5 beaches, 1 city: Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

May 2016

Canary Islands are located in the Atlantic Ocean, closer to the African coast, they are part of Spain. Eight islands form the archipelago, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote, La Graciosa, Tenerife, La Gomera, La Palma and El Hierro; each and every one of them is unique and charming its own way. Part of our home is in this islands as Sara was born and raised there. We could talk about the islands for long but today we are going to focus in the beaches of the capital city of Gran Canaria: Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, a long name and immeasurable city.

With a population of around 400000 inhabitants mixes modernity and tradition in many ways. In the past few years, the city has changed, it has adapted areas to do outdoor exercise, bike lanes that go around the city and in the end, it has given room to enjoy the city all year around as the average annual temperature is around 20º (winter and summer); but as we said before, today we will talk about beaches. This medium size city has 5 (some would say 4) very differentiated beaches which make it an incomparable luxury.

1. La Cícer

Pronounced as Síser by the locals (the islanders don’t pronounce either c nor z as hard as the rest of the Spanish territory), it is not the main beach neither it is the most visited, but it is where we start. This beach is right next to the Alfredo Kraus Auditorium, born in the city and considered one of the best light tenors of the XXI century. This auditorium hosts all kinds of concerts as well as the Las Palmas de Gran Canaria International Film Festival. Next to it you will find areas dedicated to exercise and many people doing sports.

The sand in this beach is darker, although it changes shades every day. Although you will always find families, this is the beach where most water sports fan will be. The waves allow surf and bodyboard lovers 365 days a year right in the city an irreplaceable place; and if you want to learn there are also all-year-round camps to teach children and adults all you need about these sports. The dikes that limit the beach allow others to fish, sunbathe and get away from the noise. Be careful with the sea current and aware of the flag colors that will tell you if it’s acceptable to get in, especially during what it is called “The Pino Waves” that, coinciding with the patroness of the island, is where the biggest waves and the strongest current occur around the year.

2. Las Canteras

The crown jewel of all the beaches. With more than three kilometers of golden sand, this city beach also has La Barra, a limestone reef more than 100000 years old which hosts a great variety of fauna and flora. La Barra is around 200 meters from the shore, so it is very common to swim to it when the tide is low and along the way to enjoy the sea bottom and its wildlife (which it’s also protected) or even to have a walk along the reef. This reef protects the beach from big waves as it breaks them down in a natural way, that is why it is a family beach.

It has been awarded multiple prices not only on a national level but also international ones and some environmental prices too, furthermore (one more year) the Blue Flag price and adapted areas for people with limited mobility, a maritime avenue full of restaurants, shops, and ice-cream shops.

You won’t find someone born in the city who hasn’t spent most of his/her childhood in this beach, and not only during the summer. I remember one year on New Year’s Eve when we were little, we played in the water up until 9pm. My mother couldn’t get us out of the water, but we had to get ready to part for the new year and eat the traditional grapes (a Spanish tradition). Or the times when we would go to the area of Playa Chica in that same beach to catch little fish with our hands between the rocks as our stop on our daily walk down the beach by the shore with our mother.

3. El Confital

As we mentioned before, the city has undergone many new changes. One of these changes and the most significant beach-related is probably the one done in El Confital. This beach is mostly a rock beach, it has an access through the mountain on foot but also an unmade road for vehicles.

Although it is a rocky beach with heavy waves, the very first part of the beach is closer and a perfect area for families. With Las Canteras beach and the Alfredo Kraus Auditorium at the end, it is a quieter beach that allows dogs. As we get further from its entrance and the area opens, you will find more surfers and water sports lovers.

But it has also become an excellent area to practice sports (jogging, running or biking). But don’t think it stops once the wooden dock is finished. Keep walking, it goes around La Isleta and you would see how the view changes. The mountain is now red and green, and the sand of the beach is redder and the volcanic rock turns blackest making a delightful view. Get closer to the sea, be careful, and you will see the surfers and fishermen, watch the rocks closely and you will find different color and size crabs.

4. Las Alcaravaneras

Located behind Las Canteras next to the Muelle Deportivo (marina) you’ll find this 1-kilometre long beach. This is also a family beach as it is confined by the harbor limiting big waves, although it can be noisier as it has the road just behind its access.

Here you will also find other sports to practice such as sailing, canoeing or volleyball, a children’s park and facilities (open only in the summer season). The easiest access is by public transport or by bike which you can easily park.

5. La Laja

On the edge of the city, you can find La Laja beach divided into two areas: the gray sand area and the rocky pools area. Located bellow the motorway that would get you to the south of the island, it is known for its waves, although many families choose this beach as it is less visited. Water sports fans are common in this area.

The natural pools favor family bathing and are the source of adventures for the little ones. With a low tide, it also allows safe bathing and searching for the fauna underneath the rocks. Last time I was there, kids were admiring the crabs that they capture, and later put back into the water, and celebrated every fish they saw and tried to catch.

Now you know that you can find the appropriate beach for you in this city. And as we said before, thanks to the bike lane and the public bikes you can go from one beach to the next, you will have to make an effort, but there won’t be any obstacles. And here is a video of our tour around the beaches of this wonderful city, except La Laja, and this includes the drastic changing of the weather that can also happen.

All pictures from Spain are in the Gallery you can also check other places around the country in our Spain section

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