Why do we qualify to tell you about Las Palmas? Well, we're Gran Canaria's most-read English website and Alex, our main writer, has lived in the city for 15 years.
We're going to assume that you've booked a place close to the beach because that's where most people stay when they rent a holiday let. However, if you're in another part of town, such as Triana or Vegueta, all the info is still relevant.
Getting to Las Palmas from the airport
You have two ways of getting to Las Palmas city from the airport: Taxi or bus. Holiday let hosts rarely offer pickup services because it's not technically allowed in Gran Canaria.
Getting to Las Palmas by taxi
A taxi costs about 35 euros and the trip takes 25 minutes. There are always taxis right outside the airport arrivals hall. It's worth having the exact address written down because airport taxi drivers only speak Spanish and don't know all Las Palmas streets off by heart.
It normally takes about 90 minutes from landing at Gran Canaria airport to arriving in Las Palmas if you take a taxi from the airport.
Another option is to book a private transfer but they are barely cheaper than a taxi. It's less hassle to just hop in a cab.
Getting to Las Palmas by public bus
You can also travel to Las Palmas by blue bus unless you arrive in the middle of the night.
Buses leave the airport for Las Palmas regularly and they all stop at the underground San Telmo bus station by Triana. The cost is 2.30 euros per person. From here, get a taxi (maximum 6 euros) to the port and beach district.
You can also catch a bus to the Santa Catalina bus station in the centre of the port district. From here, a taxi ride costs around 3-5 euros to anywhere close to the beach and most apartments are within 10-15 minutes walk. Taxis line up outside the El Muelle shopping centre just a couple of minutes walk from the Santa Catalina bus station.
Bus Line 60 stops at both San Telmo and Santa Catalina (the last stop). Bus Lines 1, 5, 11 and 91 stop at San Telmo.
Allow at least two hours between landing and arriving at your apartment if you come by public bus (tell your host so that they don't spend their whole day hanging around waiting for you).
Getting around within Las Palmas
Taxis in Las Palmas are cheap and a long ride from the beach area to the old town won't cost you more than seven euros. If you are in a group, they are as cheap as using the public buses.
Las Palmas' yellow buses travel all over the city, but the timetables are not easy to understand unless you know the exact name of the stop you want. Every journey costs €1.50 if you pay in cash on the bus. To save money, buy a bus pass from the bus stations. These can be topped up at yellow vending machines or small shops. The card costs €1.50 but knocks a good chunk off the price of each bus ride.
Every journey costs €1.50 if you pay in cash on the bus. To save money, buy a bus pass from the bus stations. These can be topped up at yellow vending machines or small shops. The card costs €1.50 but knocks a good chunk off the price of each bus ride.
You can walk anywhere within the beach area of Las Palmas in less than 30 minutes although bear in mind that Las Palmas is a long thin city so it's a long walk from the beach to Vegueta old town and Triana.
Another good option is to sign up for the yellow bikes that are parked at strategic spots around the city. There is a bike route across the whole city and you can also cycle along the Avenida Maritima path that runs the length of the eastern coast of the city from Mesa y Lopez all the way to La Laja beach way to the south.
Parking in Las Palmas is tricky so we'd advise you to think twice about renting a car for your whole holiday if you plan to spend most of your time in Las Palmas. If you want to explore the island from Las Palmas, a car is worthwhile but consider renting one by the day from a local car hire company. Don't rent a car from Gold Car; they are sneaky about extra charges and we get lots of complaints about them (watch out if you use car rental websites as 'really cheap deals' normally come with unavoidable extra charges).
If you park in a blue parking zone you have to put money in the meter (check the timetable as some areas are free at the weekend). Green parking areas are for residents and you can only park for an hour. Most paid car parks charge about 15 euros per day.
What to do in Las Palmas
The city has the best urban beach in the world (yes, really), four other beaches, several decent surf breaks, hundreds of bars and restaurants, a pretty old town, plenty of shopping, and a good selection of museums and art galleries.
We can't cover them all in this article, but they are all covered in the Las Palmas section of Gran Canaria Info.
Here's a selection of useful links.
Where to eat out in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
We can't give you a comprehensive list of Las Palmas' best restaurants because there are dozens if not hundreds of them. Instead, here's a list of the places where we eat in the city because they are consistently excellent or offer particularly good value.
