The capital of the Canary Island’s Gran Canaria, Las Palmas is a large city that attracts a huge number of tourists due to its exceptional climate and four pristine beaches. This is a bustling city that offers endless possibilities, with countless restaurants, bars and cafés to explore and loads of designer shops and boutiques to browse through. You won’t have to search hard to find exactly what you’re looking for here, and the nightlife is equally vibrant with several clubs, discos and other dance venues to choose from.
If you are after a bit of sightseeing, there are plenty of places of cultural, historical and religious importance to discover. The Catedral de Santa Ana is one such sight, a magnificent 15th century place of worship which features beautiful neoclassical architecture and dazzling artworks. With many museums and galleries to explore such as the Columbus House and the science and technology museum in particular, travellers have ample opportunity to escape the city buzz and enjoy a calm, leisurely time with family, friends, and loved ones.
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The Canary Islands offer more than just beach holidays. Las Palmas, the joint capital of the islands and the capital of Gran Canaria, is a busy, vibrant Spanish metropolis with a population of nearly 400,000, and all the cultural thrills you'd expect from a modern, cosmopolitan city.
There are four very good beaches here. Surfers and sunbathers dot the sands, while the busy seafront promenades offer good seafood restaurants, bars and shops.
Las Palmas is a real melting pot, a historical maritime crossroads with Spanish, Latin American, African, Indian, and Chinese influences. Christopher Columbus stopped off on his way to the Americas, establishing the islands as an important transatlantic port.
The Vegueta quarter is the heart of the old city, founded not long before Columbus' 1492 visit. Today, it's the most fashionable section of the city with a high concentration of high-end boutiques and a very hip nightlife scene. The neighbouring Triana area is also a great shopping and strolling destination, with colourful Art Noveau and Art Deco buildings.
You can dine well on Canarian, Spanish, and international cuisine throughout the city. Prices can be high in tourist areas so it's worth looking for local establishments.
The 16th-century Santa Ana Cathedral dominates the Plaza de Santa Ana, the central square that was a model for many in Latin America. There's a lift if you think that the 216 steps up to the spectacular city views from the bell tower are too much for you.
Other historical buildings worth exploring include the Columbus House, where the great explorer is said to have stayed, and the mariners' chapel - the Ermita de San Telmo in Triana. There are a number of museums celebrating everything from Canarian culture to modern art. The Elder Museum is a very modern, interactive technology museum that children will love.
The weather is perfect, according to American climate scientist Thomas Whitmore, who rated it as the best in the world. That means summer averages of around 25C and around 18C in the winter.
City Breaks: With lots to do and a wonderfully cool Mediterranean-style vibe, Las Palmas is a great destination for a weekend away.
Cultural Tourists:The largest city in the Canaries is the place to go if you want to understand this melting pot of culture. It has some wonderful museums and galleries.
Winter Sun: With a climate rated as the best in the world and some excellent beaches, Las Palmas is just as good for soaking up the sun as it is for enriching your cultural knowledge.
Partying: Las Palmas is a young city and has a nightlife scene to match any in Spain. If staying up all night is your thing, you'll find everything from cool jazz cafes to thumping clubs here.
Golf: The oldest golf club in Spain is in Las Palmas, and the city's a good base from which to try out some of Gran Canaria's other highly-rated clubs.
Currency: EUR: Euro
Language: Spanish, Canarian, English widely spoken
Approximate flight time from the UK: 4 hours
Time zone: GMT +0 / +1
Museo Elder de la Ciencia y la Tecnologia
This good-value museum of technology is entertaining and informative with a good mix of exhibits and plenty of interaction. It's got a 3D cinema, a planetarium, CGI tricks, flight simulators and much more. You're encouraged to get close to the exhibits, from sitting in a jet plane's cockpit to spinning at the end of a robot arm to experience g-force first hand. Although it has no café or shop, so you'll have to take lots of photos to remember this unique attraction.
Address: Parque de Santa Catalina, s/n, 35007 Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Gran Canaria, Spain
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 8pm
Entry cost: Approximately 5 euros
Playa de las Canteras
Many people rate Playa de las Canteras as the best city beach in the world. The sands are fine, white and stretch for 3km. An offshore reef keeps the water calm and perfect for swimmers at one end, while surfers can enjoy challenging swell further down the coast. The promenade, the Paseo de las Canteras, is stylish, traffic free and busy with walkers, joggers and cyclists.
Address: Paseo de las Canteras | Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Gran Canaria, Spain
Opening hours: N/A
Entry cost: Free
Casa de Colon
The house where Christopher Columbus is rumoured to have stayed at on his way west is now an excellent museum telling the story of his discoveries. It's quite a serious place, though children will love the model galleon, and also explains how the Canary Islands became one of the most important maritime intersections in the world. All in a stunning historic building that's one of the city's finest.
Address: TF-1, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain
Opening hours: Monday - Friday, 9am to 7pm; Saturday - Sunday, 9am to 3pm
Entry cost: General, 4 euros; reduced 2 euros. Reductions for university students, over 65s, pensioners, groups of seven or more and large families.
This brilliant national botanical collection was founded in 1952 by Swedish botanist Eric Sventenius, who wanted to create a comprehensive collection of the Canary Islands' unique flora. In its stunning setting by the Guiniguada Ravine it is an excellent day out and a genuine national treasure.
Address: Carretera del Centro, Km 7 | 14 de Tafira Alta, 35017, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Gran Canaria, Spain
Opening hours: 9am to 6pm
Entry cost: Free
The historic centre of old Las Palmas mixes beautiful historic architecture with high-fashion shopping and stylish drinking and dining. The city's cathedral and central square, both named Santa Ana, are a good place to start. The narrow, winding streets, lined with painted buildings are perfect for a city stroll. If prices in the restaurants seem a little steep, head to the market for some authentic Spanish street food.
Address: Altstadtviertel, 35001 Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Gran Canaria, Spain
Opening hours: N/A
Entry cost: free
Have you been to Las Palmas recently? What are the must-do experiences that you'd suggest? Do you have tips on how to stretch that holiday budget a bit further or know of a hidden-gem that’s easy to miss?
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