Las Palmas de Gran Canaria lies on the northern coast of Gran Canaria and is the island’s capital. The town is known for its beaches, historic buildings and annual carnival. Come for history, culture, watersports and one of the most famous street parties in Spain.
Start your visit with historic insights. Wander along the cobblestone streets of the old town of Vegueta, where the city was settled by the Spanish in 1478. At the twin-towered Cathedral of Santa Ana, take the elevator up the south tower to enjoy views across the city and over the Atlantic Ocean. Visit Columbus House Museum, where it is claimed the explorer Christopher Columbus stayed while his ship was being repaired. Feed pigeons in the historic Plaza de Santa Ana.
If shopping is on the agenda, head for Calle Mayor de Triana. Stroll through upmarket boutiques, shops and kiosks selling locally made goods. Dine at cafés and restaurants along this extended pedestrianized boulevard.
Relax on one of the beaches. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is located between two bays and has miles of sandy coastline. Swim safely at the main beach, Playa de las Canteras, which is sheltered by a large reef. Splash around, rent a kayak or just laze on the sand. In the evening, join locals for a sunset walk along the promenade.
Enjoy the party during February’s carnival celebration. The massive open-air festival dates back to the late 15th century. Dance in the streets as exuberant parades pass by featuring a colorful mix of floats, costumed revelers, musicians and dancers. Watch beauty pageants to elect the Carnival Queen and Drag Queen.
Reach Las Palmas de Gran Canaria by air or sea and get around by bus, taxi or rental car. Venture outside the city to enjoy the rest of the island. Hike in the mountains and go to the ancient cave paintings at Cueva Pintada, about 16 miles (26 kilometers) from Las Palmas.