Las Palmas Travel Guide
The bustling holiday resort of Las Palmas has the feel of a Mediterranean port with a distinctly North African flavour. Set between two bays where gentle waters lap soft, golden shores, it's a sun-kissed blend of chatty bars, buzzing nightlife and world-class shopping.
The city was founded in 1478 and was the spot where Christopher Columbus began each of his voyages to the Americas. Much of the historic Vegueta district remains charmingly intact behind the modern apartment blocks that line the attractive seafront, and there are many fascinating ancient sights and museums to visit. The ambience is spirited and the sunshine seemingly ever present.
Interesting cultural offerings, fun festivals, and highly renowned cuisine attract thousands of holidaymakers to Las Palmas every year and make for a memorable stay. Of course, the surrounding stretches of beach are also a big drawcard, and the fact that the city is the gateway to the whole island and the main travel hub is an extra perk.
Las Palmas is the ultimate shopping destination in Gran Canaria, and serious shoppers should make a point of heading to Calle Triana (Triana Street). Located in the Vegueta, which is Las Palmas' pedestrianised old town, Calle Triana is one of the loveliest areas on the island, and is full of quaint, cobbled streets, historical buildings and, of course, a tremendous range of stores. Visitors will find everything from exclusive fashion and jewellery to sporting goods and traditional handicrafts from the Canary Islands.
The capital of Gran Canaria has a fantastic food scene, which includes refined restaurants and popular bars that serve excellent local dishes. Visitors should look out for the ubiquitous papas arrugadas, which are tiny, tasty potatoes grown in volcanic soil, boiled until their skin wrinkles, and served with a garlicky, peppery sauce called mojo. Grilled moray eel and goat stew are other local favourites.
Las Palmas comes alive at night through an exciting range of clubs, bars and live music venues that cater to a variety of tastes. Rooftop drinks are a must, particularly in the old town, and the Guanarteme neighbourhood is full of action. The younger crowd tends to favour venues along Calle Canaleja and in the surrounding area; the port district is the more cosmopolitan part of town and is definitely worth a visit as well.
The warm waters surrounding Las Palmas provide perfect conditions for watersports such as sailing and boating, and many of the resorts have their own tennis courts, golf courses, and other sporting facilities. Whale watching is a popular activity and tickets can be bought from companies taking tourists out on boats for the day. Visitors can head off to a variety of exciting destinations on the island by boat and by bus.
Petty theft is sometimes a problem in Las Palmas and the big resorts.