Las Palmas, the capital of Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands, is quickly making a name for itself as one of the most popular Digital Nomad destinations around. Some even go as far as calling it the Chiang Mai of Europe.
One thing’s for sure, Las Palmas is a great place for remote workers and nomads, and I would know, because I spent more than a year living there.
In our Digital Nomad Girls Ultimate Guide series, we introduce cities from around the world that are great places for location independent ladies. From Chiang Mai to Prague, we’ve got you covered. Today we’re paying Las Palmas in Spain a visit.
If there’s one city in Europe that is particularly hot for Digital Nomads right now, it’s Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. The capital of Gran Canaria is becoming a mecca for location independent workers, and for good reason.
Affordable prices, year round sunny weather and a bustling coworking scene make Las Palmas the perfect place to be, especially when it’s starting to get colder in mainland Europe.
Having spent more than a year in Las Palmas over the past few years, I know the city pretty well and am excited to share my experience with you. I’m probably a little biased, but I think Las Palmas really is one of the best nomad cities in Europe.
In this Ultimate Guide, you’ll find everything you need to know to make your stay in Las Palmas easy, productive and fun.
Where is it?
Las Palmas is the capital city of Gran Canaria, one of the Spanish Canary Islands, which is located in the Atlantic Ocean just off the West African coast, near Morocco.
With a population of just under 400,000, Las Palmas is the ninth largest city in Spain and the biggest EU city outside of the European continent. The city is located in the northeast of the island of Gran Canaria and has a long coastline with many beaches to enjoy.
The official language is, of course, Spanish and the local Canarian dialect is easy to understand. In general it’s easy (too easy) to get away with English and just the Spanish basics. I’d definitely recommend taking Spanish classes, not least because they’re really affordable. We paid €130 per month for 3 x 1.5 hour lessons per week in a small group class.
If you’re new to Spanish, then don’t be surprised to hear the locals drop the “s” from the end of words, for example “Gracia” instead of “Gracias”.
What is Las Palmas known for?
Las Palmas is also known as the city of ‘Eternal Spring’ due to its perfect climate year-round. An American meteorologist who studies city climates around the world even went as far as claiming that it has the “best weather in the world”.
Another claim to fame is that Christopher Columbus lived here for a while, with his old home now housing a museum.
Las Palmas is also host to the annual Nomad City event, which takes places each fall.
Climate/When to go?
Located off the West African coast, the Canaries are the warmest place in Europe during winter. Summers can be scorching hot, while during June, July, August there’s an almost constant cloud cover, locally known as the “Donkey’s Belly”.
The best times to visit Las Palmas are the spring, autumn or winter. In September, the clouds and heat disappear and the weather is mild and comfortable, perfect for exploring and sunny beach days.
Importantly, it can be much harder (but not impossible) to find accommodation during high season (November to April) compared with the rest of the year.
Safety for Women
In general, Las Palmas is an incredibly safe place for travelers, female and male. Violent crime is not a big problem here, while pickpocketing, unlike in Barcelona, is not common at all.
But, as always, make sure you to use common sense. Know your way home after a night out, carry enough cash for a taxi home (they are very affordable here) and don’t walk along the beach on your own at night (on the actual sand, walking along the Paseo is totally fine) .
EU residents are covered by their EHIC health card in case of emergency. There are English-speaking health centres in case you get sick while in Las Palmas.
Dental care is great quality and very affordable, that’s why many people come to the Canary Islands for a dental holiday.
In general, no vaccinations are needed to travel to Las Palmas. Dengue fever, malaria and Zika are not present in the Canary Islands at this time of writing, but do your research in case you have specific health concerns.
As the Canary Islands are part of Spain, EU residents can travel there without having to worry about visas, which is another great bonus of Las Palmas as a Digital Nomad hotspot.
Non-EU residents will have to apply for a Schengen visa, which allows you to stay in the Schengen Zone, including Spain, for up to 90 days every 180 days. Make sure you check Spain’s visa regulations for your country’s passport before booking your flights.
How much does it cost?
As always, budgets vary greatly from nomad to nomad, but generally speaking, Las Palmas is an affordable city, especially for Western Europe.
On average, I think you could live quite comfortably in Las Palmas for around €1000 per person, probably less if you don’t need many comforts. A room will cost around €300–400 to rent, while an apartment on Airbnb will cost around €800–1500.
- Cup of coffee: €1.20
- Beer in a local bar or restaurant: €1–2
- Lunch at a local restaurant: €8–12
- Dinner for two at a nice restaurant: €30–40
- Bus ride in the city: €1.40
- Bus trip to the south of the island or to other beaches: around €8–16 return
- Taxi ride from the beach area to the old town: €5
- 1GB on a prepaid SIM: around €10
I’m ironically writing this post while on a flight from Las Palmas to the UK, but there are only two ways to get to the Canary Islands, because they’re, well, islands.
The best way to travel to Las Palmas is to fly into Las Palmas international airport, which is located in the east of the island around 25 minutes drive from the city. From the airport, you can either take a bus for €3 to bus stations at San Telmo (in the old town) or Santa Catalina (in the beach area) or hop in a taxi, which will cost between €25 and €35 depending on the time of day and where exactly you’re travelling to.
As Las Palmas is a very popular holiday destination for Europeans, there are tonnes of affordable flights from almost every European country.
Most people fly and it’s only worth taking a ferry from mainland Spain if you’re travelling by car or motorbike. The ferry takes 2 days and leaves from Cadiz in southwest Spain.
One of my favourite things about Las Palmas is that it’s very walkable. Most nomads stay in the northern beach area of the city, where you can walk anywhere within 30 minutes, which usually takes you along or past the beach.
Buses are super cheap, costing around €1.40 per ride and even less if you buy a Guagua card (Canarians call buses guaguas, don’t ask me why!?!).
There’s an awesome new city bike rental scheme called Sitycleta LP, which anyone can use. Download the app, create your profile and you can rent a bike from any of the locations in the city. Half an hour of cycling costs €1.50 and if you sign up for an annual plan you get half an hour free every day.
There’s no Uber in Las Palmas, but it’s not really needed because taxis are really affordable. We used to take a cab from the beach to the old town for brunch and it costs around €4–5 for the 10 minute ride.
And if you want to explore the island with your own wheels, you can rent a car very cheaply.
Most car rentals cost around €30 for 24 hours, which usually comes out cheaper than taking the bus if there’s two or three of you. Tirma rent-a-car is my favourite car rental place, they speak English and full insurance is included in the rental price.
Where to stay? The neighbourhoods of Las Palmas
There are only really two or three neighbourhoods that most nomads and expats stay in. That doesn’t mean that they’re super touristy though, Las Palmas is a pretty local city.
The beach area around Playa Las Canteras is my absolute favourite and where most nomads decide to stay. There’s just something special about living so close to the beach and being able to walk, run or lay on the beach every day. Most events and coworking spaces are also in this neighbourhood.
La Isleta is the little round peninsula that sticking out of the north of Las Palmas, and is also a popular area, albeit a little more quiet and rustic. Rent here tends to be a little bit cheaper, so if you’re on a tight budget it’s definitely worth a look.
The old town areas of Vegueta and Triana are the other popular neighbourhoods. Most nomads don’t tend to stay there because they love being close to the beach and the action. Architecturally, it is definitely the most beautiful part of Las Palmas, with old cobblestoned streets and colonial buildings.
Depending on how long you’re planning to stay, you can either rent an apartment or room on Airbnb or find a long-term rental through real estate agents. Most flats come with 12-month contracts, but there are some exceptions, so it’s worth asking if you find a flat you like.
Coliving is a becoming more and more popular, and Las Palmas has some awesome spaces to check out if you’re looking for a little more than just a place to lay your head.
