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The view over Las Palmas

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is the capital of Gran Canaria, the largest city in the Canary Islands, and one of the largest cities in Spain. In 2018, it had about 380,000 residents.

Understand[edit]

There is no actual city centre. The nucleus is the picturesque old town Vegueta. The city has several districts:

  • Vegueta - Historical enclave of the city.
  • Triana - One of the oldest districts in Las Palmas, and now the city's commercial centre.
  • Isleta - The district bordering the northern part of the Las Canteras beach. Most hotels are here.

Climate[edit]

Las Palmas has a much windier climate than the southern parts of Gran Canaria, which makes it feel cooler.

Climate data for Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 20.8
(69.4)
21.2
(70.2)
22.3
(72.1)
22.6
(72.7)
23.6
(74.5)
25.3
(77.5)
26.9
(80.4)
27.5
(81.5)
27.2
(81.0)
26.2
(79.2)
24.2
(75.6)
22.2
(72.0)
24.2
(75.5)
Daily mean °C (°F) 18.1
(64.5)
18.4
(65.2)
19.2
(66.6)
19.4
(67.0)
20.5
(68.8)
22.3
(72.1)
23.9
(74.9)
24.6
(76.2)
24.3
(75.8)
23.2
(73.7)
21.2
(70.1)
19.4
(66.9)
21.2
(70.2)
Average low °C (°F) 15.3
(59.5)
15.6
(60.1)
16.1
(61.0)
16.2
(61.2)
17.3
(63.1)
19.2
(66.6)
20.8
(69.4)
21.6
(70.9)
21.4
(70.5)
20.1
(68.2)
18.1
(64.6)
16.5
(61.7)
18.2
(64.7)
Average rainfall mm (inch) 25
(1.0)
24
(0.9)
13
(0.5)
6
(0.2)
1
(0.0)
0
(0.0)
0
(0.0)
0
(0.0)
9
(0.4)
16
(0.6)
22
(0.9)
31
(1.2)
147
(5.7)
Average rainy days 3.0 3.0 2.0 1.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.0 2.0 4.0 5.0 21.0
Mean daily daylight hours 11.0 11.0 12.0 13.0 14.0 14.0 14.0 13.0 12.0 11.0 11.0 10.0 12.2
Mean daily sunshine hours 5.9 6.8 7.4 7.6 8.8 9.5 9.9 9.7 8.0 7.1 6.2 5.8 7.7
Percent possible sunshine 54 62 62 58 63 68 71 75 67 65 56 58 63.5
Average sea temperature °C (°F) 20.0
(68.0)
19.1
(66.4)
19.1
(66.4)
19.3
(66.7)
20.0
(68.0)
21.0
(69.8)
21.8
(71.2)
22.5
(72.5)
23.4
(74.1)
23.4
(74.1)
22.1
(71.8)
20.5
(68.9)
21.0
(69.8)
Average UV index 4 6 8 9 10 11 11 11 9 7 5 4 7.9
Source: Weather Atlas - Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain - Weather forecast and Climate data

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

Gran Canaria Airport receives flights from Madrid (about 2½ hours), from Barcelona and Bilbao (about 3 hours), UK (4 or 4½ hours), Europe and northern Africa.

1 Gran Canaria International Airport (LPA IATA), +34 928 579 095. A modern international airport near the city of Telde, about 70 km south of Las Palmas.

Getting there: take the Global interisland blue buses. Bus routes 1, 5, 11, 60 & 91 all travel from the airport to the city of Las Palmas. The #60 & #91 Global buses are the airport—city express lines. All airport / city buses travel to either of the main city bus stations of San Telmo Park (central near Vugueta/Triana historic old town areas) or Santa Catalina Park (further north near the port/marina & main city beach of Las Canteras). The airport—city buses run approximately every 30 minutes all day and night. Travellers must press the bus stop button to indicate their stop or the bus driver may continue pass stops or stations without stopping. The express lines run normally between 06:15 to 20:50. Airport—city bus travel costs €2.80-4.00, one way per person, depending on the busrouret and time of day. Express line #60 & #91 travel is the cheapest (as of 2021) for €2.80 per person per one trip. Global interisland buses allow you to place luggage under the bus. For city Guagua buses, you must be able to carry and secure your luggage with you while standing or seated if space permits. For each bus, global or guagua, travellers are responsible to load and express to the driver the need to unload luggage if departing at a stop earlier then a station where luggage unloading is facilitated normally. Bicycles can only be transported on buses if in a bag or box, and can be carried by their owner. City buses may refuse luggage or bicycles depending on the driver and number of users. Ths same applies for Global interisland buses other than the airport express line. Carry-on luggage must fit on your lap. Standing is not permitted on Global buses. City buses standing is allowed. If there is no space you must wait for space on the next bus.

