Las Palmas

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Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Views of Las Palmas, clockwise from top: Las Canteras beach, Canaria local government centre, Alfredo Kraus hall, Santa Ana cathedral by night, lighthouse in Las Palmas port, Perez Galdos theater, view of downtown Las Palmas
Views of Las Palmas, clockwise from top: Las Canteras beach, Canaria local government centre, Alfredo Kraus hall, Santa Ana cathedral by night, lighthouse in Las Palmas port, Perez Galdos theater, view of downtown Las Palmas
Flag of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Coat of arms of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Coat of arms
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is located in Canary Islands
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is located in Atlantic Ocean
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Coordinates: 28°9′N 15°25′W / 28.150°N 15.417°W / 28.150; -15.417Coordinates: 28°9′N 15°25′W / 28.150°N 15.417°W / 28.150; -15.417
Country Spain
Autonomous community Canary Islands
ProvinceLas Palmas
IslandGran Canaria
Founded24 June 1478
 • MayorAugusto Hidalgo (PSOE)
 • Total100.55 km2 (38.82 sq mi)
8 m (26 ft)
Highest elevation
300 m (1,000 ft)
Lowest elevation
8 m (26 ft)
 • Total378,517
 • Density3,800/km2 (9,700/sq mi)
Demonym(s)palmense (es)
Time zoneUTC+0 (WET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+1 (WEST)
Postal code

Las Palmas (UK: /ˌlæs ˈpælməs, - ˈpɑːl-/, US: /ˌlɑːs ˈpɑːlməs, -mɑːs/;[2][3] Spanish: [las ˈpalmas]), officially Las Palmas de Gran Canaria,[a] is a city and capital of Gran Canaria island, in the Canary Islands, on the Atlantic Ocean.

It is the 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.[4][5][6][7][8]

Las Palmas is located in the northeastern part of the island of Gran Canaria, about 150 km (93 mi) off the Moroccan coast[9] in the Atlantic Ocean. Las Palmas experiences a hot desert climate,[note 1] offset by the local cooler Canary Current, with warm temperatures throughout the year. It has an average annual temperature of 21.2 °C (70.2 °F).[10] 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".[11]

The city was founded in 1478, and considered the de facto (without legal recognition)[12] capital of the Canary Islands until the seventeenth century.[12] 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.


Old jail Barranco Seco
Rotunda lighthouse in La Luz port

The city was founded by Juan Rejón on 24 June 1478, with the name "Real de Las Palmas".[13] Rejón was head of the invading Castilian army, which then engaged in war with the locals.[14]

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.[15] The Colón 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.[15] 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.

Administrative divisions

Administrative divisions of Las Palmas

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

No District Population[16]
1 Vegueta, Cono Sur y Tafira 73,243
2 Centro 88,546
3 La Isleta-Puerto-Canteras 71,412
4 Ciudad Alta 101,684
5 Tamaraceite-San Lorenzo 39,191


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

Playa de Las Canteras 2019
Las Canteras Beach
Las Canteras Beach Avenue


Las Palmas has a desert climate (BWh)[24][25] with warm dry summers and warm enough winters to classify it as a tropical climate. 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 higher) 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).[26] 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 28 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. The amount of annual sunshine hours is above 2,800 per year, from around 190 in winter (average of six hours a day) to around 300 in summer (average of 10 hours a day).[27] It rains on average only 22 days a year, with total precipitation per year of only 151 mm (5.9 in).[28]

