Las Palmas is the capital of the Canary Islands and an important port. The city was founded in 1478, when the Spanish drove the original population (Guanches) off Gran Canaria. The island is sometimes called a 'continent in miniature', because of the large diversity in landscapes. In the capital there are interesting museums, including one dedicated to the explorer Columbus (Casa de Colón). The Las Cateras beach is located in the centre of the city.
Gran Canaria has over 800,000 inhabitants, almost half of whom live in the capital Las Palmas. Due to its port, the capital has an international atmosphere. Over the years, business people from other countries have located there, most of whom have adopted the Spanish nationality.
Gran Canaria is located in a central position in the Canary Islands, off the north-western coast of Africa. It is located to the east of Tenerife and to the west of Fuerteventura. The capital Las Palmas is located in the north-east of Gran Canaria.
The port continues to play an important role in the economy of Las Palmas. In addition, the island produces a lot of fruit: bananas, avocadoes, lemons, oranges, olives and grapes of which wine is made. Also, there are large sugarcane plantations. However, most of the islands income is derived - directly or indirectly - from tourism. The island is visited each year by more than 2.5 million people, most of whom are drawn to the southern, drier part of Gran Canaria.
The international airport Gran Canaria International Airport (or Las Palmas International Airport) lies 18 kilometres to the south of the capital. There are connections to many European destinations and to Dakar in Senegal (West-Africa). From Las Palmas and the main tourist centres, there are buses to and from the airport.
Virtually all locations on the island can be reached by bus. Most bus lines begin or end in Las Palmas. Of course there are many bus connections to the tourist locations on the south coast, but other locations can also be reached by bus.
From the port of Las Palmas there are many ferry connections to other Canary Islands (Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, Tenerife and La Palma), to the Spanish mainland (Cadiz) and to Tarfaya in Morocco. In the summer there is also a connection to the Portuguese island of Madeira, to the north of the Canary Islands.
Traffic and parking
Las Palmas has motorway connections to other parts of the island of Gran Canaria. The GC1 runs from the south via the airport to the main tourist destinations, including Maspalomas and Playa del Inglés. The GC2 connects the capital to the west of the island, and the GC3 runs to the centre of the island. The main roads can at times be busy, and the smaller roads are often narrow and curvy. If you intend to explore the interior, some experience in driving on small mountain roads is necessary.
Las Palmas is a busy city, and finding a place to park in the centre is not always easy. You are not allowed to park along curbs with yellow lines. A blue line means you have to pay, usually via a parking meter.
Gran Canaria is a popular holiday destination, which means there is no lack of hotels. Most tourists stay in accommodations on the south coast and not in the capital Las Palmas. Nevertheless, the capital also houses many hotels. We recommend booking your hotel room in advance, especially during the summer.
For more information about Las Palmas, we recommend Google and the following sources: