Any visitor of Las Palmas will have a chance to spend some time at Las Canteras, probably the best city beach one can find, explore the historic part of Las Palmas and have one leisurely shopping experience.

Las Palmas is a capital of Gran Canaria, an island that has received more than 4.5 million tourists in 2017. And the best part: the city is so easy to get around. Most of the people that come here decide to stay longer. Because: the living is quite affordable, the locals are very friendly and welcoming, then the weather is obviously perfect, and lastly, the laid-back everyday lifestyle of the city is simply unavoidable. It’s one of the top destinations for digital nomads too.

Start your visit by going to Santa Catalina Park. This park is very centrally located and quite convenient for people watching with few places to eat. It serves as the main bus station and the port is located right next to it. Many local buses have a stop here including the hop-on-hop-off bus. Surrounded by palm trees with an area for free concerts as well. You’ll notice how many of the local men play chess on the tables under the shades of the trees. The good news is that it’s just a few minutes of walking distance from Las Canteras beach.

Las Canteras is probably the best city beach in the world

This stretch of more than 3.5 km of golden sand located just a few minutes from the center of the city is pure enjoyment for everyone tourists and locals alike.

You can be sure that all services provided on this beach are done with great respect of the environment. The Blue flag eco-certification guarantees outstanding water quality and access for all. Lifeguards are available on site and amenities such as showers, toilets, lockers and change rooms free for use. You can also rent umbrellas or sunbeds.

The best part about this beach it’s La Bara, a reef that’s located very close to the shore parallel to the beach. Waves naturally break here on the reef making the waters of Las Canteras to be calm and enjoyable for swimmers and visitors. Moreover, the water of Las Canteras has an abundance of colorful fish and marine life. On a low tide and in the morning hours, thanks to the reef, it is a perfect spot for snorkeling too. With the average water temperature of 21℃ year-round, you can practice these activities every day of the year.

This beach is so beautiful and long but in some intersections, the sand is interrupted by rocky formations. That’s why Las Canteras somehow is comprised of four smaller beaches. On the one side is the fisherman’s part of the beach. Here you’ll notice fishing boats placed on the sand. They are there to remind us that not so long ago Las Palmas was quite dependable on fishing. The water is calmer here and the sand is much dryer and softer which is quite the opposite of the other end of the beach, known as La Cicer where the waves are perfect for surfing every day of the year.

This side of the beach, La Cicer, is mostly visited by the locals. Besides surfing people here love to practice other sports as well. So, you can imagine how big the beach becomes on a low tide since football is one of the favorite sports played. But, the sand is wetter and very flat which makes it a perfect place for that. 

I must say that there is something special about the relaxing sound of the waves coming from Las Canteras beach that’s hard to describe. Sand is quite magical here on La Cicer and can change its colors from golden to black. On this end of the beach one of the most magnificent buildings of Las Palmas, the Alfredo Kraus Auditorium is located (named after the Canary Islands tenor – Alfredo Kraus). You can’t miss it. It’s like an inseparable part of the beach standing there on the other end looking towards Las Canteras beach. Lots of events are held here, of cultural and social nature.

Probably the most beautiful part about this beach is that, even though it’s quite spacious, still, you won’t find any restaurants or cafes offering chairs or sunbeds on the sand and at the beach. Instead, parallel to the beach, people built a very nice promenade known as Paseo de Las Canteras. Here aligned with the beautiful sandy beach, all of the restaurants, cafes, and bakeries, have their tables and chairs placed outside. The promenade is simply great. Whether you choose to just walk, chill or try some of the restaurant’s delicious specialties you’ll hardly want to leave. As you walk you won’t miss out seeing some of the sculptures placed on the one side of the Paseo de Las Canteras, but as well the big sand sculptures on the beach made by the local sand sculptors.

Just before you leave the beach there are showers outside, available in-doors too, to clean the sand of your feet before you decide to sit in some of the restaurants or walk on the promenade. Or in just a few steps from the Paseo de Las Canteras, if you want to you can find yourself right in the city.

Although sunbeds and parasols are available for rent on this public beach, you’ll probably see them only in front of the big beachfront hotels, such as Cristina or Reina Isabel. On the other parts of the beach, people prefer lying on towels with their own beach accessories and parasols on the sand or practicing some kind of sport. The beach is visited by the locals every day of the year and reflects a real beach lifestyle of the city.

