Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is the capital of the Spanish island of Gran Canaria. What are the best things to do in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria? Check it out.
About Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (also known as Las Palmas) is one of the largest cities in Spain and the capital of the island of Gran Canaria. The city was founded in 1478 and quickly became an important stopover for Christopher Columbus on his travels to the Americas. Fun fact: Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is a sister city of San Antonio in Texas (United States). San Antonio was founded by 25 islanders from Gran Canaria in 1781.
In 1599 Vice Admiral Pieter van der Does captured the city for The Netherlands. This only lasted about a week.
Is Las Palmas a fun city to visit? Yes! The old center is full of beautiful sights. In addition, there are pleasant squares full of bars and restaurants and long beaches.
The best things to do in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
What to do in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria? These are the most beautiful sights.
Catedral Metropolitana de Santa Ana de Canarias & Plaza de Santa Ana
The most notable structure in the old part of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is Catedral Metropolitana de Santa Ana de Canarias, also known as the Cathedral of Santa Ana. The construction of the cathedral started in the fifteenth century and it took until the eighteenth century to be completed. The building consists of different architectural styles and that is very interesting to see.
For a nice view of the city, you can climb the towers and look out over the beautiful Plaza de Santa Ana.
Please note: the cathedral is not always open to visitors, especially on weekends opening hours are limited.
Visit Casa de Colón
Next to the cathedral, you will find another beautiful building: Casa de Colón. This is a museum in a building from the sixteenth century and is dedicated to the explorations of Christopher Columbus and the history of Las Palmas. A great place to explore, the building itself is also beautiful to see.
Would you like to learn more about the history of the Canary Islands before colonial times? Then Museo Canario is really worth a visit. Here you will find many prehistoric finds from the original inhabitants of Gran Canaria. It is considered one of the best archaeological museums in Spain.
The neighborhood of Veguata is the oldest and also the most beautiful neighborhood in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Veguata is the historic city center that is home to the sights that I mentioned before such as the Cathedral and Casa de Colón. In addition, the neighborhood is home to many beautiful narrow streets, churches, and historic buildings. A great place to stroll around for an afternoon and one of the best things to do in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
Plaza de Cairasco
Plaza de Cairasco is another must-see place when you’re walking around the older part of Las Palmas. It is an incredibly beautiful square with palm trees and impressive buildings on both sides. A nice place to relax and drink a glass of wine on one of the terraces.
Discover the viewpoints
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is surrounded by mountains and some parts are therefore quite hilly. Several viewpoints can be found in the city. A great way to see more of the city, some of the views are really beautiful. A few recommendations:
- Mirador Paseo La Cornisa – for a nice view of the city and harbor.
- Mirador de la Cruz – view of the beach and the city.
- Mirador Los Giles – from here you can see almost the entire city.
Go shopping in Triana
Do you like shopping? Then you’re going to love Las Palmas. You will find many shopping streets in the center in the north of the city (near the beaches), but the nicest and most pleasant shopping street is Calle Triana. Here you will find many well-known chain stores, but also beautiful boutiques. And on the side streets, you’ll find many great tapas bars, and restaurants.
Jardin Botánico Canario Viera y Clavijo
Do you want to relax during your city trip? Then it is recommended to visit Jardín Botánico Canario Viera y Clavijo. You will find this large botanical garden about seven kilometers southwest of the city of Las Palmas and you can learn more about the flora and fauna of the Canary Islands here. A great place to explore and relax.
Relax at Playa de Las Canteras
There are two main beaches in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria: Playa de Las Alcaravaneras on the east side overlooking the harbor and Playa de Las Canteras. Playa de Las Canteras is the largest and most popular beach and is located on the northeast side of the city.
It is always busy here, but there is plenty of space to find yourself a nice spot. On a clear day, you have a beautiful view of the island of Tenerife from the beach.
You can also go for a lovely walk on the long boulevard, there are restaurants and bars everywhere. On some days, there’s a market on the boulevard where you can find some interesting souvenirs. A great place for a relaxed afternoon.
Auditorium Alfredo Kraus
At the very west end of Playa de Las Canteras is the impressive Auditorio Alfredo Kraus. This is one of the coolest buildings in the Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and is a great location for cultural performances. The idea behind the building is to represent a lighthouse that protects the city. There are several beautiful works of art around the building.
