Europe > Spain > Gran Canaria
See: Why rent a car in Gran Canaria ? | Why not? | Ratings | Summary | Comments
(All of these pages will look a lot nicer when they are tidied up later in the spring)
Your key questions for any destination:
Do I need a car in Gran Canaria?
Strictly speaking, there are very few travel destinations anywhere in the world where it's absolutely essential to rent a car in order to see the main points of interest.
That's why we give you loads of ratings scales from 1 to 10, rather than just yes or no answers!
- The need question is generally answered by looking at public transport (transit) options. Is it good enough for visitors who are happy to consider using it?
- How many public transport routes are there, and are they mainly rail or road (bus) based?
- Is public transport fast, frequent, safe, reliable and cheap?
- Does public transport actually take you to the places you'll probably want to see?
Is it worth hiring a car in Gran Canaria?
This question is usually more about value for money. For this, we look at Gran Canaria car hire options, and consider how rental costs compare with using transit.
How far are you likely to drive anyway, and how much might you expect to spend on fuel, road tolls, parking and any other charges. We compare Gran Canaria with other destinations locally and around the world.
This is obviously much more of an issue if you are planning a longer road trip than it is on a small island.
Should I rent a car in Gran Canaria?
This is basically a merging of the two questions. Everything else might be about giving certain facts about the costs of car rental or using public transport in Gran Canaria, but answering this question is very much a matter of opinion.
Please note that Carornocar.com is currently being revised and updated in preparation for the Summer 2022 (northern hemisphere) tourist season.
We do not intent to include detailed covid information, nor do we intend to suggest hiring a car, just because public transport might still have a mask requirement. Our advice will be based on the same criteria we've always used, ie whether or not you can get a better travel experience, or at least a better value one, by choosing not to hire a car.
Gran Canaria is in car rental price band: 2/10 (1 = cheapest car rental location)
General comment - based on price alone, is it worth renting a car in Gran Canaria?
Yes. Very cheap car rental by global standards, usually good value year round.
Can you expect big swings in car rental prices in Gran Canaria between the peak and the off peak season?
5/10 (0 = stable prices)
Driving score: 4/10
Non car score:2/10
(0 = car hire not advised / 10 = rental car essential)
General comment -
Gran Canaria is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Spain, but as with the other Canary Islands, there is no rail-based public transport to get around here, just an extensive network of buses.
Why? Visiting Gran Canaria using a hire car
Why do you need a car in Gran Canaria ?
- Public transport is poor and disjointed.
- No rail services of any kind.
- Buses aren’t well connected – 3 bus stations in Las Palmas.
- Bus services into the interior of the island are few and far between – sometimes only 1-2 buses per day.
Canary Islands & Madeira Compared
How does Gran Canaria compare with other islands in the Canaries? The Canary Islands and Madeira are a very popular year round travel destination, largely with visitors from Europe. Renting a car might often seem like the natural choice, but there are big differences in the road networks and in public transport standards between the different islands.
Overall Car or No Car Ratings
Based on Price Alone?
A more detailed price comparison will be done late in 2021, as more international travel is allowed. Generally speaking, price is not a significant factor in determining whether or not to rent a car in the Canary Islands.
Car rental in Gran Canaria v other options:
- Car hire is generally cheap.
- Distances are short - every island can be driven around in one day or less.
- Fuel is free from IVA (VAT) - except in Madeira.
- Parking is usually free, or available in commercial car parks at reasonable rates.
- Buses are widely available in most resort areas in Gran Canaria.
- Taxis are cheap compared to other parts of Spain and very cheap compared to Northern Europe.
- Most hotels are near the coast with good access to beaches.
- Resort areas in Gran Canaria always have good facilities and easy access to shops.
- Walking trails are widely available - both along coastal routes and inland.
- It's usually easy to reach walking trails by bus.
Why compare the Canary Islands with renting a car in Madeira?
These islands all have similar characteristics - almost all visitors are arriving by air at the main airport on each island, and there is no rail based public transport, except for the tram in Tenerife. The islands have a year-round warm climate, and driving conditions are generally similar. Although there are seasonal variations in car rental prices, these tend to be driven by the demand to get away, rather than seasonal changes locally.
Even during the most popular holiday periods (especially around Christmas and Easter), car rental in Gran Canaria is generally good value. Buses in Gran Canariaare still widely available, and taxis are usually cheap.
Why not? Visiting Gran Canaria without a car
Why don't you need a car in Gran Canaria ?
It’s perfectly easy enough to visit Gran Canaria using resort transfers, local buses and taxis, but doing this means missing out on some of the stunning scenery that the island has to offer. Again, you can take an organised bus tour to see some of this, but we think it is just much better to do it by car.
- Local buses (guaguas) are cheap by Northern European standards.
- Plenty of buses between major resort areas, especially Maspalomas <=> Las Palmas.
- Airport shuttle buses are fast and frequent.
Ratings: How does Gran Canaria compare?
Is it worth hiring a car in Gran Canaria? TBC
This is based on a rough consideration of the costs of renting a car in Gran Canaria, and how this compares with the costs of using public transport. The answer to this varies hugely from one destination to the next, based on a wide range of factors. It's based on renting a car at the airport (TBC), and driving for an average of 2-3 hours on open roads on most days.
How does this compare if:
You are travelling:
Solo / As couple / small family / larger family / senior couple etc
Does car rental make sense on different budgets?
Do you need to hire a car in Gran Canaria? TBC
This is based strictly on whether or no we think it's possible to visit Gran Canaria (and the surrounding area) without using a car. Of the three key questions, this one is the most likely to be a "no".
Should you rent a car in Gran Canaria? TBC
This is a balance of all factors. Remember this is an answer to the question for people who are already asking it. That's why the answer might still be a "yes", even when public transport is good.
See global comparisons
Hiring | Driving | Parking
Trains | Buses | Local travel
Car hire basics:
Public transportation basics:
Regular bus services: YES
Coach (inter-city): YES
High Speed Rail:
Rail type (end stub / through / junction / hub):
As you start ....
Does Gran Canaria airport have a direct rail link?
(Yes - within terminal / adjacent / short walk) (Yes - bus transfer / other) No
Has our advice for Gran Canaria car rental changed over time, or has it been pretty constant?
2017 - 8
2019 - 8
2021 - 7
Average score - 8
However, before making the choice to hire a car in Gran Canaria based on price alone, it’s worth adding up all the hidden extras, such as mandatory fuel contracts, and it’s also worth comparing these costs with the price of a few local taxi journeys. Taxis in the Canary Islands tend to be very cheap, and even a transfer from the airport is unlikely to break the bank, as nothing is very far from anywhere else on Gran Canaria. However, buses tend to be concentrated on a few select routes between the main resorts and other urban areas and the airport.
Do you or don't you need a car in Gran Canaria ?