LAS PALMAS

Spain

Las Palmas, officially Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, is a city and capital of Gran Canaria island, in the Canary Islands, off the northwestern coast of Africa.

Info Las Palmas

introduction

Las Palmas, officially Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, is a city and capital of Gran Canaria island, in the Canary Islands, off the northwestern coast of Africa.

It is the co-capital (jointly with Santa Cruz de Tenerife), the most populous city in the autonomous community of the Canary Islands, and the ninth largest city in Spain with a population of 383,308 in 2010. It is also the fifth most populous urban area in Spain and (depending on sources) ninth or tenth most populous metropolitan area in Spain.

Las Palmas is located in the northeastern part of the island of Gran Canaria, about 150 kilometres (93 miles) off the Moroccan coast in the Atlantic Ocean. It enjoys a very mild and pleasant semi-arid climate highly influenced by the Atlantic, with mild to warm temperatures throughout the year.It has an average annual temperature of 21.3 °C (70.3 °F). According to a study carried out by Thomas Whitmore, director of research on climatology at Syracuse University in the U.S., Las Palmas enjoys "the best climate in the world".

The city was founded in 1478, and considered the de facto (without legal recognition) capital of the Canary Islands until the seventeenth century. It is the home of the Canarian Ministry of Presidency (shared in a four-year term with Santa Cruz de Tenerife), as well as half of the Ministries and Boards of the Canarian Government, and the High Court of Justice of the Canary Islands. It is the judicial and commercial capital of the Canary Islands, and is also home to a large part of the executive power.

History

The city was founded by Juan Rejón on 24 June 1478, with the name "Real de Las Palmas". Rejón was head of the invading Castilian army, which then engaged in war with the locals.

In 1492, Christopher Columbus (Spanish:Cristóbal Colón) anchored in the port of Las Palmas and spent some time on the island on his first trip to the Americas. He also stopped there on the way back to Spain. The Colon House (es) museum in the Vegueta (es) area of the city is named after him.

In 1595 Francis Drake tried to plunder the town, leading to the Battle of Las Palmas. A Dutch raid under vice-admiral Pieter van der Does in 1599 was only slightly more successful; some of the town was destroyed but the raiders were repelled.

Las Palmas' seaport, Puerto de la Luz (known internationally as La Luz port), benefited greatly from the closure of the Suez Canal during the Suez Crisis. Many foreign workers migrated to the city at this time.

Las Palmas is a sister city of San Antonio, Texas in the United States, which was founded in 1718 by about 25 Canary Islanders.

Climate

Las Palmas has a hot desert climate (BWh) with warm dry summers and moderately warm winters. Its average annual temperature is 21.2 °C (70.2 °F)–28 °C (82 °F) during the day and 18 °C (64 °F) at night. In January, the coldest month, the temperature typically ranges from 19 to 23 °C (66 to 73 °F) (and sometimes more) during the day, and around 15 to 16 °C (59 to 61 °F) at night, with an average sea temperature at 20 °C (68 °F). In the warmest months — August and September — the temperature typically ranges from 27 to 30 °C (81 to 86 °F) during the day, above 21 °C (70 °F) at night, with the average sea temperature at 23 °C (73 °F). Large fluctuations in temperature are rare.

August 1990 was the warmest month on record, with the average maximum temperature of the month during the day being 30.6 °C (87.1 °F). The highest temperature ever recorded was 44.2 °C (111.6 °F), and the coldest temperature ever recorded was 9.4 °C (48.9 °F). The highest wind speed ever recorded was on the 28th of November 2005, measuring 113 km/h (70.21 mph). Las Palmas city has never recorded any snow or sleet.

Annual average relative humidity is 66%, ranging from 64% in March to 69% in October. Sunshine duration hours is above 2,800 per year, from around 190 in winter (average above 6 hours of sunshine duration at day) to around 300 in summer (average 10 hours of sunshine duration at day). It rains on average only 22 days a year, with total precipitation per year of only 151 mm (5.9 in).

