Did you know that Spain has three places with almost identical names? Palma is the capital of the island of Mallorca, La Palma is one of the seven Canary Islands, and Las Palmas is the capital of the Canary Island Gran Canaria. We almost missed our flight to Las Palmas because of this. On the departure screen, there were two almost identical flights listed for departure at the same time. Initially, we chose the wrong flight but then noticed just in time that ‘de Gran Canaria’ was written behind Las Palmas. Other travelers didn’t see this and walked to the gate of La Palma, only to have to sprint back to barely make their flight. Anyway, our destination was Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, which turned out to be a surprisingly charming city. Here are 7 wonderful things to do in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.

1. Explore beautiful Vegueta

Vegueta is a neighborhood with a rich history that dates back to 1478 when Spanish colonists founded the city after nearly wiping out the island’s indigenous inhabitants, known as the ‘Canarii’. Despite this, Vegueta has evolved into a colorful area that is now considered the historical heart of Las Palmas. Its streets are filled with lively cafes serving tapas, and there are several areas worth visiting, such as the picturesque Calle de los Balcones, Las Casas Consistoriales (which is only open on Sundays from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm), and the bustling Mercado de Vegueta, which is best visited in the morning.

Las Palmas things to do
Las Palmas things to do

2. Check out the view from the Cathedral of Santa Ana

Spend some time visiting the Cathedral of Santa Ana in Vegueta. While the church itself is decent, I recommend checking out the small church museum with its courtyard. However, the highlight of the cathedral is undoubtedly the tower. You can take the elevator or climb the stairs to the top and enjoy an almost 365-degree view of the old city. From here, I saw how the hills rise sharply behind the city.

Entrance fee: €6 (price in 2023).

Las Palmas things to do
Las Palmas things to do

3. Learn about the explorations in Casa de Colon

Check out Casa de Colon, a museum in Vegueta dedicated to Christopher Columbus. Columbus believed he was traveling to India, but instead ended up in America. The reason there is a museum about him in Las Palmas is because during his voyage in 1492, he stopped on Gran Canaria for a month to repair one of his ships. While Columbus was a talented navigator, his explorations also resulted in the colonization and exploitation of the indigenous population. Although Casa de Colon is named after Columbus, I would say its focus is more on the strategic role of the Canary Islands and the relationship between the islands and the Americas.

Entrance fee: €4 (price in 2023).

Las Palmas things to do
Las Palmas things to do

4. Dive into the lively district of Triana

The Triana district, located next to Vegueta, is mainly known for the Calle Mayor de Triana shopping street. This pedestrian area is a hub between Vegueta and the San Telmo bus station. While the shopping street has a few beautiful buildings, the alleys behind it are better. Triana is home to some elegant buildings such as the Gabinete Literario on Plaza de Cairasco and the baby-blue Palacete Rodrigues Quegles. When it comes to food and drinks, Triana has a lot to offer. The streets around Calle Cano, Calle Lagunetas (a square with street art), and the surrounding areas are filled with lovely bars, coffee and churros places, and restaurants.

Las Palmas things to do

5. Relax on Playa de Las Canteras or go surfing at La Cicer

Let’s talk about the beach now because Las Palmas is located on the northeast coast of the island. Las Palmas’s beach is called Playa de las Canteras, a spacious 3.5-kilometer-long stretch with a promenade. The majority of the beach is used for sunbathing. At the end of the beach strip, there’s a surfing section: La Cicer (near the Alfredo Kraus Auditorium). Several surf schools offer lessons here. My partner has had good experiences with Mojo Surf.

Las Palmas things to do

6. Take a walk along the coast to Mirador de la Cruz

Are you done with sunbathing? Why not go for a walk? You can walk along the coast from Playa de Las Canteras to Mirador de la Cruz in around 45 minutes. This hilltop viewpoint is marked with a cross and it offers a breathtaking view of the surroundings. The route also passes through Playa del Confital, which is a natural beach with big waves. However, please note that there are not many restaurants or cafes on this route, so it’s recommended to bring a snack and water. Alternatively, you can continue walking to the village of Las Coloradas, where you will find a restaurant or supermarket. Bus 41 runs from Las Coloradas back to the Santa Catalina bus station.

Las Palmas things to do
Las Palmas things to do

7. Take a day trip by bus from Las Palmas

From Las Palmas, you can easily make day trips to nearby villages. As Las Palmas is the island’s capital, there are bus connections to everywhere. Most bus lines start and end at the San Telmo bus station. Some routes are more frequent, while for others, you need to keep a close eye on the schedule. I recommend planning a day trip to Teror, Arucas (known for the rum distillery), and Agaete. Other great day trips are Firgas and Puerto de Mogan.

Restaurant tips in Las Palmas

The following restaurants offer vegetarian and vegan options.
++ Vegueta: Chiwawa Cantina (the best tacos!), Foodismo, El Patio de Enmedio (vegan tapas), Cool Beans (coffee)
++ Triana: Mr. Kale, Pura Vida, Ramen Shifu (great vegan mazesoba)
++ Las Canteras: Avocadisimo (try the avocado cake), Amelie Green, Pliza 21 (ice cream)

Papas arrugadas is the national dish of Gran Canaria. These are small wrinkled potatoes boiled in their skin with a lot of salt, served with a green and red pepper sauce (mojo verde and mojo picon). I’m not a big fan of potatoes, so it wasn’t my favorite.

Using public transportation in Las Palmas

Everything in Vegueta and Triana is walkable. To reach the other things to do in Las Palmas, you can use the bus, or as they are called in Gran Canaria: guaguas (wah-wahs). Yellow buses are city buses, while blue buses go outside the city. Use the ‘Guaguas Global’ app to look up bus numbers and schedules. Yellow buses charge a standard fare of €1.40, and you can pay with your debit card or credit card on the bus. There is a yellow machine next to the driver. Hold your card against the card reader and wait for the lights to come on.

Where to stay in Las Palmas?

We stayed at Cordial La Peregrina, highly recommended. Its location between Vegueta and Triana was perfect. The room was lovely decorated, the mattress was soft, and there is a rooftop pool. Click here for an overview of hotels in Las Palmas.

Las Palmas things to do

Have you been to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria? What were your favorite things to do in Las Palmas?

This blog post contains affiliate links. If you book something through these links, I earn a small commission without you paying extra for it. You can read more about it in my disclaimer.


"Don't let your dreams be dreams. Go live your dreams. Go travel".

Write A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.