A reserved taxi or private tour hire car ride to/from the city of Las Palmas to the airport costs around €30. Private tours and car hires can be cheaper but must be arranged with the drivers in advance. Most hotels and hostels can book private tours and hire cars. Taxis are the most efficient, but also the most expensive travel option. Taxis can pick up only at designated cues at the Airport. Taxis can accept cash or most credit and debit cards.

Rental cars are the main option for most groups for cost savings. Drivers must be over 23 to 25 in most rental cases, have a valid driver's licence and international permit in some cases, and be able to drive manual transmission vehicles. Almost all companies must be booked online prior to arrival. Autoreisen offers good prices with no hidden fees, and free extras such as second driver. Don't expect to get a fee refund from a rental car companies and there is no viable complaint mechanism. Expect pricing changes and vehicle switching. Always rent direct through the specific car company website. There are many, many 3rd party insurance and rental scams in Spain including at point-of-rental desk bookings. This also includes problems with rental car bookings as part of a flight package deal. Expect additional fees and charges when not dealing direct through a rental car company website.

By boat[edit]

The Port of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria receives ships from all over the world. The port is one of the most important ports today and there is a program of further expansion. There are many daily ferries from Fuerteventura, Lanzarote, Tenerife and smaller islands. Naviera Armas Template:February 2021 and Fred Olsen are the largest operators, but there are several smaller companies as well. Fred Olsen ferries arrive at the nearby town of Agaete and not in Las Palmas city. Each ferry arriving at Gran Canaria operates a passenger bus to take walk-on passengers from the ferry dock to near the city of Las Palmas bus station of Santa Catalina. Same applies to reach the ferry from near the city bus station of Santa Catalina. Walk-on passengers must select use of passenger bus connection when booking their ferry tickets. If you don't book the ferry passenger connection shuttle, travel to the nearest ferry company ticket office and ask them to assist you to book the passenger shuttle bus for your ferry. Passenger shuttle departure is normally 1 hour prior to scheduled sailing time from the designated ferry shuttle bus stop. Missing the various private ferry connection shuttle buses by walk-on passengers can cost a lot of time and money as the Ferry docking ports are a great distance away (average 10-km walk) from any public transit options. Inter-island car and walk-on passenger ferry connections are run mainly by the fast ferries. Be sure to also purchase online any additional public transit tickets to travel forward from the ferry passenger bus drop-off points as most city bus systems will not allow on bus ticket purchases with cash.

From mainland Spain, there is one weekly sailing every Saturday from Cádiz operated by Transmediterránea. The journey takes about 40 hours with prices from €200. As of 2018, there are no ferries from Morocco.

2 Naviera Armas pier. This is where ferries arrive. Getting there: no public transport available, however, Naviera Armas provides free shuttle buses from El Muelle shopping mall beside their main office building near to Santa Catalina Parks underground interisland bus station connection portion in Las Palmas city. Fred Olsen's passenger shuttle bus departs from near the children's park in Santa Catalina Parks outdoor city bus station section near to their Fred Olsen office.

By bus[edit]

The only bus company operating interurban lines on Gran Canaria is Global, +34 902 381 110. Most of the company's lines have Las Palmas as either their origin or their destination. There are two bus stations in the city:

  • 3 San Telmo Station (in the city centre).
  • 4 Santa Catalina Interchange (near the city's port). This station is served also by the municipal bus system and by taxis.

