Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

The city of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is the biggest in the archipelago, with a population of 375,000. It was founded on 24th June 1478 at the express instance of Queen Isabel, the Catholic monarch. Its present importance stems from the development of its harbour, Puerto de la Luz (Light), following its designation as a free port towards the middle of the last century, making it into one of the most important ports on the Atlantic. Thenceforth, the city began to acquire commercial pre-eminence, favoured above all by its trade links with Great Britain. It is from this era that Las Palmas’ lovely Modernist buildings date.

The second urban expansion took place in the seventies, when Swedish tourists discovered the beauties of Las Canteras Beach. The cosmopolitan, beach-loving Santa Catalina Park area and the old colonial Vegueta and Triana Quarters are the two opposite poles of a city that lies open to the sea along seven kilometres of shoreline.

Vegueta: The old city The Vegueta Quarter, the true core of Las Palmas, preserves all the charm of its 15th- and 16th- century colonial architecture, with its cobbled streets and exquisite courtyards and balconies. It is here that the sights of most interest in Las Palmas are to be found, its loveliest buildings, corners and museums, all set around the Chapel where Columbus is said to have prayed immediately prior to setting sail for the New World.