What to do in Gran Canaria


Las Palmas is one of the best cities to visit in the Canary Islands. Located on the beautiful island of Gran Canaria, we listed the best things to see in Las Palmas in this post.

Parks, beautiful landscapes, museums, and a great climate: Las Palmas is a fantastic city to visit but also to live in.

Why Visit Las Palmas?

– For its stunning beaches
– Its great cultural sights in the old district of La Vegueta
– Visit Las Palmas for its amazing restaurants and good shopping
– The nearby crater of Caldera de Bandama
– And so much more!

Located in the northeast of Gran Canaria, Las Palmas is the capital and the most populated city on the island. Its origins go back several centuries. It was founded in 1478. Today it is a very dynamic and cosmopolitan city that combines modernity and tradition.

We spent nearly 1 month in Gran Canaria exploring every part of the island. We are happy to share with you, what we think are the best things to do in Las Palmas.


Check out this drone footage about Las Palmas:

Best things to do in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria

In Las Palmas, you can find one of the most famous and most beautiful urban beaches in Europe: Las Canteras. Indeed Las Canteras is located right in the city. You will find a lively atmosphere along the 2 kilometers long beach.

Plenty of activities are possible at Las Canteras. Of course, sunbathing is the favorite one amongst tourists. But Las Canteras is also one of the most famous beaches for surfing. At the west part of the beach, you can find the famous surf spot called La Cicer.

Along Las Canteras promenade you can enjoy many restaurants, bars, and cafes, open all day long.

Besides Las Canteras, you can also explore the beaches of Las Alcaravaneras, El Confital, and San Cristobal. All are extremely beautiful.

Location: here


Best things to do in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria

If you visit Las Canteras, you can’t miss this building at the very end of the beach on the west side.

It is a modern structure and the last work of the architect Oscar Tusquets. This building is dedicated to the Canarian tenor Alfredo Kraus. The structure was designed as a place for concerts, meetings, conferences, and seminars. The opening date was December 5, 1997, after 4 years of construction.

At the start of each year, some of the world’s most important orchestras gather here for the Canary Islands Music Festival. Throughout the year, the Auditorium organizes its own concert program, as well as those of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Las Palmas and the annual Jazz and Guitar Festival: in total, more than 100 concerts of music from all sorts are arranged.

Check out the full program here. Assisting at one of the concerts during your visit to Las Palmas could be a great idea.

3. Visit La Vegueta, the Historical District of Las Palmas

Best things to do in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria

The district of La Vegueta will make you relive the medieval atmosphere thanks to its narrow streets and its noble palaces which contain the styles of the 18th to the 20th century.

Many merchant families not only Spanish, but also Danish, Maltese and English settled here long time ago. It was the original heart of Las Palmas. Check out the main square of San Antonio Abad at the heart of La Vegueta.

Here you can admire many cultural sights such as the house of Christopher Columbus (Casa de Colón). There are also four historic houses, ranging from the 16th to the 18th century: among them was the former residence of the governor. Another house was the residence to Alfredo Kraus, whom we just talked about.

Location: here

4. Check out Christopher Columbus (Casa de Colón) museum

Best things to do in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria

Visiting the house-museum of Christopher Columbus is one of the best things to do in Las Palmas. During his conquest of America, Christopher Columbus made a stopover in Las Palmas and lived in a house located in the historic center of La Vegueta.

Today this house is converted into a museum, where you can see a rich collection of tools and navigation maps. The other rooms in the museum trace the voyages of Christopher Columbus.

  • Entrance: Free
  • Website: here
  • Opening hours: 10:00 – 18:00 Monday to Saturday and 10:00 – 15:00 on Sunday
  • Location: here

5. Go shopping in the Triana District

Best things to do in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria

Triana, the other historic district of Las Palmas, dates only from the 19th century. It has many bars and restaurants, San Telmo Park, and especially Calle Triana, a busy shopping street.

Both districts La Vegueta and Triana are located side to side. So you can easily visit both areas in one go.

Location: here

6. Admire Plaza Santa Ana

Best things to do in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria

Plaza Santa Ana is a beautiful square located in the heart of Las Palmas. Another must-see in the city. There you will find Las Palmas’ cathedral.

