Las Palmas

For other uses, see Las Palmas (disambiguation).
Las Palmas
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


Coat of arms
Las Palmas
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
Province Las Palmas
Island Gran Canaria
Founded 24 June 1478
  Mayor Augusto Hidalgo (PSOE)
  Total 100.55 km2 (38.82 sq mi)
Elevation 8 m (26 ft)
Highest elevation 300 m (1,000 ft)
Lowest elevation 8 m (26 ft)
Population (2010)
  Total 383,308
  Density 3,800/km2 (9,900/sq mi)
Demonym(s) palmense o memeño (es)
Time zone WET (UTC+0)
  Summer (DST) WEST (UTC+1)
Postal code 35001-35020
Language(s) Spanish

Las Palmas (/ˌlɑːs ˈpɑːlməs/ or /ˌlɑːs ˈpɑːməs/, Spanish: [las ˈpalmas], locally: [laʰ ˈpalmaʰ]), officially Las Palmas de Gran Canaria,[lower-alpha 1] is a city and capital of Spanish Gran Canaria island, in the Canary Islands, off the north-western coast of Africa.

It is the co-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.[1][2][3][4][5] Las Palmas is the largest city of the European Union lying outside the European continent.

Las Palmas is located in the north-eastern part of the island of Grand Canary, about 150 kilometres (93 miles) off the Moroccan coast of Africa[6] in the Atlantic Ocean. It enjoys a very mild and pleasant semi-arid climate[note 1] highly influenced by the Atlantic Ocean, with mild to warm temperatures throughout the year. Locals know it as the "Eternal Spring", with an average annual temperature of 21.3 °C (70.3 °F).[7] 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".[8]

The city was founded in 1478, and considered the de facto (without legal recognition)[9] capital of the Canary Islands until the seventeenth century.[9] Today, the city is co-capital of the Canary Islands with Santa Cruz. It homes the Canarian Ministry of Presidency (shared in a 4-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. Thus it is the judicial and commercial capital of the Canary Islands, and is also home to a large part of the executive power.


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". Rejón was head of the invading Castilian army, before engaging in war with the locals.[10]

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.[11] The Colon House museum in the Vegueta area of the city is named after him.

In 1595 Francis Drake failed to plunder the island.[11]

The raid and partial destruction of Las Palmas by the Dutch under vice-admiral Pieter van der Does in 1599 is considered a major event in the city's history.

In 1927, Las Palmas was designated the capital of the Canary Island by decree of November 30, 1833,[12]

The Las Palmas seaport, Puerto de la Luz, known internationally as La Luz port, benefited greatly from the closure of the Suez Canal during the Arab-Israeli conflict. Due to its situation as nexus of two continents and its importance as a tourist destination, many foreign workers migrated to the city.

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[13]
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


Las Palmas has a hot desert climate (BWh)[14] with warm dry summers and moderately warm winters. 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 more) 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).[15] 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 the 28th of 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. Sunshine duration hours is above 2,800 per year, from around 190 in winter (average above 6 hours of sunshine duration at day) to around 300 in summer (average 10 hours of sunshine duration at day).[16] It rains on average only 22 days a year, with total precipitation per year of only 151 mm (5.9 in).[17]

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
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
Source: World Meteorological Organization (UN),[18] Agencia Estatal de Meteorología[19]
Average sea temperature:[20]
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
20.0 °C (68.0 °F) 19.1 °C (66.4 °F) 19.1 °C (66.4 °F) 19.3 °C (66.7 °F) 20.0 °C (68.0 °F) 21.0 °C (69.8 °F) 21.8 °C (71.2 °F) 22.5 °C (72.5 °F) 23.4 °C (74.1 °F) 23.4 °C (74.1 °F) 22.1 °C (71.8 °F) 20.5 °C (68.9 °F) 21.0 °C (69.8 °F)


As of 2008 Nearly half (45.9%) of the people of the island and almost one in five (18.35%) of all inhabitants of the Canary Islands live in Las Palmas.

Throughout history, Las Palmas received waves of immigrants from mainland Spain and countries from every continent. The majority of the population is Spanish, although there are large North- and Sub-Saharan African and Latin American communities (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 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 with appr. 25,000 students.

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.[26]


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"[27] is held in June. The Carnival of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria[28] 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.[29]

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 Center

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.

Other cultural events



One of the themed nights of the carnival of Las Palmas 2008

The historic district of Vegueta has regained great popularity in recent years, the meeting place of choice at weekends for many young people, who fill its bars and discos. In the port area are also numerous bars and nightclubs, particularly in the vicinity of Santa Catalina.

The Carnival of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria usually takes place between January and February each year; popular activities include Mogollon dances and queen and the drag queen galas. The WOMAD (World Of Music, Art & Dance) Festival usually occurs in November each year in the capital of Gran Canaria – 2010 marks the sixteenth edition.



Las Canteras Beach
Las Canteras Beach Avenue

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

Parks and squares

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

Other sights in the suburbs


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 Rico 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.[41] 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.[42] 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.