Climate data for Las Palmas, Gran Canaria Airport (1981–2010), Extremes (1980–2016)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 29.5
Mean maximum °C (°F) 23.0
Average high °C (°F) 20.8
Daily mean °C (°F) 18.1
Average low °C (°F) 15.3
Mean minimum °C (°F) 13.8
Record low °C (°F) 10.2
Average precipitation mm (inches) 25.1
Average precipitation days (≥ 1 mm) 3.1 3.0 2.3 1.3 0.3 0.1 0.0 0.1 1.1 2.3 3.9 4.5 22.0
Average relative humidity (%) 65 66 64 64 65 66 65 66 68 69 67 68 66
Mean monthly sunshine hours 184 191 229 228 272 284 308 300 241 220 185 179 2,821
Percent possible sunshine 54 62 62 58 63 68 71 75 67 65 56 58 63
Source 1: World Meteorological Organization (UN),[29] Agencia Estatal de Meteorología[30]
Source 2: Weather Atlas (percent sunshine)[31]
Climate data for Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average sea temperature °C (°F) 20.0
Mean daily daylight hours 11.0 11.0 12.0 13.0 14.0 14.0 14.0 13.0 12.0 11.0 11.0 10.0 12.2
Average Ultraviolet index 4 6 8 9 10 11 11 11 9 7 5 4 7.9
Source #1:[32]
Source #2: Weather Atlas[31]


As of 2008, nearly half (45.9%) of Gran Canaria's inhabitants live in Las Palmas, as well as 18.35% of the Canary Islands' total population. According to a study by the National Statistics Institute of Spain Las Palmas de Gran Canaria has a life expectancy of 80.9 years.

Las Palmas panorama.jpg

Throughout history, Las Palmas received waves of immigrants from mainland Spain and countries from every continent. The majority of the population is Spanish, although large North- and sub-Saharan African and Latin American communities exist (especially the Venezuelan community, which is growing fast), as well as important historical minorities such as Indians (Sindhi) and Koreans and a growing Chinese population.

Las Palmas' population 1900–2007

Ethnically, most autochthonous Canarians are descendants of a mixture of aboriginal people (guanches) of the Canary Islands (now extinct), the Spanish conquistadores and later European (mainly Spanish, Portuguese, Flemish, Irish, French, Italian, German, and British) colonizers.

Year Population[citation needed] Density
1991 354,887 3,529.46/km2
1996 355,563 3,536.18/km2
2002 370,649 3,686.22/km2
2004 376,953 3,748.92/km2
2007 377,203 3,751.40/km2
2008 381,123 3,790.38/km2
2010 383,308 3,812.11/km2


Las Palmas is home to University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria was founded in 1989.

The city also has a wide variety of state and public primary and secondary schools.

International schools include:

The Escuela Complementaria Japonesa de Las Palmas previously provided a weekend supplementary Japanese programme.[39]


Windows of Santa Ana cathedral, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

Las Palmas offers a variety of theater, cinema, opera, concerts, visual arts and dance performances. The city hosts the Canary Islands Music Festival, the Theatre and Dance and the International Film Festival. The main City Festival, celebrating the foundation of the "City Fiestas de San Juan"[40] is held in June. The Carnival of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria[41] is known not only in Spain but also worldwide, and is one of the main attractions for tourists. The city center of Las Palmas, specifically the Vegueta and Triana neighbourhoods, are included in the tentative List of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.[42]

Museums, theatres and exhibition halls

Casa de Colón (Columbus House) y Pilar Nuevo
Plaza del Pueblo Canario, Nestor Museum
Lady Harimaguada, Martín Chirino.
Pérez Galdós Theatre

Auditorium and Convention Centre

Auditorio Alfredo Kraus


The city has a wide network of libraries. Along with the 11 municipal libraries, there are three specialized centres:

A library is situated in the first floor of Woermann Tower.

Cultural events


Parks and squares

Parque San Telmo
Catedral de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Cathedral of Santa Ana in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Church of San Juan Bautista
Botanic garden in Arucas


Places of worship

Among the places of worship, they are predominantly Christian churches and temples : Roman Catholic Diocese of Canarias (Catholic Church), Spanish Evangelical Church (World Communion of Reformed Churches), Union of Evangelical Baptists of Spain (Baptist World Alliance), Assemblies of God.[50] There are also Muslim mosques.


Roads and highways

Road in the city

Urban road infrastructure is overburdened on workdays and in certain areas; the city street plan is not at all rectilinear, and may be confusing even to experienced drivers. However, there are no toll roads; entrances, exits, main streets and important zones are all well-signposted.

