As much of the U.S. becomes drenched in heat and humidity this month, it might be time to consider a refreshing trip to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. The Canary Island’s largest city has the best climate in the world (it’s scientifically proven!) and boasts a full spectrum of terrains, ranging from tropical forests and sunny beaches, to dry deserts and snow-capped mountains..
Located roughly 90 miles from the coast of Africa, Las Palmas—the hometown of Oscar-nominated Spanish actor Javier Bardem—is an exotic mix of Spanish and Moorish cultures. The city’s distinctive cultural history is reflected in its traditional dishes, which include carajacas, a roasted or fried liver dish, papas arrugadas con mojo, potatoes in a “mojo” sauce, and sancocho, a local fish stew that’s a well-reputed hangover cure.
So, with just 24 hours in Las Palmas, what must you see and do? We asked our trusted friends—the editors of Travel + Leisure—for their top three recommendations to share with you:
Las Canteras Beach
This golden stretch of sand, backed by glittering high-rises, is just a few blocks from the cruise terminal. Join locals paddle boarding on the placid ocean or take a turn at snorkeling around La Barra, a rocky reef formation that lies just off the shore and is known to attract hundreds of vibrant fish species.
Canary Islands Museum
Quickly familiarize yourself with the Canary Islands’ early history at this comprehensive museum. The exhibits, which are divided among 11 rooms, are loaded with artifacts such as ceramic vessels, religious idols, wooden tools, and a model dwelling that help to recount the timespan between 500 B.C. and the 15th century, when the archipelago was colonized by the Castilians.
To put together this grand garden just outside of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Swedish botanist Eric Sventenius visited every Canary Island and collected tree and flower specimens from each of them. Today, ambling paths cut through a jungle of exotic plants, each one representing a piece of the archipelago’s natural history.
Plan your Canary Islands cruise on Celebrity today and see Las Palmas for yourself!