The capital of Gran Canaria, Las Palmas is the largest city in the Canary Islands, a major Atlantic port and a bustling resort for nightlife lovers. We talked to Elena Amavizca Cabrera, the press attaché of the city’s tourism department, about what to do while “the music is playing on the boat”. The interview can be used as a guide!
What to see in Las Palmas?
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is a unique place. The Canaries are generally known for being a year-round beach destination. And Las Palmas is the largest city in the archipelago. He is very cosmopolitan, in a vibrant cocktail mixed European, American and African influences. The city is cheerful and modern, where everyone will find something of their own. We welcome young surfers, culture lovers and good music lovers, foodies, families with small children and the elderly. The people of Las Palmas are so welcoming that tourists naturally mingle with the locals here.
The historic center of the city – Vegueta – is a real delight of colonial heritage, full of cobbled streets, wooden balconies, beautiful squares reminiscent of American cities. There are many museums here, such as the House of Columbus, the Atlantic Center for Contemporary Art and the Canary Museum, dedicated to the history of the Canary Islands’ Aboriginal people.
Another attraction of Las Palmas is, of course, its coastline, especially the Bay of El Confital with its two beaches: Las Canteras and El Confital . A great place for sunbathing, sports or walking in good company.
Lovers of nature, exotic flowers and other plants should visit the Canary Botanical Garden . On an area of 27 hectares, all the richness of the plant life of the Canary Islands and the Atlantic region of Macaronesia is presented.
When to go to Las Palmas?
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria can be visited at any time of the year. The local climate is unique. There are no scorchingly hot summers and severe cold winters here. The air temperature in the Canary Islands is the same almost all year round. Our climate has been recognized as actually the best in the world by Syracuse University in the United States.
Going to the beach in winter, doing outdoor sports, diving, surfing, swimming in the sea, running, playing on the beach, sitting on the terrace, dancing at outdoor music festivals on any day of the year is a privilege few tourist cities offer. And here in the Canary Islands it is real.
las palmas de gran canaria events
Carnival is one of the most famous events celebrated in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Every February, during the carnival, the city is shrouded in a cloud of colors and rhythms, as well as an air of freedom (in 2021, the carnival was postponed until May due to the medical protocols of the COVID-19 pandemic and will be held if sanitary conditions permit).
But Las Palmas hosts other festivals throughout the year:
Prestigious Music Festival in the Canary Islands,
International Film Festival,
International Jazz Festival,
Festival of theater, music and dance.
You can go to concerts such as the Chero festival, the SUM festival or the famous WOMAD.
Don’t forget about the traditional holidays: San Juan night, San Lorenzo lights or Christmas.
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria Food
Papas arrugadas con mojo – potatoes boiled in sea water with a spicy mojo sauce
Gofio – Canarian flour made from fried corn or beans
Sancocho – soup made from fish, corn and vegetables
Fish such as local vieja or tuna
Juicy homemade cheeses
Their tropical fruits are worth trying: Canarian bananas, papaya, passionfruit and mango.
But in addition to traditional cuisine, the city boasts cuisine from all five continents. The port location allowed the city to absorb the tastes of the whole world. Las Palmas has always been a strategic point on the Atlantic shipping lanes and a haven for fishing boats. And today it is a huge logistics center, a landmark for naval repairs and cruise ship stops.
las palmas de gran canaria shopping
Canary handicrafts are the best travel souvenir. For those who prefer gastronomic souvenirs, there are also many options: a bottle of good wine, cheeses, a pack of gofio (the same Canarian flour), any sweet from almonds or a jar of the traditional hot sauce mojo (red or green).
Insider spots Las Palmas
Surfing in Las Palmas
Secret places in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
There are places in the city that are not advertised in tourist guides, but that any local can recommend. Take a sunset stroll down El Confital or take a leisurely stroll through the Barranco del Guiniguada Gorge. Visit San Lorenzo Farmers’ Market any Sunday. Plunge into the natural pools of La Laja Beach early in the morning. Walk around Ciudad Jardin and Triana and discover the incredible heritage of modernism, or ride a bike and stroll along the coastal avenue. All this will leave vivid impressions.
Where to take photos in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
There are many viewing Landmarks in the city to take pictures. But you should definitely go up to the Las Coloradas area at sunset and see the unique panorama of the entire El Confital Bay in the last rays of the sun.
The wide promenade of Las Canteras (Paseo de Las Canteras) is simply dotted with interesting places, and it seems that each of them is even more beautiful than the last.
And to enjoy the sunrise, head to Canarias Avenue, from the city center to La Laja Beach, a long promenade observation deck.