By car[edit]

  • GC-1 cuts through the city, connecting it with the airport and other important municipalities as far as Tauro (80 km).
  • GC-2 connects the city with the North Zone, extending up to Agaete.
  • GC-3 circles the city and connects the other three highways
  • GC-4 connects Las Palmas with the communities in the centre of the island.

Get around[edit]

Map of Las Palmas

By bus[edit]

Las Palmas has the best quality bus system in the archipelago and one of the best in Spain. The service is provided by Guaguas Municipales, +34 928 446 500, and that's why the bright yellow buses are known as guaguas pronounced wah-wahs as the g is silent in Spanish. A simple fare, paid directly to the city bus driver, is €1.10 per person per any city bus trip in x1 direction only (can not stay on the city Guagua or islands Global buses for a circular journey). As of Jan 2021, due to the pandemic, you can’t buy tickets with cash from any bus drivers. Interisland Global buses (blue in color) accept most debit & credit cards for a journey purchase on the bus as most travel around the island will cost around €1 per every 15km one-way with deals for specific routes. For city buses, Guagua's (yellow buses) you must buy ahead in Guagua booths in Santa Catalina park, San Telmo station or Teatro various plastic top-up cards as single journey tickets are not available. Least expensive is a 2-journey city bus ticket that you blip once getting on the bus. A bus card ticket that is good for 10 rides is available for €8.50 + one time fee for the plastic rechargeable city bus card of €1.50 (best deal for city bus travel without lots of paperwork). With a standard rechargable city Guagua bus card trips are a cost of €0.80. It is possible to take x2 city bus trips on a card within 1½ hours and not be charged more (depending on direction of travel) however this not a guarantee and at all times you must blip the city bus card when entering the bus. No money on the card no permission to ride the bus. A city bus card may be used to pay for anyone in a group by tapping it on entry for the amount of persons in a group. Family passes are available for further discounts and children under 6 are free - don't tap pay for them as refunds are not possible and cards are charged for every tap / blip. The various official plastic bus cards are available only online or physically at official GuaGua terminals & shops in the city. These bus cards can be recharged at machines (libraries, malls, bus stations) and various store kiosks throughout the city for a minimum top-up payment of €8.50. Machines and kiosks can accept cash, or credit or debit cards as is also possible when making an initial card purchase and top-up at the official bus station card vendors. Dual Guagua city + Global Interisland bus cards can be purchased as well at official vendors and online for significant savings. Students, seniors, and families (max 5) get further additional price discounts if presenting valid ID at purchase and fill out applicable forms online prior or at the official vendors in the bus stations when they are open.

If you are over 70 and staying longer you can apply for a Senior Citizens Pass at the bus station in Telmo. This will give you a 50% discount on all bus trips over 11 km here. You will need passport photos for this and €5.

The most important bus lines have frequencies of between 3 and 15 minutes during the day and between 10 and 40 minutes at night. Most lines have service throughout the night. Among the most useful lines are:

  • Line 1 Teatro - Puerto
  • Line 12 Hoya de la Plata - Puerto
  • Line 30 Alameda de Colón - Santa Catalina

By car[edit]

Dense traffic on workdays and in certain commercial leisure zones mean that driving is really no fun here. The city street plan is not at all rectilinear, so the streets can confuse even experienced drivers.

Parking is also pretty expensive in most places. Some of the shopping malls can be used for parking for a limited time (e.g. up to three hours free) and if you need or intend to shop, receipts from the shops may be used to pay for the stay.

On the upside, the price of gasoline is significantly cheaper that the rest of Spain and Europe, there are no toll roads, and entrances, exits, main streets and important zones are all well-signposted.

Photo radar cameras & heavy police traffic enforcement is common. Do not park illegally. The local cars rarely are towed or ticked for illegal actions or parking. Tourist cars and almost always held to every traffic law possible for revenue.