Plaza de la Puntilla
At the very north end of Playa de Las Canteras is Plaza de La Puntilla. It is a lot quieter here than on the beaches, but also a nice place to sit on the edge. The coastline is very rocky on this side and you can hear the waves crashing. A quiet place to overlook the crowds on Playa de Las Canteras. A perfect place for a quick lunch.
Parque de Santa Catalina
Parque de Santa Catalina and the adjacent Plaza Comandante Ramón Franco is the heart of the city and the city’s connection to the bus station and port. It is always pleasantly busy here, but never too busy because of the size. There are several restaurants and terraces here and you can also visit the interesting Elder museum of science and technology.
Castillo de la Luzu
Castillo de la Luz is a renovated stone fortress from the fifteenth century, right next to the port. There is a nice park around it and you can also visit the fortress. In the fort, you can see an art exhibition.
Poema del Mar Aquarium
The Poema del Mar Aquarium is one of the biggest attractions in the Port of Las Palmas. It is said to be one of the most spectacular aquariums in Europe and consists of three distinct parts: jungle, deep sea, and coral reefs. There are a lot of animals to see. Fun and educational for young and old.
Fun Day Trips from Las Palmas
Now you know everything about the best things to do in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, but you can also go on some day trips! The island of Gran Canaria is not very big and since Las Palmas is the largest city, you can easily visit the entire island from here. Which places are nice to visit from Las Palmas as a day trip?
Teror is arguably the prettiest town on the island. It is in a very photogenic location in the north of the island and is surrounded by green mountains. The wooden balconies on the colorful houses are a sight to see.
Teror is approximately 45 minutes from Las Palmas and is well served by bus.
Dunas de Maspalomas
At the very south of Gran Canaria, you will find the Dunas de Maspalomas, a kind of mini Sahara full of sand dunes. It is quite expansive and in some places, it’s like your all alone in a desert. It is, therefore, a great place to discover and you can take some beautiful pictures.
From the city, there are frequent buses to Maspalomas (journey time: 1 hour) and it is about 45 minutes by car.
Explore the inland
The interior of the island is still quite rugged and unspoiled, full of impressive rock formations. On this full-day tour, you’ll visit the resting crater of Bandama, head to the highest point on the island, and discover even more beautiful places inland.
Where to eat in Las Palmas
Las Palmas is a large town and is filled with nice restaurants and coffee shops. What are the best places for a bite and a drink?
- La Paleta – a very nice tapas bar with delicious wines. Note: you will not find this on Google Maps, it is on the corner of C. Ripoche and C. Veintinueve de Abril.
- Churreria Astrid – perfect for coffee and breakfast, huge churros! Very local place and cheap.
- Un Lugar Café – coffee bar (with delicious breakfast and lunch dishes) where you can also work or study. Best place for digital nomads.
- Restaurante Puro Sabor – is one of the many restaurants in a cozy street full of terraces. This one has the tastiest dishes on the menu.
- Nuevo Rio las Palmas – Tasty paella and tapas in a beautiful place.
I personally thought the C. Ruiz de Alda was the most pleasant street to eat. There you also have a lot of restaurants and terraces.
Staying in Las Palmas
What are the best places to stay in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria? Here are a few good options for any budget:
- €€ Cactus Host – nicely furnished pension near the beach with communal roof terrace.
- €€ Aminta Home – beautifully decorated B&B within walking distance of the Cathedral.
- €€€ VEINTIUNO Emblematic Hotels – luxury 4* hotel with outdoor pool, right next to the cathedral.
Book a trip to Gran Canaria
Would you like to visit Las Palmas de Gran Canaria? These websites are useful for booking your trip:
- Gran Canaria has an international airport and has good connections with many European cities. Check Skyscanner for the cheapest tickets.
- From the airport, you can get to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria by rental car or private transfer. However, the cheapest option is the local bus, which goes once or twice an hour and costs between €2 and €3. The ride takes about 30 minutes.
- Do you want to go road tripping on Gran Canaria? Find the best deals on rental cars through Discover Cars or Rental Cars.
- You can find great guided tours via Get Your Guide.
- Don’t forget your travel insurance! Check Insubuy for all the options and prices.
Want to read more about Gran Canaria & Spain?
Do you need more information? Here are a few guidebooks full of tips:
You can also read a lot about traveling in Spain on this website. For example, also read these articles:
- 10 awesome things to do in Gran Canaria
- What are the best things to do in Seville?
- The best things to do in Girona
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