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How to Spend a Day in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

The climate of Gran Canaria is recognised as one of the world's best. Yet more than the gorgeous weather attracts holidaymakers and sun lovers – the island's capital, Las Palmas, is a superb destination in its own right.

Sunshine and gentle waves mingle with historic buildings, together with plenty of modern venues rich in personality. With so much to see and do, read our quick guide to the city if you're planning a visit to Las Palmas on your Canary Islands holiday.

A city of history

Officially named Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, most visitors shorten its title to simply Las Palmas.

Either way, this modern-day city served a different purpose in the colonial era. Founded by Spain in the 1470s as a fort town, Las Palmas is most notably where Christopher Columbus stayed during his voyages to and from the Americas.

To immerse yourself in this portion of Las Palma's history, visit the Vegueta district, the cultural centre of the city. Here, you can visit Casa de Colon, the governor's house where Columbus would stay when on the island. For a broader perspective, the Museo Canario explores the full history of the island in sublime detail.

While you're there, take in the stunning architecture of the city's cathedrals. Perhaps the most astonishing are the grand towers and walls of Catedral de Santa Ana, which rests in a scenic square. Squares and plazas such as these are scattered across Las Palmas, giving you lots of places to rest between walks.

Stroll the seafront

Assuming you haven't succumbed to the temptation of simply lounging on the beach, you can do as the locals do and walk along the beautiful promenade of Avenida Maritima. The sea is a constant companion here, together with places to eat and surprising modern art sculptures.

For a superb culinary experience, follow the Avenida Maritima its whole length to an old fishing village, which is now the Las Palmas district of San Cristobal. The best fish dishes are served here, with a huge variety of ice cream flavours for dessert.

From San Cristobal, head to Las Palmas' main beach – Playa de las Canteras – or meander towards the main shopping high streets of the city, found in Triana.

Stores of every sort

Triana, one of the oldest parts of Gran Canaria, sits adjacent to the historic neighbourhood of Vegueta. While rich in history, it also benefits from modernisation and tourism without losing its classic touches.

Triana's main avenue acts as the top shopping high street in Las Palmas. It bustles with activity on busy days – especially the first Sunday of each month, when special shopping events attract visitors from far and wide.

Old-school family businesses seamlessly share this main street with major fashion houses and leading chains. Then at the end of the avenue is Parque San Telmo, regarded as one of the prettiest parks in Las Palmas due to its bandstand, shady trees and enticing open spaces.

Evening pleasures

A fine selection of restaurants and bars vie for attention as the evening settles over Las Palmas. While the standard family-run taverns and upbeat clubs are well worth your attention, several venues offer a distinctive way to spend your time after dark.

One example is the 1920s speakeasy, Lips Feelingroom, an evocative brickwork bar with live blues and jazz music. Alternatively, taste the fresh and fruity cocktails of newly opened hotspot The Mansion, or sing along with the locals at Tiramisu Funky Bar.

Never lacking in after-dark activities, Las Palmas caters to visitors' differing styles with its eclectic mix of traditional and unusual.

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