Climate data for Las Palmas, Gran Canaria Airport

MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Record high °C (°F)29.5
(85.1)
30.9
(87.6)
34
(93)
34.3
(93.7)
36
(97)
36.9
(98.4)
44.2
(111.6)
39.2
(102.6)
39
(102)
36
(97)
36.2
(97.2)
29.4
(84.9)
44.2
(111.6)
Mean maximum °C (°F)23.0
(73.4)
24.2
(75.6)
25.1
(77.2)
25.3
(77.5)
25.4
(77.7)
26.6
(79.9)
28.4
(83.1)
30.6
(87.1)
30.0
(86)
28.1
(82.6)
26.3
(79.3)
24.2
(75.6)
30.9
(87.6)
Average high °C (°F)20.8
(69.4)
21.2
(70.2)
22.3
(72.1)
22.6
(72.7)
23.6
(74.5)
25.3
(77.5)
26.9
(80.4)
27.5
(81.5)
27.2
(81)
26.2
(79.2)
24.2
(75.6)
22.2
(72)
24.2
(75.6)
Daily mean °C (°F)18.1
(64.6)
18.4
(65.1)
19.3
(66.7)
19.5
(67.1)
20.5
(68.9)
22.2
(72)
23.8
(74.8)
24.6
(76.3)
24.3
(75.7)
23.1
(73.6)
21.2
(70.2)
19.3
(66.7)
21.2
(70.2)
Average low °C (°F)15.3
(59.5)
15.6
(60.1)
16.2
(61.2)
16.3
(61.3)
17.3
(63.1)
19.2
(66.6)
20.8
(69.4)
21.6
(70.9)
21.4
(70.5)
20.1
(68.2)
18.1
(64.6)
16.5
(61.7)
18.2
(64.8)
Mean minimum °C (°F)13.8
(56.8)
13.6
(56.5)
14.4
(57.9)
14.5
(58.1)
15.8
(60.4)
17.5
(63.5)
19.5
(67.1)
20.4
(68.7)
20.2
(68.4)
18.3
(64.9)
16.3
(61.3)
14.8
(58.6)
13.6
(56.5)
Record low °C (°F)10.2
(50.4)
9.4
(48.9)
10.5
(50.9)
12
(54)
12.2
(54)
14.4
(57.9)
16.4
(61.5)
17.6
(63.7)
16.8
(62.2)
14.8
(58.6)
12.8
(55)
12.0
(53.6)
9.4
(48.9)
Average precipitation mm (inches)25
(0.98)
24
(0.94)
13
(0.51)
6
(0.24)
1
(0.04)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
9
(0.35)
16
(0.63)
22
(0.87)
31
(1.22)
151
(5.94)
Average precipitation days (≥ 1 mm)3.13.02.31.30.30.10.00.11.12.33.94.522.0
Average relative humidity (%)65666464656665666869676866
Mean monthly sunshine hours1841912292282722843083002412201851792,821
Source: World Meteorological Organization (UN)

Average sea temperature
JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
20.0 °C (68.0 °F)19.1 °C (66.4 °F)19.1 °C (66.4 °F)19.3 °C (66.7 °F)20.0 °C (68.0 °F)21.0 °C (69.8 °F)21.8 °C (71.2 °F)22.5 °C (72.5 °F)23.4 °C (74.1 °F)23.4 °C (74.1 °F)22.1 °C (71.8 °F)20.5 °C (68.9 °F)21.0 °C (69.8 °F)

Subdivisions

Las Palmas is divided into five administrative districts, which in turn are subdivided into districts, not necessarily consistent with the traditional neighborhoods.

NoDistrictPopulation
1Vegueta, Cono Sur y Tafira73,243
2Centro88,546
3La Isleta-Puerto-Canteras71,412
4Ciudad Alta101,684
5Tamaraceite-San Lorenzo39,191

Transportation - Get In


By plane

Gran Canaria has a modern international airport which receives flights from Madrid, about 2 and a half hours, and from Barcelona and Bilbao, both about 3 hours. UK flights takes about 4 or 4 and a half hours. It operates flights to different destinations, mainly trough Europe and northern Africa. To get into the city, take the bus number 60 from the airport to either bus station in the city. The bus runs every 30 minutes from 6:15am to 8:50pm and costs €2.70


By boat

The Port of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria receives ships from all over the world. Because its strategic position it receives visitors every year from all over Europe, Africa and America. For business or for tourism the port remains as one of the most important ports today and there is a program of further expansion. It operates daily routes to other Canary Islands. To Cádiz on the Spanish mainland, a trip by boat takes about 2 days.

Naviera Armas [www] operates to and from Fuerteventura, Lanzarote, Tenerife, Portugal, Madeira, and several other islands. Acciona Transmediterránea [www] operates the Las Palmas-Cádiz line and some inter-island lines. Most of the inter-island connections are run by fast ferries. Residents of the Canary Islands receive discounted fares.

The Port of Las Nieves in Agaete, 50 km from Las Palmas, offers a connection to Santa Cruz de Tenerife through Fred.Olsen, [www] .


