7 Things You Only Know If You’ve Lived In Las Palmas

A few quirks of Las Palmas living that I've learned to love about living in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria city.

A few quirks of living in Las Palmas that I’ve learned to love about living in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria city.

Parallel parking: It’s easy

Yes, lots of people around the world find it a challenge but if you’re living  in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria you know that all you need is a parking space one centimetre longer than your car.

Here’s how you do it…

Line your car up parallel to the car parked in front of your space so that your wing mirrors are in line and one metre apart.

Turn the steering wheel as far as you can towards the pavement and reverse until the road just disappears out of view in your wing mirror.

Stop and turn the wheel one 360º turn away from the pavement. Reverse back a little bit, then start turning the wheel away from the pavement and reverse slowly.

You’re in the space, and you didn’t even have to touch park.


Las Palmas street numbers start at the beach

Any street in Las Palmas that ends on a beach ( Las Canteras, Alcaravaneras) has numbers that start from 1 at the sand. The higher the number, the further you are from the sand.

What about streets that don’t touch a beach? There’s no rule so you just have to work it out as you go along.

Summer in Las Palmas starts in September

The rest of the Northern Hemisphere has summer during summertime but not Las Palmas. Here in Gran Canaria’s capital, summer starts the day the kids go back to school in the middle of September.

It’s when the Trade Winds fade and the pesky Panza de Burro (Donkey Belly) clouds that hang over the city in July and August fade way.

Instead of Autumn, we get blue skies, hot days and stunning sunsets from mid-September until well into November.

All that late sunshine also means that the sea is lovely and warm right up until Christmas.

You can only shop on Sunday during cruise season

Sunday trading isn’t allowed in Spain, but Las Palmas lets some of its shops open on Sundays during cruise ship season. After all, we can’t have the Panama hat crowd wandering around and not have anywhere to spend their money.

So you can go shopping instead of going to the beach on Sundays in Las Palmas, but only from mid-October to May when the big ships are in town.

You visit museums on the first weekend of the month

Because that’s when they’re free.

You never buy bananas in a supermarket

Supermarket bananas spend ages in cold storage and never ripen properly.

Why buy a cellophane-wrapped bunch of bruised, green platanos when you can pick up a bunch of fragrant yellow ones from the nearest little shop?

You can’t order coffee and the bill

You’ve eaten your meal and you’re in a bit if a hurry so you ask the waiter for a cortado and the bill.

The coffee arrives, but you never get the bill at the same time.  Once you’ve finished the coffee, then you can ask for the bill.

Trying to mess with the natural order of things just won’t work.

Oh, and you don’t have to say “la cuenta por favor” to get the bill. Just put your hand in the air, catch the waiter’s eye and autograph the sky.

It just works!

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In Defence Of Las Palmas’ ‘Cloudy’ Weather

Las Canteras beach on a sunny dayLas Palmas is the city with the most pleasant climate in the world. But, when you look at a Gran Canaria weather forecast, you often see the north coast and Las Palmas under cloud even when the rest of the island is sunny.

So what’s going on?

There’s no doubt that Las Palmas is cloudier than the resorts in south Gran Canaria and even Agaete in the north-west corner of the island.

It’s because the Trade Winds blow from the north and pile up cloud against the steep northeast coast. The result is that Las Palmas gets more cloudy days than the rest of the island but is also sheltered from extreme temperatures.

It can be 43ºC in south Gran Canaria during a calima and not make 30ºC in Las Palmas. In winter, when the cloud-free southern skies leak heat, it drops to 14ºC at night while it’s rarely below 18ºC in the capital.

Another benefit is that the Trades blow away traffic fumes and make Las Palmas the city with the cleanest air in Spain.

What is a pleasant climate anyway?

The Syracuse University study that declared Las Palmas’ climate the world’s most pleasant didn’t just factor in hours of sunshine per day. It looked at a wide range of things like average temperature, lack of extreme weather events, and rainfall.