Many of these restaurants are busy at lunchtime and in the evenings, but if you turn up early you can almost always get a table. By early we mean 13.00 on the dot for lunch and 20.00 in the evenings. By the way, lots of Las Palmas restaurants close on Mondays.
This big Mediterranean restaurant is right at the northern tip of Las Canteras beach with tables on the beachfront under coconut palm trees. If does good fish, calamares and salads and the service is quick and friendly even when it is busy.
An Italian restaurant with outdoor tables right by the sea, Piemonte does great pizza and pasta. It's located just south of Playa Chica in the middle of Las Canteras beach. The avocado and prawn pasta that pops up on the specials board is excellent.
A typical Andaluz restaurant with tiled walls decorated will bulls heads. The food is quality and great value; a great Las Palmas spot for authentic Spanish tapas. Try the deep-fried boneless sardines and the excellent papas bravas.
For more quality tapas restaurants in Las Palmas, read this article.
Just north of the La Puntilla at the northern tip of Las Canteras beach, Amigi Camilo is a long-standing local favourite that specializes in fish and squid. The calamares and puntitas (tiny, deep fried squid) are good and the fresh fish is right there on display.
Basal and the Allende restaurants
Basal is a new restaurant on the beachfront and is already setting the standard for quality, informal dining. It offers a good range of meat, Spanish dishes and world-inspired food and does it all well. Try the squid served on mashed potato (really, it's superb) and the cheesecake.
Basal is part of the Allende group; Las Palmas' most successful restaurant group. Don't let the fact that they have several restaurants put you off; each one has a different menu and the Allende restaurants are successful because they serve quality food at excellent prices.
This tiny meat restaurant is tucked away at the north end of Calle Portugal just behind the beach. It does Uruguayan steak and little else but wow, it does it well. The place hasn't changed for decades and eating here feels like being inside the Goodfellas gangster movie. Let the staff guide you as to what meat to order and please don't order your meat well done. You might make a grown man cry!
Set in the wonderful courtyard of a medieval mansion, a visit to this smart restaurant is as much a dining experience as it is an essential part of a cultural tour of Las Palmas. The menu changes regularly, the food is original, and the the atmosphere is incomparable. Allow a few hours to really soak up the atmosphere.
Right in the heart of Las Palmas' marina, Restaurante Embarcadero is the only restaurant that has decking sitting out over the water and view of the yachts. It serves modern seafood and Spanish food and is well worth a visit.
See this article for the twenty best national cuisine restaurants in Las Palmas; Korean, Iranian, Lebanese, Peruvian, Cuban, etc. Las Palmas has them all.
For Indian food, head to Nawabi on Calle Jesus Ferrer Jimenez just off Mesa y Lopez, and for Japanese try the superb lunch menu at Kyoto on Calle Barcelona just south of Mesa y Lopez (arrive at 13.00 on the dot or be prepared to queue).
Many Las Palmas restaurants offer a cheap lunch menu for around 10 euros. You get two courses (with a couple of choices per course),a drink and coffee or dessert.
Tapas events in Las Palmas
On Thursday evenings you have a choice of two tapas events. The biggest one is in Vegueta old town; you join crowds of students and locals and get a small beer or glass of wine and a tapa for two euros.
Smaller, but still busy, is the tapas night at the Mercado del Puerto. This lovely iron building is packed with stalls that sell a great range of local, Spanish and international tapas.
Las Palmas bars and nightlife
There are two main nightlife areas in Las Palmas: The Puerto district behind the beach, and the Triana/Vegueta old town zone. However, there are bars everywhere in the city. Here is a selection of our favourite spots.
The fashion in Las Palmas for the last couple of years has been for gin and tonics in vast bowls, bartenders with elaborate beards, and cocktails in jam jars. It's still cool, but the city is ripe for the next big thing!
A classy cocktail bar at the north end of the beach with tables on the promenade. It has a second spot (called the Gin Vodka Club) on Joaquin Costa street just of the buzzing Plaza de Fray Junípero
Rooftop bar at the top of the Bed & Chic hotel by Santa Catalina square. It's not that big, but it has a lovely atmosphere and a great view of the square. A perfect sunset drink spot.
Las Palmas' only authentic and Irish-owned pub. Paddy's is right on the beachfront with tables under the palm trees and has a downstairs pub with pool table, Sky Sports and Guinness on tap.
A vast and rather trendy (bearded waiters, cocktails in jamjars) rooftop cocktail bar in Triana with a view of Vegueta old town and the cathedral. A great spot for a first drink (or a last one) on a night out on Calle Mendizabal in Vegueta.