My favourite space in Las Palmas is ReStation, which is run by my friend Maria, and is the heart and soul of the digital nomad scene in Las Palmas. ReStation has three different apartments, all in the Las Canteras area and a coworking space that’s within 2–5 minutes walk of the apartments.
Maria puts on no less than four (!) weekly events for digital nomads: Monday Mastermind (a goal-setting and accountability group), Wednesday breakfast club, Friday local lunch, and Nomad Coffee every Friday afternoon (check out their website in case any of the dates have changed).
And if you’re in town on the first Tuesday of the month, ReStation hosts a monthly DNG coworking day and lunch. You’re invited to work at ReStation for free and afterwards all the girls head to Basal restaurant by the beach for lunch and a chat.
If you’re looking into heading to Las Palmas this summer, we’d love to have you at the Coliving Summer we’re hosting with Restation!
You can find all the information here.
Aside from Restation, other coliving spaces are cropping up, including The Roof and The Pool, which are run by Coworking C coworking space, and are really popular and stylish spaces. They are located a little outside the beach area, but only a 15–20 minute walk.
The Roof is the coliving space run by Coworking C. It is a very modern space with a big roof terrace and en suite bathrooms for nearly all of the 7 rooms. While not as conveniently located as other spaces, it’s still close enough to the beach and city that you can easily walk.
If you’re planning to rent an apartment on Airbnb, it’s always worth contacting the host before booking to ask if they’d be happy to give you a discount for a longer stay.
I’ve managed to knock off €500 off a €1500 apartment (which we didn’t end up taking) just by asking whether they’d give me a discount for a three-month stay.
Where to work?
There are new coworking spaces popping up all over the place, so you’re spoilt for choice. Here’s a list:
In addition to coliving, ReStation has a coworking space that is available even to those not living in their apartments. The space is only 5 minutes from the beach and has great wifi and probably the best community vibe in Las Palmas.
Sopa is an art studio/coworking space that lies near the top of Las Canteras beach. It’s a big space and popular among the locals and long-term digital nomads.
One of the first coworking spaces in the Canary Islands, CWC can be found on the port side of the Las Canteras neighbourhood. It has an open floor plan and is spread over three floors, with a separate bookable meeting room that can come in handy.
One of the newest coworking spaces, this tiny space is located only 50 metres from Playa Chica, so its perfect if you like to maximise your beach time.
Go Coworking is located in the old town in a beautifully refurbished colonial building. I absolutely adore their space and roof top, but only checked it out once because of how far it was from my apartment. However, if you live in the old town area it would be the perfect option.
Most spaces offer a free trial day, so take the time to explore a little and pick your favourite.
Las Palmas has a bunch of great cafes to work from, but in general it doesn’t have the coffee and laptop scene you might be used to from Southeast Asia.
If you’re not sure if the cafe owners are cool with you working from their cafe or whether they even have customer wifi, I’d definitely recommend asking before setting up your mobile office for the afternoon. Of course, make sure you order drinks or snacks regularly, and order food if you’re planning to stay over lunch.
Some of the most popular cafes are:
A cute little cafe right on Las Canteras Beach, this place is run by really friendly and welcoming Italian staff who don’t mind you bringing your laptop for a work session.
For the Insta-perfect shot, sit outside with a beach view.
A new juice bar on Las Canteras beach, Juicy Avenue has (you guessed it) juices plus wifi and lots of power outlets! They also serve bagels, waffles, wraps and pancakes, which are not easily found in Las Palmas, so it’s become one of my favourite spots to have breakfast and get some work done.
For the coffee lovers, Cafe Regina allegedly serves the best cup of coffee in town. They also have wifi, power outlets, and no objections to you working.
A great and friendly little vegetarian and vegan place on Calle Ruiz de Alda, Llevame al Huerto has great food, juices and an adorable interior. You can also sit outside and work on the pedestrianised street.
