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Las Palmas is not only the most populous Canary Islands city, it is also the eighth largest in all of Spain. A religious art museum lies within the nearly-600-year-old Las Palmas cathedral, while the City Hall was first constructed about 500 years ago. Most Canary Island visitors enter this popular holiday hotspot from Gran Canaria International Airport or the bustling Puerto de la Luz harbour. Those renting a car in Las Palmas may find it is not so easy to drive within the city itself, but is often essential for exploring more rural Gran Canaria regions that have far fewer public transportation options. Visitors can explore the beautiful beaches of Maspalomas, as well as the intriguing Cenobio de Valerón cave network just outside of town.
Who to Book With
The independent Canary Islands car hire chains of Top Car Auto Reisen and Cicar are available alongside the multinational companies of Avis, Europcar and Hertz at Gran Canaria International Airport. The airport is conveniently situated 12 miles south of Las Palmas and 16 miles from southern Gran Canaria's most popular beach resorts. Many more options stand near the Puerto de la Luz harbour. Online booking is recommended if you want to bag the best bargains.
Best Time to go
Las Palmas enjoys one of the most pleasant climates on Earth, with an average of 2,800 hours of sunshine and only 33 rainy days per year. Summer's warm and dry weather brings the greatest numbers of tourists along with the highest hotel and vehicle rental costs of the year. Winter is cheaper and cooler, but still usually mild enough for sunbathing.
Need to Know Essentials
These are the documents drivers must display before receiving their vehicles:
- An official rental confirmation form
- A legitimate passport or passport photocopy
- A driving license issued at least three years ago
- A credit card
Four major motorways link Las Palmas to the rest of Gran Canaria. The GC-1 connects the city with Gran Canaria International Airport and travels as far as the municipality of Tauro. The GC-2 runs into the North Zone and Agaete, while the GC-4 links Las Palmas to Gran Canaria's inland communities. The GC-3 connects Las Palmas with the other three major motorways. Confusing streets and expensive parking are the biggest driving challenges in Las Palmas, but the roads are all well signed and toll-free, and fuel is far cheaper than in mainland Europe.
As the largest city in the Canary Islands, Las Palmas is home to both Gran Canaria International Airport, 12 miles south of the city, and the Puerto de la Luz port, which welcomes vessels from all over the world. It takes about two days to travel by boat from Las Palmas to Cádiz, the nearest port on the Spanish mainland, but ferry services are also available to all the other Canary Islands. Taxis and buses travel throughout Las Palmas, but several other less populous parts of Gran Canaria can only be reached by car. Las Palmas has no rail service.
The best places to buy bus tickets in Las Palmas are at the city's two bus stations, the centrally-located San Telmo Station and the Santa Catalina Interchange close to the Las Palmas harbour. Local ticket agencies are most likely to sell the Tarjeta Insular cards, accepted by both Global and Guaguas Municipales bus networks.
Socom Taxi is among the largest taxi companies in both Las Palmas and all of Gran Canaria. This company accepts credit card payments and infant car seats. Fares are approved by the island government and always prominently displayed on vehicle meters. The cost of a journey from Gran Canaria International Airport and Las Palmas to is around €26.
The Las Palmas city bus network, Guaguas Municipales, is ranked among the best in all of Spain. A single journey aboard one of these bright yellow buses, known as guaguas, costs around €1.10, while a ticket valid for 10 rides costs €5.80. The blue and green coloured Global buses travel throughout the island. Tarjeta Insular cards are accepted aboard both Guaguas Municipales and Global buses.
Motorists will encounter a continent in miniature when driving around Gran Canaria, the third biggest, but most populous, of the Canary Islands. The southern beaches of Maspalomas boast most of Gran Canaria's resorts, but visitors can also hike the forested mountains in the island's interior or play on Spain's oldest golf course. Families can also enjoy the Holiday World theme park or the island's famous crocodile park, while the possibilities for daytrips are endless.
Las Palmas - This may be Gran Canaria's most populous city, but the majority of tourists spend much of their time on the beaches of Maspalomas on the island's southernmost tip. The El Faro de Maspalomas lighthouse towers 223ft over the 7.5-mile beach and sand dunes leading to Playa del Ingles.
Cocodrilo Parque - This is home to much more than Europe's largest group of crocodiles. It takes an entire day to fully explore Gran Canaria's only zoological park, located about a mile outside the town of Aguimes. In addition to more than 300 crocodiles, this park is also a refuge for several primates and tropical birds
Cenobio de Valerón cave network - Long before the first Spanish settlers arrived on Gran Canaria, the island's original Guanche people created this intricate cave network on Gran Canaria's north coast. Why these 300+ cubicles and caves were made remains a mystery, but the breathtaking Azuaje Ravine view from this spectacular archaeological site is very undeniable.