Garldar used to be the centre of the Guanche civilisation in Gran Canaria, so there are lots of archaeological ruins there. The Spanish took over from the Guanches in 1484 and the name Galdar comes from the word “Agaldar”, meaning Royal City. Before Las Palmas, Galdar was the capital of Gran Canaria.
This town today is quite big and busy and it’s well worth a visit. It was the first place outside of the resorts in the south that I visited 11 years ago when I first moved to Gran Canaria. I had my sister with me that week and I remember we found this amazing Chinese restaurant. I’ve been back to Galdar a few times since and haven’t managed to find it!
What to See
The Santiago de los Caballeros church is a must-see. Look out for the sixteenth century green font and the Virgin Mary and Christ statues. The church is in the Plaza del Santiago, which is a nice square. The town hall is in the same square and you can find a big dragon tree in the courtyard. This tree is believed to date back to 1700 so it’s very old.
Visit the Painted Cave Museum and Archaelogical Park if you’re taking a day trip to Galdar. This museum contains many colorful Guanche paintings.
If you head to Sardina del Norte, you will find a beautiful beach there. This is only a small detour from Galdar. The golden sand might be an unusual sight in the north of the island but lovely to sunbathe on and fans of Canarian cooking will enjoy the fresh sardine dishes prepared daily in the local restaurants.
The Caldera de Los Pinos de Galdar, a big volcanic crater, is nearby, on the road to Artenara. You can get some amazing views of Gran Canaria’s north coast from this spot.
How to Get There
You can take the number 103 or 105 bus from the San Telmo station in Las Palmas. During the week these buses run every 15 minutes. At the weekend they’re every half an hour. There is a new service from Faro de Maspalomas (the station near the lighthouse) which is the number 150 and runs weekdays only.
If you’re driving, take the Carretera del Norte (motorway) from Las Palmas. This road runs parallel to the north coast. Go through the towns of Banaderos, Quintanilla and then San Andres and then take the “Guia-Galdar-Agaete” turn; it is signposted.
It only takes about 20 minutes to get to Galdar from Las Palmas so if you’re doing a day trip around Gran Canaria you might want to add this interesting and historical little Canarian town to your itinerary.