Most visitors to the Canary Island of Gran Canaria head to one of its sunshine soaked resorts, ignoring the capital city of Las Palmas. It’s their loss. Las Palmas is a vibrant, sophisticated city with attractive colonial architecture, a cool cultural scene and a superb beach.
However, like any city, if you want to see its most attractive aspects it helps to have a local resident to show you around. If you want to discover the coolest parts of a city, it’s hard to beat a local who also happens to a member of a rock band.
Victor Ordóñez, all round nice guy and founder member of up and coming indie rock band The Good Company, is more likely to be playing gigs in Madrid and Barcelona, but he still likes to regularly spend time in the city he hails from. Recently Victor took time out from creating great sounds to show Buzz Trips some of his favourite haunts in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
Best Place to Meet Friends for a Coffee or a Beer in Las Palmas
We hooked up with Victor at The Hotel Madrid (Plaza Cairasco,4) in the old quarter of Vegueta. It’s a traditional venue to meet up early evening. The immaculately whitewashed Hotel Madrid has a vaguely North African feel probably because of its colonial architectural style and the palm trees lining the pretty plaza on which it’s situated. It’s a most appealing spot in which to knock back a few beers in the afternoon sunshine.
Playa de las Canteras, the Best Beach on Gran Canaria
Playa de las Canteras stretches the length of one huge section of the city and is one of the great urban beaches of the world. It’s Victor’s favourite beach on Gran Canaria because not only is it stunning in the looks department, it buzzes with the sort of life that you’ll never find on resort beaches. Playa de las Canteras is more than a beach, it is simply an essential part of Las Palmas’ character.
Best Restaurants in Las Palmas
Although Playa de las Canteras is lined by restaurants and bars, the warren of streets behind the beach is the place to find the best restaurants. It’s not a particularly attractive area aesthetically and if we hadn’t been with someone in the know we’d have completely ignored the unassuming façade of Novillo Precoz (C/Portugal, 9). This Argentinian restaurant has been serving ‘mean steaks’ (Victor’s words) to the creative great and good of Las Palmas for 40 years. Check out the nicotine walls whose surfaces are covered with the scratched signatures of everyone from The Good Company crew to César Manrique and Alfredo Kraus.
Best Bar for Live Music in Las Palmas
El Cuasquías (C/San Pedro, 2; www.cuasquias.com) back in Vegueta is the musicians’ choice of a live music venue in Las Palmas. Victor likes to hang out at El Cuasquías because the sounds are reliably good and also because it has bags of character, but his advice is to get there relatively early as it becomes heaving later on.
Finally, if you’re visiting Las Palmas and fancy picking up one of The Good Company’s albums Moebius (Calle Peregrina, 3; www.tiendamoebius.com) is a proper old school record shop and a top place for browsing music CDs and specialist comics.
The Good Company’s second album, Dearland was released on 16th May. For a taster of their style, here’s one of my favourite tracks from their first album, 28.
Jack is co-owner, writer and photographer for BuzzTrips and the Real Tenerife series of travel websites as well as a contributor to online travel sites and travel magazines. Follow Jack on Google+