By bus

The only bus company operating interurban lines on Gran Canaria is Global, tel. 902 381 110, email: [email protected] Most of the company's lines have Las Palmas as either their origin or their destination. There are two bus stations in the city:

  • San Telmo Station in the city center.
  • Santa Catalina Interchange near the city's port. This station is serviced also by the municipal bus system and by taxis.

By car

  • GC-1 cuts through the city, connecting it with the airport and other important municipalities as far as Tauro (80 km).
  • GC-2 connects the city with the North Zone, extending up to Agaete.
  • GC-3 circles the city and connects the other three highways
  • GC-4 connects Las Palmas with the communities in the center of the island.

Transportation - Get Around

Las Palmas has the best quality bus system in the archipelago and one of the best in Spain. The service is provided by Guaguas Municipales, tel. 928 446 500, [www]. The bright yellow buses are known simply as guaguas. The simple fare, paid directly to the driver, is 1.10€. A ticket good for 10 rides is available for 5.80€ at official shops in the city. The Tarjeta Insular (Island Card) is good on both municipal buses and Global buses, offering a 20% discount on first validation and a 70% discount on the second.4

Sorry but as from 1 January 2011 - the Gran Canaria Global bus company no longer issue or sell these very popular with tourist and Canarians so-called €15 or €10 Tarjeta Insular tickets through the local ticket agencies. For more information on this check or contact Global direct at: http://www.globalsu.net/

If you are over 70 and staying longer you can apply for a Senior Citizens Pass at the bus station in Telmo. This will give you a 50% discount on all bus trips over 11 km here! You will need passport photos for this and €5.

The most important bus lines have frequencies of between 3 and 15 minutes during the day and between 10 and 40 minutes at night. Most lines have service throughout the night. Among the most useful lines are:

  • Line 1 Teatro - Puerto
  • Line 12 Hoya de la Plata - Puerto
  • Line 30 Alameda de Colón - Santa Catalina

By car

Dense traffic on workdays and in certain commercial leisure zones mean that driving is really no fun here. The city street plan is not at all rectilinear, so the streets can confuse even experienced drivers. Parking is also pretty expensive in most places. On the upside, the price of gasoline is significantly cheaper that the rest of Spain and Europe, there are no toll roads, and entrances, exits, main streets and important zones are all well-signposted.

Hotels

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Hotels

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Beaches

The city has four main beaches: Las Canteras, Las Alcaravaneras, La Laja, and El Confital.

  • Playa de Las Canteras (Las Canteras Beach) is the largest of the existing city, and is frequented throughout the year by most city dwellers and foreign visitors. It lies on the west side of the isthmus of Guanarteme, which links the peninsula of La Isleta, located to the northeast, with the rest of the island of Gran Canaria. The 3,100 m beach is oriented to the northwest in what is known as Confital bow or bay, and stretches from the foothills of La Isleta until shortly before the mouth of the ravine Tamaraceite. Along much of this length, the beach is sheltered from the currents of the Atlantic by a natural barrier of coral sandstone popularly known as "the bar", which is in easy swimming distance from shore. A system for environmental management has been introduced, and the beach has received ISO 14001 certification – one of only three beaches in Spain to do so, namely La Concha in San Sebastián and La Victoria in Cádiz. On the inner side of the coast runs the Paseo de Las Canteras, a pedestrian street that runs parallel to the beach from near the Auditorio Alfredo Kraus to the area known as "Puntilla" until reaching Playa del Confital. La Playa de Las Canteras covers three areas that correspond to the arches and inflections that it conducts on the coast. Each presents certain morphological characteristics.
  • Playa de Las Alcaravaneras (Las Alcaravaneras beach) extends from the rising side of the Isthmus of Guanarteme, an old spit of sand dunes and mountains linking the peninsula of La Isleta, located to the northeast, with the rest of the island of Gran Canaria. It extends from the Real Club Náutico de Gran Canaria to the new marina breakwater of the city, for just over 800 metres (12 mi) of fine golden sand. The whole beach is serviced by the promenade, which starts in Las Alcaravaneras, connects with the Playa de San Cristobal, and ends in Playa de La Laja, 16 kilometres (10 mi) to the south. The promenade is one of the recreational areas of the city and is popular with people who take the opportunity to walk, run, play sports, or cycle. The tranquility of the bay, and yacht clubs close to the existing beach, make Playa de Las Alcaravaneras a great place to practice sports such as sailing and canoeing. The beach also offers facilities for sports such as beach volleyball, beach soccer or futvóley (which has organized tournaments in the summer) and court sports such as basketball, indoor soccer, and volleyball.
  • Playa de la Laja (La Laja Beach), with fine gray sand, is approximately 1200 m long and has an average width of 40 m. Its moderate waves and currents are no longer dangerous since the construction of a dam in the south in the 1990s. At the time, the Ministry of Environment also trawled the seabed to bring sand onto the beach, and the construction of a boardwalk has significantly improved pedestrian access. Due to the intensity of its streams and incoming waves, La Laja has been hailed as a favorite surfers' beach. It is the starting point for boat races that occur every weekend between April and October.
  • Playa del Confital (Confital Beach), southwest of the peninsula of La Isleta, is a natural extension of Las Canteras Beach. The area normally suitable for swimming covers about two kilometers (1.2 miles), but the coastal strip is much greater. It consists of panels of rock with a layer of gravel at the end of them. Until some years ago, the beach was home to a small shanty town, which was eradicated; the land of the Confital went back to being public.] Ensuing works proved controversial, as some environmental organizations and the residents of the city questioned the legality of the proceedings. The waves arriving at the beach are highly thought of by amateur and professional surfers, some of whom consider the Confital as having one of the best right waves in Europe. Here, the ocean currents form a tube that is used by more experienced surfers for its speed and strong contrasts. Each year, qualifying events for the professional world surfing championship take place on this beach.

