About Las Palmas
The south is hot, dry, relatively arid and home to brash new resorts such as Playa del Inglés. The north and centre of the island is cooler, wetter, and retains more of a Spanish colonial atmosphere. The dramatic lush interior features spectacular volcanic peaks.
The capital of Las Palmas functions as both a cosmopolitan city (it’s actually the biggest in the Canaries), and seaside resort that’s popular with both Spanish and foreign tourists alike. Those arriving by cruise ship can appreciate the island’s spectacular setting between two bays as they sail into the biggest port in Spanish territory.
Bustling Gran Canaria has a similar north-south divide to Tenerife in terms of weather and character.
Most of the island’s top sights are in the north, situated within 30 minutes or so of Las Palmas. However, Las Palmas itself has a variety of first-class attractions plus an excellent golden beach, Playa de las Canteras, which is a 15-minute walk from the cruise terminal (as is the city centre).
• Casa de Colón (Columbus House): The beautiful 15th-century military governor’s residence where Columbus may have stayed when en route to the New World.
• Mercado de Vegueta: A cornucopia of local fish, fruit, vegetables and cheese on offer at the city’s oldest market (established 1854).
• Pueblo Canario: A charming re-creation of a traditional village.
• Museums: Explore the Science and Technology Museum, which is next to the cruise terminal, and the Museo Canario, with its fascinating mummies and trepanned skulls belonging to aboriginal Canarians.
• Golf: The Real Club de Golf Bandama, 9.65 km (6 miles) from Las Palmas, is the oldest in Spain and enjoys a magnificent setting.
Las Palmas Tourist Board
León y Castillo, 17, Las Palmas, Gran Canaria
Tel : (+34) 928 219 600.
The Canaries are known for their duty-free bargains on electrical goods, cameras, jewellery, perfume, tobacco (highly regarded Cuban-style cigars are a speciality) and spirits. Island handicrafts include embroidery, pottery, rugs, woodcarvings and basketwork. Specially boxed strelitzias, the most exotic of the islands’ flowers, are ubiquitous souvenirs. Try the El Muelle shopping complex opposite the port gates for international brand names. The Sunday flea market, also by the port, is a colourful affair.
Grilled meats and seafood are accompanied by either mojo picón (spicy red sauce for meat) or mojo verde (cool green herb sauce for fish), and papas arrugadas (new potatoes boiled in sea salt). Local dishes include potaje (soupy vegetable stew), rancho canario (meat stews) and sancocho (stew of salted fish, sweet potatoes and vegetables).
When to go:
April to October are the hottest months in Las Palmas, rising to an average maximum of 26ºC (78ºF), though the rest of the year is only a few degrees below that. Expect some showers from October through March.
10km (6.2 miles).