Another great thing about the beach is that you won’t have to worry about any water traffic since motorized vessels of any kind are not allowed in the waters of Las Canteras beach. So, you can freely practice kayaking, paddle boarding, surfing, swimming, or snorkeling.

If you want to watch boats, yachts and other vessels there is another very nice, about a kilometer long sandy beach with calm waters, that’s also located in the city. And although it’s right next to the Marina, Alcaravaneras beach is quite safe for swimming and sports activities. Except that it’s open to the public only during summer months.

El Confital is another frequently visited and appreciated beach, especially by the locals. It is in the peninsula of La Isleta. This beach has crystal clear waters, perfectly formed rocks or cliffs and just about enough sand.

Street View of Paseo Las Canteras, Las Canteras Beach in Las Palmas on Google Maps

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In the other part of the city, you can visit the historic district of Vegueta, the popular shopping street Triana and San Telmo Park. 

Vegueta is a pedestrian district with narrow cobblestone alleys and significant museums. You should start your visit to the historic district of Vegueta by going to the small Santa Ana Square (Plaza de Santa Ana). Here, on the one side of this square, is one of the most valued buildings in Las Palmas, the Cathedral while on the other side of the plaza, opposite of the Cathedral is the Town Hall. The architectural style of the Cathedral is Neoclassical on the outside with a Gothic style inside. There are also four bronzed dogs sitting on the steps in front of the Cathedral. You can as well climb to the top of the tower for the beautiful views overlooking the city of Las Palmas.

A few steps away from here is the Columbus House Museum (Casa de Colon). The museum features collections that recall the time when Christhofer Columbus was passing by Las Palmas on his first trip to America. Although the museum has 13 rooms, it’s not so big. And if this is your field of interest you may spend an enjoyable time here since there are some interesting maps and navigation instruments of that time. The entrance fees are not so big, but the museum also offers free days for a visit – every first weekend of the month.

Next, in the same street worth visiting is the Atlantic Center for Modern Art (CAAM) where you can see temporary exhibitions. Then there is another museum where you’ll find a quite important collection about the people of the island from prehistoric times – the Canary Museum.

Bus lines run daily in the city. When you take the bus from the Santa Catalina Park the bus will stop right in front of another significant building – the Pérez Galdós Theatre. This is your stop where you should get off the bus if you wanna stroll the streets of Vegueta. On the opposite side of this theatre, you’ll notice the Mercado de Vegueta located in a historical building where you can buy fresh fruits and vegetables.

Benito Pérez Galdós is the most famous writer of the Canary Islands. There is a museum dedicated to him which is housed in his own house where he spents his childhood. Placed in this old quarter of the city, by visiting the Casa-Museo de Pérez Galdós you can find out more about his life, see the rooms and how life looked like in those days. Near this building is another charming small square Plaza de Cairasco and the beautiful Art Nouveau building of the Literary Cabinet.

When you walk from Park San Telmo (located just before Triana starts) towards Vegueta, at the end of Triana street you’ll reach Plaza de Cairasco. Overlooking the plaza here you’ll find the terrace of the Hotel Madrid’s cafeteria. Situated in the interesting historical building of this small hotel with its unique yellow facade and 18 rooms, the cafeteria is a great place to stop by for a coffee break or tapas.

You’d certainly be impressed by the imposing architectural style of the Literary Cabinet (Gabinete Literario). Not only that this is probably the most beautiful building in Las Palmas, but of great importance for the social and cultural life of the city as well. It is a private club with occasional exhibitions and concerts open to the public. The restaurant on the terrace is open to all. Right in front of it, there is a monument of Cairasco surrounded with flowers and a nice fountain with few pigeons as frequent visitors. Very picturesque square with a nice ambient.

Shopping in Las Palmas

Although they are in the European Union, the VAT is not applied in the Canary Islands. But there is a certain sales tax of 5%. The reason why Las Palmas is a major stop for cruise ships and shopping.

Triana is the most popular street for shopping in Las Palmas. This district along with Vegueta is the oldest in the city. Triana is pedestrianized street aligned with beautiful architectural examples of facades and historical buildings, shops and nice restaurants. Here many worldwide known brands have opened their stores.

Another well-known shopping street is Mesa y Lopez. You’ll find many of the popular fashion names such as Marks and Spencer, Mango, and Massimo Dutti here. Corte del Ingles has two stores in this street, on the one side of the street for fashion and across the other side for home appliances and accessories. Unlike Triana this street has traffic. The good thing is that the bus will drop you off right in front of the stores. But, it’s like 15-minute walking distance from Las Canteras beach too. Also, in the middle of the street, there is a pedestrianized path, like mini-park with benches under nice shades of the trees. You can take a break from the stores here and sit for a few minutes.