On the ground floor of El Muelle shopping centre, Kopa packs out at the weekend. It's a vast, all-outdoor terrace with lots of bars. Kopa plays Spanish music and is currently a Las Palmas hotspot (but things change fast).
This food market at the north end of Las Canteras beach has lots of tapas stands and buzzes on a Thursday nights and at the weekends. It's a great spot to start a night and meet the locals.
The old town has two bar streets called Calle Mendizabal and the adjoining Calle Pelota; both are busy at the weekends. Thursday tapas nights get busy.
This square in the Puerto district is currently a Las Palmas nightlife hotspot thanks to bars like Malasaña, Citrus and the Gin & Vodka club. It's just around the corner from the more sedate Plazoleta de Farray.
Live music in Las Palmas
Las Palmas doesn't have a large live music scene although there are concerts every weekend. The best places to look for l¡ve music are La Guarida del Blues, Tralará and New York Taxi. Just ask the staff for recommendations if they have nothing on
Also look out for a copy of La Brujula del Ocio in bars. This square magazine is the best source of up-to-date info about live music and events in Las Palmas.
The main weekly music event in Las Palmas is Playa Viva; a rolling series of weekend gigs by local bands at beachside bars. See the Facebook page for the program during your stay
Where to buy food in Las Palmas
The most common local supermarkets are Hiperdino, Spar and Mercadona and you are rarely more than a few minutes away from a decent supermarket in Las Palmas. Here are the store locator pages for Hiperdino, Spar, and Mercadona. There is also a large Carrefour supermarket in the Las Arenas mall at the southern tip of Las Canteras beach.
Most Las Palmas supermarkets open from 09.00 and close at 21.30, and open everyday except Sundays and national holidays. They all sell a decent range of local and branded produce and fresh fruit, veg, cheeses, and meat. Larger ones also have a fish counter. Beer and wine is cheap in Las Palmas supermarkets; about 50 cents for a can of beer and less than 5 euros for a decent bottle of Spanish Rioja red wine.
Some Spar and Hiperdino supermarkets even open on Sundays; the closer they are to the beach the more likely they are to be open seven days a week.
As well as supermarkets, Las Palmas also has lots of small shops that sell fresh fruit, bread, water and basic supplies. Many open every day and while they are a little more expensive than the supermarkets they do tend to have the best local fruit (especially bananas).
For more on food shopping in Las Palmas, see this excellent article.
If you have special food needs such as a gluten intolerance, most supermarkets now have a special health food section. Both Spar Natural (Calle Juan Manuel Duran 6) and Zanahoria (Calle Galicia 19 & Luis Doreste Silva 79) have a wide selection of specialist food products and organic fruit and veg.
Where to shop in Las Palmas
The three main clothes shopping zones in Las Palmas are Las Arenas mall, Mesa y Lopez shopping street in the port district, and the Triana shopping district in the Old Town part of the city.
Las Arenas is a vast mall with a good range of High Street names such as C&A, Mango, Zara, Primark, H&M and Desigual. It's conveniently located right by the south end of Las Canteras beach and has a few places to eat upstairs. See the full Las Arenas store list here.
Mesa y Lopez is a long street that is famous for its huge El Corte Inglés department store. This Spanish institution occupies a huge six-storey building on both sides of the street and sells virtually everything you can think of. If you're in the market for posh frocks, bags, etc, El Corte Inglés is well worth delving into (especially in the January and August sales).
The rest of Mesa y Lopez is taken up with High Street clothes stores and shoe shops including Marks & Spencer, Carolina Boix, Zara, etc.
Triana shopping district has been voted the top outdoor shopping area in Spain and is a great mix of High Street Brands (on the main street) and smaller boutiques (on the side streets that go west up the hill). It's right next to Vegueta Old Town which means you can easily combine a cultural day with some retail therapy. Here's a full list of all the shops and bars in Triana.
For more detail on shopping in Las Palmas, see our Ultimate Las Palmas shopping Guide.
Useful contacts and links
The Las Palmas police force publishes photos of all Las Palmas lost property on Facebook.
IN an emergency, phone 112.
Consulates in Las Palmas.
If you have any questions about Las Palmas, please feel free to ask in our Facebook group: We have a great group of local residents who are happy to answer your questions.
The Tourist Board is on Calle Mayor in Triana and answers the phone during office hours. It's best to contact the police if you have a serious problem.