Visiting Gran Canaria? You should definitely add a trip to Las Palmas to your itinerary. Las Palmas is a city with bustling atmosphere, it’s packed with canarian culutre and it’s filled to the brim with amazing history. Despite this, I’ll admit that I knew very little about the city before our visit. It’s the largest city in the Canaries yet gets little attention compared to the attractions elsewhere on the island. Despite being away from the island’s tourist trail, there are many things to do in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Here I’ve pulled together my top suggestions of things to do in the city. It’s a fantastic place and is well worth a visit.
There’s plenty of things to do in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. I’d recommend spending at least 24 hours in the here if you can. This should make sure you have enough time to see the sights and get a feel for this city’s amazing atmosphere.
However long you chose to spend in Las Palmas, you’re sure to be impressed by this fantasic city.
11 Awesome Things To Do in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
1 – Discover Las Palmas History in Vegueta
Las Palmas is a city with an amazing history; and this history comes to life in the Vegueta neighbourhood. The city was founded as a Spanish colony in 1478 by Spanish explorers. From here it eventually grew into one of Spain’s most prosperous cities. As the oldest neighbourhood in Las Palmas, Vegueta is a labyrinth of cobbled streets. Along these pretty streets you will find outdoor bars and street cafés. These are usually filled with locals but are always friendly to visitors. Hidden amongst the winding alleyways are some of the city’s oldest and most iconic buildings.
2- See the Catedral Santa Ana
Chief amongst the historic buildings in Vegueta are the gothic towers of the Catedral Santa Ana. Parts of this church are over 500 years old. It’s the largest religious building the city and one of very few cathedrals in the Canary Islands. The cathedral is a mismatch of styles as the building took so long to construct. The interior was designed in a gothic style whereas the facade is a good example of neo-classical architecture in the city.
There is a beautiful public space at the front of the Cathedral called the Santa Ana Plaza. Peppered with palm trees, sculptures and ornate lamp posts, it’s a popular meeting place for locals.
If you’re looking for bird’s eye view of the city, look no further. For a small fee you can climb the catherdral towers. The vantage point offers amazing views of Vegueta and across the city of Las Palmas.
3- Explore Museums
There’s a lot of history in Las Palmas. The museums in Vegueta are a great way to find out more. To find out more about Gran Canaria before the spanish conquest, head to the Museo Canario. This museum focuses upon the indigenous population of Gran Canaria, the Guanches.
Casa Colon is dedicated to one of the city’s most famous visitors. Christopher Columbus stayed at a builing on this site on his journey towards the new world in 1492. Today the museum tells his story, details his voyage across the Atlantic and exhibits some of his personal belongings.
4 – Admire Colourful Architecture In Tirana
A short walk from Vegueta is the equally beautiful neighbourhood of Tirana. This is commercial heart of Las Palmas but hasn’t lost any of it’s appeal. Take time to wander down the colourful streets and to browse the clusters of bars and tapas restaurants available.
The Calle Mayor Tirana, the main street in this neighbourhood, has been pedestrianised for high street shopping. It’s likely you’ll recognise many of the brands with stores on this street. But don’t be discouraged if you’re not looking to shop. It’s the architecture here that makes the neighbourhood so beautiful. Above the shops the buildings are a kaleidoscope of bright colours complimented by wrought iron balaconies. Each building is completely unique and brightly coloured.
If you can, wander away from Calle Mayor Tirana and down some of the smaller side streets. Here, the international chains make way for local bars and eateries. In these many of the buildings are untouched and there are some incredible buildings to see. It’s certainly a beautiful area and is an absolute must when looking for things to do in Las Palmas.
5 – Grab a Coffee in Parque San Telmo
Head to the northern edge of Tirana and spend some time in the Parque San Telmo. This public park is a great spot for catching sun, relaxing and grabbing a coffee. The Quiosco Modernista de San Telmo is particularly beautiful kiosk which doubles as an open air café. The building is decked with beautiful sky blue tiles and decorated with various adornments and mosaics. Although the entire park is worth visiting, this quirky kiosk is particularly beautiful.
Also check out the Iglesia San Telmo. This little white church is one of the city’s oldest religious buildings. It looks slightly out of place among the surrounding building but it certainly adds character to the Parque San Telmo.
6 – Relax at Playa de Las Canteras
No trip to Las Palmas would be complete without a visit to Playa de Las Canteras. This is the city’s largest and most popular beach. It’s also considered to be one of the finest city beaches in Europe. This water is a paradise for swimmers, snorkelers and paddelboarders as the waters here a relatively calm. Running alongside the beach is a pedestrianised promenade which offers a stunning around the bay and the mountains beyond. It’s the perfect place to grab some food and there are some great tapas bars with beachside views. There’s also some great visitor accommodation here which is perfect for visitors looking to spend time by the sea.