The N332 website has best English driver instructions, translations and explanations of Spanish driving laws possible for free. Read up as Spain's driving laws have many quirks and quarks not seen elsewhere. Be very cautioned regarding entry and exit rights of traffic circles in Spain as the outside lane gets priority. Also, paying the guy helping you to park your car does not mean the meter was fed. Always go and pay at the meter and do tip the illegal parking helpers (€0.50 to €1) or you may find a few scratches on your car not previously there or worse that they told the traffic cop or tow truck to ticket or tow you to save them time. Fines are very high for illegal parking especially when in rural areas or historic, cultural or natural sites. Traffic police may ask you to follow them to a tow truck company site or yard to pay a ticket right away for half price. Call the Emergency line 112 should you feel something is wrong with a police officer interaction while it is happening and request an additional uniformed officer to arrive to the scene at any time, especially if it is an unmarked car or plainclothes officer or officers. You have the right to film any police interaction provided you do not make comment nor intrude their space or ability to perform their duties.

In Spain you must stop at the scene of an accident to help if no one has begun assistance. 112 is the emergency number in Spain. Many areas of Gran Canaria do not have cell phone service due to the geography of the island.

See[edit]

Las Palmas cathedral
Inside the Catedral de Santa Ana
  • 1 Playa de Las Canteras. Almost 4 km in length, this beach is the very symbol of the city and its citizens.
    • sunbathing and swimming: the northern section has golden sand and is above water most of the time. It is good for swimming with low tide, when the barrier emerges, stopping the waves and creating a natural swimming pool.
    • snorkelling: the central area is a natural acquarium, where you can see and feed the local shoredwelling fish. At low tide, children can hunt for crabs in the rock pools.
    • very popular with surfers, the two main spots are "La Cicer" and "La Barra". Many schools and gear hiring shops, especially to the south, where the sand is black.
  • 2 Catedral de Santa Ana. Embodying several centuries of history, the cathedral can be seen from almost any point in the city center.
  • 3 Parque Santa Catalina. This is where most of the hot nightlife spots can be found. It's also pretty during the day, although it consist of little more than a few palm trees.
  • 4 Alfredo Kraus Auditorium. Concert and music hall with classical philharmonic performances and a building that's worth a visit on its own.
  • 5 Elder Museum of Science and Technology. Most exhibitions have information in both Spanish and English. When you're in, you can also use the internet computers there, so the entrance fee is pretty decent. Students and children have a lower entrance fee.
  • Poema del Mar. A aquarium opened in 2018 near Parque Santa Catalina and Las Canteras. Stiffly priced.

Do[edit]

A surfer takes a dive in Las Palmas

As a beach town, Las Palmas is especially popular for oceanside activities. Catch a wave, grab your snorkel, or just soak up some sun (after applying sunscreen, of course!) Or if you feel like exploring terra firma, do as the locals do and make use of the public tourism bus, known affectionately as the guiriguagua.

Events[edit]

  • Carnaval - Almost as famous as that of the neighbouring island of Tenerife, yet different and perhaps even better. It is without a doubt quite spectacular.
  • WOMAD Music Festival - Celebrated in the Santa Catalina Park zone, this festival brings in thousands of spectators every year for quality music free of charge.
  • Romería de Vegueta - The Catholic festival celebrated in the Vegueta area of the city.

Buy[edit]

Shop in the city centre or in one of the department stores like "El Corte Ingles". There are cheap electronic products and souvenirs for sale everywhere.

For food items, Hiperdino is a chain of stores that has a good range of products and set prices. Some of these stores also have a decent selection of wine. Check out Mercadona too.

Buy the local rum: Arehucas or Artemi or Armiche (and check out the local Honey Rum "ron miel").

Eat[edit]

Many restaurants have menus in an abundance of languages, and waiters often will also often be able to converse in your own language.

  • Galia, Luis Morote, 49, +34 928 223 219. Great French food, well worth the price. It's not cheap, but if you feel like a small splurge and a little luxury, give Galia a try.
  • Rias Bajas, Simon Bolivar, 3, +34 928 271 316. Excellent Spanish food; very expensive, but well worth the cost.
  • Sakura City, Muelle, 2, +34 928 370 299. Good quality, well-priced Japanese & Asian cuisine. Great for a little something different. Perfect for group or family dinning out. Seated buffet all-you-can-eat menu when dinning in. Various dishes selection for take-away or delivery company order. Located below the San Telmo Park Hotel in San Telmo Park and Main Bus Station.
  • Pomodoro, Ruiz de Alda, 24, +34 928 227 488. Good quality, low-priced Italian cuisine; fast, attentive service in a comfortable atmosphere.
  • Samoa, Valencia, 46, +34 928 241 471. A favourite of the locals, for good solid Spanish food with appropriate (not too high) prices.

