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Las Palmas

Things to do in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

Things to do Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria has been one of Europes best-kept secrets.  Las Palmas is 50km away from the more famous beaches in the south.  The city has an electric atmosphere and more and more people are coming to visit and stay each year.   There is so much to see and do in Las Palmas.

Playa Las Canteras

In my humble opinion, Playa Las Canteras is the best city beach in the world.  Over 3km of sandy beach.  Bars and restaurants make it a very special place and it is right in the city.

Las Cantares Las Palmas

 

Gofit Las Palmas

If the weather is not great you have the option of visiting Gofit on Playa Las Canteras.  The complex has a large gym.  A swimming pool and Spa.  You can pay for just a day pass here.

Las Cantares Las Palmas

 

Go Surfing on Playa Las Canteras

There are a number of surfing shops where you can hire equipment or take lessons on Playa Las Canteras.  The main surfing area is at the end of the south side of the beach.

Las Cantares Las Palmas

Swim out to the barrier Las Canteras

One of the really cool things about Playa Las Canteras is the barrier.  This is a reef about 200 meters from the beach.  At low tide, many people swim out to the barrier.  As you swim out there are many parts of the water you will be able to stand at low tide.  The barrier is a great place for snorkelling and seeing many types of fish.

Playa Las Canteras

Vegueta Las Palmas

Vegueta is the historic area of Las Palmas.   It is a very easy area to see as it is just a few streets.  Here you can enjoy a beer or a meal in one of the many bars and restaurants.  Thursday night is a popular night in  Vegueta for students.

 

Las Palmas Gran Canaria

Casa de Colón Las Palmas

As you are in Vegueta check out Casa de Colón.  This is the Las Palmas house of Christopher Columbas.  It is now a museum.

Casa de Colón Las Palmas

 

Mercado de Vegueta

Vegueta also has a market. You can get a wide selection of local produce here.  Be early as it opens early and is closed from the afternoons and Sundays.

Mercado de Vegueta

 

Atlantic Centre of Modern Art

Also located in Vegueta the centre has a good display of contemporary art.  Admission is free.

Tapas in Vegueta

Thursday nights are Tapas nights in Vegueta.  Many bars and restaurants have special offers for beer and tapas every Thursday night.

Las Palmas Gran Canaria

 

Triana Las Palmas

Triana is the main shopping street of the old city in Las Palmas.  While there are no big shopping centres here you can find many of the big brand names.   The main and adjacent narrow back streets are full of some great tapas bars and other places to eat.

Triana Las Palmas

 

Mercardo del Puerto Las Palmas

Probably one of the nicest places to have a tapa and a beer in Las Palmas.  The port market is situated just behind Playa Las Canteras on the northern side.  The market has music on some nights.

Mercado del Puerto, Las Palmas

 

Have a coffee in Parque de San Telmo

Parque de San Telmo is near the old town of Las Palmas.  It is opposite the busy San Telmo bus station.  I regularly enjoy a coffee here and just watch life go by. It might be simple but it is one of the things I like to do in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.

Park San Telmo Las Palmas

 

El Confital Las Palmas

Just a short walk from the north end of Playa Las Canteras is the very interesting El Confital zone.  This is a favourite walk for many people.  This is a popular area where people hang out and picnic. There is also a nudist area nearby if you want to hang out a bit more. There is an area where some people swim and surf.  Don’t swim anywhere other than official bathing areas as the currents are strong here.

El Confital

 

La Isleta Las Palmas

A 10-minute walk from Las Canteras north beach is the neighbourhood of La Isleta.  On the seafront, there are a few bars.  It is a really nice place to have a drink and a light meal.  There is music here at times.  The music is limited due to people living here.

La Isleta Las Palmas

 

Las Palmas bus tour

If you want to see the main tourist attractions in Las Palmas quickly the city bus tour is the best way.  The main stop is located next to the shopping centre in Santa Catalina.

Las Palmas city bus tour

Las Palmas Marina

Another of the things to do in Las Palmas is to visit the Marina.  Here you will see 100s of all type of boats.  People live on the boats and also people stay short-term.  There are also bars and restaurants here where the boating community socialise.