This is a curious little Swedish cafe that has been around for over 50 years. The decor looks like it might still be the original, but their cakes are awesome and they have cute little booths to work from.
What and where to eat
Now to the good stuff! Canarian food is quite similar to Spanish food in general, but has its own quirks and specialities.
While you can get the usual tapas and Jamon Iberico, you won’t find any Patatas Bravas in the Canaries (unless it’s a very touristy restaurant), as the preferred potato dish here is Papas Arrugadas, or wrinkly potatoes. Don’t worry, they taste much better than they sound.
Seafood lovers will also be happy here as there’s no shortage of delicious fresh fish and seafood to be found. For vegetarians and vegans, more and more vegan cafes and restaurants are opening all the time, with most places other restaurants offering vegan-friendly options, just make sure you ask.
Awesome food and affordable prices, especially for the beachfront location, the pretty venue and the quality of the food. Try their Maracuya (passion fruit) lemonade, it’s amazing.
One of my favourite restaurants ever, this Indonesian spot is the real deal. It’s very hard to find good Asian food in Las Palmas and Casa Ari has saved me many times when I was craving a bowl of noodles or a curry. Super affordable, authentic, and giant portions too.
An indoor and outdoor food market with tonnes of different stalls where you can try tapas, seafood, international dishes (reindeer at the Scandinavian stall anyone? it’s delicious), drinks. Mercado del Puerto is generally just a fun and happy place to spend a Friday or Saturday night with friends.
A classic among the locals, I wouldn’t go as far as calling Pachichi a restaurant, more of a little bodega, but it’s one of the cheapest places to enjoy some local tapas with friends. Their flaming chorizo and mojo (spicy red sauce served with basically everything) are definitely worth the visit. You’ll struggle to spend more than €10 per person including drinks.
One of the best restaurants in town, but still super affordable and absolutely delicious. They serve tapas with a little twist on the classic recipes and everything I ordered there was incredible.
For seafood and fish lovers only. This is a super rustic and local restaurant perched on the cliffs of La Puntilla where you can taste some of the best and freshest seafood in town.
No menu? No problem. Just point at what you want at the fish counter and they’ll prepare it perfectly for you. Go with a group so you can try as much as possible.
A cute little Mexican place right on the beachfront, this is one of the few hipster places in town, with a delicious Mexican/Asian fusion menu.
What Not to Miss & Day Trips
There’s always something going on in Las Palmas, so just keep an eye on the posters around town and you’ll find something to do.
Some weekly favourites are:
Ruta de los Pinchos happens every Thursday in Vegueta. Local bars and restaurants along the street serve cheap tapas, so you can move around grabbing bites and cheap beers/wine here and there.
It’s fun, but I prefer Mercado del Puerto for a more grown up tapas experience and better food, but that might just be the food snob in me.
Every Saturday afternoon/evening many of the bars and restaurants along Las Canteras beach put on live music, which slowly makes its way down from La Puntilla to the Auditoria. It ends with a big party at Plaza del Musica at the southernmost part of the beach.
Gran Canaria is a beautiful and diverse island, but sadly many of the package holidayers who flock to its southern beaches never stray far enough to appreciate it. Make sure you you take the bus or hire a car to explore Gran Canaria on your days off. Hopping over to a different island is also easy, with flights taking only around 30 minutes.
Here are some of my favourite day trip ideas:
Roque Nublo and the mountains
Roque Nublo is Gran Canaria’s most famous rock formation and is smack bang in the middle of the island. The drive up is quite adventurous if you’re not used to windy mountain roads, but it’s so worth it.
Make a day trip of it, hike to Roque Nublo and then treat yourself to a lunch with a view in Tejeda, a picturesque town in the mountains.
Puerto de Mogan
Puerto de Megan lies at the end of the highway in the southwest of the island. If you’re looking for the perfect Instagram shot and some beach fun, then this town is for you.
