Cities close to sea always have a great appeal – think of Vancouver, Rio de Janeiro, Barcelona or Beirut, just to name a few. I would definitely add Las Palmas to this list. Many tourists visit the island of Gran Canaria for its great beaches but neglect the capital – what a shame. Las Palmas is blessed with a bay and a marvelous sandy beach that reminds me of the famous Copacabana in Rio. It is a hotspot for culture, gastronomy and shopping. Here`s why this Spanish city is part of my favorite metropolises in the world.
Photo: Enjoy a stroll through the old town of Las Palmas at sunset - KHL
Sure, this does not only refer to Las Palmas but to the whole archipelago of the Canaries, the islands of “eternal spring”. It hardly gets extremely hot and you always have that fresh breeze from the Atlantic Ocean. I love the winters in particular – very pleasant and always great for a swim in the Atlantic Ocean.
Las Canteras is definitely the highlight. A long sandy beach with shallow waters, along a boulevard with cafés, shops and restaurants – just awesome. Walk that nice promenade until you reach a headland and just continue – you will find impressive rocks where the water crashes against the coast and also a few restaurants. And the sea is surprisingly clean for a city … and so is the beach. Let`s go for a swim!
Photo: Las Canteras - ©Patronato de Turismo
Did you know that Christopher Columbus came through the Canary Islands on his way to the “New World”? There is a faboulous museum in Las Palmas about this conqueror. And many more…visit them while exploring Vegueta, the old city of Las Palmas.
Photo: Casa Colón - KHL
Yes, you will find shopping malls such as El Muelle just next to the harbour and the big Spanish department store El Corte Inglés. However, I recommend to stroll through the Triana, a historic street with beautiful buildings. Take a look at the small side streets with interesting shops, cafés and restaurants … hip, unique and trendy.
Photo: Shopping El Muelle - Patronato de Turismo
When shopping in the Triana, just continue your way to the Plaza de Cairasco with its beautiful art-nouveau buildings and palm trees. You cannot miss the cathedral Santa Ana. Just stroll through the small streets and admire typical houses with the gorgeous balconies – this is one of the most beautiful old towns in all of Spain!
Photo: Santa Ana Cathedral - KHL
Photo: Plaza Chairasco - KHL
Garden City – located between the Parque Santa Catalina and the beach. Elegant villas with abundant nature – flame trees, jacaranda and, and, and. One of the most beautiful residential areas which was originally created by the British who came here long time ago to enjoy the fantastic climate. Don`t miss to visit the “Pueblo Canario” just next to the Hotel Santa Catalina and the beautiful Parque Dorama – it gives a great overview on the island`s history with daily performances.
Photo: Parque Dorama - KHL
You will find lots of fresh fish and seafood for sure. When visiting the Canary Islands I always love to eat the so-called “papas con mojo”, little potatoes (unpeeled) which come with a red spicy sauce – just to die for. I could live on that for days.
Photo: ©Allende Muelle
The most famous and definitely one of the best hotels in Las Palmas. I like the elegance of the historic hotel Santa Catalina. Located just next to the Pueblo Canario and the beautiful Parque Dorama, the patio is THE meeting point for local business people. Enjoy chillin`at the poolside under giant palm trees or a treatment in the spa (by the way, the gym is excellent…). Make sure to have dinner at “La Terraza” – where chef Thomas Leeb combines local specialties with a refined touch of his home country Austria. He still loves “Wiener Schnitzel” but his favorite is squid ("chipirones") with risotto, hazelnuts and beluga caviar – doesn`t sound bad, or? The hotel is a bit far from the beaches but you will find a bus station just at the doorstep.
Photo: Hotel Santa Catalina in all its glory - KHL
Photo: Thomas Leeb, Chef at the Santa Catalina Hotel - Thomas Leeb
Most people just come to Gran Canaria for sunbathing. Too bad! They just miss a very interesting interior of this precious island, with surprising landscapes. Canyons, volcanos and gorgeous forests, little rural villages and abundant nature. Rent a car or a jeep and explore the “mini continent” as Gran Canaria is often called. The West Coast is spectacular – giant rocks next to Agaete and San Nicolas. Arucas used to be the capital of bananas – here you will find examples of Canary architecture, including an impressive cathedral. The picturesque village of Teror is famous for its historic houses with the typical balconies. Just very close to Las Palmas you will find the Bandama crater in the elegant neighbourhood of Tafira, home of the university – awesome! And yes, you can do all that easily in one day.
Photo: Not to miss - the interior of the island of Gran Canaria - Patronato de Turismo
Photo: Dunes of Maspalomas - Patronato de Turismo
Photo: KHL enjoying the Sunset at Costa Meloneras - KHL
You will find more information on Las Palmas and the island of Gran Canaria here:
If you are looking for cool bars in Las Palmas, have a look here.