We are sure that you have ever heard “I’m going on vacation to Gran Canarias island”, “my cousin lives in Las Palmas”, “I have a friend who is from Palma de Gran Canaria”, etc. And you, if you are from Gran Canaria, surely every time you hear Gran Canarias or any of the previous phrases it gives you a kind of psychotic break. On the other hand, if you read us from abroad, we are sure that this article will help you to properly mention each of the Canary Islands, its provinces and capitals. In this article we are going to review some terms that we usually hear for those who are referring to Gran Canaria and that aren’t correct. Here we go!
The island is named Gran Canaria, not Gran Canarias
Gran Canaria is located within the autonomous community of the Canary Islands, which has two provinces, Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Las Palmas. Within the province of Santa Cruz de Tenerife are the islands of El Hierro, La Palma (singular), La Gomera and Tenerife. On the other hand, there is the province of Las Palmas, within which are the islands of Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote and La Graciosa (in addition to the island of Lobos and other islets).
Therefore, when we refer to the tourist destination of Gran Canaria, the correct thing is that we name it by the name of the island and not by the name of the province. In addition, Gran Canarias does not exist, there is the Canary Islands as an autonomous community and Gran Canaria as an island, the fusion that we sometimes hear is an invention. Like there is no Palma de Gran Canaria. Palma is in the Balearic Islands and is the capital of the island of Palma de Mallorca. And, at the same time, we have the Canary Island of La Palma, but it is in the province of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. We understand that all this can be a tongue twister for many, but here we are to try to clarify doubts 🙂
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, the capital of Gran Canaria
On the other hand, the capital of Gran Canaria and the largest city in the Canary Islands is called Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. It would not be correct to say “I’m going to Las Palmas”. Although it is true that once inside the island the locals abbreviate and say “I live in Las Palmas”, referring to the city. What is not right is for someone from outside of Gran Canaria to say “I’m going to Las Palmas on vacation.” That is, he is really going to travel to Gran Canaria and not to the rest of the islands in that province.
And there is nothing that annoys us more than hearing the island referred to as Gran Canarias. Well, maybe it bothers us more when they say that we Canarians say “yayo” instead of “chacho”, but that would be enough for another article hehe. We hope this mini discourse on what to call Gran Canaria has been helpful. Ideally, we can all call each “thing” by its name.
Guides to Gran Canaria
By the way, if you are visiting the island soon, we invite you to take a look at our guide to the places to see in Gran Canaria. If you don’t want to waste your time organising your trip, we already have itineraries set up for you which you can check out below.
We are Ruth & Jorge, Gran Canarians with a travelling soul. Experts in tourism and digital marketing. We share the most authentic side of Gran Canaria (where we live) and… our adventures around the world!