Las Palmas, being the centre of the Las Palmas metropolitan area, is the hub for the island's motorway network. The city is linked with three highways: the GC-1 to the south, the GC-2 to the west and GC-3 to the center of the island.

The GC-1 links the capital with Puerto de Mogán in the south. It is the fastest route from the top of the island to the bottom and vice versa with a speed limit of 120 km/h (75 mph). It is approximately 75 km (47 mi) in length and runs along the eastern and the southern coasts, and is also the second longest superhighway in the Canary Islands. The road provides easy access from the Airport to the major cities and resorts, which include Maspalomas and Playa del Inglés. The increase in tourism over the years has necessitated the route's upgrading and widening to cope with traffic growth. The GC-1 begins south of the downtown area of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, the highway runs within the beach of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and 2 km (1 mi) south intersects with the GC-2 and later runs with a few clover leaf interchanges and later forms a junction with GC-5 and south, the GC-31.

The GC-2 North Highway connects Las Palmas with the small northern port and village of Agaete. The eastern portion – about 20 km (12 mi) in length – is a superhighway with interchange numbers, the rest of the highway is a two-laned; the western part is also only two-laned and has exit numbers. The highway begins by the beach area of the island, and runs through the downtown area, linking with the GC31 at a roundabout interchange. The freeway runs within the beaches and the coastline of the Atlantic Ocean for the half part but at around the 20th km, it becomes a highway after the unidirectional parclo interchanges and runs within the coastline, it later has several interchanges and several towns as it passes to the northwest and finally, it ends in Agaete.


Las Palmas is served by Gran Canaria Airport, also called Las Palmas Airport (IATA: LPA, ICAO: GCLP).

The airport is located in the eastern part of the island, about 18 km (11 mi) from Las Palmas city centre. In 2008, it handled 10,212,106 passengers and 33,695,248 kg (74,285,306 lb) of cargo, and is the fourth busiest in Spain.[51] It is also the only airport on the islands with two runways, thus can accommodate up to 53 landings and take-offs per hour. The lengthy runways made the airport an alternative landing site for the NASA Space Shuttle.[52] This airport is also a base for Binter Canarias and Navegacion y Servicios Aéreos Canarios, airlines which operate regional inter-island flights within the Canary Islands.

An airbase of the Spanish Air Force is located to the east of the runways. Beyond several hangars opposite the passenger terminal, the Gando Air Base (Base Aérea de Gando) contains ten shelters situated on the southern end of the eastern runway.


Puerto de Las Palmas (Las Palmas Port), also known as Puerto de la Luz, is a main port for fishing, commercial, passenger and sports in the northwest of the city. It has been the traditional base for scale and supplying ships on their way through the Middle Atlantic for five centuries. The Port of Las Palmas is not only the first port of the Canary Islands, it is one of the main ports of Spain and the first of the geographical area of West Africa. As the leading port in the mid-Atlantic, it serves as the crossroads between Europe, Africa and America. In 2007, the port received some 11,262 ships; it welcomed a total of 907,782 cruise passengers, a 16.26% increase on 2006. In terms of annual TEU, the port of Las Palmas ranks as the 5th in Spain, and is among the first 15 ports of Europe.[citation needed]

The Port of Las Palmas is the first Mid-Atlantic fishing base, with an annual traffic of more than 4,500 stopovers and with some 400,000 tons of frozen fish processed.[citation needed] Despite experiencing some decline in recent years,[when?] it retains its dominance in the fishing industry over other ports in the Canary Islands. The port provides 175,000 m3 (6,180,067 cu ft) of cold storage facilities.[citation needed] At the foot of pier, special refrigerated containers and preparation rooms for frozen products can carry out the entire chain of post-processing and storage of fish, from refrigeration and distribution, to manufacture and supply of industrial ice. The port's EU-approved border inspection post is responsible for inspecting all types of imports and exports between the European Economic Union and its trading partners.