Vegeta, Triana, Ciudad Jardin are areas where there are many beautiful places for your Instagram: houses, gardens, squares, markets, terraces and charming shops.
Where to stay ?
Tourist accommodation in the city is concentrated mainly in the Puerto Canteras area and in the Triana and Vegeta areas (click on the links to view the best hotels). The historic Hotel Santa Catalina is located in Ciudad Jardin , while the Alcaravaneras area offers a variety of rooms to suit all needs and budgets.
Ed .: We would like to share with tourists ways to save money in Las Palmas. Can you tell us about it?
Las Palmas is a very democratic resort. Many cultural events in the city are free. You only need to go to www.LPAvisit.com or www.LPAcultuta.com to get acquainted with the program of cultural and music festivals (Parque Doramas, Edificio Miller, Edificio Quegles …).
Museums in Vegeta are free or inexpensive.
Things to do in Palmas de Gran Canaria
A visit to the street markets on weekends, a guided visit to the Consistorial Center of Casas in Vegeta on Sundays is also completely free.
A cheap and very interesting option can be called a walk around the city on a public bike, the famous citaclet, and for a quick and comfortable movement it is best to use public transport, buses or guagua, which are yellow in Las Palmas.
Of course, the beaches are the most popular leisure and sports destination in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
The beaches of Las Canteras offer swimming, diving and snorkelling, surfing, bodyboarding, fun surfing, kayaking, beach tennis, beach soccer, yoga …
In Las Alcaravaneras, the sand is ideal for beach volleyball, and canoes can be rented.
Sailing boating, paragliding, hiking in nature, cycling or city racing … All sports are available in the Canary Islands. Even if you have never tried something from this list, professional instructors will always come to your aid.
Las Canteras Beach
It holds the title of being one of the best urban beaches in the world. Las Canteras, in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, is a 2,250-meter-long beach of beautiful blond sand that can be enjoyed practically all year round. It has a natural rock barrier 200 meters offshore, protecting from tides and a source of biodiversity. It is surrounded by a 3.5 km long park full of restaurants and terraces.
Barra on Las Canteras Beach, also known as “coral reefs,” is one of the beach’s most natural and scenic elements. Everyone knows that without this natural barrier, Las Canteras would have a completely different shape and structure. This distribution runs parallel to the coast in the northern section, and intermittently extends about 200 meters from the shore of the beach, with a total length of more than 2 km and an average width of about 50 meters. Its composition consists of lime (like sarnet) and sandy combined with clay deposits and sometimes interspersed with conglomerates. Behind the budding bar, about 1,500 meters from the beach, is a second, permanently submerged bar.
The waters of this unique environment serve as a shelter for around 210 different species of algae, thanks to the characteristics of the special ecosystem between the beach and La Barra which accounts for 30% of the 650 species of macroscopic algae that have been cataloged on the Canary Islands. The animals that live on Las Canteras Beach also owe much of their presence to La Barra’s protective work. Thus, in the shore waters, different types of pelagic fish (bream, palomitas, vegas, pejeverdes, salima, white fouls, black fouls, capo, etc.) can be found and live among their bottom rocks such as brick, patella genus, or tapaculus.
Poema del Mar Aquarium
Poema del Mar is a modern aquarium located in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria port. It has over 350 marine species that live in just over 6 million liters of water. It was born to become a conservation and awareness center for aquatic life.
The Aquarium is divided into three different ecosystems: surface marine ecosystems, deep marine ecosystems, and freshwater species. Out of curiosity, Poema del Mar boasts the largest curved window in the world, the 140-ton Metacilatro screen made in Italy.
The Poema del Mar Aquarium displays four human fish specimens in a five-cubic meter thematic area, a vulnerable, human-looking species that lives in caves in Slovenia and Croatia. Human fish can survive for up to four years without eating, and the promoters of this aquarium highlight in a statement, which will display the species in a cave with stalactites mimicking their natural habitat. To recreate its ecosystem, this gallery uses mud from the caves where it usually lives, as the mineral salts it contains are important for their skin.
Catedral de Santa Ana
This legendary temple, also called Santa Iglesia Catedral-Basilica de Canarias, is located in the old Vegueta neighborhood, in the capital of Gran Canaria and holds the title of seat of the Archdiocese of the Canary Islands. It was built by the Catholic Monarchs in 1487 after the conquest of Gran Canaria, and is currently considered the most important monument of Canarian architecture.
