Although Europe is becoming more and more popular as a summer location for digital nomads, there are few European destinations that attract the attention of digital nomads year-round. However, one major exception is Las Palmas, the bustling capital city of the Canary Islands. The city is currently making a name for itself as a top digital nomad hotspot in Europe, not least for its balmy climate.
Let’s look at why Las Palmas is such a great destination for digital nomads.
I hadn’t been to the Canary Islands before I visited Las Palmas for the first time last year. I didn’t really know much about it, and used to think it was just a holiday island crowded with Germans and Brits.
But, in the last couple of years, many digital nomads have been checking out Las Palmas and coworking spaces have been popping up all over town, resulting in the city becoming a new hub. When I was looking for a place to live in autumn/winter, I googled ‘warmest place in Europe’ and, voila, Las Palmas was by far the best option. So, I decided to check it out for myself.
It’s true that the Canary Islands have awesome weather all year. It’s so good in fact, that Las Palmas officially holds the title of city with the best climate in the world, according to a 1996 study.
In reality, this means hot summers, beautiful springs, warm autumn temperatures suitable for swimming in the Atlantic Ocean, and very mild winters.
Best time to go to Las Palmas
Weather-wise, there isn’t really a bad time to visit Las Palmas, apart from maybe July/August when the city is almost constantly covered in cloud, called the Donkey’s Belly.
Another factor to consider is the Las Palmas Carnival which takes place each February and lasts for almost a full month. There will be lots of parties and parades to check out, but it will also be much busier in town. It’s a good idea to check whether it’s tourist high season (November to February) when you’re planning your trip, as this can make finding an apartment a bit harder.
How affordable is Las Palmas
A big advantage of Las Palmas is its affordability. It might not be able to compete with cheap Southeast Asian or Central American destinations, but for a sizeable European city it is extremely affordable. A beer in a bar costs around €1.50, a nice tapas meal for two can be had for €15-25 including wine, and car rental for a day is €30.
It’s harder to pinpoint apartment rental prices, as it really depends on the time of year and how long you will be renting for. If you arrive in low season and decide to stay for a few months, you can find a 1-bed apartment for €450-800 pm. Airbnbs are more expensive, but it’s always worth contacting the host to negotiate a lower price if you’re staying for a longer period.
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Orientation & Where To Stay In Las Palmas
Las Palmas is the capital of Gran Canaria, one of the seven Canary Islands, which are located in the Atlantic Ocean just off the west coast of Africa. The Canaries are part of Spain and, therefore, the EU, which makes them a great destination for anyone holding a EU passport, as you can technically stay for as long as you like.
Las Palmas is in the north-east corner of the island, and the main areas of interest include the beachside neighbourhood of Las Canteras, and the historic old town areas of Vegueta and Triana in the south of the city.
Getting There & Around
Gran Canaria has only one international airport (LPA), which lies south of Las Palmas. Flights from mainland Spain are usually cheap, and many other European countries offer affordable flights as Gran Canaria is a popular tourist destination.
To get into the city from the airport you can take bus 60 for around €3 or a taxi for €30-35, taking 30-45 minutes.
Las Palmas doesn’t have a huge population, but the city itself is quite spread out along the coast. If you’re staying in the Las Canteras area you will be able to walk easily to most places. To get to the old town from the beach and vice versa you can either hop on a Gua Gua bus (pronounced wha-wha) for €1-2 or you can take a taxi for around €5. Taxis are actually very affordable in Las Palmas and, if shared with a few friends, often make more sense than taking the bus.
Finding accommodation is much easier if you arrive in the low season, and you could find a nice beachfront apartment or studio for €600-700. If you are planning on arriving during high season (December-February), be prepared to pay a much higher price and accept that it could take longer to find a place. Apartments in Vegueta are usually a bit cheaper than the beachside neighbourhoods.
There is also a coliving/coworking space in Las Palmas that caters directly to digital nomads and remote workers. ReStation is located in Las Canteras, just a few minutes from the beach and is a great option if you just want to land and settle in quickly. They also organise regular events for nomads that are a great way to meet people.
Coworkinc C also has one apartment with 4 rooms that are rented to digital nomads.
Internet and places to work
In general, Las Palmas has reliable, fast Wi-Fi, but free connections at cafes and restaurants are not yet common. At home, you can expect a fiber connection to have download and upload speeds of around 50-100 Mbps, depending on your provider.
There are a few nice cafes that are popular with nomads for enjoying a good cup of coffee and getting some work done. Café Regina allegedly has the best coffee in town, Café de Vita is just around the corner from the beach and Bar Café la Peregrina is located in the old town.
New coworking spaces are popping up every few months, some of the most popular are:
- ReStation – One of the newest coworking spaces in Las Palmas, which stands out because it also offers a joint coliving space. The coworking office and shared apartments are located less than a 5-minute walk from Las Canteras beach. Regular events and meetups, and a real startup vibe, make this a great place to meet like-minded nomads.
