Las Canteras Beach, Las Palmas: A Guide to Europe’s Best City Beach

Las Canteras beach, or Playa de Las Canteras in Spanish, is the biggest beach in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria. It’s very popular with tourists and locals alike, thanks to its golden sands, lively promenade with cafes and restaurants, and waves perfect for surfing.

On this page, I’ve written a comprehensive guide on what to do, where to eat, and where to stay there. This should give you a solid idea of you can expect from this popular beach in Las Palmas.

About Las Canteras

Playa de Las Canteras is 3km long, and located just minutes away from the busiest shopping areas of Las Palmas. It’s also a short 10-15 minute drive from the city’s cruise terminal where many tourists arrive at.

One of Las Canteras’ key highlights is a reef, La Barra, which runs along roughly three quarters of the beach. It acts like a seawall, shielding the beach from rough tides so that most of the beach enjoys calm waters great for swimming and snorkeling.

As Las Canteras is such a big beach, it can be divided into five sections. Starting on the south end, you’ll step out to La Cicer, a surfer’s paradise. The La Barra reef does not reach this part of the beach, so you can get spot some great waves here.

Next to La Cicer is Peña de La Vieja, followed by Playa Chica, both of which are popular with families as these are shallower parts of the beach.

After Playa Chica comes Playa Grande, which is the longest stretch of the beach. This is also where you’ll find the highest concentration of hotels and apartments, and also plenty of sun beds and umbrellas for rent. There are also ramps which allow people with reduced mobility to enjoy the beach here.

Lastly on the north end of the beach is La Puntilla, where you can see traditional fishing in action, with old fishermen boats coming and going. You’ll also get a great view of the entire Las Canteras bay here.

Aside from lounging on the beach, you can also take a few steps to the busy promenade lining the beach, Paseo de Las Canteras. Here, you’ll find plenty of shops and restaurants where you can dine on Canary Island cuisine while enjoying great views of the sea.

Things to Do at Las Canteras

Though Las Canteras is only 3km long, there’s plenty to do along this beach, from just soaking up the sun, to snorkeling, enjoying nightlife, and witnessing an annual sand sculpture exhibition.

Here, I list 8 activities in Las Canteras which will give you a good idea about what’s there in order to build a fun itinerary.

Beach Bumming at Playa Grande

Kick back, relax, take a swim and take in the beauty of Las Canteras beach! The perfect place to do that is Playa Grande, where there are many sun beds for rent. For a relaxing dip in shallow waters, consider nearby Playa Chica and Peña de La Vieja too.

If you want to see what the weather’s like before heading there, or just want to get a sneak peek of the beach, you can even check out a live stream of Las Canteras beach here.

Surfing at La Cicer

La Cicer is home to most of Las Palmas’ surf schools, and has waves that break more gently over sand, so it’s a great place for beginner surfers to head to. You’ll be able to surf at La Cicer almost daily between September – April, and most days through the summer too.

Paragliding Over the Beach

Thanks to the milder weather of the Canary Islands, you’ll be able to go paragliding almost all year round at Las Canteras, even in the winter! A flight takes about 20 minutes, and you’ll get a breathtaking birds’ eye view of the coast and cliffs.

Scuba Diving & Snorkeling

The waters at the Playa Grande area are shallow and calm, so it’s a good idea to rent snorkels for the whole family and head out on a sunny day. Alternatively, some diving schools along the beach also offer introductory courses to scuba diving near Las Canteras, before you head to deeper waters.

Explore Playa del Confital Beach

Keep walking past La Puntilla at the north end of Las Canteras, and you’ll get to the Playa del Confital beach. It’s a beautiful, natural beach which consists mainly of rock formations, with a few sandy patches.

It’s a popular spot with locals, who like to come here and relax, chat, and have a barbecue. You can go snorkeling at low tide, and go surfing as well, but it’s only recommended for experienced surfers.

Visit the Poema del Mar Aquarium

Poema del Mar is a large aquarium located a short drive away from Las Canteras. There are several sections showing different types of marine life from the jungle, reef and deep sea. There’s even an in-house restaurant where you can dine while the fish swim by!

Experience Las Canteras’ Nightlife

There are plenty of nightlife options at Las Canteras, from laidback bars and pubs to lively clubs. You’ll find most of these places at the Playa Grande area. Keep an eye on the Alfredo Kraus Auditorium – it’s famous for its classical music concerts, but occasionally hosts rock gigs too.

Gran Canaria Christmas Sand Sculpture Exhibition

Every year from the first weekend of December to first weekend of January, several international artists get together to sculpt large Christmas nativity scenes out of sand on the Las Canteras beach!

The exbihition is located at the La Puntilla area, and is free to enter, though you can make a donation which goes to charity at the gate. Don’t worry if you won’t be able to make it there during those dates though – there are always a few artists displaying sand sculptures all year round.

The Best Restaurants & Must-Eat Foods

There are plenty of laidback restaurants along the Las Canteras promenade and surroundings, serving a variety of Canarian and Spanish delicacies.

Here, I describe 3 of the best places for food in Las Canteras, where you can taste some of the most popular Canarian and Spanish dishes – ropa vieja, jamon, and papas arrugadas.

