Gran Canaria Airport Car Hire
Gran Canaria has some stunning scenery, from the expansive sand dunes and beautiful beaches to the dramatic mountainous interior. You can book coach tours to the main sights around the island and public transport is a cheap way to get around. But to get off the beaten track and really discover the secrets of Gran Canaria, a rental car gives you the most freedom.
In the arrivals hall at the airport, there are eight car hire offices and there are others in the main tourist resorts. The eight suppliers at the airport are:
- Top Car AutoReisen
The easiest and usually the cheapest way to hire a vehicle is to book online in advance, no matter if you want it for your whole holiday or just a day or two. This will also ensure that you get the type of car that you require. The most sought-after vehicles are the economy cars and, because of the climate, convertibles, and these sell out quickly at peak times.
When comparing prices online, the cheapest options can often have hidden charges. Some companies operate with a full to empty fuel policy where they will charge you for the full tank at a huge markup and tell you to bring it back empty, which is practically impossible. Find a company which provides a full tank and asks that you return it full, so that you only pay for the actual fuel you use.
The majority of car hire companies only include basic insurance cover in the price, and then try to hard sell expensive comprehensive cover when you collect the car. If you book online you will usually be given the chance to add full cover at a cheaper rate. You can purchase hire car insurance separately, either annual if you hire a car on a regular basis or for the length of a single hire. The rental company will still hold a large deposit against your credit card but you can claim it back if you have an accident along with other related costs.
On arrival at the rental office, the car rental agent will ask for a credit card in the driver's names, the booking voucher, your driving licence and passport. UK drivers may be asked to provide a code with which the agent can check for convictions or points. This is since the DVLA abolished the paper counterpart licence and the full details can be found here.
When you finally get to your hire car, you might be tempted to throw in your bags and hit the road. However, you need to inspect the car for damage. If you have the minimum insurance cover you need to make a note of any dents, scratches, stains and especially damage to the wheels. Also, take photos inside and out. It all takes time, but when you return the vehicle and new damage is pointed out, you will have evidence to the contrary.
If you are not used to driving on the left-hand side of the car, take some time to get comfortable with the unfamiliar controls. Set the mirrors how you want them and make sure the seat is in a comfortable position. When you do set off, drive slowly at first until you're confident with the roads.
Where to Go and What to See with a Rental Car
One of the most familiar sights in Gran Canaria is Dunas de Maspalomas, a vast expanse of sand dunes like a desert by the sea, so it is well worth visiting. You can even ride a camel and stop at a freshwater lagoon.
You don't have to travel far from the coast to be in the majestic mountains of the interior. One of the most dramatic sights is Roque Nublo, an 80-metre high rock on top of a mountain in the municipality of Tejeda.
While exploring this region you will also find the caves, some natural and some man-made, such as La Fortaleza, where the Troglodytes used to dwell. They were the last people to resist the Spanish colonists.
Puerto de Mogán is a fishing village in the south of the island which has been tastefully developed with a marina and many bars and restaurants. You can stroll around, crossing the little canals by small arched bridges.
South of the capital city of Las Palmas is Vagueta, a 15th-century town where you can follow in the footsteps of Columbus through the narrow, cobbled streets. If the wild-west is your thing you should visit Sioux City, a Western theme park set in a canyon filled with cactus. Along with other attractions, you can see shootouts between cowboys and Indians, lasso shows and horse chases.
There are many more attractions, traditional Canarian villages, volcano craters, reservoirs and pine clad mountains. In some areas, the roads are very narrow with precipitous drops, so concentration is needed, but the views are worth it.