Friday, July 17, 2015

Colonial Charm in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria

Colonial Charm in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria | Adelante

Pretty pastel buildings line cobblestone streets as cascades of bougainvillea adorn colonial churches. Tropical birds sing in the island breeze, while the scent of spicy mojo picón wafts through bustling restaurants during lunch hour. In one direction lies the Atlantic, and in the other lies a lush volcanic landscape begging to be explored. A juxtaposition of pristine and well-worn, of old world charm and modern Spanish flair, the inviting old town of Las Palmas, Gran Canaria offers a glimpse into the beating heart of the Canary Islands.

Colonial Charm in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria | Adelante
Colonial Charm in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria | Adelante
Colonial Charm in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria | Adelante

After exploring Puerto de la Cruz and Costa Adeje in Tenerife, we hopped a ferry to our next and last stop in the Canary Islands: Vegueta, the charming old town of Las Palmas, Gran Canaria. Compared to Tenerife, the old town of Las Palmas was not swarming with hordes of tourists (and subsequent tourist traps). We were therefore able to discover a more authentic side to the Canaries, and dare I say, an even more delicious side.

Colonial Charm in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria | Adelante
Colonial Charm in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria | Adelante
Colonial Charm in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria | Adelante

With its vibrant colors and eye-catching colonial architecture, we quickly fell for Las Palmas. Using our adorable Airbnb as a home base, we leisurely wandered through Vegueta by day, and ate our weight in papas arrugadas drenched in mojo picón by night. Here we found a mecca of eateries on Calle Mendizábal, Vegueta's main foodie drag, including La Champiñoneria and La Hierba Luisa.

Though we made sure to pop into the Columbus Museum and the Santa Ana Cathedral, our sightseeing mostly consisted of aimless walks through the colorful streets, admiring the architecture and snapping photos of every darling detail.

Colonial Charm in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria | Adelante
Colonial Charm in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria | Adelante
Colonial Charm in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria | Adelante

Wanting to discover more of the island's volcanic landscape, we ventured to La Caldera de Bandama for what promised to be a beautiful hike. We hiked down to the bottom of the volcanic crater, enamored by the lush vegetation and breathtaking views. The steep climb back up nearly killed me, but I was rewarded at the top with a picnic and sublime views of the crater. 

Though growing up in the Pacific Northwest has spoiled me with countless gorgeous hikes, Gran Canaria's Caldera de Bandama was easily one of the most memorable hikes I've ever done.

Colonial Charm in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria | Adelante
Colonial Charm in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria | Adelante
Colonial Charm in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria | Adelante

That evening, we quickly consumed all of the the calories we had burnt off at La Caldera de Bandama with a feast of tapas and volcanic red wine at Mercado del Puerto. Although this modern market lies on the opposite side of town as Vegueta, it's well worth the trek. Its polished stalls offer a plethora of Canarian specialties, seafood dishes, traditional tapas and Spanish staples. 

Colonial Charm in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria | Adelante
Colonial Charm in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria | Adelante
Colonial Charm in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria | Adelante

While I wish it had been warm enough to venture to Gran Canaria's famed beaches and surreal sand dunes, I hope my newfound love for the Canary Islands will bring me back there again someday. Between the stunning landscapes, friendly locals and mouthwatering cuisine, I'll always have an excuse to return to Las Palmas.

My Las Palmas Picks:
Favorite Day Trip: Hiking in La Caldera de Bandama
Best Restaurants: La Champiñoneria, To Lo Dije Perez, La Hierba Luisa
Must Try Dishes: Papas arrugadas con mojo picón, grilled Canarian cheese
Favorite Activity: Exploring the old town of Vegueta
Best Museum: Casa de Colón

7 comments:

  1. Las Palmas looks so colorful!! Glad to hear there are some more authentic sides to the Canaries :)

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  2. The bright colors were the best part! Besides the papas arrugadas con mojo, obviously ;)

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  3. This sounds amazing!! The hike sounds wonderful too! :) I know I would love to visit here one day. I loved seeing the parrot picture too! :)

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  4. It's so pretty! I can't get enough of those colours, they're fantastic. I've been playing with the idea of taking a holiday on the Canary Islands, your posts on them have me convinced I need to go ASAP.

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  5. The hike was truly incredible - volcanic landscapes are so unique! Don't you just love how diverse Spain can be?

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  6. They are truly a magical place! I would love to go again when it's warm enough to go to the beaches. During Semana Santa, it was only warm enough on the southern coast of Tenerife. Better than nothing, I guess!

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  7. Wow it looks so old fashioned and beautiful! And I love the photo of you, you look great and those bright colours fit so well with the place! :)

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