When people come to Las Palmas, they either head to Las Canteras beach, or they wander the cobbles of Old Town Vegueta and Triana districts. Then they do some shopping, often along Calle mayor de Triana, recently voted the best outdoor shopping area in Spain.
However, most people miss the little streets that run off Triana’s high street and this is a real shame. While they lack the big names of the main shopping drag, they are full of small independent shops and charismatic local bars and restaurants.
It’s worth just wandering around these side streets and dipping in to the shops as they sell far more original goods than the big names on the main drag.
This pedestrian street is my favourite in the whole historical area of Las Palmas because of how old and new blend together.
If you start at the south end of Calle Cano, the architecture is medieval with squat old buildings with stone doorways and heavy-set doors. Note the traditional wooden balconies on the top floors.
There’s a restaurant right on the corner setting the tone with excellent Spanish ham and traditional food served at outdoor tables.
As you walk north along the street you come to the Casa Museo Perez Galdós set in the splendid old building where Benito Perez Galdós, one of Spain’s most famous novelists and Spain’s leading 19th Century literary figure, was born in 1843.
You don’t have to read his detailed accounts of middle-class Spanish life to appreciate the museum. It’s a beautiful house with internal courtyards, high, wooden ceilings and lots of fascinating information about the author and the period he described so well with his pen.
Further north along Calle Cano and the medieval gives way to the early twentieth century with art deco wrought iron balconies replacing the more traditional wood. The shops here are local in character with hairdressers and even a nursery mixed in amongst the boutiques.
You’re never more than a few metres from a restaurant with outdoor tables shaded by big parasols. One popular place is Mr Kale, a thoroughly modern spot that caters to vegetarians and vegans. It serves healthy smoothies and snacks nd is opposite a boutique selling shoes that cost more than most people’s entire holiday.
Or, stay on Calle Cano for the Libreria del Cabildo, a spectacular bookshop with the best collection of Canary Islands books I’ve ever seen in one place. Drop in between 09.00 ands 13.00, or 16.30 to 20.00 on weekdays, and have a browse as you’re sure to find something to read on the beach.
Calle Cano ends at the Plaza de San Bernardo in a flourish of restaurants serving modern Spanish and traditional Canarian food.
The other side it turns into Calle Viera y Clavijo and the facades slowly become more recent until you reach the beginning of modern Las Palmas. There’s a lovely sushi hole-in-the-wall, a Bang and Olufsen store, and plenty of clothes and shoe shops to keep you occupied.
Viera y Clavijo is lined with Jacaranda trees so if you in Las Palmas in early summer the street is carpeted in electric mauve flowers.
At any point you can drop down one of the cobbled side streets and come out on the much busier and commercial Calle Mayor de Triana for a hit of contemporary high street fashion. Or, head a block up the hill to Calle Benito Perez Galdos for what is Las Palmas’ most hipsterish street with its home decoration boutiques, tattoo parlours, and a cluster of vegan and upmarket restaurants.
Keep walking south along Benito Perez Galdós and Calle General Bravo and you get back to the pretty Plaza del Cairasco with its tall palm trees and outdoor cafes. From here you are just a couple of minutes walk away from the Cathedral and the museums and galleries of Old Town Vegueta.
Article published originally on the excellent Hello Canary Islands website.
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