Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Canary Islands
Established in 1478 by Juan Rejon, today Las Palmas is the largest, most dynamic and colorful city of the Canary Islands and the ninth largest in Spain. It is the capital of the province of Las Palmas. Its population is approximately 390,000 inhabitants and its urban agglomeration is home to more than 700,000 people.
Arriving here, most visitors are usually surprised to find such a bustling city on a small tourist island like Gran Canaria.
With regard to ethnicity, the population of the city is very cosmopolitan and consists of immigrants from all over the world, especially from Europe, Mediterranean Africa and Latin America. The city is located in the northern part of the island of Gran Canaria, occupying a large part of La Isleta Peninsula.
Las Palmas enjoys a mild year round climate, which most people describe as an eternal spring. The coldest winter days bring temperatures of about 21°C, but summers are not too hot and barely experience temperatures of more than 27 – 28°C.
As Las Palmas is located on the northern coast of the island of Gran Canaria, the sky over the city is often covered by grey clouds. This, however, does not last long, and the weather usually remains warm and dry. The sun tries to peek through the clouds even during the cloudiest days.
Las Palmas‘ beach season lasts 12 months a year with an average sea surface temperature between 18 and 23°C. However, if you are planning to spend your winter vacation here, a spring jacket would not be superfluous in your luggage.
Do not forget that cloudy days with windy and rainy weather, although not very common, are also possible during the winter season.
Las Palmas is known for its lovely beaches that attract visitors throughout the year. Playa de las Canteras, which extends approximately 2.5 km along the famous promenade “Paseo de las Canteras”, is considered to be the most beautiful beach in the city.
Dotted with coconut trees, Playa de las Canteras offers fine golden sand. The palm trees bring an exotic atmosphere and cast attractive shade over the sand. It is a popular place to welcome the Christmas holidays.
If you are exhausted after the beach, the promenade that is one of the most attractive tourist areas in the city offers a huge choice of restaurants and bars to eat or just drink something cool and refreshing.
Although less famous than las Canteras, Playa de Alcaravaneras also worth a visit. The beach is located on the east coast, near the marinas.
It is quite smaller in comparison with las Canteras and the area offers fewer bars, restaurants and opportunities for recreation or entertainment. On the other hand, however, Alcaravaneras boasts lovely sand and truly calm sea water.
If you want to relax amidst exotic vegetation and want to take a short break from the dynamic atmosphere of Las Palmas, the city parks are ideal for this purpose.
Many people say that there are not many trees in Las Palmas and truly this is the first impression of the city. If you, however, visit the park of Doramas, you will probably change your mind.
Here you will find all sorts of fascinating tropical trees and flowers. Beautiful fountains offer pleasant coolness, and if you sit for a while on a bench after the sun goes down, you will have the chance to feel the freshness and aroma released by the tropical plants in the garden.
Another park to visit, although smaller than Doramas, is Santa Catalina. It rather resembles a square, where to sit and drink a cup of coffee while watching passers-by. Plaza de Don Benito is another nice place to take a breather under the shade of palm trees while walking around Las Palmas.
Although it is not surrounded by lush vegetation, Las Palmas is very beautiful and offers architectural styles from all around the world. Its worth seeing buildings are painted in bright colors.
Of course, the Spanish influence is stronger and can be felt at every turn. Of all the sights of the city, however, there are a few that you should not miss, whether because of the way they are built or for their historical past.
One of the first stops on any tourist trip has to be the house of the explorer Christopher Columbus of Genoa, who lived here before heading to America. The building is known as the Casa de Colón and is considered one of the most beautiful in the Canary Islands.
The Cathedral of Santa Ana is not to be missed. It is located very close to Casa de Colon and its two towers are rising up over the surrounding buildings. The cathedral combines three architectural styles – Renaissance, Gothic and Neoclassical.
If you get the lift to the top of the southern tower, you will discover one of the most amazing views of Las Palmas. The cathedral is located in the eponymous square, which is famous for its ancient buildings.
One of the major attractions of Las Palmas is Vieira y Clavijo Botanical Garden, located in the southern periphery of the city. It offers an amazing combination of plant species.
Here you will find many different types of trees, flowers and cacti as well as winding and quiet walking paths. When you get tired, you can take a rest on a bench under the shade of trees.
A few minutes’ drive outside of city is the Caldera de Bandama. If you are planning to visit this place is better to do it in winter because the summer sun is too strong, and there is nowhere to hide from the scorching sunlight.
In Las Palmas you will find more than 300 bars and restaurants with cuisine from around the world – Mexican, Italian, Spanish, Japanese, Arabic, Chinese and whatnot.
The reason is that Las Palmas is a multicultural city to offers something for everyone, regardless of taste and affordability. The nightclubs and discos are in abundance. Most of them are opened until 6:00 am and the other restaurants usually do not close before midnight.
Practically, Las Palmas never sleeps. Shortly after the nightclubs close early in the morning, the first cafes welcome their early-rising visitors. In addition to a wide choice of restaurants, Las Palmas is also an excellent place for shopping.
Here you will find numerous shops and shopping centers, but do not forget that Las Palmas is a resort and you should not expect very low prices.
Winter is the period with the largest number of events and celebrations in Las Palmas. It all starts with welcoming the Christmas holidays in the late December.
Huge crowds of visitors come here each year because of the exciting music and film festivals, held during the months of January, February and March. The Carnival of Las Palmas is the second most important in the world after the Carnival of Rio de Janeiro.
This is one of the most exciting events not only in the city but in the whole of Spain. It is held annually in February, although it falls on different dates every year.
Hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world flocks here to enjoy the winter sun, lavish costumes and great music.
When to visit Las Palmas? Winter is considered to be the most active tourist season in Las Palmas. December is perhaps the best time of year for tourism here.
The period over the Christmas and New Year holidays welcomes you with very nice weather, temperature of around 22 – 23°C, shining sun and beaches filled with tourists.
How to get there? Gran Canaria Airport is located approximately 18 kilometers from Las Palmas. It is considered one of the busiest airports in Spain.
It serves regular flights to mainland Spain, Europe and countries from all over the world. The largest number of passengers usually arrives from North-Western Europe, especially Britain and Norway.
Other way to get to Las Palmas is using the regular ferry line between Las Palmas and Cadiz, mainland Spain.