Sunburned?8 Ultimate Reasons Why You’ll Love Las Palmas- My Canary Islands Odyssey, 1
Puerto de la Luz, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, Spain
Puerto de la Luz in Las Palmas, north-east of Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, Spain is a traditional base for scale and supply port of ships on their way through the Mid-Atlantic ocean. It handles some of marine traffic along the crossroads of Europe, Africa and the United States. Puerto de la Luz was founded in 1478 by Castillian soldiers who took the island from the indigenous Guanches (now extinct). The great navigator Christopher Columbus (Cristobal Colon) used the port as an anchor in 1492 while on his way to discover America. This port is located in Las Palmas City at the Canary Islands. It is a host to thousands of ships navigating by the Atlantic Ocean and regarded by shipping companies as a “mid-Atlantic service station”. And due to its proximity to West Africa, it is Europe’s trade get away to African markets.
Located along the center of Atlantic Ocean and north-west of Africa is a cluster of Spain’s most popular islands – the Canary (Las Islas de Canarias). This archipelago is closer to Africa than continental Europe, but still it is under Spain’s jurisdiction. It has main islands – Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Plama, La Gomera, El Hiervo and La Graciosa. They are called “canarios” not because of the presence of canary birds but the Spaniards mistook the monk seals they saw as dogs. Actually, the birds are named after the islands. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is the most populous among the Canaries. It is also among the 10nth most populous city in Spain. It was founded in 1478 by Juan Rejon, head of the invading Castillian army. In 1492, Cristobal Colon (Christopher Columbus) docked at island and stayed for sometime while on his way to the New World (the Americas). Las Palmas functions both as a bustling city and seaside resort – sometimes as a playground of Europe’s smart set. In winter, Norwegians and Swedes come here for a sunny weekend.
Aboard the oil tanker M/T Knock Stocks in 1994, we arrived at Puerto de la Luz in Las Palmas for a dry dock (mostly ship repair) on our way to West Africa. Las Palmas is a playful city, oozing with a sense of excitement. it comes with aesthetic architecture, interesting history, the best of Canarian food, beaches and shopping. There is always something to look forward to in Las Palmas. Here is a list of the 8 ultimate reasons why you’ll love Las Palmas.
1. Old Vegueta is worth for a stroll
An ultimate reason why you’ll love Las Palmas is the old city district of Vegueta. It was once the heartbeat and foundation of Las Palmas. You can easily make your visit on a stroll. This historical neighborhood is on the northeast side of the island. Let me warn you not to fall in love easily with the area especially Catedral de Sta. Ana. This is the focal point of Vegueta with its striking Neo-Gothic design.
2. Shop till you drop at Calle Triana
Did you know that the premium clothing brand Zara is from Spain? And you can find its outlet at Calle Triana in Las Palmas. An ultimate reason why you’ll love Las Palmas, when it comes to shopping in Gran Canaria, Triana is the place to go. It is the home of high street boutiques not only Zara but H&M, United Colors of Benetton, Chanel, Mango, Springfield and other top European brands. The 1st Sunday of the month is a special “shopping day”. Stalls and performers add to the attraction. On the wall of a house at Calle Triana is a pedestrian clock dating back to 1868. It is a reminder that you can always take your time to enjoy shopping at Triana.
3. Las Canteras is the best city beach in the world.
Las Canteras beach is famous to Europe’s jet set. But they don’t get past the most important one – it’s the best city beach in the world. An ultimate reason why you’ll love Las Palmas. Las Canteras is more than sun, sand and palm trees. The south end of Las Canteras has magnetic sand grains. They have high iron ore content. Not only of the magnetic sand, Las Canteras beach changes its color every day. It may be golden one today, then its jet black tomorrow. Agatha Christie, the British mystery writer, swam at Las Canteras in 1927. Swedish tourists brought the bikini and introduced topless sunbathing in the early ’60s.
4. Discover Castillo de la Luz
Castillo de la Luz (Castle of Light) is a fort in Las Palmas. It defended the island for centuries when ships brought back precious load from the Americas. It dates back from 1494, and is now a national historical monument. Art and history exhibits can be found inside Castilo de la Luz. Another ultimate reason why you’ll love Las Palmas.
5. Catch the waves at Playa de Vargas
If you are a surfing enthusiast, Playa de Vargas is an ultimate reason why you’ll love Las Palmas. This is where wind surfers go to practice their skills. You can also camp right by the water on the right day.
6. Learn more about Columbus’ life at Casa de Colon
Casa de Colon (Columbus’ House) in Gran Canaria is one of the ultimate reasons why you’ll love Las Palmas. This colonial-style mansion contains exhibits about the history of Las Palmas and its relation with the Americas. This house documents Columbus’ sailing years to America and the Canary Islands‘ historical role as a station post for trans-Atlantic navigation. Casa de Colon also served as the opulent residence of Las Palmas’ early governors.
7. Snack on tapas at Mercado del Puerto
Tapas, the Spanish iconic food and a signature delicacy of Las Palmas. You can have it to the full at Mercado del Puerto, a small market near Las Canteras beach. It will not disappoint you when it comes to quality tapas. It has other local produce like sweets, cakes and fish- definitely one of the ultimate reasons why you’ll love Las Palmas in terms of food. Set in a stunningly iron-designed building, it has a good vibe, nice tapas and best wines.
8. Hit if off at Pueblo Canario
One of the ultimate reasons why you’ll love Las Palmas is Pueblo Canario. It is a set of buildings constructed in the old Canary-style of architecture. Primarily a replica of a Canarian village, it showcases the culture and heritage of the people of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is indeed an oasis of tranquility. When the time is right, take a peep at this city by the mid-Atlantic where the sun never sets all year round. The experiences that await you are numerous and as diverse as the island itself. Hasta la vista, Las Palmas. Vaya con Dios.