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The Harbour at Las Palmas

© Thinkstock / Brand X Pictures

Las Palmas beaches

Cosmopolitan, buzzing Las Palmas is the biggest city in the Canaries with a life independent of tourism. It features a historic district rich in Spanish-Colonial architecture, a beautiful golden beach and excellent shopping facilities. In bars and restaurants, visitors and locals brush shoulders and there is a lively nightlife scene.


The broad, soft golden sands of Playa de las Canteras stretch for around 2.5km (1.5 miles) around a sheltered bay, its promenade lined with shops and cafés. A reef keeps the waters warm, calm and excellent for bathing, while conditions beyond the reef are perfect for windsurfing. There is another stretch of golden sands, Playa Las Alcaravaneras, on the other side of the headland, next to the sailing club.

Beyond the beach

The Pueblo Canario (Parque Doramas) is a very picturesque recreation of an idyllic island village, featuring several whitewashed houses around a plaza where folklore shows are staged. Shops sell handicrafts and island produce and there is a wine bar for tastings. Also here is the Museo Néstor, dedicated to the modernist island artist, Néstor de la Torre. Las Palmas is home to two intriguing museums. The Museo Canario ( is devoted to the Guanche people, who inhabited the archipelago before the arrival of the Spaniards. It contains a fascinating collection of Guanche mummies, idols and many skulls that have been trepanned (surgically bored with holes). The other must-see museum is the Casa de Colón ( It is known that the great explorer called at Las Palmas en route to the New World in 1492, and it is conjectured that he may have stayed in this grand Spanish-Colonial military governor's residence, built in 1478. It is now an atmospheric shrine to Columbus's voyages, with many period pieces. Boat excursions, including round-the-harbour and deep-sea fishing trips, depart from the Muelle Deportivo marina.

Family fun

The Museo Elder ( is a first-class hands-on science museum with an IMAX cinema showing films in English.

Exploring further

Founded in 1891, the Real Club de Golf de Las Palmas (Carretera de Bandama, 11km/7 miles south of the city,, is the oldest golf course in Spain. It enjoys a magnificent location with spectacular views over the Caldera de Bandama volcanic crater. The club also boasts a very good restaurant, two tennis courts, a horse-riding school and a swimming pool. It is worth calling in here just for a drink. Close by on the C81, 7km (4.5 miles) from Las Palmas, the Jardín Canario ( is a botanic refuge for around 500 species of endemic plants plus many more exotic species from around the world.

Splashing out

Book a table in the exquisite patio restaurant of the Casa Montesdeoca ( Just a few yards from the Casa de Colón, and almost as venerable, this Spanish-Colonial gem dates from the 16th century. King Juan Carlos dines here when in Las Palmas and the menu features both Spanish and Canarian specialities.

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