Despite being purpose-built over the last few decades, it has charming white alleys lined with pink and orange bougainvillea flowers. Try the ice cream at Gelatomania, it’s a must!
Maspalomas Dunes and Southern Beaches
The climate of Gran Canaria can vary greatly, even on such a small island.
So if it’s a cloudy day in Las Palmas, jump on a bus and head down to the south. Maspalomas is as touristy a town as they come, but the sand dunes are pretty cool, the beach is expansive, and it’s always sunny in the south.
Agaete Valley and Wine/Coffee plantation
Agaete is a cute town in the northwest of the island with a port area (called Puerto de las Nieves) that is super picturesque and great for a bit of beach fun and seafood. If you drive into the Agaete Valley, you can visit a wine/coffee plantation called Los Berrazales.
They provide tours and tastings for around €6 or €7, which include 3–4 wines, cheese with banana cactus jam, chorizo and bread, plus coffee and some local fruit.
There’s certainly no shortage of festivals, public holidays and religious celebrations in the Canary Islands, and no matter when you come you’ll probably catch one or the other.
By far the biggest event in the festival calendar is Carnaval, which is celebrated for a good four weeks and travels all over the different islands. Each year there’s a different theme (for example Flower Power or Fantastic Creatures) and Canarians love to celebrate and get dressed up almost every day. There are parades, shows, parties, drag queen competitions, kids carnival, and even dog carnival (yes seriously), so you can pick and choose your favourite events.
A really fun one is the traditional carnival held on a Monday in the old town, where locals and visitors all dress up in white and throw baby powder at each other.
Exercising in Las Palmas is easy and fun because there are so many outdoor options. Personally, I don’t like gyms, so I used to go for morning runs (and the occasional swims) at the beach, sometimes with a bit of beach yoga thrown in.
You can find free exercise equipment at the south end of Las Canteras beach and on the port side of the city.
There are many outdoor and indoor yoga classes that you can choose from, my favourite is run by Olivier at Playa Chica Work every Monday and Thursday at 7pm.
Every Wednesday there’s a popular free Beach Volleyball meetup on Las Alcaravaneras beach, organised by nomads and expats.
Spanish classes are obviously the most popular choice, with a tonne of language schools to choose from. I went to World Language School near Plaza Farray, which has classes for all levels. I paid €130 for a month of lessons (1.5 hour lessons, 3 times a week).
Loneliness amongst digital nomads is real, we all know it. But Las Palmas is the perfect city to meet new nomads and make friends. The nomad community is still fairly small, but growing all the time, and there are so many events every week that I’d be surprised if you felt lonely for more than a day.
ReStation is really the heart and soul of the community here, so if you’re unsure how to get started, just follow them on Facebook and go to one of their four weekly events (I wrote about them in the Coliving Section above).
There are also some friendly Facebook Groups that you can join before you even arrive.
And also check out Meetup for regular Digital Nomad meetups that are organised by Carlos, a local digital nomad and a lovely guy.
Nomads definitely won’t have to be lonely in Las Palmas!
There you go, the Ultimate Digital Nomad Guide to Las Palmas!
If you’re thinking of heading over to Las Palmas, why not join us in the DNG Coliving Summer this summer in Las Palmas? We are hosting this retreat with the amazing coliving spot, Restation.
- July & August 2019, Las Palmas
- Choose the length of your stay: from 1-8 weeks
What’s included in the DNG Coliving Summer?
- Coliving Accommodation in one of 3 centrally located coliving apartments
- Full access to the Coworking space
- Multiple weekly community events
- Weekly cleaning & fresh bed linen
- Yoga membership or 2 x Surf Lessons (included in monthly stays)
- Goodie Bag
We’d love to have you there. Check out all the information to the Coliving Summer here!
I hope you have a wonderful time in this up and coming nomad hotspot and enjoy the sunny weather, friendly locals and awesome community!
Have you been to Las Palmas? Share your experience with us in the comments below!