Do you also think of standardized hotels and menus in Scandinavian languages when you think of the Canary Islands? In that case, think again. In the Atlantic Ocean there are seven islands waiting to be explored, each one of them with a unique beauty. The island that lies closest to my heart is Gran Canaria with it’s magnificent capital Las Palmas.
Playa de Las Canteras
I came to Las Palmas for the first time almost ten years ago, when I worked as a flight attendant. I remember my first walk from the hotel down to Playa de Las Canteras, the city beach, and how I was filled by a special energy. It was something in the air, something with the atmosphere, that was so far away from the image I had of the Canary Islands until that moment. The more I explored the city the more I realised that here, in the Atlantic Ocean, there was a big spanish city that had nothing to envy its sisters on the mainland. When I later had the opportunity to get to know the other parts of Gran Canaria I was convinced that this is one of the most fascinating places I know.
View over the Atlantic Ocean in San Agustìn
Las Palmas is, together with Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the capital in the autonomous community of Spain that the Canary Islands are. The Canary Islands were known in ancient times and the europeans believed for a long time that this group of islands were the end of the world. Several seafarers from Italy, Spain and Portugal moved here and it was from those islands that Columbus left for the journey that took him to America. Before the Spanish colonization the islands were inhabited by aborigines from whom you can still see traces today.
The landscape of Gran Canaria
What’s most fascinating about Gran Canaria to me is that the island is like a small continent of it’s own. The nature and landscape varies so much and this creates so many things to see and do. Las Palmas has everything that a big city can offer; restaurants, cafées, bars, museums and shopping. The city also has a beach with a nice boardwalk where tourists, young surfers and locals meet. The older parts of the town, Vegueta and Triana, charming with their cathedrals, decorated buildings and secret tapas restaurants, are perfect places to go strolling.
A glimpse of Las Palmas old town
Las Palmas is a perfect base if you’re planning to explore other parts of the island as well. Around the city there are several small villages that are nice to visit. The central part of the island with it’s rocky landscape offers trekking opportunities and breathtaking views. If you go to the southern part of the island you’ll have sun, beaches and party combined with beautiful sunsets and a dune landscape that looks like a desert.
The Dunes of Maspalomas
There is so much genuin joy of life in this place and I hope that this glimpse will inspire you to a new, more true experience of Las Palmas and Gran Canaria.
Puerto de Mogàn