Discovering historic Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

09 November 2016

With so many preparations before their Atlantic crossing, it's easy to get caught up with the boat jobs list and miss the many highlights of the beautiful island of Gran Canaria. ARC sailors are encouraged to explore beyond the Muelle Deportivo, either joining one of the tours as part of the programme, or take advantage of local transport links. Don't forget to visit the Tourism Office, located next to the ARC platform, for more information and suggestions, or visit and

Historic highlights in Las Palmas

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is the largest city in the Canary Islands with a strong naval tradition and connection to the sea that dates back centuries. The Castle of La Luz, in La Isleta, facing the Port of La Luz and Las Palmas, is considered as the island’s oldest defensive construction. The current fortress was built in the sixteenth century and was declared National Historic Monument in 1941. Once surrounded by the sea, the waters around the fort have now subsided and the grounds are home to the Martín Chirino's Foundation of Art and Thought, and exhibit his magnificent sculptures. His works bare two essential characteristics: references to Canary aboriginal culture and the use of forged iron.

The connection of the city and the sea is further displayed at The Castillo de Mata. It is one of the last few remnants of the defence system of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria from 16th century and played a key role as part of the city’s defensive walls against Drake and Pieter Van der Does. Located to explain Castillo de Mata’s history, The City and the Sea museum shows the development of the city of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria from its origin to become the thriving metropolitan area we see ARC crews experience today.

Continuing the historical tour, the Casa de Colón (Columbus House) is erected on the site of the former house of the Island’s Governor, only representative of the Kingdom of Castile in the Canaries in 1492. In that time, fourteen years after the foundation of the city in 1978, Christopher Columbus made his first stop in Gran Canaria - he also stopped in his second and fourth trips to the Americas. The museum has magnificent patios and exhibition halls showing Columbus’ travels, and his stays on the islands. The current building, of traditional Canary architecture, was refurbished by the Cabildo de Gran Canaria in 1951, retaining original features and reconstructing others.

The video shows ARC crews enjoying a guided tour of these sites and more around the city. For crews that didn't join today's tour, there's a full-day island excursion and second guided tour of the city taking place on Monday 14 November.