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Gran Canaria for digital nomads and expats: The ultimate guide for Las Palmas

My first touch with Gran Canaria was about 10 years ago when I purchased a cheap Ryanair flight and escaped a cold, European winter for 10 days.

Since then I fell in love with this beautiful island.



A few years later, in the summer of 2014, I decided to move to Gran Canaria permanently; working from there remotely as a UX designer. I didn’t know many people like me at that time (so-called “digital nomads” these days).

Then I opened a little coworking space alongside renting a few coliving apartments in Las Palmas.

My coworking & coliving space at Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (2014)

Freelancers, entrepreneurs and remote employees from abroad came to the island to enjoy the perfect lifestyle. It was so much fun!

These people inspired others and I started to get (too) many messages with questions from random people. All of whom wanting to move to Gran Canaria for an extended period of time.

As most of the questions were similar and I didn’t have much time, I decided to forward all these people to the Facebook group Gran Canaria Digital Nomads, where not only me but also other Canarian nomads helped with answers.

A nice online-community has been built up which makes me happy. But what I realised was that with so many members and questions, the group might be confusing: you see too many different answers and I noticed that not all of them are accurate.

That's why I decided to write down this guide ✍️



When is the best time to visit Gran Canaria?

Short answer: Anytime.

Average temperatures

Longer answer:

  • The Autumn and Winter, might be called ‘the best,’ because you can either have minus 10ºC (14ºF) in Munich or plus 25ºC (77ºF) in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria with the sun
  • Even with rainy winter days, the temperature rarely drops under 17ºC (62ºF) in Las Palmas (even during the night)
  • There is Carnival for almost the whole of February - Remember, it’s more difficult to find accommodation during this period, and it’s more expensive too
  • October is the best for surfing
  • In the Summer months, between the 15th of June and the 15th of September, you have the “Panza de burro” (donkey belly) which is a "big cloud" that covers the north of the island (you can easily go one week without sun). I love it as I’m not sunburnt all the time, but many people hate it


Which is the best part of the island for digital nomads? 🏝️

Short answer: Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

In general, people decide between the north and south of the Island. If you are not going to rent a car, the south is less convenient. You don’t need to have a car in Las Palmas.

Longer answer:

  • What people like about the north (Las Palmas): More authentic, better food, local people, better social life, fewer tourists, co-working spaces, faster internet, cheaper and good for surfing (Playa de las Canteras)
  • What people don’t like about the north: Less sun, lower temperatures, more clouds, more wind, fewer people speak English
  • What do people like about the south (Maspalomas): More sun, higher temperatures, less cloudy, less windy, most people speak English, better nightlife
  • What people hate about the South? Very touristy, can be too hot (especially during the summer), only 1 co-working space, more expensive, harder to find authentic places (more authentic towns than Playa de Inglés and Maspalomas are Agüimes, Fataga, Mogan, El Pajar, Cercados de Espinos, Monte León), not much surfing (besides the summer months)

How To Find Accommodation In Gran Canaria?

Finding mid/long-term accommodation is probably the most annoying part of moving to Gran Canaria 😞

When I moved to Gran Canaria in 2014, I noticed one thing - most locals renting apartments don’t post it online - to avoid annoying agencies contacting them. They just put an orange sign with the phone number to the window.

It still works now but it has 2 disadvantages: you need to have to be in Gran Canaria to find these signs and you need to speak Spanish to talk to the locals.

I can imagine that you would like to have the accommodation sorted out before you arrive. Am I right? 😉

Let's have a look at the Las Palmas neighbourhoods where most nomads stay:

  • Las Canteras beach - Guanarteme and La Isleta are popular among the people who are looking for a more local vibe
  • Mesa y López - central area with all the shops and infrastructure, but still close to the beach
  • Alcaravaneras beach - not as nice as Las Canteras as it's basically a harbour, but it's popular for beach sports (volleyball, football, sea kayak, regatta) and it's also a bit cheaper


The first two are probably most popular among nomads. Other areas like Ciudad Jardín, Vegueta and Triana are visually nicer, cheaper and I would recommend them for you to consider if the beach is not your priority.

There are few websites which compare offers, here is the full list:


I have a good experience with first 3 but I included others which people recommended in the Facebook group.

When you contact the landlords, you must call them or send a Whatsapp message. Nobody is going to answer your emails and text messages. If you don't speak Spanish, I'd recommend Whatsapp and using Google Translate.


Tip: Landlord didn't answer your Whatsapp message? Don't give up! Follow up at least twice.

If you want to rent an apartment, most of the landlords will ask you to sign a 12-month contract. Sometimes you can negotiate for 6 months or less, however it is very difficult. If the apartment is offered online, there is a big chance that it’s a real estate agency. They will charge you 1-month rent as a part of their commission.

Most landlords will ask you for a 1-month deposit, which is standard. However, expats have it a bit harder and usually, the landlords ask them to pay at least 2 or 3 months’ worth as a deposit. I’ve heard about some cases where people had to pay 6 months or more. Crazy!

How much are the utilities?

Usually, you'll have to pay utilities along with your rent, landlords take care of taxes. For a 2-bedroom apartment, the electricity is around 35€/month, internet around 50€ and water about 20€. Most condos come with electric stove and you won't need heating so there's no gas to pay for.