Las Palmas Marina

 

Stroll down the Las Palmas seafront.

As a city with over 400,000 people, Las Palmas has also a busy port. As well as cargo ships Las Palmas is a ferry port.  You can catch a ferry to the other Canary Islands and a weekly service to southern Spain.  The walk is almost 10km long and has designated space for walkers and cyclists.

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

 

Experience local Canarian song and Dance at Parque Doramas.

Every Sunday from 1100 until 1300 there is a performance of Canarian folk music and dance.  This takes place in Parque Doramas behind the Santa Catalina hotel.  FYI Santa Catalina Hotel is not located in Parque Santa Catalina.

Parque Doramas

 

Check out the Cruise liners in Las Palmas

The port of Las Palmas has become a key stop for some of the worlds biggest cruise liners.  They use the Canary Islands as a winter destination from September to May.  If you like looking at these beautiful ships a good place to view is from the nearby Santa Catalina shopping centre.  There are many cafes where you can see the ships from the rooftop as you enjoy a drink.

Las Palmas Cruise Liners

Castillo de la Luz Las Palmas

Built-in 1494 was almost destroyed by the Dutch attack on Las Palmas in 1599.  The small castle has been restored over time.  Located in a small park near the port area.  There is also a small cafe in the park.

Castillo de la Luz

Sitycleta Las Palmas

Las Palmas can be a long city.  The distance between the old city and beach area of the city is 4km.  The Las Palmas bike scheme can be a great way to see all the main sites.  You can use the bikes for regular short trips. Click here for more information.

Sitycleta Las Palmas

Playa Alcaravaneras

Playa Alcarvaneras is the second biggest beach in Las Palmas.  It is very popular with families and beach sports clubs. Maybe not the best beach for swimming due to many boats nearby.

Playa Alcaravaneras

 

Parque Santa Catalina

It is not a park as such but it is one of the main entertainment areas in Las Palmas.  There are many bars and restaurants and music at weekends.  Usually, if there is an event in Las Palmas it will be here.  Las Palmas Carnival is held here.  Las Canteras beach is just a few streets away.

Las Palmas

 

San Cristóbal Las Palmas

San Cristobal is a small fishing area that is now a neighbourhood of Las Palmas.  It is on the edge of the city as you enter from the south.  It is famous in Gran Canaria for its fish restaurants.  It is also very popular with the local population, especially at weekends.  If you are in the city you can get the number 12 local city bus here.  Get off near the hospital and there is an underpass you can cross to the other side of the road.

 

San Cristóbal Las Palmas

 

Terraza Kopa Las Palmas

If you fancy dancing the night away Terraza Kopa maybe for you.  Located next to the Santa Catalina shopping centre it attracts a mixed age crowd.

Terraza Kopa Las Palmas

 

Dancing Fanys

Attracting a more mature crowd Dancing Fanys is on Playa las Cantares.  The name says it all.

Dancing fanys Las Palmas

Poema del Mar Las Palmas

Opened in 2018 the aquarium has proven to be an instant hit with visitors to the city. A large aquarium you can spend hours here enjoying the numerous species of sea life.

Poema De Mar Las Palmas

 

Shop eat and drink in one of the main shopping centres.

Las Palmas has some great shopping centres.  One of the most popular is Centro Comercial El Muelle near Parque Santa Catalina. After you finished shopping you can grab something to eat overlooking the port.  The cruise liners visiting Las Palmas dock next to here during the winter season.

Centro Comercial El Muelle

 

Gran Canaria bus

As Las Palmas is the capital of Gran Canaria it is well connected by bus to all of Gran Canarias towns.  The North of Gran Canaria is not as well known as the more popular beach resorts down south.  For me, the north and interior of the Island are far more beautiful and interesting.  Las Palmas has 2 main bus stations.  San Telmo in the old town and Santa Catalina near PlayaLas Canteras.