The Cathedral of Santa Anna is the first one built by Spanish royalty after the conquest of Gran Canaria in 1478. The styles are different and range from neoclassical to Gothic and Renaissance. The works began in 1500 and were not completed until four centuries later with the intervention of many different architects and artists.

From the tower of the Cathedral, you will have a magnificent view of Las Palmas.

You can reach it with an elevator. In the south wing is the Diocesan Museum of Sacred Art, which exhibits several valuable objects, as well as a remarkable and varied collection of paintings, ranging from Dutch masters to Spanish sculptures, which have been collected over the course of the four hundred last years.

Location: here

7. Visit Museo Canario

> 1000 (El Museo Canario)

Canario Museo of Las Palmas is fantastic if you are curious about the history of the Canary Islands.

You can learn about the archaeological discoveries that have been made on the island. The museum has varied exhibitions of pre-Hispanic objects from 500 BC to 1400. You can even see a collection of mummies and skeletons of aborigines.

  • Opening hours: 10AM–8PM weekdays and 10AM – 2PM on weekends
  • Website: here
  • Location: here

8. Visit the Atlantic Center of Modern Art

Best things to do in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria
13.05.23. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Noche Europea de los Museos. CAAM. Foto Quique Curbelo

Still in the Vegueta district, you can check out the CAAM (Atlantic Center of Modern Art), a museum of contemporary art. Its particularity is the openness to three continents (Europe, Africa, and America) in a course that combines different forms of art: painting, drawing, sculpture, and graphics. The projects are linked by the theme of critical thinking.

The richest collection is linked to the works of Canarian artists, which revolve around the figure of Lujan Pérez and his school of the 1930s and 1940s.

The library contains more than 57,000 art-related volumes, with a large section devoted to African and Latin American artists. There is also a special shop where you can find all kinds of souvenirs, ranging from postcards to costumes, jewelry, decorations or bags.

  • Opening hours: 10AM–8PM weekdays and 10AM – 2PM on weekends
  • Website: here
  • Location: here
  • Admission: free

9. Take a pleasant walk at San Cristobal

Best things to do in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria

The district of San Cristobal is the ideal place to enjoy the sun, take a walk with the family, have lunch or have a drink outdoor.

There are plenty of small bars, restaurants and shops full of charm in San Cristobal. There, each house is painted in a different color. It makes the promenade along the sea really beautiful. We really liked our walk in San Cristobal.

Location: here

10. Chill at Parque Doromas

Best things to do in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria

What could be better than resting in the middle of nature after a full day of explorations in the city? Doramas Park, located in the Ciudad Jardin district, is one of the most popular places in Las Palmas. Doramas Park is a very extensive green area, characterized by a variety of vegetation, including palm trees and native species. Its cascading fountains are particularly striking.

Sunday is the day when the park is filled with color and families. Street performances are organized by artists and puppet theaters. The main attraction is the Pueblo Canario, a sort of open-air museum.

You can discover the local traditions and admire a village with typical houses. The main square is transformed into a stage where folk groups and dancers perform, often in costume.

Best things to do in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria

In the same area make sure to also check out Museo Nestor. The museum showcases the work of Nestor Martín-Fernandez de la Torre, one of the most famous Canarian painters and the main representative of modernism in the Canary Islands.

Location: here

It is in Parque Doromas, that you can find one of the most historical and most luxurious hotel in Las Palmas. The hotel is called  Santa Catalina, a Royal Hideaway Hotel. The rooftop pool is breathtaking. Book here

11. Surf at Playa del Confital

Best things to do in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria

Playa del Confital is located on a peninsula at the edge of Las Palmas. You can go on a beautiful hike around the Peninsula and discover Playa Del Confital. The beach is not suitable for swimming as it has a reef. However, it is one of the most famous surf spots in Europe!

Once you reach Playa Del Confital, continue on the main trail called Lomo de los dos morros. From there you can access multiple fantastic viewpoints. If you want to escape the city for a day, head to Playa Del Confital!

Location: here


Our next recommendations are located outside the city accessible by car or public transport.

