San fernando

San Fernando: Authentic Gran Canaria | Away from the hustle and bustle

The sun beats down on my shoulders as I walk through the pleasant streets of San Fernando. The smell of freshly baked bread and grilled meat mixes with the salty sea air. Here, away from the hustle and bustle of the tourist hotspots, I experience the authentic Canarian atmosphere.

Authentic houses with white facades in the town of San Fernando in Gran Canaria
Photo Verschueren Eddy
Authentic houses with white facades in the town of San Fernando in Gran Canaria
Photo Verschueren Eddy

San Fernando is not your average tourist destination. It is a vibrant town with a rich history and its own character. The residents greet me with a friendly smile and are happy to have a chat.

Camel as a Symbol of Tradition and Economy

San Fernando, Gran Canaria – The residents of this Canarian town honor the camel, an animal that has played a crucial role in the development of Gran Canaria’s economy.

Camels are a symbol of tradition and economy in San Fernando
Photo Verschueren Eddy
Camels are a symbol of tradition and economy in San Fernando
Photo Verschueren Eddy

The initiative for this monument came from Pedro Franco, Francisco Jim├ęnez (“Paco el de los Camellos”) and ├üngel Ruiz Quesada, all ardent lovers of Canarian traditions, culture and history. They recognised the important role camels played in agriculture, construction and, later, tourism on the island.

For the unveiling at the time, four camels, from cameleers in Sub-Saharan Africa, were brought to San Fernando. Relatives of the honored cameleer sat on their backs. As the mayor of San Fernando cut a ribbon, the camels, held by ribbons attached to the cloth, unveiled the beautiful monument.

Shopping in San Fernando

I start my day with a visit to the Mercado Municipal. The market is bursting with life. Stalls full of fresh produce, local specialities, handicrafts and souvenirs fill the square. Merchants call out their wares and bargain with customers. I buy some delicious Queso de Flor de Guia, a Gran Canaria speciality, and enjoy a refreshing glass of freshly squeezed fruit juice.

Covered Market in San Fernando (Gran Canaria)
(Closed)
Covered Market in San Fernando (Gran Canaria)
(Closed)

But unfortunately, after 40 years, this municipal market building was demolished in 2022 to build an ultra-modern new covered market. I therefore have to wait and see how the new complex will be resurrected.

This 40-year-old market building was demolished in 2022
to build an ultra-modern new covered market.
This 40-year-old market building was demolished in 2022
to build an ultra-modern new covered market.

After the market, I go shopping in the Calle Partera Leonorita and the Avenida de Galdar. Here you will find plenty of shops selling clothes, shoes, accessories and souvenirs. Prices are significantly lower than in the tourist areas. I score a few unique souvenirs for home and enjoy the lively atmosphere on the streets.

In 2019, a permit was approved for a new shopping center in San Fernando. The location of the new center is the empty plot once occupied by the old Viajes Insular building, near the Mercadona and next to the Nilo shopping center. It provides access to the GC500, Avenida de Galdar and Calle Alcalde Enrique Jorge.

Shopping in the shopping centers of San Fernando (Gran Canaria)
Shopping in the shopping centers of San Fernando (Gran Canaria)
Shopping in the shopping centers of San Fernando on Avenida de Galdar (Gran Canaria)
Photo Verschueren Eddy
Shopping in the shopping centers of San Fernando on Avenida de Galdar (Gran Canaria)
Photo Verschueren Eddy

Lunch and Dinner

For lunch I sit down on a terrace in the center of the city. While I enjoy a delicious tapa and a cool glass of local wine, I have a beautiful view of the city.

Restaurant El Picoteo (San Fernando) 
Foto Emigreren Gran Canaria
Tavern El Picoteo (San Fernando)
Foto Emigr├ęs Gran Canaria

When the sun starts to set, I take an evening walk through the city. The streets are now lit with atmospheric lamps and music sounds everywhere. I enjoy the warm evening air and the relaxed atmosphere.

For dinner, I choose a cozy restaurant in the Calle Partera Leonorita. I sample delicious Canarian cuisine, with fresh fish, local specialities and tasty tapas. I end the evening with a traditional Barraquito, a liqueur with coffee, cinnamon and lemon peel.

The Canarian cuisine is super tasty and affordable
The Canarian cuisine is super tasty and affordable

On a cultural adventure

In the afternoon I visit the Casa Condal de San Fernando. This 18th-century mansion is now an exhibition space where you can learn about local history. I learn about the ancient traditions of Gran Canaria and admire the beautiful architecture of the building.

Casa Condal de San Fernando
Casa Condal de San Fernando
Church of San Fernando Parish (Gran Canaria)
Church of San Fernando Parish (Gran Canaria)

San Fernando Surprised Me

Feeling satisfied, I board the bus back to my hotel. San Fernando is not what I expected. It is not your average tourist destination, but an authentic Canarian town with its own character. Here I experienced the true soul of Gran Canaria.

Tips for your visit to San Fernando:

  • No car needed: San Fernando is well served by public transport. There are several bus connections to Playa del Ingl├ęs, Maspalomas and other places in Gran Canaria.
  • Cosy atmosphere: San Fernando has a cozy and authentic atmosphere. You can really get to know the locals here.
  • Perfect getaway: San Fernando is an ideal day trip from Playa del Ingl├ęs or Maspalomas.
  • Stay: There are several hotels and flats in San Fernando to suit every budget.
  • Eating and drinking: San Fernando has a diverse range of restaurants, tapas bars and caf├ęs. Be sure to try the fresh fish, local specialities and delicious tapas.

San Fernando is more than just a thoroughfare. Discover this charming town and experience the authentic Canarian atmosphere!