The beach also offers view towards the island’s mountainous centre (which is also worth exploring) and on clear days it’s possible to see more miles along the north coast.
7 – Playa de las Alcaravaneras
The city’s second beach smaller and quiter and better suited to visitors looking to avoid crowds. This beach is typically used by locals for sunbathing, jogging and volleyball. The beach is hemmed between the city port, a naval base and the marina. This make this beach slightly less picturesque but don’t be discouraged by this. The beach is so serence and quiet making this the perfect location for some quiet beach time.
It’s also a great place for spotting cruise ships. Las Palmas is a popular stopping place on Atlantic cruises. This beach a great place to see some of these majestic vessels up close.
8 – Avenida de José Mesa y López and the Plaza de España
This sweeping boulevard was created in the 1950s when the city of Las Palmas started spreading towards the north. Previously the area north of Vegueta had consisted mostly of sand dunes. Today the Avenida de José Mesa y López is one of the city’s most exclusive addresses. The streets are lined with fashion boutiques and high-end department stores. Head to the mammoth sized El Corte Inglés if you are looking to shop. It’s the largest department store in the Canary Islands and is so big it occupies both sides of the street. This store is filled to the brim with all of your shopping essentials from fashion and beauty, to books and technology.
The two arms of the Avenida de José Mesa y López are joined by the Plaza de España. Head heree to see the stunning sculpture designed for the city’s 500th anniversary. The figures in the sculpture represent the many trades for which Las Palmas is know including fishing and agriculture.
The Plaza de España is also an area of recrection. Locals flock here to spend time in the outdoor cafés and restaurants. It’s a great place for grabbing a coffee and watching the world pass by.
9 – Parque Doramas and the Hotel Santa Catalina
Close to the leafy suburb of Ciudad Jardin, make time to explore the Parque Doramas. This has to be one of the city’s prettiest parks. There are many larger parks in Las Palmas, but what Doramas park lacks in size, it makes up for with its beautifully landscaped, tropical styled gardens and fascinating water features.
While you are here, take a peak inside the Hotel Santa Catalina. It’s one of Gran Canaria’s oldest and most beautiful hotels; and it’s in the middle of the Parque Doramas giving the hotel some beautiful surroundings. Previous guests of the hotel include Sir Winston Churchill, Agatha Christie, Prince Charles and Maria Callas. The outside of the building is adorned by elaborately carved canarian balaconies. Take a look inside also to see the sleek and elegant marbled interiors.
For an added splash of 5 Star luxury, add a night in the Hotel Santa Catalina to your Las Palmas trip. Or spend an evening in one of the hotel’s three restaurants.
Of course there are plenty of other accommodation options in Las Palmas. Have a browse below to find the best options for your visit.
10 – Meet Lolita Pluma in the Parque Santa Catalina
This public park is a popular meeting place for locals, lined by cafes and restaurants. Sat under the trees you can find pensioners playing dominos and passing time together in the park. Have a wander around and absorb the laidback atmosphere.
Search the park for the statue of Lolita Pluma, a famous former resident of Las Palmas. Wearing her elaborate makeup, Lolita sold postcards to tourists and diligently fed the local cat population. She is now an icon of Las Palmas history and was imortalised with a broze statue, surrounded by her beloved cats (of course). Probably not your typical historical effigy but delightfully eccentric and a fitting tribute to a unique and eccentric character.
11 – Party at the Las Palmas Carnival
The Canary Islands take their annual carnival very seriously and Las Palmas comes to life during the celebration. Carnival events take place over 3 weeks including concerts, drag queen galas, carnival queen selections and traditional ceremonies such as the burying of the sardine which signifies the end of the celebration.
The carnival parade is an absolute must! On this night the carnival queens and drag queens parade through the city streets on elaborate designed platforms. This is followed by hundreds of carnival dancers and themed party floats, not to mention the thousands of locals who join the parade in their carnival outifts. The parade finishes with a huge party in Vegueta, which continues long into the night.
11 Awesome Things to do in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria – Thank You
That concludes my list of amazing things to see and do in Las Palmas. It’s a fantastic city. I hope that you will get to visit it one day! If you enjoyed reading this post as much as I enjoyed writing it, please share it on social media. This can help my site to reach a wider audience. Any shares on social media are hugely appreciated so thank you in advance.
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