Two helpful "hacks":

1. Find suitable apartments/rooms on Airbnb with an empty calendar for the next few weeks/months and contact the landlord asking for a discount. Even the Airbnb monthly prices are still higher than local rents, but you don't have to pay the deposit (and then struggle to get it back), you have some flexibility (the payment is month-by-month) and you are covered by Airbnb insurance/support.

2️. Write down your requirements for the apartment and delegate the scouting to the Spanish personal assistant you hire on Upwork. Your PA will probably save you more money (plus your time) than what you will pay him/her for this job.

I was doing some research a while ago, asking nomads where they prefer to work. Most of them prefer working from home, followed by the coffee shops and then few go to co-working spaces (this one surprised me).

Where To Work?

I was doing some research a while ago, asking nomads where they prefer to work. Most of them prefer working from home, followed by the coffee shops and then few go to co-working spaces (this one surprised me).

Working from the apartment 🏠

I recommend confirming with the landlord what the speed of the internet is like. Luckily, almost everywhere in Las Palmas, you have fibre optic internet and there is usually no issue with the speed.

If there is no internet in your apartment, there are lots of possible internet providers but almost all of them want you to sign a 12-month contract. Some people in our group recommended "Fusion Fibra" from Movistar – as it has only 3-month contract


Co-working days 👥

This started as a social event to meet all the nomads who work from home. Almost every month we organise a free co-working day in one of the local co-working spaces.


Coffee shops to work from ☕


Coworking spaces 💻

Common questions

Get a SIM card with mobile data 🤳

If you come from another EU country, you might want to keep your local SIM card as the rates for European roaming are quite low.

There are plenty of options to buy a Spanish SIM card. Most nomads recommended me Yoigo: it's prepaid, the mobile internet is quick, you don't need special registration (with contracts you need to be a resident sometimes, or at least to have a Spanish bank account) and it's also quite cheap.

Another popular option is Mundo. Remember, that you will probably need a passport to buy a SIM card (even you are EU resident).


Learn Spanish 🇪🇸

You can manage it without Spanish but it's quite useful to learn at least few key words. Duolingo is a free mobile app which can teach you the basics and it works well.

There is a language exchange group on Facebook which organises meetups in Las Palmas.

And of course, the best way to learn Spanish is to watch Narcos with Spanish subtitles 😀 Watching football is another perfect way to practice.



Get a NIE number 📝

The NIE number is a tax ID number used by the Spanish state to keep track of your economic activity. Once you get a Spanish NIE number it never changes.

EU and EEA citizens, plus Swiss nationals can come to Gran Canaria for as long as they want without needing to register with the local authorities.

However, if you plan to spend longer than 90 days in Gran Canaria, getting an NIE number makes daily life and lots of admin procedures much smoother. Many banks, utility companies, internet providers, government offices and businesses ask for the NIE, and you also need it if you set up a company in Gran Canaria.

To get an NIE number you need:

  • A proof of address - a rental contract, even a temporary one from your holiday let landlord, is enough
  • A proof of a regular income of at least 600€ per month (per person for families). Having significant savings in your bank account (at least 5000€) also helps.

Where to get NIE? Extranjeria at Plaza de la Concordia, 5. It’s open Mon – Fri 9 am till 2 pm. If you are an EU, EEA or EFTA citizen, there is no need to book an appointment in advance.


Open a bank account 💳

In general, you don't need to. A local bank account might be required in some situations, like signing a contract for broadband internet.

If you want to save money for ATM withdrawals, other nomads recommend Revolut and N26. Both are like virtual online banks but they also give you a physical debit card. All for free.

If you really need a local bank account, then have a look on ING Direct. You can do it 100% online without the need to go to the office (even opening the account itself, requesting cards or getting a new login PIN). They have 1 single branch office in LP if you absolutely need to go to the office, but with it all online, you probably won’t need to. You can have a free "Cuenta sin nómina" as long as you transfer 600€ to the account every month or keep a balance more than 2000€. Here are the requirements to get the account setup as a foreigner (sorry, Spanish only).

Another recommendation from Ondrej: “There is a bank account BBVA BLUE for people under 30. There are no restrictions on this account (minimum balance, transfers each month, etc.) and their mobile app is just amazing.”


Receive packages from abroad 📦

Normally they are returned because there is no ID / NIE on them, therefore they cannot be processed at customs.

Solutions:

  • Ask a local friend if you can use his ID and Name to process customs
  • Get the NIE ☝️
  • Get them posted by normal post and they get here from the UK. If they are sent by Parcel Services like DHL, they have to go through customs and will get stopped.

Community events

Like in other cities popular among digital nomads, there is a local community meetup in Gran Canaria organised about once a month (check out the group for the updates). It's a great way to meet and network with other nomads.

Even though I stopped attending these "general" meetups, I'm still interested to meet other nomads with whom I have something in common. For instance, we could go surfing together, explore some new hiking trails or talk about online business.

There are many events organised spontaneously and you can take a lead and organise your own event for nomad community in Gran Canaria:

  • Meetup/Dinner/Breakfast in your niche
  • Workshop in your domain expertise
  • Weekend exploration trip
  • Sports activity

Leading an event is a great way to connect with other interesting people in a new city.

Feel free to create a Facebook event, add some details and share it in the group.

I hope this information helped you at least a bit to prepare for your stay in Gran Canaria. Besides of Gran Canaria, I gathered a few more nomad communities in Europe. You can find them all on nomadlaning.com

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