12. Caldera de Bandama

Things to do in Las Palmas

Get ready to discover unique landscapes at Caldera de Bandama. The Caldera de Bandama, about 20 minutes from the center of Las Palmas, is a crater more than a thousand meters in diameter with a peak of more than 500 meters from which one can have a breathtaking view.

For hiking enthusiasts, the route is about 2 km, between ponds, caves and lush vegetation. You will also find in front of you vineyards and houses with hundreds of years of history. Bandama’s name is linked to a Flemish farmer, David Van Damme, who bought part of the land near the crater and turned it into a wine-growing area.

Location: here

What to do in Las Palmas

The town of Arucas is located about 12 kilometers from Las Palmas, on the side of a mountain. The old town is particularly interesting, thanks to its stunning Cathedral, called Parroquia de San Juan Bautista de Arucas.

In Arucas, you can also visit several traditional and historical houses, as well as the rum factory. Inside there is a particularly famous wine cellar, visited by many famous people who leave their signature on the barrels.

The Marquise’s house, built in 1880, is also one of the popular places to visit in this town. It contains various pieces of furniture and objects of particular value and can be visited.

Location: here

Jardín Botánico Canario, Gran Canaria, December 2015

This beautiful botanical garden is located just a few minutes from Las Palmas. There you can see a beautiful cactus garden, many flowers and native plants as well as lakes and a waterfall.

There is a parking space above and below the garden. The entrance to the park if free.

Location: here

Las Palmas EM1B7517

The Carnival of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is a very old tradition. After the Spaniard’s conquest, in the 15th and 16th centuries, citizens of very diverse origins settled on the island. It was the Genovese inhabitants of Las Palmas who imported the passion for mask dances and were the greatest promoters, for years, of this type of party.

Later, Franco’s Spanish government decided to ban carnivals. In 1976, the Carnival of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria took over the streets thanks to Manolo García, a resident who obtained permission from the civil governor to celebrate it. Since then, the Carnival has continued to grow in popularity. Today it is an important part of the culture and economy of the whole island.

The carnival is usually held in February or March every year. You can check the official website here.

Best activities in the Canary Island

With good weather all year round, 300 days of sunshine and little rain, there is no specific snorkeling season in Gran Canaria. Whether you stay in summer or winter, you can join a snorkeling trip from Las Palmas.


What to do in Gran Canaria

Gran Canaria is an island after all. When you think about an island, you automatically think about a boat trip, isn’t it? Embark on an excursion to discover the coast of Gran Canaria, and watch dolphins and even whales. Yes, it is possible to do that in the Canary Islands.

You see, it’s not necessary to go to Hawaii or the Caribbean, we have everything in Europe… You can board a boat right from Las Palmas.


Best things to see in Las Palmas

This is one of the newest attractions in Las Palmas, the aquarium Poema del Mar. If you have kids, make sure to bring them to this fantastic place, where you can admire sharks, manta rays, and many other fishes.


Best hotels in Las Palmas

In Las Palmas we stayed in a brand new hotel called ART LAS PALMAS MUR HOTEL. We totally loved it. It has such great value for money and is located close to the main beach of Las Palmas.

best things to do in Las Palmas

Another beautiful hotel in Las Palmas, probably the most charming one, is Santa Catalina, a Royal Hideaway Hotel. This luxury hotel is located near the harbor of Las Palmas in the historical center of the city. The rooftop pool is breathtaking. If your budget allows it, then don’t hesitate, this is one of the best places in Las Palmas. Book here.


To visit the inner city, you can easily take public transportation to get around or simply visit on foot. Most parts of the city is actually walkable. For the rest, we took the bus which was super convenient!

The last few days in Las Palmas, we rented a car to get around and explore further in Grand Canaria. And it was perfect to drive around the island and explore many places.

What to visit in Las Palmas

We hope that you enjoyed reading this post. While writing it, all our great memories from Gran Canaria came back. We often talk about how great our trip to Gran Canaria was.

Although we heard mixed feedback about Las Palmas, we actually really liked this place. It’s a great mix of urban life and nature with the Las Canteras beach right by the city!

For us, we felt it was worth a visit. Now if you are time is limited, we would rather focus on other things.


If you have any questions about Las Palmas, feel free to leave a comment below.

All our posts about the Canary Islands can be found here.



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