There are many attractions and things to do in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria as a tourist. It’s a vibrant city with beautiful architecture, history, Canarian delicacies, beaches, and shopping.
Las Palmas is one of two capital cities on the Canary Islands and was founded already in 1478 by Juan Rejón. However, from a tourist perspective, it often remains in the background in favor of the popular tourist towns in the south of Gran Canaria.
This is something that I want to change as I hold Las Palmas as a beautiful city with lots of interesting landmarks and old houses. It’s a great destination for a city weekend, but also as a day trip if you’re traveling to Gran Canaria for a sunny vacation.
There is always something fun to do in Las Palmas, no matter if you visit during the day or later in the evening. Here’s a list of my favorite places in the city as well as the 15 best things to do in Las Palmas as a tourist.
Casa de Colón
Did you know that Christofer Columbus himself lived on Gran Canaria for a short while? His house – Casa de Colón is located in Las Palmas and has been transformed into a museum. Visitors can look at a replica of his diary and compare old maps of the world to our modern world maps.
Try local delicacies
The cuisine of the Canary Islands has many delicacies that aren’t commonly served on the Spanish mainland. In Las Palmas, you can find all of these delicacies served in charming tapas bars and local restaurants.
Some delicacies that you shouldn’t miss during your visit include Papas Arrugada with Mojo Sauce, Canarian Tapas, Sancocho Canarias, Ropa Vieja, Conejo en Salmorejo, and Potajes just to mention a few dishes.
Discover the old district of Vegueta
Vegueta is the old city district that once was the very center and foundation of Las Palmas. It’s lovely to go for a stroll here and admire the old architecture and discover the charming cobblestoned alleys.
This is also where you can see the beautiful cathedral Santa Ana, which shouldn’t be missed.
If you like to shop around when traveling, you won’t be disappointed here. Las Palmas has several shopping centers, including one of the largest shopping malls in Spain – El Mirador.
In the city center, you’ll find various stores lined up along the shopping street. There’s also a large El Corté Ingles for high-end products.
Sunbathing at Las Canteras
Las Canteras is an award-winning beach that has been named the best city beach in Europe several times. If you’re a beach lover, you should definitely save some time to sunbathe at Las Canteras.
The whole area surrounding the beach is very lively as well with lots of stores and restaurants. It’s a family-friendly beach, and nearby, you can also try surfing.
Visit Castillo de La Luz
Castillo de la Luz is an old fort and an interesting landmark in Las Palmas if you like history. It was built already in 1494 and remained as an important defensive structure until the 1800s. Castillo de La Lux is located close to La Isleta and is open to the public.
Gran Canaria is a popular destination for surfing that attracts surfers from all over the world. The most experienced surfers come here to catch the waves of La Cicer, Pozo Izquierdo, and Playa de Vargas.
There are surfing schools in several places on Gran Canaria, both in Las Palmas and the tourist towns in the south of the island.
Other things to do in Las Palmas
Learn more about the history of Gran Canaria at Museo Canario
If you’re interested in Canarian history, especially the indigenous people known as the Guanches, you should make a visit to Museo Canario. Here you’ll find an interesting presentation where you can learn all about the history of Gran Canaria and its people.
Just as in other big cities, one of the best things to do in Las Palmas is to sit down and do some people watching. Pérez Galdós is a popular hipster area but there are plenty of lively areas such as Plazoleta Farray and Plaza de Santa Catalina as well as Parque San Telmo.
Stroll around Ciudad Jardin
In Ciudad Jardin (the city garden), you can see Anglo-Saxon architecture and some of the most beautiful houses and buildings of Las Palmas, including the beautiful Holy Trinity Church.
Go to a local Mercado
If you want to buy local products in Las Palmas, I suggest visiting one of the local markets. Mercado del Puerto and Mercado Central are two popular market halls with great selections.
Watch Spanish football in top class
If you enjoy watching football, you should attend a Spanish La Liga game when the local team UD Las Palmas plays. Currently, they’re playing in La Liga, which means that you can see them play against teams such as Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Hop on hop off tour around the city
If you want to see a lot of the city, but prefer to not walk around too much, then I suggest that you go on a hop on hop off bus tour. It’s an alternative way of doing sightseeing in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
The bus stops at the most famous landmarks in the city and an audio guide is included as well.
Other attractions in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
- Pueblo Canario (Replica of a Canarian village)
- Casa Africa
- El Obelisco monument
- Auditorio Alfredo Kraus
- Catedral de Santa Ana (Beautiful church)
- Parque de Santa Catalina
- Los Perros de La Plaza de Santa Ana (Statues)
- Teatro Pérez Galdós (Theater)
- Monumento a la Vela Latina
- Ermita de San Pedro Gonzales Telmo (Old church)
- Iglesia de Santo Domingo (Church)
- Castillo de Mata (Old fort)
- Gabinete Literario (Beautiful building)
Museum in Las Palmas
- Canario Museum
- Columbus house
- Museo Perez Galdos
- Museo Nestor
- Technical museum
- Museo Naval de Canarias
Go on a day trip from Las Palmas
If you’re staying for a few days in Las Palmas, I suggest that you make day trips to discover other parts of Gran Canaria. There’s a lot of beautiful places and fun activities near the capital.
Except for trips to Anfi del Mar, Amadores, and Puerto de Mogan, I recommend that you rent a car if you want to make day trips from Las Palmas. The buses depart relatively often to the tourist towns, but the other places are more distantly located.
Another option is to book guided tours and excursions from a local travel agent. However, it’s very cheap to rent a car and if you’re over 25 years old, you don’t have to pay for the young driver fee. Rental cars are available from €20 per day.
- Caldera la Bandama
- Wine tasting
- Anfi Beach
- Puerto de Mogan
- The Valley of a thousand palms
Want more suggestions on things to do in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria? Leave a comment below!