Explore Gáldar, Gran Canaria's royal town

Gáldar's the pride of the north of the island. It was, as Agaldar, the capital of the kingdom of the Guanartematos, one of the two canarii tribes who occupied Gran Canaria before the arrival of the Spanish conquistadores in the 15th century. You'll find it, 20 minutes along the GC-2, travelling from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.

Gáldar's tree of life

Gáldar drago

Gáldar is one of the most interesting Gran Canaria towns to visit. One of it's most emblematic features is its drago which is an extension of its ayuntameniento (town hall) and which can be viewed in the . Scientists have estimated that this particular dragon tree is the oldest on the island.

The canarii used the blood, i.e the sap, of the drago for medicinal purposes. They also used the wood of the tree as a burial resting place for the embalmed bodies of their dead. Egypt doesn't have a monopoly on mummies, as you'll discover if you pay a visit to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria's Museo Canario.

Gran Canaria's Camino de Santiago

Iglesia de Galdar 

Although nowhere near as famous as the Galician version, there is a Camino de Santiago on Gran Canaria. This connects the church dedicated to Saint James in San Bartolome de Tirajana with Gáldar's Iglesia de Santiago de los Caballeros. As the celebrated actor Michael Caine might say, not a lot of people know that.

Galdar's perfect square

Plaza Grande

Arguably the prettiest square on the whole of Gran Canaria, Gáldar's Plaza Grande houses the town's church as well as its ayuntamiento, as in town hall. Gáldar's pretty much self-contained. Houses may have been built towards the top of a volcano which hopefully won't erupt again, but the centre is easy enough to navigate by foot.

Although it's invariably sunny, warm up on a colder day with one of the favourite Canarian snacks, churros y chocolate. These are Spanish-style doughnuts which are dunked into a lukewarm, rather than hot, cup of chocolate. And on a hotter day, the Indian laurel trees provide a welcoming shade.

Market-fresh Gáldar

Mercado de Gáldar

If it's high-street shops you're after, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and the island's various shopping centres are a better bet to visit than Gáldar. But if you want to purchase local fruit and vegetables, head to the Mercado de Gáldar. Here you'll be able to buy bananas from the nearby plantations and the municipality's famous sweet red onion, a popular ingredient in Canarian salads.