Square Near Old Town Las Palmas

Las Palmas

Las Palmas, the buzzing lively capital of Gran Canaria, is located in the North East corner of the island. Being in the more mountainous north, you are not guaranteed the cloudless blue skies that you find in the more touristy south, however it is nearly always warm (a comfortable 20 degrees most of the time in the winter), and when the sun does peek out from the regular blanket of clouds, it is appreciated that much more.

Las Palmas very much feels like a city that gets on working and living to its own, very Spanish rhythm. Whilst it is a regular stop on the cruise ship itinerary, and a great day trip destination for travellers from the south of the island, it never feels swamped or overrun with tourists. Even on its biggest asset, the magnificent Playa de Las Canteras (more on this later), you are just as likely to see the locals nipping out for a quick sunbathe or dip in the sea during their lunch break, as sun worshiping tourists like me soaking up the rays. If your view of Gran Canaria (which to be honest was my view before going there) is that it is just as Little Englander Blackpool in the sun semi retirement home, then Las Palmas will pleasantly surprise you. I didn’t see a single place selling All Day Breakfast the whole time I was there!

This comfortable balance between resident and tourist perhaps explains why the city came across as one of the friendliest places I have ever been in Spain. From the people working in the shops to passers-by in the street, I lost count of the number of “Buenos Dias” or “Holas” I’d hear each day. For me, this friendliness will be the most long lasting memory I have of the place.

Playa de las Canteras

As mentioned before, Playa De Las Canteras is one of the main attractions of the city. In fact, it is the main reason we visited. Visually stunning, this long stretch of golden sandy beach is partially protected by a reef, which means that at low tide it is pretty much safe to swim in all year round. At times the water was like a millpond, making it perfect for snorkelling, or for families with young children. Further down the beach where the reef ends, you get the full force of the Atlantic, with great big crashing waves, making it perfect for surfing. The promenade Paseo de Las Canteras runs the full length of the beach (approx. 3km), and is lined with restaurants, cafes and shops. In summary, it must be one of, if not the best city beach in the world. To view it in its full glory, I would recommend following the GC-2 main road west for a short while, where the spectacular vast expanse of the beach and city is laid out before you.

the swimming and snorkelling end of las palmas beach - las canteras


You also cannot visit Las Palmas without going to Vengueta, the historic heart of the city, a few km south of Canteras, and on the east side of the city. Comprising of cobbled streets, the main cathedral and the excellent Christopher Columbus museum, it’s a great area to get lost in for a couple of hours.

Parque Doramas

Not so often mentioned, but definitely worth highlighting is the wonderful Parque Doramas, half way between Canteras and Vengueta. Immaculately maintained and a tranquil oasis of green, with the gentle tinkle of the fountains in the background, I spent several hours of quiet contemplation here, whilst enjoying the warmth of the sun.

Shopping Districts

For shopping, close behind the beach is the bustling Mesa y Lopez district with the usual chain stores and obligatory Corte Ingles department store (think Spanish Fenwicks). Alternatively at the southern end of Canteras is the main Las Arenas Centro Commercial, or finally on the other side of the city, close to Vengueta, is the Triana Barrio district, which I seem to recall reading somewhere was voted Spain’s number one shopping district. I would assume this is more for the general prettiness of the place and quaint cafes than the shops, which although good, were the usual you would find in a city of this size.

We spent a week in Las Palmas, with the full intention of taking a few bus trips to other areas of the island. Instead, we never left the city, and could’ve happily spent longer there. We liked it so much, we plan to go back there next year!

the boat to tenerife beach near the port at las palmas

Links to More Places

Los Llanos, Spain, Canary Islands, La Palma
Portinatx, Spain, Balearic Islands, Ibiza
Cala San Vincente, Spain, Balearic Islands, Majorca
Peurto Pollenca, Spain, Balearic Islands, Majorca
Palma, Spain, Balearic Islands, Majorca
Soller, Spain, Balearic Islands, Majorca
Agios Stefanos And Kassiopi, Greece, Ionian Islands, Corfu
Alcudia, Spain, Balearic Islands, Majorca
Barcelona, Spain, Catalonia, Barcelona
Bonifacio, France, Corsica, Southern Corsica
Calella De Palafrugell, Spain, Catalonia, Costa Brava
Corfu Town, Greece, Ionian Islands, Corfu
Santa Cruz De La Palma, Spain, Canary Islands, La Palma
Los Cancajos, Spain, Canary Islands, La Palma
Valle Gran Rey, Spain, Canary Islands, La Gomera
Cala Blanca, Spain, Balearic Islands, Menorca
Cagliari, Italy, Sardinia, Cagliari
Ibiza Town, Spain, Balearic Islands, Ibiza
Paxos And Antipaxos, Greece, Ionian Islands, Paxos And Antipaxos
Kefallonia, Greece, Ionian Islands, Kefallonia
Pula, Italy, Sardinia, Pula
La Maddalena, Italy, Sardinia, La Maddalena
Las Palmas, Spain, Canary Islands, Gran Canaria
Malaga, Spain, Andalusia, Malaga
Skiathos, Greece, Sporades Islands, Skiathos
Puerto De La Cruz, Spain, Canary Islands, Tenerife
Playa Blanca, Spain, Canary Islands, Lanzarote
Kamari And Santorini, Greece, Cyclades Islands, Santorini
Pinarellu, France, Corsica, Southern Corsica
Mainland Orkney, Scotland, Orkney Islands, Mainland
San Sebastian, Spain, Canary Islands, La Gomera
Agate, Spain, Canary Islands, Gran Canaria
Santa Cruz, Spain, Canary Islands, Tenerife
Alicante, Spain, Valencia, Alicante
Granada, Spain, Andalusia, Granada
Seville, Spain, Andalusia, Seville
Cordoba, Spain, Andalusia, Cordoba
Nerja, Spain, Andalusia, Nerja
Calvados, France, Normandy, Calvados
Colonia Sant Jordi, Spain, Balearic Islands, Majorca
Orzola, Spain, Canary Islands, Lanzarote

More From Gran Canaria

Las Palmas

Visited more pharmacies than restaurants, searching for Spanish treatments for man flu. Gripe del hombre (it does not translate)

Las Palmas Snorkelling

Man flu, I have man flu, all this way to snorkel here and I feel shit. Still I went in with my wetsuit on. diving was painful!


Booking for 4 days here in January was a mistake. Weather very bad and stuck in a Csar Manrique style, uncomfortable accommodation. We are leaving early, sod the money.

Good Accomodation Las Palmas

Back in our old apartment from last year, much better than the hole we just stayed in near Las Canteras beach.