The entrancing old barrio at the heart of Las Palmas on Gran Canaria, UNESCO World Heritage site Vegueta has its origins back in the 15th century. It is centered around the Plaza Santa Ana, a cobbled piazza surrounded dominated by the twin-spired, heavily ornate Cathedral of Santa Ana; it was the island’s first church, consecrated in the 15th century following the island’s capture by Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain in 1478. It is a delightful mixture of Gothic and Renaissance flourishes, surrounded by an array of highly decorative townhouses reflecting architectural styles from the 15th to the 19th centuries.
Among the spider’s web of cobbled backstreets and atmospheric squares in Vegueta are several Baroque churches and the Museo Canario (Canary Island Museum), which showcases the world’s foremost collection of tools, jewelry and pottery utilized by the Guanches, the indigenous island population who were displaced with the arrival of their Spanish occupiers. Another architectural highlight of the district is the ocher-colored Casa de Colón (Columbus House), where Christopher Columbus reportedly stayed on his way to discover the New World in 1492. Its ornate façade is covered with elaborately carved wooden balconies and the interior houses relics of the great Spanish explorer.
However, half the charm of a visit to Vegueta is simply wandering the historic streets, relaxing in sidewalks bars, rummaging in the weekend markets or sampling Canarian tapas and honey rum.
Vegueta is the ancient center of Las Palmas on Gran Canaria.
Cathedral of Santa Ana on Plaza Santa Ana opens Mon–Fri 10am–4.30pm, Sat 10am–1.30pm. Admission is adults €2.40, children go free. Museo Canario is at Doctor Verneau, 2, and opens Mon–Fri 10am–8pm, Sat–Sun 10am–2pm. Admission for adults is €4, seniors & students €2.40, children under age 12 free. Casa de Colón is found at Calle de Colón, 1. Admission is free and it is open Mon–Sat 10am–6pm, Sun 10am–3pm.