Hiring a car is not the only way to see Gran Canaria. Exploring Gran Canaria by bus is easy, comfortable and inexpensive.
I know because I did it, travelling to all corners of this gorgeous Canary Island for ten days by bus.
Here’s all you need to know to ace Gran Canaria public transport.
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Bus Services in Gran Canaria
Services operated by Global reach most destinations on the island. It uses a modern fleet of shiny, blue buses.
Gran Canaria buses are clean and equipped with the latest safety technology and air conditioning. Additionally, the fleet is wheelchair accessible.
In many respects, buses are of a higher standard than those found in the UK.
Additionally, the yellow buses operated by Guaguas Municipales operate primarily in the island’s capital, Las Palmas.
Gran Canaria does not have a train service.
GOOD TO KNOW: Gran Canaria buses are called guaguas by Canarian people (pronounced ‘wah-wahs’).
Gran Canaria Tourist Bus Routes
Here are some popular tourist routes in Gran Canaria:
Buses to and from the airport
- 60 Las Palmas – Airport
- 1 Las Palmas – Airport – Puerto de Mogán
As this bus makes multiple stops, opt instead for the #91 if you are travelling between Las Palmas / Airport and Puerto de Mogán.
- 91 Las Palmas – Airport – Puerto de Mogán (express service)
- 5 Las Palmas – Airport– Bahia Feliz – Maspalomas
- 66 Airport – Bahia Feliz– Playa del Ingles– Maspalomas
- 11 Las Palmas – Airport – Aguimes
Other popular tourist bus routes
- 5 Las Palmas – Playa del Ingles – Maspalomas Lighthouse
- 30 Las Palmas – Maspalomas Lighthouse (direct service)
- 12 Las Palmas – Telde
- 21 Las Palmas – Aguimes
- 90 Telde – Maspalomas Lighthouse
You can look up Gran Canaria bus timetables here.
Buying Your Bus Ticket
Buy your bus ticket for a one-way journey from the driver. Both cash and contactless card payment, including that by smartphone, are accepted.
Try to have the exact change if you are paying for your ticket with cash. The driver will not give change from notes larger than €20.
When you board the bus, just let the driver know your destination and he/she will charge the corresponding fare. In return for handing over a small sum, you will be given a ticket that clearly states your destination. Hold onto your ticket until you disembark the bus.
GOOD TO KNOW: For extra reassurance, write down the destination name to show to the driver. Often, the Spanish pronunciation of place names is different from how they look in English.
Are travel cards available for travelling in Gran Canaria by bus?
Unlike bus services in Tenerife, rechargeable payment cards for Gran Canaria buses are firmly aimed at residents.
Applying for these cards is time-consuming and involves verification of photo ID. Card recharging and collection points are limited.
Visitors are eligible for Global’s Easy TransGC Card. More information is here.
How Much is Bus Travel in Gran Canaria?
Using buses on the island is very affordable. The price of your bus fare depends on the route and how far you are travelling.
For example; in 2023, it cost me €4.15 to travel from Puerto de Mogán to Maspalomas Lighthouse and €8.75 to get from Puerto de Mogán to San Telmo Station in Las Palmas.
A day trip to Teror from Las Palmas will set you back less than €5.
You can check the latest fares here.
Essential Tips for Exploring Gran Canaria by Public Transport
1. Plan your route with Google Maps or Moovit
Global’s website is the place to go for looking up bus timetables and it also has a route search function. However, in practice, I used a combination of Google Maps and Moovit to plan my journeys.
For planning on the go, Global also has an app. You can download this app for Android devices here or via Apple Store here.
2. Buses in Gran Canaria can be very busy
It is not just tourists who use public transport in Gran Canaria. Bus services are heavily used by locals and visitors alike.
Make sure that you arrive before the bus’s scheduled departure time to bag your place in the queue. On more than one occasion I witnessed people standing for the length of their journey.
If possible, try to board the bus close to the beginning of the route
3. Enter the bus through the front door and exit through the rear door
4. Press the stop button as you are approaching your destination
5. Don’t place your faith in the information screen on the bus
Most (but not all) buses in Gran Canaria will have two information screens, one near the driver and a second by the exit door.
As much of the screen’s real estate is given over to rolling adverts, the next station and route information is squished into a small section of the screen. If you are unsure of the route, place yourself strategically near the screen or bring binoculars.
Also, pray that the information screen is working. I was caught out on one journey when it was not in the best of health and, as a result, missed my stop.
6. There are two stations in Las Palmas
Pick the right one (the fare to each will also be different).
San Telmo – the busier and bleaker of the capital’s bus stations, this is close to the Old Town (Vegueta and Triana). It reminded me of Luton bus station in the 1980s minus the crowds.
Santa Catalina – this shiny and modern terminus serves the marina and Playa de Canteras.
Gran Canaria by Bus: FAQs
Is there a good bus service in Gran Canaria?
In my experience, Gran Canaria buses were comfortable, reliable and relatively cheap. I used buses to travel extensively across the island and Global’s services were late on only one occasion.
Can you take your luggage on buses in Gran Canaria?
There is no luggage limit on the island’s bus services but even small bags and suitcases need to be placed in the hold. The driver unlocks this compartment on request.
Can you take a bicycle or scooter onto a bus in Gran Canaria?
Bicycles and scooters can be carried in the baggage hold of Global’s buses.
Where to Stay in Gran Canaria Without a Car
If you are not hiring a car in Gran Canaria, the best base is the island’s lovely capital, Las Palmas. As well as being Gran Canaria’s main public transport hub, Las Palmas has a charming old town and it is close to the airport.
READ THIS NEXT: 10 Amazing Things to See in Las Palmas Old Town
With fast and frequent bus services, one of the main resorts in the south of the island is also a good bet. For example; from Maspalomas, you can be in Las Palmas in under an hour.
I split my vacation in two, staying in Puerto de Mogán in the south for five days before moving to Las Palmas. This was a perfect combination
READ THIS NEXT: Top 10 Things to Do in Puerto de Mogán: Gran Canaria’s Little Venice
Gran Canaria by Bus: Final Thoughts
Getting around by bus in Gran Canaria is an easy and very affordable way of seeing the island. It removes the stress of driving and parking and in your own small way, you are doing your bit towards preventing climate change.
Apart from the lack of flexibility, the only other disadvantages of exploring Gran Canaria by bus are the infrequency of some schedules and a lack of direct routes to some destinations, necessitating a change of bus. However, with a little forward planning, you can overcome these disadvantages.
Finally, we all like cheerful travellers and bus drivers are no different. Greeting them with a smile and cheery Buenos días / buenas tardes will go a long way to easing your journey.