Overall, it found that Las Palmas’ climate was ideal for its residents. it’s one thing to holiday in

Everyone loves a blue sky, but it’s one thing to holiday in perpetual sunshine, quite another to live and work in it.

If you’re planning a holiday in Gran Canaria and just want to bake on the beach, maybe you’re best off going south. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll get sunshine in Las Palmas, but you will also see clouds most days.

However, if you like a bit of history, culture and cuisine to go with your suntan, then Las Palmas’ mild weather has its benefits. For example, it’s a lot easier to tour the art galleries and museums at 25ºC than it is at a baking 35ºC. And if you live and work in Las Palmas, cool days are a blessing.

And, of course, if you want sunshine, you just hop in the car or get a bus to the resorts or to Agaete and you’ll be under the blue dome within 30 minutes.

Live or stay in Las Palmas’ pleasant climate and pop south for a blast of sunshine whenever you want. It what’s we do and it’s the best of both worlds. 

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Top Reasons to Live in Las Palmas: The Restaurants

The Las Palmas restaurant scene is rich and varied

Las Palmas has an excellent selection of restaurants

Las Palmas has by far the best set of restaurants in Gran Canaria.

From cheap and cheerful calamares and salad by the beach to lovely food from all over the world (I’ve counted over 40 national cuisine restaurants from Peruvian to Indonesian), you can eat out every night in the city and never get bored.

Las Palmas restaurant hotspots include the beachfront for seafood, Vegueta for Spanish food and tapas, the port district for almost everything and Guanarteme barrio for authentic tapas restaurants.

If you feel like home comforts, head to Cafe Suecia for filter coffee and cake, or Maria & Stewart’s Kitchen & Bar in Triana for Cesar salad and Scotch eggs. If you feel the need for a full English breakfast, you have to get the bus to the resorts.

Vegetarians and vegans find life in the city much easier these days as there are plenty of options like Zoe Food in Triana. Nawabi curry house also does a good range of veggie dishes like daal.

Meat lovers can head to El Novillo Precoz for a steak feast. It’s so Uruguayan that the website plays the Tango.


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Top Reasons to Live in Gran Canaria: The Weather

Gran Canaria weather is one of the main reasons for living on the islandIt’s always sunny in Gran Canaria, it’s never cold, and it certainly never rains. In fact, there is no such thing here as weather in Gran Canaria other than permanent blue skies and blazing sunshine.

That’s the story that the tourist board beam out to the world and its not all that far removed from reality. Gran Canaria in without doubt one of the sunniest places on Earthand if you come on holiday here and you are guaranteed a suntan. However, if you live in on the island you realize quickly that there is more to Gran Canaria weather than unrelenting summer. [Read more…]

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Top Reasons to Live in Gran Canaria: The Barber

The barbershop in Gran Canaria is a refuge where old men go to read the papers, gossip about the neighbourhood and judge the young. They manage to spin out a trim and a shave into a whole morning. Women may call in to fetch a granddad or drag a husband home but they never cross the threshold. 

Old school Gran Canaria barbers seem to exist in a time bubble. Their chairs are ancient, wrought iron contraptions, they still use steel scissors and cut throat razors, and the photos on the walls were faded when Franco popped his clogs. Their only nod to modernity is the buzz razor. [Read more…]

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Top Reasons to Live in Las Palmas: The Beaches

Gran Canaria's beaches are one of the best reasons to live on the island.

Las Canteras Beach in Gran Canaria

There are countless good reasons to live here, but we and a large majority of expats have decided to make this sunny isle our home mainly because of many stunning beaches in Gran Canaria.

There are 82 beaches in Gran Canaria and, depending on taste, there is something for everyone. Gran Canaria’s beaches are as varied as they are beautiful. From the golden sand beaches of the resorts and the capital, to the more rugged black sand beaches of the north coast. Whether you like deserted or jam-packed, sunbathing naked or leaving a little more to the imagination, Gran Canaria has a beach for even the fussiest expat. [Read more…]

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