Shopping

Shop in the city center or in one of the department stores like "El Corte Ingles". There are cheap electronic products and souvenirs for sale everywhere.

For food items, Hiperdino is a chain of stores that has a good range of products and set prices. Some of these stores also have a decent selection of wine. Check out Mercadona too.

Buy the local rum: Arehucas or Artemi or Armiche (and check out the local Honey Rum "ron miel").

Restaurants

Many restaurants have menus in an abundance of languages, and waiters often will also often be able to converse in your own language. Grab a snack at a park vendor or check out www.citygonow.com for up-to-date user reviews of local restaurants.

  • GaliaLuis Morote, 49+34 928 223 219. Great French food, well worth the price. It's not cheap, but if you feel like a small splurge and a little luxury, give Galia a try.
  • Rias BajasSimon Bolivar, 3,  +34 928 271 316. Excellent Spanish food; very expensive, but well worth the cost.
  • Sakura INestor de la Torre, 1,  +34 928 248 221. Good quality, well-priced Japanese cuisine. Great for a little something different.
  • PomodoroRuiz de Alda, 24,  +34 928 227 488. Good quality, low-priced Italian cuisine; fast, attentive service in a comfortable atmosphere.
  • SamoaValencia, 46+34 928 241 471. A favorite of the locals, for good solid Spanish food with appropriate (not too high) prices.

Coffe & Drink

Buy the local rum: Arehucas. Drink clean or with Cola.

  • Tropical Muelle DeportivoC.C. Sotavento - Muelle Deportivo de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.. Sip your tropical drink on the roof deck, looking out over the city.
  • Las RanasC.C. Monopol (Plaza Hurtado de Mendoza ó Plaza Las Ranas). A good spot for music and partying, but also a quiet place to have an afternoon drink. Outdoor seating available.
  • PachichiMartínez de Escobar, 51. A classic for cheap drinks, and a favorite with locals.

Sights & Landmarks

  • Playa de Las Canteras - Almost 4 kilometers in length, this beach is the very symbol of the city and its citizens.
  • Catedral de Santa Ana - Embodying several centuries of history, the cathedral can be seen from almost any point in the city center.
  • Vegueta - Historical enclave of the city.
  • Parque Santa Catalina - This is where most of the hot nightlife spots can be found. It's also pretty during the day, although it consist of little more than a few palm trees.
  • Triana - One of the oldest districts in Las Palmas, and now the city's commercial center.
  • Alfredo Kraus Auditorium - Concert and music hall with classical philharmonic performances and a building that's worth a visit on its own.
  • Elder Museum of Science and Technology - Most exhibitions have information in both Spanish and English. When you're in, you can also use the internet computers there, so the entrance fee is pretty decent. Students and children have a lower entrance fee.