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. Despite experiencing some decline in recent years, 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. At the foot of pier, special refrigerated containers and preparation rooms for frozen products owned by Trastainer 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.

Public transport

Guaguas Municipales

Las Palmas boasts a high quality bus system, provided by Guaguas Municipales.[43] 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.

Train under construction

El Tren de Gran Canaria (TG) is a rail project initially proposed as an alternative way to get from Las Palmas to Maspalomas[44] but was later raised to Agaete extension.

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.


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 - Palacio de Deportes de Las Palmas 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.[45]

Image gallery

Twin towns — sister cities

Las Palmas is twinned with:[46]

In addition, the municipality has approved in plenary willingness twinning with the following cities, if they are not well formalized these twinning:[47]

People from Las Palmas

Writer Benito Pérez Galdós with his dog



  1. Full name pronunciation:
    • English /ˌlɑːs ˈpɑːlməs də ˌɡræn kəˈnɛəriə/ or /ˌlɑːs ˈpɑːməs də ˌɡræn kəˈnɛəriə/
    • Spanish: [las ˈpalmaz ðe ɣɾaŋ kaˈnaɾja], locally: [laʰ ˈpalmaʱ ðe ɣɾãⁿ kaˈnaɾja].


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  7. eterna primavera on
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  9. 1 2 La Junta Suprema de Canarias. Volumen I. Buenaventura Bonnet y Riveron. Real Sociedad Económica de Amigos del País de Tenerife, Editorial: Editorial Interinsular Canaria SA, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, 1980 (reedition 1948), pp. 104-106.
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  11. 1 2 Andrews & Quintero 2007, p. 29.
  12. Real Decreto de 30 de noviembre de 1833, Wikisource.
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  14. http://kö World map of Koppen-Geiger climate classification
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  21. "Contact" for The British School of Gran Canaria. Retrieved on April 8, 2015. Tafira School address: Crta. Tafira a Marzagán, s/n. El Sabinal, 35017 Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Las Palmas. "South School address: C\ Mar de Azor, 3 El Hornillo, 35100 San Bartolomé de Tirajana, Las Palmas.
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  24. Ávila Tàpies, Rosalía (University of Kyoto) and Josefina Domínguez Mujica (Universidad de Las Palmas). "The Canary Islands in the Japanese Imaginary: The Analysis of Three Contemporary Narratives" (Spanish: Canarias en el imaginario japonés: el análisis de tres narrativas contemporáneas; Page archive, PDF archive). Anuario de Estudios Atlánticos ISSN 0570-4065, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (2011), no. 57, pp. 525-56. Received 26 May 2010. Accepted 30 June 2010. English abstract available. CITATION, p. 528 (PDF 4/38): “El colegio japonés «rasuparumasu nihonjin gakko-» en Tafira Baja, abierto en el año 1973 (octubre) como el tercer colegio japonés más antiguo de Europa y el primero de España, se cerró definitivamente en el 2000 (marzo).
  25. "関係機関へのリンク" (Archive). The Japan School of Doha. Retrieved on March 31, 2015. "アテネ日本人学校(2007年3月休校)" and "ラス・パルマス日本人学校(2001年3月閉校)"
  26. "欧州の補習授業校一覧 (Archive). MEXT, January 2, 2003. Retrieved on April 6, 2015. ラス・パルマス, address: La escueda [sic] complementaria japonesa de Las Palmas, Carretera del Centro 47, Tafira Alta, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain.
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  35. «Cuando ya se dominaba el arte, se podía optar por otros lugares como La Barra, el Murro del Lloret o incluso El Confital, que se destaca en las revistas especializadas por la perfección de la ola que, no obstante, no está al alcance de cualquiera. (...) Los surferos de Las Canteras tienen el orgullo de decir que en 'El Confi', nombre por el que lo conocen, se origina la mejor ola 'de derecha' de Europa.» Barrera Artiles (op. cit., pp. 75 y 176.).
  36. Entre el 8 y el 14 de octubre tendrá lugar en El Confital el certámen La Caja de Canarias-Ocean & Earth Pro 2007, prueba de categoría cuatro estrellas valedera para las clasificatorias mundiales masculinas de la ASP. Sitio web del evento
  37. 1 2 "Historia de Santa Brígida", Ayuntamiento de Santa Brígida
  38. 1 2 3 "Lugares de interés histórico cultural de Santa Brígida", Cabildo de Gran Canaria
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  40. "". Retrieved 2013-03-12.
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  43. "Inicio". Retrieved 11 March 2011.
  44. "El tren de Gran Canaria pasará de la capital al sur de Gran Canaria". Retrieved 11 March 2011.
  45. "Official page of ''Real Club De Golf De Las Palmas''". Retrieved 11 March 2011.
  46. Hermanamientos. Página oficial del Ayuntamiento de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
  47. Hermanamientos. Página oficial del Ayuntamiento de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

External links

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