As the capital city of Gran Canaria Island, Las Palmas (full name Las Palmas de Gran Canaria) offers a vibrant and captivating blend of history, culture, beaches, and a “capital city” atmosphere (compared to the rest of the island which is either more about resorts or nature).
Situated on the northeastern coast of the island, Las Palmas is a melting pot of diverse influences, offering visitors a unique experience that showcases the rich heritage and natural beauty of Gran Canaria.
Las Palmas ranks 9th as of most populated city of Spain with 384 000 people, while 851 000 people live on the island of Gran Canaria, 2.2 million reside in the Canary Islands altogether.
Las Palmas boasts a rich history dating back to its founding in 1478. The historic district of Vegueta, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a treasure trove of colonial architecture reminiscent of Sevilla, narrow cobblestone streets, and charming squares.
Vegueta is the oldest part of the city and holds great historical and cultural importance. It was the original settlement founded in 1478 when the Spanish conquistadors arrived on the island. The district is characterized by its well-preserved colonial architecture, narrow cobblestone streets, and picturesque squares. Walking through Vegueta feels like stepping back in time, with its historic buildings and beautifully restored facades.
Key attractions in Vegueta include:
Las Palmas offers a diverse range of shopping opportunities, from high-end boutiques and designer stores to bustling street markets and modern shopping malls. Located adjacent to Vegueta, the Triana neighborhood, known for its elegant shopping streets, is a popular destination for fashion enthusiasts.
Triana is a vibrant and historic neighborhood of Las Palmas. It was historically known as the commercial and trading center of the city and is now a neighborhood with lively streets lined with shops, cafes, and restaurants. It offers a mix of traditional Canarian architecture and modern amenities, creating a vibrant and dynamic atmosphere.
Be aware that shopping taxes are much lower in the Canary Islands (6,5%) than the rest of Spain (21%) and Europe, so you’re in for some deals.
Las Palmas is a city that celebrates its cultural heritage with enthusiasm and passion. The annual Carnival of Las Palmas, one of the most important festivals in Spain, is a dazzling display of color, music, and dance. The city comes alive with vibrant parades, costumes, drag artists and street parties, creating an electric atmosphere that showcases the lively spirit of the local community.
The people Gran Canaria love carnaval, many are organized all over the island, the two biggest being the ones in Las Palmas and Maspalomas. Check out this very site and our social medias for the next dates and coverage. Below of the 2023 Drag Gala.
Las Palmas’s culinary scene is a gastronomic delight, with a wide array of restaurants serving both traditional Canarian dishes and just like any cosmopolitan city, international cuisine. As a starter or side dish, you have to try this specialty: the Papas Arrugadas, mini Canarian potatoes served with a special orange garlic sauce called Mojo (You can get those anywhere in the Canary Islands, not just Las Palmas). Also ask for our favorite tasty sauce Aioli whenever you get to order fries.
Playa de Las Canteras
While you are in Las Palmas, head over to the beach Playa de Las Canteras, an urban beach facing West that stretches for three kilometers along the city’s coastline where you can watch the sunset. With its golden sand, crystal-clear waters, this beach is a haven for sun-seekers and water sports enthusiasts alike (there is a section for surfers).
The beach promenade, known as the Paseo de Las Canteras, is lined with restaurants and cafes terraces directly facing the beach, offering a vibrant and lively atmosphere.
Cultural Institutions and Museums
The city is also home to several museums and cultural institutions that offer insights into the island’s art, history, and traditions. The Museo Elder de la Ciencia y la Tecnología (Museum of Science & Technology) for example showcases interactive exhibits and educational activities for all ages.
The Museo Canario (Canarian Museum): Housed in a beautiful colonial building, the museum showcases the archaeological and anthropological history of the Canary Islands, offering insights into the indigenous Guanche civilization.
Gabinete Literario: This stunning neoclassical building serves as a cultural center and hosts various events, including art exhibitions, concerts, and literary gatherings.
Beyond the urban attractions, Las Palmas provides ample opportunities for outdoor exploration. The nearby Parque de Santa Catalina offers a tranquil escape with lush green spaces, palm trees, and a beautiful pond.
For nature lovers, a visit to the stunning Bandama Caldera, located just outside the city, allows you to witness the island’s volcanic landscapes and breathtaking views.
How about the gay scene?
Due to its fairly small size, the island of Gran Canaria is perceived as a whole. The LGBT scene is almost exclusively located in what is referred by locals as “The South of the Island” (Maspalomas and surroundings). However, there is one gay location to stop by if you’re feeling naughty while in Las Palmas… a gay sauna… called Sauna Portugal.
Las Palmas captures the essence of Gran Canaria’s vibrant spirit, combining a rich historical heritage, beaches, cultural festivities, and a bustling “capital city” atmosphere.
Whether you explore the historic streets of Vegueta, relax on a terrace of Playa de Las Canteras, immerse yourself in the city’s cultural institutions, or indulge in its gastronomic delights, Las Palmas promises an unforgettable experience that showcases the diverse and captivating charm of Gran Canaria’s capital city.
Reserve a guided tour of Las Palmas directly below with our partners TUI, or on this link with Booking.