In general, the prices on the sunglasses were great in Las Palmas. In one small street near Santa Catalina Park, you can get exceptionally favorable prices in the shops that sell electronics, laptops, cameras etc.

Lastly, when you are at Las Canteras beach and you may want to take a break from the midday sun you can pay a visit to Las Arenas mall. Located right next to Alfredo Kraus auditorium where La Cicer beach is, in this closed city mall, you can find great prices on many European clothing brands.

And although the city enjoys pleasant summer/spring temperatures year-round Las Palmas follows the European fashion trends. Stores sell seasonal apparel. So, in November for example after your day at the beach, sunning and tanning, you can stop by some of the boutiques and check out the new collection of winter jackets or boots.

Canarian Village and Doramas Park are must-visit

Located within the Doramas Park, the Canarian Village (or Pueblo Canario) is a must-see. You can walk the streets of this area and admire the wooden balconies of the traditional Canarian houses. A folk group performs here once or twice a week with very nice traditional dances and songs. Worth seeing too. Also at Museo Nestor that is located here, you can see artworks of the artist Néstor Martín-Fernández de la Torre.

Doramas Park is exceptional by itself. You can relax for a while watching the fountains and admire at some of the unique examples of flowers and vegetations you may find. Just before you leave don’t miss out seeing the first and the oldest Hotel in Las Palmas with its splendid architectural style, Santa Catalina. A very nice park and a few interesting statues are surrounding the area in front of the hotel. It’s right next to the Pueblo Canario.

Facts about the Canary Islands

The Canary Islands is a Spanish archipelago located off the coast of northwestern Africa. The name of the Canary Islands comes from the Latin word canari, meaning dog.
Las Palmas is the capital of Gran Canaria, one of the 7 islands comprising this volcanic archipelago. Canari Islands have two capitals, Las Palmas and Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

Facts about Las Palmas

Country: Spain
Currency: Euro
Population: nearly 390,000
The main source of income: Tourism
Las Palmas enjoys average weather temperatures of 23℃

How affordable is the living in Las Palmas?

The monthly costs for living in Las Palmas are quite acceptable for any budget.
You can spend as low as 150 euros per person for monthly shopping of the groceries.
The average monthly net salary is around 1,000 euros. 
Monthly rent for a one bedroom apartment can cost you less than 500 euros. And you can find a really nice beachfront condo with this price.
For a three-course meal for 2 people in a mid-range restaurant, you’ll spend no more than 30 euros.
A bottle of beer in the restaurants is 2 euros and for coffee, you’ll probably pay 1.50 euros.
The prices in the markets for the basic products are quite affordable too. 
Tap water is not suitable for drinking. A water bottle (1.5 l) in the markets will cost you less than euro. So the most affordable option is to buy water in 5 l containers if possible.
Most of the museums have free days but the entrance fees are low anyhow, starting at 1.50 euros.

What is the easiest way to move in Las Palmas? 

Buses: two companies operate in Las Palmas. The Municipality Buses run in the city 24 hours a day while the bus lines of the other company Global connect the city with the rest of the island. Buses are called Guaguas in Las Palmas. The two of the main stations in Las Palmas are at Santa Catalina Park and San Telmo Park. A single bus ticket is 1.40 euros. If planning multiple rides into the city there is a better deal – 10 rides for 8.50 euros. You can buy the tickets on the bus, at the bus station and there are also machines to recharge the number of rides.
From Santa Catalina Park, you can take the tourist bus for the first day of your stay, to gain a picture about the city and main sites, hop on or off at the bus stations as you wish. That could be a good starting point for your visit. 

Bicycles: Las Palmas has a bicycle loan service called Sitycleta.
The price of using the service is 1.50 euros per 30 minutes for bicycles and 2.50 euros for electric bicycles. There are other rates for ranting on a weekly or monthly basis. Las Palmas has a great cycling network with the trails connecting the most popular parts of the city. There are 40 stations from where you can pick the bicycles.

Taxi is quite affordable too and available on multiple locations all around the city. They charge 0.64 euros for one kilometer.

Renting a car is also an option. Several companies will offer this service with prices starting from 18 euros per day.