Our desk at Gran Canaria airport is clearly signposted in parking area P1 D which is visible as you leave the terminal building. Once you have collected your rental vehicle the island's capital Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is just 20 minutes drive North on the GC 1 motorway while the main tourist resorts at Maspalomas are a similar distance South on the same road.
The more populated Eastern side of the island has a good network of roads including the motorway that links the capital in the North to the tourist areas of the South. Driving in the mountainous areas can involve hairpin bends and sheer drops off to one side of the road. The views from the top, however, are well worth the drive. Under Spanish law, children under 12 are not allowed to ride in the front of vehicles.
Away from the towns parking in Gran Canaria is easy and plentiful, but within towns it is closely monitored. Use surface car parks and metered street zones rather than being tempted to park where there are yellow lines.
Taking your car hire on a drive from one end of Gran Canaria to the other takes you through a miniature continent. Tiny historic towns meet stunning beaches and desert wildernesses nestle up against forested mountain slopes. In the capital, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, head to the historic Vegueta district for coffee in the Plaza de Santa Ana before taking a tour of the cathedral and bishop's house. The Casa de Colón offers a fascinating insight into the role the Canary Island's played in the New World voyages of Christopher Columbus. Then drive to the South of the island, winding your way through country roads or by taking the fast motorway link. Here you will find little coastal towns and villages and long stretches of family-friendly sandy beaches. The Playa del Inglés and Maspalomas are two of the most popular with plenty of dining and resort attractions. The smaller beaches in the Mogán area will generally be quieter and less crowded.