Gran Canaria bus

 

Auditorio Alfredo Kraus

At the end of Playa Las Canteras is the striking building Auditorio Alfredo Kraus.  There is a substantial programme of plays musical shows all throughout the year.

Auditorio Alfredo Kraus

 

Museo Elder de la Ciencia y la Tecnología

The Elder museum of science and technology in Parque Santa Catalina exhibitions on both floors.  A must for children as it is encouraged to actively engage with the exhibits.  The museum used to be a warehouse for the Elder shipping company.

Museo Elder de la Ciencia y la Tecnología

Las Palmas Sunday Market

Every Sunday morning until early afternoon Las Palmas has a very busy Sunday market.  You can buy all sorts here and it is one of the better Sunday markets you will see.  The market is situated just behind Parque Santa Catalina.

Las Palmas Gran Canaria

Estadio Insular Las Palmas

One of the more unusual parks in Las Palmas.  It was formally the stadium of UD Las Palmas football club.  Years ago the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona would have played here.  It has now been turned into a park.  Very popular with local families.  There is also a restaurant n the park selling drinks and snacks.

Las Palmas

 

Eat like a local at Pachichis

Located in Calle Los Martínez de Escobar just off Playa Las Canteras Pichichis is extremely popular with locals.  So much that fills up quickly once it opens at 8 pm in the evening.  It does not have an extensive menu but it has a very tasty menu of cheap local dishes.  Be early or make a reservation.

Pachichis Las Palmas

 

Restaurante Gran Playa Las Palmas

If you are the kind of person that likes to eat a good meal that will do you for the day then here if for you.  Good wholesome food and lots of it.  The value is amazing.  There is a reason why you will need to wait for a table. The restaurant is on Playa Las Canteras.

Restaurante Gran Playa Las Palmas

 

Tasca Galileo

This place keeps popping up on many peoples lists of great places to eat in Las Palmas.   Quality wines and Tapas are served.  Near Playa Las Canteras on Calle Galileo.   If you rock up here late in the evening you more then likely will need to wait as it is quite small.

Tasca Galileo Las Palmas

Panza de Burro Las Palmas

Ok, this may be more a reason not to visit Las Palmas.  At times Las Palmas is affected by unique weather phenomena called El Panza de Burro or in English the belly of the donkey.  This is a cloud that fits into the city like a glove.  At times when the Panza de Burro is over Las Palmas, it can be sunny skies a few kilometres away.  In my experience, the Panza de Burro cover the city around 15% to 20% of days.  That means 80% of the time it is blue skies all the way.  Even on Panza de Burro days it still is warm.

panza de burro Las Palmas

 

Plaza de Farray

Just behind Las Canteras is Plaza de Farray.  It is a popular place for locals to eat and drink.

Plaza de Farray

Ermita de San Telmo Las Palmas

This small church is at the edge of San Telmo park. It was destroyed in 1599 during a Dutch attack on Las Palmas.  It was restored in the seventeenth century.

Ermita de San Telmo Las Palmas

 

Sotavento Club Las Palmas

If you are looking for a club nested next to the water then check out the Sotavento club in the marina.  Popular with a younger crowd at the weekend.

Sotavento Club Las Palmas

 

Plaza de Espana

Another popular place in Las Palmas to grab a coffee a beer and chat.  Located near the beach area.

Plaza de Espana

 

Mercado Central De Las Palmas

The biggest market in Las Palmas located in Calle Galicia.  Offering fruit, vegetables, meats, fish and local cheeses.  There are also a few cafes where you can get something to eat and drink.  Most of the stalls begin to close early afternoon.

Mercado Central De Las Palmas

 

Abuela Bar Las Palmas

For such a large city with a relaxed population, Las Palmas has a very small gay scene.  This is probably because of 50km down the road in Playa del Ingles has one of Europes largest gay scene.  Abuela gay bar in Las Palmas is one of the better bars in the city.  With very welcoming owners the bar has a mixed clientele.  There is also outdoor seating.

Abuela Bar Las Palmas

 

Las Palmas Casino

If you are feeling lucky why not try the biggest casino in Las Palmas.  The casino is just 2 minutes walk from Parque Santa Catalina.

