine to do as it’s the only way to pass through to the rest of the beach. People certainly aren’t shy and many have a tendency to strut around bearing all, but maybe remember to wear dark sunglasses if you’re prone to wandering eyes!
Stop and soak up the rays
Once you’re past the bulk of the action the beach quietens down a little. From the lighthouse, reaching ‘Punta de Maspalomas’, where the beach bends round to Playa des Ingles on the other side of the dunes can take around 45 minutes. So by the time you’ve reached this, it’s probably time to settle down for a spot of sunbathing yourself.
Lunch on the sand
Either grab some lunch from one of the local supermarkets before you head up the beach so you can stick around further up for a picnic lunch, or return to the lighthouse to pick up a sandwich from a cafe to enjoy by the water’s edge.
With temperatures averaging 21°c and reaching heights of 30°c+ during the summer months, you’re probably going to need an ice-cream to cool off, which there are plenty of at the shops and cafes lining the beach.
Get lost in the Maspalomas Sand Dunes
After wandering the length of the water’s edge, it’s time to delve further into Maspalomas beach to the spectacular natural wonder which is the Maspalomas sand dunes.
These formations have been made by sand washing up from the ocean during the last ice-age, with the wind blowing the sand towards the coast of the island.
The dunes cover 1,000-acre area and have been protected as a nature reserve since 1897. They are also one of the most accessible dune landscapes on the planet, meaning you can’t come to Maspalomas beach without taking a walk (or climb) through the dunes.
It’s best to either go barefoot, or if the sand is too hot bring a pair of trainers, to explore the dunes as flip-flops or loose sandals are likely to be eaten by the sand and lost to the dunes forever.
And don’t forget to bring a camera, and maybe something flowing to wave in the breeze. There are plenty of beautiful photo ops on top of the dunes which will have your Instagram feed looking like a professional travel account in no time!
Or go full Arabian Nights and take a camel ride around the dunes
Get the full mini-desert experience and ride a camel across the dunes!
For just €12 per person, you can take a 30-minute camel ride across the inland section of the dunes which is also covered in trees and shrubbery unlike the larger dunes closer to the beach.
The starting point of the camels is located just 10 minutes from the lighthouse and tickets can be booked here.
Chill-out with a Massage
Hidden in among the cafes, bars and shops close to the lighthouse on the beach is a small beauty salon offering a range of treatments from manicures to waxing. But most importantly, they offer the ultimate form of holiday relaxation – massages!
A 20 minute massage is only €10 or if you want to feel extra chilled-out after your day of exploring, you can go all the way up to 90 minutes for just €50.
The massages are more than just a gentle rub-down. The masseuses here really know how to apply the pressure and get rid of all of the tension and stress you’ve come on holiday to escape. Plus their prices are much cheaper than most of the luxury hotel spas along the beach.
Did you know the Canary Islands are also a great destination during the winter? Check out this post to find out more about winter in the Canaries.
Go for dinner and cocktails…
…because you’re on holiday and calories don’t count!
Cross over to the other side of the lighthouse to a street called ‘Paseo de las Meloneras’, which is home to many larger restaurants and bars, as well as several of the luxury beachfront hotels.
All of the restaurants have large terrace areas for al fresco dining overlooking the ocean, whilst many also have live music or entertainment during the evenings. Cafe del Mar is a great option for delicious food, fun cocktails and live performances.
Watch a film under the stars at Moonlight Cinema
End the day with a romantic film under the stars at Europe’s only permanent outdoor cinema. Moonlight cinema on Maspalomas beach show’s 2 films every evening, starting when the sun is starting to set, followed by the second shortly after.
The films are all aired in English (with Spanish subtitles) and include many new releases. Tickets cost €15 each and can be reserved in advance on their website or purchased on the door.
The cinema is laid out in rows of 2 person sofa’s, each with a large blanket for when it starts to get chilly later in the night. On the arm of each chair is a light which can be pressed to get the attention of a staff member to order food and drinks.
So if you haven’t managed to stop for dinner yet, or you’re just hungry for a late night snack, you can order the food and drink to be delivered directly to your sofa throughout the film. The menu includes pizzas (€9), nachos (€7), ice-cream (€5), cocktails (€5) and bottles of wine (€14).
How to reach Maspalomas Beach:
Maspalomas beach is located on the most southern point of the Spanish Island of Gran Canaria.
The area of Maspalomas is a 25 minute drive from the airport and a 45 minute drive from the capital city of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (which is on the opposite side of the island).
Hotels on Maspalomas Beach Gran Canaria:
The extremely luxurious 5* Seaside Palm Beach hotel is located just a short 3-5 minute walk away from Maspalomas beach and has been labelled by many as the best hotel in Maspalomas.
If you’re visiting for a special occasion, or simply feel like splashing out, Seaside Palm Beach is worth every penny you pay, with spacious rooms, several large salt-water pools, a private spa and amazing 5* food for every meal!
For a cheaper option, The Koala Garden Hotel is located further into Maspalomas town but within easy reach of the beach with a 5 minute taxi, 8 minute bus or 30 minute walk. There is an all-inclusive hotel option or self-catered apartments which come with a small kitchenette and direct access to a central pool immediately outside each apartment.