Ropa Vieja at La Macarena Taller de Cocina

Ropa vieja literally translates to “old clothes” in Spanish. But don’t worry, it tastes nothing like it 🙂 It’s named like this only because the dish is traditionally made from leftovers. It’s a kind of stew typically made with chicken, pork or beef, along with vegetables and potatoes.

A good place to try ropa vieja is La Macarena Taller de Cocina, located at the northern end of Las Canteras. They serve some other traditional dishes other than ropa vieja, as well as affordable local wines. The restaurant has a nice terrace facing the sea, so you can enjoy the sea breeze while you dine 🙂

Jamon at Camino al Jamonal

Jamon, or dry-cured ham, is one of Spain’s most popular dishes, and loved all over the world. Broadly speaking, there are two categories of ham produced in Spain – Jamon Serrano and Jamon Iberico, and many variations based on these two.

At Camino al Jamonal, Jamon is the star dish, where you can sample ham prepared in different ways. The small, family-run restaurant is located at the northern end of Las Canteras, and is only open from Thursdays to Sundays. It’s best to make a reservation to secure your seat.

Papas arrugadas at Amigo Camilo

Papas arrugadas is a traditional Canarian way of preparing potatoes. The local potatoes are smaller and “wrinkled”, as translated with the word ‘arrugada’. These potatoes are salted and usually served with mojo picón, a type of spicy sauce.

Amigo Camilo is actually a seafood restaurant, but is a good place to try papas arrugadas as it’s served together with the seafood of your choice. It’s built on the rocks at La Puntilla, on the northern end of Las Canteras. The restaurant can get quite busy especially on weekends, so be prepared for a queue!

Where to Stay, from Budget to Luxury

There are a number of choices for accommodation along the Las Canteras promenade and surrounding areas. To help you decide where to stay, I’ve listed a few of Las Canteras’ best hotels based on budget.

Budget: Hotel Pujol

For basic accommodation that’s centrally located, try Hotel Pujol. The hotel has simple but clean rooms, free WiFi, and a small in-house café where hotel guests can have breakfast for just 5 EUR.

However, the key highlight of the place is no doubt the location. It’s right by the beach, in the Playa Grande section, so you’re just a short walk away to a big, beautiful stretch of Las Canteras beach.

Mid-range: Bed&Chic Las Palmas

A good mid-range option is Bed&Chic Las Palmas, a small boutique hotel converted from a heritage building beside the Santa Catalina Park. It’s only a short 5-minute walk to Las Canteras, and also close to public transport links.

The hotel has two rooftop terraces – one is exclusively for guests, where you can choose to have breakfast, and the other one is a cocktail bar which is also open to the public. Head up for beautiful views of the Santa Catalina Park!

Luxury: Bull Reina Isabel & Spa

Bull Reina Isabel & Spa is mid-range to luxury option worth considering, located on the beachfront in the Playa Grande section. The hotel has a good range of facilities including 4 in-house restaurants and a bar, as well as a spa.

You can also head to the rooftop where you’ll find a chic pool with plenty of sun beds, perfect for kicking back for an afternoon in the sun.

How to Get There from the Airport

The cheapest way to get to Las Canteras from the airport is by bus, however you may need to transfer to another bus or taxi, depending on where your hotel is.

For more comfortable and convenient transfers, look at taxis or private transfers. You can also consider renting a car, especially if you’ll be traveling beyond Las Canteras.

By Bus

If you’re on a budget, an airport transfer by bus is a good option. There are two possible ways to get to Las Canteras from Gran Canaria airport:

  • Take the Line 60 bus to Santa Catalina station. It takes around 25 minutes, and costs 2-5 EUR.
    • If your hotel is near the station, this is a good option as you can just walk the rest of the way. Otherwise, you’ll need to transfer to another bus to get to your hotel, as there isn’t a taxi stand at the station.
  • Take the Line 60 bus to San Telmo station. It takes around 16 minutes, and costs 3-5 EUR.
    • This is a more convenient option if your hotel is further away, or closer to the beach. There is a taxi stand at this station where you can hail a cab directly to your hotel, saving you the need of hauling your luggage around on buses.

By Taxi

A more convenient airport transfer is taxi. A one-way journey from Gran Canaria airport to Las Canteras will take around 25 minutes, and cost about 21-25 EUR depending on your destination.

By Private Transfer

Another convenient and comfortable option is a private transfer. A one-way journey from Gran Canaria airport to Las Canteras will take around 25 minutes, and a 4-seater sedan starts from 30-33 EUR.

By Rented Car

If you’re planning to explore more of the island beyond Las Canteras, it may be worth renting a car directly from the airport as small and compact cars can start as low as 22 EUR.

Some places for parking near Las Canteras include the Intermodal El Rincón outdoor car park near the Alfredo Kraus Auditorium, El Muelle Shopping Center near La Puntilla, as well as Aparcamiento Padre Cueto and Aparcamiento Luis Morote, which are near Playa Grande.

Las Canteras Map

Conclusion & Summary

Las Canteras is a great place for beach bumming, doing some water sports, getting started with scuba diving, experiencing nightlife, and also one of the few places in the world where annual sand sculpture festivals take place.

There are also plenty of accommodation options for all budgets along the beach. It’s easy to wake up to beautiful views of the sea, and then take a leisurely walk to a restaurant for your daily dose of Jamon, or papas arrugadas.

Hope this helps you make the most out of your visit to Las Canteras 🙂

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