This famous cathedral, more than 20 meters high, presides over and gives prestige to an architectural complex around one of the island’s most important squares which takes its name from the patron saint of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Santa Ana. The church plant has three naves (central and two side) of equal height with cylindrical vaults. Inside, the temple consists of three longitudinal naves, two chapel side naves and six transverse naves, separated by ten slender columns. The facade, in the Neoclassical style, is the most prominent feature. The material used in the construction of the building is the blue stone from the quarries of San Lorenzo, which is used in arches, roof nerves and abutments, with a distinctive gray color.
The Columbus House ( Casa de Colón )
In the heart of the old neighborhood of Vegueta, in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, stands the Casa de Colón, an architectural complex in which the famous navigator probably stayed while he was fixing one of his caravels during his first trip to the New World, in 1492. The project integrates several houses that currently occupy the entire block and houses within its walls a museum, a library and a specialized study center.
Canary Islands Museum
The Canary Museum is a veteran science institution located in the old Vegueta neighborhood, in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, where a large prehistoric specimen of the Canary is preserved and exhibited. Currently, it has the largest archaeological collection in the Canary Archipelago and is a must if you want to know the culture and anthropology of its islands.
Born in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in 1887, Nestor Martin Fernandez de la Torre was one of the great painters associated with modernist symbolism. The museum, devoted to the work of the painter, is an art gallery that preserves and displays to the public most of the artist’s work from Gran Canaria. It is located in the architectural complex of Pueblo Canario, in the Ciudad Jardín district, with buildings reminiscent of traditional Canarian architecture. This complex was built, at the gates of one of the city’s lungs, Doramas Park, according to the plans of Néstor’s brother, the architect Miguel Martín Fernández de la Torre.
The building consists of eleven exhibition spaces that house the permanent collection and temporary exhibitions, as well as a documentation center, a shop, and an educational department.
Botanical Garden (Jardín Botánico Canario Viera y Clavijo)
A few kilometers from the capital, there is the Gran Canaria Botanical Garden, which is a barn that today has an important role in gathering all the plant wealth of the Canary Archipelago in one place. It is affiliated with the Supreme Council for Scientific Research in Cabildo de Gran Canaria and owes its name to the famous Canarian naturalist and biologist of the eighteenth century, José Viera y Clavijo.
This rugged slope of 27 hectares holds the title of largest botanical garden in Spain. Located on terraces and developing in their natural habitat, each species has its own specific area, divided into groups. Notable among them are: “Camino de los Dragos”, “Plaza de las Palmeras”, “Garden of the Islands”, “Macaronesian Ornamental Garden”, “Hidden Garden”, “Garden of the World” and others. Inside are monuments, fountains, and sculptures to honor the naturalists who contributed to their work to learn about the nature and flora of the Canary Islands.
The main activities of this botanical garden are directed towards scientific knowledge of the exclusive floral diversity of the Canary Archipelago in particular and the Macaronesian region (the Azores, Canary Islands, Cape Verde, Madeira and the Wild Islands) in general. They focus on dissemination through environmental education programs, conservation and display of the living populations of terrestrial plants, especially endemic organisms, but also areas of the planet that maintain floral links with the Canary Islands. A magazine for the professional audience called “Macaronesian Botany” has also been published containing news on the flora of the Macaronese Archipelago. Entrance is free and open every day of the year except for December 25 and January 1.
Bandama Natural Monument
In the east of Gran Canaria, between the valleys of La Angostura and Jinmar, there is a large volcanic building formed by Pico and La Caldera de Bandama, both of which are units of natural interest and spectacular views. With an area of 325.7 hectares, it was declared by Law 12/1994 of December 19, in the Natural Areas of the Canary Islands, as a Natural Monument.
The Bandama caldera is about 574 meters high and is low in the form of a truncated, slightly elliptical cone. Its circumference reaches 3 kilometers while its walls exceed an average difference of 200 meters. Pico, in addition to being a prominent element of the landscape, can be seen from a distance and with a wonderful panoramic view from its summit, is a cinder cone with a horseshoe-shaped crater attached to the Bandama Caldera in the south.
Describes of the city.
Outdoor life is what best defines the character of the inhabitants of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, and this is underlined by the popularity of festivals and sporting events such as Lucha Canaria and Vela Latina Canaria.
Canarians celebrate many religious festivals:
San Juan night with impromptu parties of Canarian music (parrandas), ballads and boleros on the sand of the beach,
feast of the Virgin of Carmen, which is celebrated by all port cities,
San Lorenzo day in August, when the fire is lit.
And above all – a carnival, which without shame demonstrates joy, empathy, humor and all the peculiarity of the city, which has always lived with open doors and an open heart.