Ever been to a city built in the middle of the sea? No? Well, this city could be Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, the largest one in the Canary Islands. We offer you a short tour to get to know it in only 24 hours. Take a peep at a city surrounded by the sea, right on the gateway to the Atlantic, at the spot where the sun chooses to stop practically all year round.
How to enter and exit the time tunnel?
Early in the day, you may find yourself walking, almost without having thought about it, along the oldest streets this side of the ocean. These are the streets of Vegueta, the old district, with a history of over 500 years hidden from the noise of a 21st century city.
You may step on the same cobblestone streets walked on by Christopher Columbus during his days in Gran Canaria, or stroll along narrow alleys that seem to be taken out of a pirate film. Pirates, by the way, ceased to come to these shores centuries ago, and the Vegueta streets are now filled with museums and tapa bars where good wine is poured.
The Cathedral’s large bell that was once taken away by buccaneers is now back in its original place, resounding around the pigeons that pose almost neatly for the photographs of the children who, following an unwritten tradition, climb over the bronze dogs of Plaza Santa Ana.
In Vegueta. we recommend the following:
- The Canarian Museum (Museo Canario).
- A stroll along Balcony Street and adjacent streets.
- The Atlantic Centre of Modern Art.
- Casa de Colón (Christopher Columbus House).
The important shopping hour
At only a few steps off Vegueta, a two-minute walk, the shopping district of Triana gathers from the most renowned designer brands to small gift shops.
This is one of Gran Canaria’s best spots to go shopping, surrounded by traditional buildings and beautiful corners such as the small square next to the Madrid Hotel, at the foot of the aristocratic Literary Cabinet, close to the Plaza de las Ranas. Not far from there, you will find the San Telmo hermitage, which guards the prayers of all sailors, two steps off the Tourist Bus Terminal.
In Triana, we recommend the following:
- The restaurants around Triana’s main street. Traditional or creative cuisine, always with a nice place reserved for good wine.
- Pérez Galdós Museum.
- Street-shopping in San Bernardo, Cano, Pérez Galdós, and surrounding areas.
- The guagua turística (tourist bus).
Tea at the English quarter
Right in the middle of town, we have Ciudad Jardín, also known as the English quarter, where the delegates of the British shipping companies who settled in Las Palmas had their homes during the 19th century.
There, not far from the long avenue by the sea, there is a highly commendable small enclave: Pueblo Canario, an oasis of tranquillity where to stop for a beer and a cup of coffee at the slow pace that Agatha Christie so much enjoyed on her visits to the island.
Pueblo Canario has also a small modernist painting museum dedicated to Néstor Martín Fernández de la Torre, not to be missed.
Do not forget to visit the following:
- The pubs and sidewalk cafés by the sea at the Marina Muelle Deportivo.
Time to take a dip into the ocean at Playa de Las Canteras
Over two miles of tan sand beach. A long stroll along restaurants and cafés by the sea. And lots of people determined to swim at any time, on any given day.
Playa de las Canteras boasts of having the ideal temperature for a dip in the ocean all year round. It holds one of the city’s treasures, its quite uncommon natural reef, which tempers the surf reaching the sand. Locals call it “la Barra”, a line of volcanic rock that turns a large part of the area into a huge natural pool.
Do not miss the following:
- The Beach Promenade, with lots of sidewalk cafés where to spend the hours idling in comfort.
A city that refuses to go to bed
This is the hour when Las Palmas de Gran Canaria blends its cosmopolitan and urban atmosphere with fine weather and great music.
The capital city’s best night spots offer different ambiances for all tastes. A wide and interesting variety of restaurants, pubs, and sidewalk cafés around Triana, Vegueta, the Marina, the Port area, and Las Canteras.
We recommend the following:
Choose the music show that best suits your taste.
Music sounds practically all year round at emblematic places such as the Teatro Pérez Galdós or the Alfredo Kraus Auditorium.