Museums & Galleries

  • The Museo Canario is located in the historic district of Vegueta. Founded in 1879, it is an international partner of the Council for Scientific Research (CSIC). It has a valuable collection of Canary archaeological objects, which are exhibited in 16 halls. It is also equipped with a library of over 60,000 volumes, many of them dealing with the Canary Islands topics. Its archive covers period from 1785 until today.
  • The Casa Museo de Colón is in the Plaza de San Antonio Abad, behind the cathedral of Santa Ana. It focuses on the history of the Canary Islands and its relations with America. It has 13 permanent exhibition halls, a library and dedicated study center, and diverse spaces for temporary activities. The complex consists of several houses, one of which was accessed by Christopher Columbus during his first trip to America in 1492; it was the residence of former Governor (now better known as home of Columbus). It is organized into five subject areas: America before the Discovery, Columbus and his journeys, Canary enclave strategic base for experimenting with the New World, The history and genesis of the city of Palmas, and painting of the 16th century to start of the 20th century.
  • The Casa Museo Pérez Galdós is located in the Triana neighborhood of the city. It is the birthplace of Benito Pérez Galdós. It has an extensive collection of documents, books, furniture and personal belongings of the writer.
  • The Museo Néstor is in the neighborhood of Garden City. Dedicated to the modernist painter Néstor Martín-Fernández de la Torre, the museum was opened in 1956 in the architectural ensemble of the Pueblo Canario, which was conceived and built by his brother Miguel. It has 10 exhibition halls, as well as a documentation center and pedagogy.
  • The Elder Museum of Science and Technology is an innovative, interactive, engaged in scientific and technological culture. Elder located in the building, which dates from the end of the 19th century has 4,500 m2(48,438 sq ft) of exhibition halls, workshops, interactive modules, large-format film and greenhouse ecosystem.
  • The Maritime Museum, located in the former Jet Foil station has around 1,000 m2 (10,764 sq ft) of floor space. When the expansion is finished, will have a giant pool to simulate interactive bay, where a large ship can be handled by visitors.
  • The Atlantic Center of Modern Art (CAAM), opened in 1989, is one of the most important references for the cultural and artistic life of the Canary Islands, and is responsible for disseminating the art made in the islands to the rest of the world, especially Africa, America and Europe. It has permanent and temporary exhibitions that range from the historical avant-garde to the latest trends. It is located on Calle Los Balcones de Vegueta, and preserves the original façade of the 18th century.
  • The Teatro Pérez Galdós was designed by the architect Francisco Jareño y Alarcón in 1867. Its current appearance, with some modifications, is due to the intervention of Fernando Navarro and Miguel Martín Fernández de la Torre after the fire that destroyed it almost entirely in 1928. Miguel Martín's brother, the painter Néstor Martín-Fernández de la Torre, was commissioned to decorate the stalls, lounges and the stage. It was originally called Teatro Tirso de Molina until 1901, when, with occasion of the premiere of Electra, the theatre was renamed after the canarian writer Benito Pérez Galdós. Following works of renovation, the theatre reopened in April 2007.
  • The Cuyás Theater, on the stage of the former Cine Cuyás is a work of rationalist Canarian architect Miguel Martín Fernández de la Torre. Its main hall has a capacity for 940 people, divided between the stalls and two amphitheatres. It also has a large patio that allows the organization of outdoor events. It is currently constructing an alternative test room with capacity for one hundred seats.
  • The Sala Insular de Teatro is a scenic area which lies in the main hall of an old church. In 2007, after some refurbishment, the Board reopened its doors to the public, welcoming small local assemblies.
  • The Guiniguada Theater after a decade long refurbishment, will reopen in 2011.

Things to do

As a beach town, Las Palmas is especially popular for oceanside activities. Catch a wave, grab your snorkel, or just soak up some sun (after applying sunscreen, of course!). Or if you feel like exploring terra firma, do as the locals do and make use of the public tourism bus, known affectionately as the guiriguagua.

Festivals and events

  • Carnaval - Almost as famous as that of the neighboring island of Tenerife, yet different and perhaps even better. It is without a doubt quite spectacular.
  • WOMAD Music Festival - Celebrated in the Santa Catalina Park zone, this festival brings in thousands of spectators every year for quality music free of charge.
  • Romería de Vegueta - The catholic festival celebrated in the Vegueta area of the city.

Nightlife

The historic district of Vegueta has regained great popularity in recent years, the meeting place of choice at weekends for many young people, who fill its bars and discos. In the port area are also numerous bars and nightclubs, particularly in the vicinity of Santa Catalina.

The Carnival of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria usually takes place between January and February each year; popular activities include Mogollon dances and queen and the drag queen galas. The WOMAD (World Of Music, Art & Dance) Festival usually occurs in November each year in the capital of Gran Canaria – 2010 marks the sixteenth edition.

Stay Safe

If you have a veranda/patio on ground level -don't leave doors nor windows open unattended for any period of time.

Stay away from anyone that offers you anything for free -like lottery tickets or a free meal. These are often salespeople who want you to buy potentially worthless "holiday club" memberships or dodgy time-shares. They may seem pleasant at first, but may turn hostile and start threatening you.

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