Perched on the slopes of the Guiniguada Ravine, the Viera y Clavijo Botanical Garden is a microcosm of the Canary Islands' diverse flora. The Swedish-Spanish botanist, Eric Ragnor Sventenius, is the founding father of these botanical gardens commonly known as Jardín Canario. For years, he roamed the islands, exploring distant corners, scaling precipitous slopes and venturing down undiscovered paths in a quest to compose an exhaustive collection of the archipelago's endemic species. There are leafy laurel trees, parched xerofila, palms, aeonium, and giant cacti among many others, beautifully arranged in awe-inspiring, thematic gardens that encompass the vast breadth of the islands' exotic botanical reserves. A popular tourist attraction, the Jardin Canario is also internationally renown for its preservation programs. In 1983, a seed bank for the Canaries' endemic trees was established here, and there's also a library, a herbarium, and laboratories. Spread over 27 hectares (67 acres), this vast, verdant enclave is a journey across Macaronesia and its bountiful, natural landscapes, replete with plants that are entirely unique to the Canaries.
Roque Nublo, or the Cloud Rock, is one of the world's largest free-standing rocks and Gran Canaria's most striking natural icon. Formed over 4.5 million years ago, this volcanic rock has been shaped by the elements over millennia into an 80-meter (262-foot) tall monolith at a height of 1,813 meters (5,948 feet) above sea level. Outdone by only the Pico de las Nieves, Roque Nublo is the island's second highest peak. Sweeping views of the surrounding countryside lay sprawled at its feet, like a patchwork quilt of pine forests and farmland arranged in deep, plunging folds. Often shrouded by a bank of clouds or icy mist, the enigmatic Roque Nublo is surprisingly accessible, and it is possible to walk right up to its base. Scaling its sheer face is another matter altogether, a feat braved only by experienced climbers with the right kind of equipment. Described by the Spanish writer, Miguel de Unamuno, as a storm turned to stone, Roque Nublo is a sight of striking beauty, rising from the ground like a defiant behemoth frozen in the guise of a jagged pinnacle.
Inaugurated in 1989 after being revamped in keeping with its original 17th-century façade, this 3682 square meter (39632.72 feet) gallery aims to give Canary Islanders a liberal view of the rest of the world. It claims to be a platform spanning the cultures of three continents, Europe, Africa and Latin America. In the many rooms there are exhibitions of Canary Island and international modern paintings, papers on contemporary African and Latin American art, and exhibitions on the latest creative processes. Seminars are also held there, and there's a library service and reference section. Guided tours can be booked by phone. There's also a giftshop and a bookshop. Admission is free.
In 1964, this museum was set up in the former home of Benito Pérez Galdós as a tribute to one of the most famous and internationally-renowned Canary Island literary figures. It's a faithful example of a 19th-century middle class Canary Island house, and, inside, you'll find some of the author's original manuscripts, plus part of his collection of 19th and 20th century Spanish literature. Among other notable items on collection, a lovely portrait of the author by the Valencian painter Joaquin Sorolla stands out. Every two years scholars from all over the world meet here for the Congreso Internacional de Estudios Galdosianaos.
The Basilica's present building was constructed between 1760 and 1767, in accordance with plans drawn up by the military engineer, Antonio de la Rocha. It comprises one floor divided into three naves of equal height, with cupolas on scallops, and is finished off with a lamp in the transept. It has retained its octagonal-shaped tower form 1708 in yellow stone. This church is the true spiritual centre of the whole of Gran Canaria and every year on 8 September the islanders go there on a pilgrimage to make their offerings to the Virgen del Pino, patron saint of the island, whose statue is of great artistic and religious interest. Admission is free.
Formed thousands of years ago, the Bandama Caldera is a giant bowl of wonder and a reminder of the volcanic origins of the Canary Islands. The volcanic crater shelters a diverse collection of native flora and fauna, several of which are unique to the Canary Islands. 1-kilometer (0.6-mile) wide and over 200-meters (656-feet) deep, the caldera is a natural wonder that is easily accessible from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Bandama Caldera lies at the heart of one of the Gran Canaria's oldest wine regions, its bodegas and wineries havens of epicurean delights, while challenging hiking trails lead past scenes of natural splendor. Along the way are caves once inhabited by the island's natives, abandoned farmhouses and a secret bunker in the guise of a visitor's center. Hikers will find that there are several avenues to explore, the most popular beginning at the Pico de Bandama Viewpoint, leading down into the depths of the caldera. Other interesting sites include the pond of El Culatón and the cross of the Tres Piedras.
The Museum of Science and Technology is one of the latest attractions which Las Palmas has to offer its citizens and visitors. The building consists of four floors, each of them representing a theme. Even though there are panels with explanations all over the museum, there are also guides who will help you with any question or doubt you may have. Special consideration is given to children in this museum. There is the Pirindola hall, and Robot Eldi, who sings, dances and organizes games. Two other attractions, popular with the public in general, are Cinema 70, a non-stop documentary show, and Foucault's Pendulum. There is also a souvenir shop.
Located inside a former tobacco factory, the Centro de Arte La Regenta is a contemporary art gallery in Las Palmas that showcases the works of local artists. It is a must-visit in order to learn more about the art scene of the city. The gallery showcases some of the best paintings and photos of popular artists of the city. Entry is free here.
Museo Naval de Canarias is the naval museum of the Canary Islands. It offers a walk down the annals of naval history with exhibits showcasing the historic flags, diving gear, manuals, documents, weapons, uniforms and other memorabilia of the Navy. Here one can also find models of old ships that have been preserved with care. The entry to the museum is free for everyone.
The Galería de Arte Saro León is a popular art gallery that enjoys a loyal patronage. It was established in 1988. Artists of the region used to gather here and collaborate with each other. The space is a cultural hub with conventions, meetings, projects and other events that take place continuously. The gallery also hosts exhibitions of contemporary artwork.
The Casa Museo de Colón commemorates explorer Christopher Columbus' visit to the islands on his way to discover the Americas, as well as the role that the Canary Islands played as a bridge between the New and Old Worlds. A reproduction of the navigator's shipboard cabin, complete with an exhibition of pre-Colombian ceramics inside are featured. A section of the museum is set aside for a fine arts exhibit. The building itself is a fine example of typical Canary Island architecture, with an impressive Gothic sandstone façade and lovely wooden balconies. Admission is free.