Guaguas Municipales

Las Palmas boasts a high quality bus system, provided by Guaguas Municipales.[53] Municipal Bus Lines offers 40 urban transport routes, covering both the bottom and the top of the city. The main lines are the 1 (Teatro – Puerto), 2 (Alameda de Colón – Puerto), 17 (Teatro – El Rincón), 25 (Campus Universitario – El Rincón), 12 (Puerto – Hoya de la Plata) and 30 (Alameda de Colón – Santa Catalina, via Rehoyas). In addition, two circular lines (A: Santa Catalina – Santa Catalina, via Alcaraveneras) and B (Santa Catalina – Santa Catalina, via Ciudad Alta).

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. The bright yellow buses are known simply as 'guaguas'. The unique tariff, paid directly to the driver, is 1.30 euro. A 10-ride ticket is available for €7.50 at official shops in the city. The Tarjeta Insular (Island Card) which offered a 20% discount on both municipal buses and Global buses was discontinued on 1 January 2011.

Global, inter-hire company, has 119 lines, many to or from the capital. This company was formed in 2000, resulting from the merger of the previous Salcai and interurban lines Utinsa.

There is also the Guagua Turística, which covers the most interesting sites of the city with a guide in several languages.


There is currently no rail transport system on Gran Canaria. Between 1893 and 1944 steam tram ran between Las Palmas and Puerto de La Luz. The line was electrified in 1910, although the line reverted to steam traction in 1944, when trams were hauled by a steam locomotive known as La Pepa. A reproduction of this locomotive is now on display in the Elder Museum [es] in Las Palmas.[54] In the early 1970s an experimental elevated railway line operated through Las Palmas. Called the Tren Vertebrado ("vertebrate train"), it was designed by Basque engineer Alejandro Goicoechea and consisted of an unusual low-profile train running on elevated concrete tracks through the city. The project was unsuccessful and was dismantled in 1974.[55]

In the early 21st century, plans were put forward by the Gran Canaria Cabildo to develop a rapid transit railway line on Gran Canaria. If built, the Tren de Gran Canaria (TGC) line would run along the eastern coast and connect Las Palmas with the airport and Maspalomas in the south.[56] In 2004 the Spanish Ministry of Development put a contract out to competitive tender for a feasibility study on a 50 km railway line from Las Palmas to Maspalomas.[57] This railway project is currently abandoned due to funding difficulties.

Another project is the Tramway Palmas (Gran Canaria), which would cover the same journey as the bus line 1, with an average frequency of 5 minutes and a journey time of 35 minutes.[citation needed]


Las Palmas is home to three major professional sports teams. These are:

Las Palmas was one of the arenas of 2014 FIBA World Championship for Group D, consisting Lithuania, Angola, Korea, Slovenia, Mexico and Australia. Matches were played in the new arena – Gran Canaria Arena with a capacity of about 10,000.

Many [mainly] outdoor sports are practised in city and neighbourhood, for example: surfing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, swimming, diving, skydiving, paragliding, running, cycling, rowing, tennis and golf (mainly in Las Palmeras Golf, Real Club De Golf De Las Palmas, El Cortijo Club de Campo and Oasis Golf). Real Club De Golf De Las Palmas, inaugurated on 17 December 1891, is the oldest golf club in Spain.[58]

Health system

The two general hospitals of Gran Canaria are in Las Palmas. While Hospital Universitario de Gran Canaria Doctor Negrín (Doctor Negrín University Hospital of Gran Canaria) is geared to health care in the north and west of the island, Hospital Universitario Insular de Gran Canaria (Insular University Hospital of Gran Canaria) is geared to health care in the south and east of the island. There are also smaller private hospitals and clinics.

Twin towns – sister cities

Las Palmas is twinned with:[59]

In addition, the municipality has approved in plenary willingness twinning with the following cities, if they are not well formalized these twinning:[59]

People from Las Palmas

Writer Benito Pérez Galdós with his dog
Javier Bardem receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2012



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