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Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, or Las Palmas for short, is the capital (together with Santa Cruz de Tenerife!) of the Canary Islands, an autonomous region of Spain, albeit a couple of hours by plane away from the mainland. It's the largest city of the Canary Islands and Spain's ninth largest. The city itself has about 400,000 inhabitants, while the total urban area has around 700,000 people living here. It's located along the northeastern coastline of the island of Gran Canaria.
Weather here is close to perfect, and a scientifcal survey even 'proved' this! Summers last from May to early October when it is generally between 24 and 28 degrees Celsius during the day and nights are between 16 and 20 degrees on average. Winters last from November to March but temperatures are still around or slightly above 20 degrees Celsius, nights around 15 degrees. This is also the wettest time of year while summers hardly see any rain at all.
Gran Canaria Airport (LPA) is the busiest of the Canary Islands and dozens of airlines serve the island. Budget airline Ryanair has flights to a number of cities in Europe, while German based Condor and Air Berlin have flights as well. TUIfly, Thomson Airways and Thomas Cook Airlines serve a significant number of destinations as well.
Only a few cities in Africa are served, though Mauritania Airways started flying to a number of Mauritanian cities from 2009 onwards. Binter Canarias, has flights from Marrakech to the islands.
Trasmediterránea provides ferries from Cadiz in Spain to and from Gran Canaria and oth Canary Islands.
Naviera Armas runs weekly services between Portimao in mainland Portugal to Madeira and on to Tenerife, with connections to other Canary Islands, like Gran Canaria.
Other Canary Islands
Trasmediterránea and Fred Olsen, are the main operators between Gran Canaria and the other Canary Islands of Lanzarote, Tenerife, Fuerteventura, El Hierro, La Palma and La Gomera.
|Hotel Tamadaba||Calle Pelayo 10||Hotel||-|
|Big Fish Hostel||C/Sargento Llagas 34||Hostel||84|
|Surf House Las Palmas||Calle Covadonga, 78||Hostel||-|
|Lua-Lua Youth Hostel||Calle Fernando Guanarteme 27||Hostel||-|
Internet is widely available within Spain. Most airports have wifi-zones and in most towns there are internet cafés or shops where you can use internet for a fixed price. Wi-Fi points in bars and cafeterias are available after ordering, and most hotels offer Wi-Fi connection in common areas for their guests.
See also: International Telephone Calls
The international access code for Spain is +34. The emergency number for police, ambulance and the fire brigade is 112.
In cities you can find plenty of public phones, and 'locutorios'. The latter are small shops where you can use the phone and use internet. Most of them also sell prepaid cards for mobile telephones. These shops are used a lot by foreigners to call to their mother country.
The main mobile network operators in Spain are Yoigo, Vodafone, Movistar and Orange, as in most of Europe voice and data coverage is generally good in urban areas however it can be patchy in rural locations. Cheap mobile phones (less than €50) with some pre-paid minutes are sold at FNAC or any phone operator's shop (Vodafone, Movistar, Orange). Topping-up is then done by buying scratch cards from the small stores, supermarkets, vending points (often found in tobacco shops) or kiosks.
If you want to post a card, you can head to the post office (Correos). The Spanish post is not yet as efficient as colleagues in other countries so receiving a card can take a bit longer than the number of days that it should take. On the website of Correos, you can find the locations of nearby post offices.
Post offices are generally open from 8:30am to 2:00pm, although times will vary according to the size of the city/town and the main post offices might be open until the early evening. Most will also open again on Saturday mornings, but in the smaller towns will close as early as 12 noon. When posting a letter, look for a yellow box and, if possible, post at the post office itself where there will also be divisions for local, national and international mail. Be prepared for long queues at the post office. This is why tobacco shops sell stamps and many will also have the facility to weigh packages. Standard letters/postcards of up to 20 grams sent within Spain are €0.34. However, non-standard letters/postcards of up to 20g are €0.39. Letters/postcards of 20 to 50 grams are €0.45. In the case of international shipping, the price is €0.64 to most countries within Europe for standard envelopes (letters/postcards) up to 20g, for a few European countries and outside Europe it is €0.78. If you want to send a package you are probably better off with a private courier company like TNT, DHL or UPS, as they offer quick and reliable services against competitive prices.
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