Drink[edit]

Buy the local rum: Arehucas. Drink straight or with cola.

And the local beer: Tropical.

  • Tropical Muelle Deportivo, C.C. Sotavento - Muelle Deportivo de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.. Sip your tropical drink on the roof deck, looking out over the city.
  • Las Ranas, C.C. Monopol (Plaza Hurtado de Mendoza ó Plaza Las Ranas). A good spot for music and partying, but also a quiet place to have an afternoon drink. Outdoor seating available.
  • 1 Bodegón Pachichi, Calle los Martínez de Escobar, 51, +34 646 62 18 42. A classic for cheap drinks, and a favourite with locals.

Sleep[edit]

  • Alcaravaneras Hostel, Calle Luis Antúnez 22 (at the junction of Calle Alfredo Calderón and Calle Luis Antúnez). A clean, safe place to sleep for not too much coin. €22/30.
  • NH Imperial Playa, Ferreras, 1, +34 92 8468854. Centrally located on the Paseo de Las Canteras, close to the beach of the same name. A resort and business hotel overlooking the ocean. There is one other NH Hotel in Las Palmas.
  • Hotel Fataga, C/Néstor de la Torre, 21, +34 928 290614, fax: +34 928 292786. Las Palmas city centre.
  • Hotel Apartamento Bajamar, Venezuela 34, +34 928276254. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. Hotel Apartment 70 m (230 ft) from las Canteras Beach, near commercial hub Mesa y Lopez Avenue; 19 complete apartments. 32/85.
  • Hello House Hostel, Calle Gloria, 5. Opened in June 2019, clean, good value. Must register and book beds in advance through their Professional Airbnb listings website page for Hello House. Family friendly. Same day booking available when normal tourism travel permitted in Canary Islands. No reception service nor do they accept walk-in guests. At booking, guests are required to confirm an arrival time. Comfortable common areas including large terrace with ocean, city and mountain views. Host staff friendly. Various shared dormitory rooms with comfortable bunk beds and private rooms with king size beds available. Permitted entry only to booked guests and hosts. Free Wifi. Smoking permitted only on designated rooftop terrace space. Increased percentage discounts available for stays longer then a week or month. Large group bookings possible with a deposit, advance notice and space available. Persons under 18 years of age are denied admission unless accompanied by a legal guardian. Hostel is on a hillside 15 minutes walk uphill from the central main bus station - Bus Station San Telmo. Local bus access by #32 bus is possible to bus stop beside this hostel. €9/€55.

Splurge[edit]

Connect[edit]

You can always get in touch the old-fashioned way
  • 2 Sailor's Bar, Muelle Deportivo - Pantalán 10. It has free wifi.

Stay safe[edit]

If you have a veranda/patio on ground level - don't leave doors nor windows open unattended for any period of time.

Stay away from anyone that offers you anything for free -like lottery tickets or a free meal. These are often salespeople who want you to buy potentially worthless "holiday club" memberships or dodgy time-shares. They may seem pleasant at first, but may turn hostile and start threatening you.

Go next[edit]

  • Gáldar — it used to be the capital of Gran Canaria before the Spanish conquered the island. La Cueva Pintada (The painted cave) represent a piece of history of the guanche population.
  • Arucas — famous for its rum and its Cathedral. The distillery is open to the public and it can be visited for free. There are samples of different alcoholic beverages that can be tested.
  • Tejeda — go up to the mountains where you can enjoy an spectacular view of the island. You can walk to the "Roque Nublo" by foot through stoned pathways built centuries ago. El Roque Nublo is the symbol of Gran Canaria.
This city travel guide to Las Palmas is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.