- Coworking C (or CWC) – Close to the port and run by a local entrepreneur and co-organiser of the Nomad City event, the space is a well-equipped and a great place to meet people.
- The House – Located in Vegueta and has more of a local feel. It’s run by some local entrepreneurs who started renting out the extra space in their web design office, it is now one of Las Palmas’ most popular coworking spaces. The stunning roof terrace is definitely a big draw and a lovely place to take a break or have lunch.
- Sopa de Azul – Based in the northern La Isleta area, this is a coworking and creative space. You’ll meet digital nomads and local entrepreneurs here, as well as artists, photographers and other creatives working in the studio area. Sopa de Azul is only 100 metres from the beach.
What and where to eat?
Canarian cuisine has a lot in common with traditional Spanish food. Tapas, little dishes to share, are popular on all the islands. The Canaries grow a lot of their own produce, so you can easily find a great variety of local fresh fruit and vegetables all year round.
Of course, there are many delicious seafood dishes to try, and don’t miss out on the famous papas arrugadas or wrinkly potatoes, which are served with a spicy red sauce called mojo.
Some of my favourite restaurants in Las Palmas are:
Tasca Galileo – A traditional restaurant that serves some of the best tapas in town. They serve interesting dishes alongside all the favourites, like croquetas and jamon. Very reasonably priced, a meal for two including wine will cost around €20-25.
Basal – With a prime location on the beachfront at Las Canteras, Basal serves modern Spanish food and some Asian inspired dishes, like wok bowls. The pork ribs are incredible and the apple cookie dessert is one of their most popular dishes. If you’re looking for a reasonably priced restaurant on the beach amongst all the touristy places, Basal is one of the best options.
Mr. Kale – One of the few hipster eateries in town. As the name suggests, they serve some healthy dishes, including acai bowls and delicious smoothies, alongside hearty burgers and arguably the best poached eggs in town. If you’re after a solid brunch option, try the rye toast with smashed avocado, cherry tomatoes, feta, balsamic reduction and poached egg.
Bodegon Pachichi – This bar-restaurant can only be described as rustic. The little local eatery serves a only a dozen dishes of traditional tapas and delicacies from the region. It’s super affordable and popular with locals, so make sure you arrive just after it opens to get a table. Don’t miss out on the chorizos al inferno, chorizo skewers set on fire at the table. The papas arrugadas, cheese with mojo and simple tomato salad are also really delicious.
If you’re craving Italian food after all the tapas, you should give San Andrea a try. This is at the higher end of the price range in Las Palmas, but the tiny Italian-run restaurant serves homemade pasta dishes and pizza that are as good as in Italy itself. Try the seafood pasta and lasagne.
Things to do around town
Las Palmas is a dream for water sports fans, and you will see surfers out in the waves every day of the year. Kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding and snorkelling are also popular and can be done right at Las Canteras beach.
If you like to immerse yourself in local culture, you can visit some of the museums in Vegueta and Triana. The Columbus museum, housed in Casa de Colon, Columbus’ former residence, is a must-visit (even just for the beautiful building).
Every Saturday, the paseo along Las Canteras turns into an outdoor music venue, as live bands play at different venues along the beach. The venues take it in turn to host bands and you can follow along until you end up at the aptly name Plaza de la Musica at the far south of the beach. People will party at the two clubs, and on the big square between them, until the early morning. It’s a really fun and cheap night out with a few friends or a big group.
Las Palmas’ most popular night out happens every Thursday night, when people flock to the old town for Tapas Night. The little bars lining the streets around Mercado de Vegueta offer tapas and wine for €1-2 each. It’s a fun way to try different dishes and you’ll be sure to bump into other nomads from around town.
On Fridays and Saturdays, Mercado del Puerto in La Isleta is the go-to place for tapas. The indoor market and the surrounding bars serve all sorts of delicious treats and it’s a great place to meet friends and have a cheap night out.
Is it easy to meet other nomads?
Absolutely! Las Palmas is really making a name for itself as a Nomad City and more and more nomads are flocking here to see what the hype is all about. If you’re working at a coworking space, you’ll easily meet other nomads.
The Digital Nomads Gran Canaria Meetup group regularly hosts meetups in the city’s best bars, with around 50-70 nomads usually attending, so you’ll easily connect with new people.
ReStation holds regular creative breakfasts, usually on Tuesday mornings. You can follow their Facebook page to find out about the next one.
Coworking C hosts a Pitch Night, usually every month or two, which is a great way to meet other coworkers and find out about their ideas and projects.
With its relaxed vibe and awesome weather, Las Palmas is really one of the best places to live in Europe, and not only during winter. The nomad scene here is growing every month, and it has the potential to become one of the biggest nomad hotspots in Europe, if not the world.