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Introducing Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

Las Palmas has a mainland-Spain feel, spiced up with an eclectic mix of other cultures, including African, Chinese, and Indian, plus the presence of container-ship crews and the flotsam and jetsam that tend to drift around port cities. It’s an intriguing place with the sunny languor and energy you would normally associate with the Mediterranean or North Africa. The hooting taxis, bustling shopping districts, chatty bars and thriving port all give off the energy of a city: Spain’s seventh largest.

Vegueta, the oldest quarter and declared a Unesco World Heritage site in 1990, is both atmospheric and fashionable; many of the best bars and restaurants are here. At the other end of town, the sweeping arc of Playa de las Canteras is a lot cleaner than many city beaches and provides you with the tantalising possibility of having a plunge in between your sightseeing and shopping. Above all, Las Palmas is an authentic Spanish working city that doesn’t warrant its somewhat seedy image. Sure, like any port, there are areas where you wouldn’t walk at night with an expensive camera slung round your neck but, overall, you should feel perfectly safe here and the city is well-deserving of at least a couple of days of exploration.