Las Palmas Casino

 

Cruz del El Confital

Just on the edge of Las Palmas as Gran Canaria comes to an end is Cruz del El Confital.  It very popular with walkers.  The view of Las Palmas here explains the city.  No words are needed.

Cruz del El Confital Las Palmas

 

Cueva de Los Canarios

Just a few minutes down from Cruz del El Confital are some caves.  The caves were occupied by original inhabitants of Gran Canaria.  The day I visited it looked like people are living in the caves now.  They may not be accessible now.

Las Palmas caves

 

Las Coloradas Gran Canaria

If you are near Cruz del El Confital you may want to check out Las Coloradas the last town on northern Gran Canaria.  There is not much happening here but the town does have a restaurant and a few bars.  The main attraction here is the view.  There is also a trail down to El Confital.  You can walk back to Playa Las Cantares from here.  Bus 41 also goes here from Santa Catalina bus station.

Las Coloradas Las Palmas

Avenue José Mesa y López.

Avenue Mesa y Lopez is a very popular shopping area near the Las Canteras area.  The famous El Corte Ingles shopping chain is located here.   The street also hosts events at weekends at various times during the year.

Las Palmas

Stay in the 5 star Santa Catalina Hotel Las Palmas

This hotel was built in 1890 in a colonial style.  It is an iconic landmark in Las Palmas.  The hotel is situated midway between the old town and the Canteras beach area.

Las Palmas Gran Canaria

Have a beer at the beach

A popular place to hang out at night are the few bars located at the southern end of Playa Las Canteras near the Las Arenas shopping centre.  There is music here on most Saturday nights.

Las Palmas

Go see UD Las Palmas

UD Las Palmas is the football team of the city. They play their home games at the Estadio Gran Canaria. It is about 4/5km from the center.

Calle Ruiz de Alda

Another street to hang out in Las Palmas is Ruiz de Alda. This street is just behind Av Mesa Y Lopez which is a busy shopping street near Playa Las Canteras.

Las Palmas Gran Canaria

Las Palmas Carnival

Las Palmas Carnival is only on for three weeks of the year, but if you can plan your visit during Carnival, you will not regret it. It is the best free party in Europe and has to be seen to understand what a special event it is. It happens approximately six weeks before Easter so check the dates before you visit.

Las Palmas Gran Canaria

Playa Laja Las Palmas

Just as you enter, Las Palmas from the south is Playa Laja one of Las Palmas lesser-known beaches. There is a beach and walled swimming pools here. The cliff near the beach can cast a shadow later in the day, but the swimming pools continue to receive the sun all day.

Playa Laja Las Palmas

San Cristobal beach

The fishing village of San Cristobal also has a cool small beach. It is also on the outskirts of Las Palmas. After your swim, you can enjoy the great seafood in one of the many fish restaurants here.

If you are thinking about living in Gran Canaria click here for more information.

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Comments (7):

  1. Richard O'Keeffe

    November 15, 2018 at 12:13 pm

    Fair play Pat fantastic info, fantastic blog very inviting to jump on a plane right now!

    Reply
  2. Dave

    November 19, 2018 at 5:31 pm

    Excellent Pat i especially love the bit about the lovely couple from Cork and we can say the same it was for us a great informative evening lovely to hear the stories about life in the Gran Canaria and of course the good cheap pints at the Bar it was a pleasure to see you both keep up the good work Dave

    Reply
    • PATRICK O Neill

      November 19, 2018 at 6:16 pm

      I had a few more after. 1.50 was too good to miss. Was rough yesterday lol

      Reply
  3. Inma Montelongo

    November 26, 2018 at 12:28 pm

    Great post Patrick. I think you managed to include just about everything.
    Las Palmas is such a wonderful city, very civilised, very European, not too commercial, lots of independent shops, bars and restaurants. All infused with a distinct Latin American / African vibe that makes it unique.

    For me, as an expat resident, it really does a very good job of being an important 21st century city, with one eye on it’s rich history and the other firmly looking into the future.

    Reply

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