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Las Palmas, Capital of Gran Canaria

Las Palmas is a very large city in a rather small Atlantic island, Gran Canaria. With almost 400.000 inhabitants, It is the capital of Gran Canaria as well as the administrative center of the province of Las Palmas (covering the islands of Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura). This city is situated about 200 km of the African coast.

Foundation of the city

Las Palmas was founded in 1478 by castillian military forces (from mainland Spain, as we now it today), defeating the local guanche aborigines. The city laid its foundations in the area of La Vegueta, today known as the old town. If you ever visit the city, a walk through Vegueta is highly recommended with its narrow streets and medieval buildings and houses.

Las Palmas and Christopher Columbus

The conquest of America soon took off and this city became the final outpost before heading over towards New Spain. Christopher Columbus (Colón in Spanish) stopped by several times, and the house in where he stayed during his visits is today a museum over the American Conquest (Casa Colón).

Las Palmas climate

There is a study carried out by the Syracuse University, USA, concluding that the city enjoys the best climate in the world. A proper description would be “eternal spring”.

Shopping

Being such a large city, shopping abound of course. The centric zone of Mesa y López offers all mayor stores and brands such as El Corte Inglés and Zara. If you prefer a more classic shopping area, Triana would be your choice. Now, for the serious shoppers, this capital offers a whole bunch of shopping malls, like Las Arenas (at the Canteras beach), El Muelle (in the port area), Siete Palmas as well as La Ballena.

Beaches

One of the landmarks of Las Palmas is of course the famous Las Canteras beach, a 3 km long beach in the middle of the city, offering year-round relax. You´ll also have the option to visit the Alcaravanera beach on the port side of Las Palmas. The people is very proud of its beach, and this is an area where you can not only relax at the beach, but also enjoy good food, take a walk with your friends or just sit down to have a ‘caña de Tropical’ (a small glass of the local beer).

Events

The most important fiesta of the year is the Carnival. This yearly mega-event starts in february. The carnival has a long tradition in Las Palmas as well as all over the Canary Islands. Well worth a visit!