Las Palmas is a large Spanish city, which just happens to be on the island of Gran Canaria. That fact adds the exotic, slightly African and international flavor to the place. It played an important part in the early exploration and exploitation of Africa and the New World, some of which is recounted in the Casa de Colon Museum. Columbus may have slept there, but it was never his house. It was actually the mansion of early governors. Other museums of note are the Museo Canaria with a number of Cro Magnon skulls, and the fascinating Elder Museum of Science and Technology. For shopping, strolling and general local interest, head to La Vegueta, the oldest quarter and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the adjacent Triana high street shopping district. Most visitors are here for the beaches, and the municipal Playa de Las Canteras is a long, clean and safe option if that is your intention. The Canaria in the name of the islands refers to the indigenous Presa Canaria breed of dogs, which are large, strong and made quite an impression on the earliest Spanish visitors.