Casa-Museo de Colón

Museum in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

Image by Tony Wheeler Getty Images

This fascinating museum documents Columbus’ voyages and features exhibits on the Canary Islands’ historical role as a staging post for transatlantic shipping. Don’t miss the model galleon on the ground floor, which particularly impresses children. The crucifix is said to have come from Columbus' ship. Upstairs there is an art gallery and some models of Las Palmas past and present. Travel geeks will love rooms five and six, which contain historical maps largely from the early 16th century.

The building is a superb example of Canarian architecture, built around two balconied patios, complete with fountains, palm trees and parrots. The exterior is a work of art itself, with some showy plateresque (silversmith-like) elements, combined with traditional heavy wooden balconies.

Although called Columbus’ House (it’s possible he stopped here in 1492), most of what you see dates from the time this building was the opulent residence of Las Palmas’ early governors.