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Matthew Hirtes, our resident broadsheet journalist, moved to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria back in 2004. He's travelled extensively through Spain, covering it for such publications as Telegraph Travel, Metro, and The Independent. The author of Going Local in Gran Canaria: How To Turn a Holiday Destination into a Home, Matthew truly is a resident expert. Matthew writes for two sections of Spain Buddy: Moving to Spain and Spanish Football as well as providing Reviews

58 Comments

  1. Arne
    February 23, 2014 @ 7:13 pm

    Hi, great advice. Any advice on getting a six month rental in las Palmas? Best to just pop by a local letting agent when i get there? I have 2 kids age 4 and 0. What part of town is best?

    Reply

  2. Elle Draper
    February 25, 2014 @ 11:02 am

    HI Arne. Normally I would say to wait until you arrive, so you can get a real bargain. Perhaps book a hotel for a couple of weeks or a month. However – you are heading over with 2 very young children… so you wouldn’t want to leave anything to chance. In your suggestion, I would recommend that you speak to some agents before you go.
    Elle xx

    Reply

  3. Ana
    March 24, 2014 @ 11:38 pm

    Hi. thanks for the article – loved it. next step for me is to read the book :). i have visited GC 2 times, preparing for my third trip here and I absolutely love it there. I am considering more and more to “turn my vacation destination” into my home. So, I started looking for jobs, now seems kind of hard, as most vacancies seem to be for unqualified work, or summer student offers. So, I am still looking, not giving up, but if you have any tips and tricks on how to find a good job there, would appreciate if you could share from your experience. Many thanks and good luck with your future projects.

    Reply

    • Matthew Hirtes
      June 6, 2015 @ 1:45 pm

      Sorry, Ana. Only just noticed your message. Have you considered teaching? If you’ve read the book, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.

      Reply

  4. Anna Celina Fiori
    March 27, 2014 @ 9:00 am

    Hello, we are relocating from Italy and would love to live close to the American school where my son will go; do you suggest an area? I don’t want to live in the city. We are opening an organic restaurant and juice bar (vegetarian/vegan/mini market with concious products) on the 4rth of July everybody welcome!
    Will be contacting Remax property agency as well; We have 10 days to find the house and embrace our container full of dreams. Thank you so much for having such a useful blog.

    Anna Celina

    Reply

    • Elle Draper
      March 27, 2014 @ 3:32 pm

      Good luck with the move Anna. It sounds like you’re already well on your way to settling in. Am sure Remax will help you out.
      Good luck with the restaurant too. When you open – submit it for free to our sister site with this link too: http://www.canarynightlife.net/submit-a-listing/
      Elle x

      Reply

    • Matthew Hirtes
      January 23, 2015 @ 11:36 pm

      Blimey, just seen this, Anna Celina. Hope this article was of use. Love your restaurant.

      Reply

  5. alex bramwell
    January 26, 2015 @ 12:10 pm

    The Canterbury School is also a good option with an infant deptartment in the south.

    Reply

  6. Matthew Hirtes
    January 26, 2015 @ 5:47 pm

    Thank you, Alex, for correcting my oversight. A good, albeit expensive, option. If you require a more comprehensive overview of the educational opportunities available to your family on the island, this will come in handy:

    Reply

  7. Beth
    February 2, 2015 @ 10:25 pm

    Am American and speak Spanish. I’m living in So. France but winters are too cold here! I also enjoy the Spanish culture. Looking to move to Las Palmas area in the future, next few years at latest. I definitely like the idea of very close to big city / cosmopolitan area where I can still get my fix on art museums and culture and night life, etc. and yet be living at the sea right near it (ideally walking distance or not far drive). Is there a nice coastal area close enough to Las Palmas that is not run down or is clean and nice to live in near there? Also, how far away do I have to live to escape the grey skies from Palma and still be living near it? And what nice towns (not too tiny, but coastal please) would you suggest if I still want year round good weather (I’ve heard the north gets grey and cloudy often?)?
    Working is not an issue as I work from home (hopefully WIFI is good there!) I have also considered the area in East where the French Lycee is located as my girls might go to school there if you recommend any coastal towns there..Thanks!

    Reply

    • Matthew Hirtes
      February 3, 2015 @ 12:23 am

      Well, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria’s Las Canteras is quite possibly Spain’s best beach. If you wanted to live further south, how about La Garita: Wifi’s pretty tops.

      Reply

      • Beth
        February 3, 2015 @ 10:31 am

        Thanks for the input Matthew! Can I ask what you and others like about Canteras beach? Is it relatively safe/clean? How many minutes walk to historic center of Las Palmas? Any idea of cost of decent 2 bedroom apartment at beach?

        Also, is the population varied in age or will I be mostly with retirees? I am 45 years old and would hope there is a social life to be had :)

        Reply

        • Matthew Hirtes
          February 3, 2015 @ 12:45 pm

          It’s just a beautiful beach, Beth. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria’s got the cleanest air of any Spanish city. It’s also the city with the 2nd most favourable climate in the world. The province is also one of the youngest in Spain, so have no fear on the fogey front. Just look: http://www.spain-holiday.com/Las-Palmas-de-Gran-Canaria/articles/the-top-10-las-palmas-de-gran-canaria-nightspots. Regarding property, it depends how close you want to be to the beach. First line can be pretty pricy.

          Reply

          • Beth
            February 4, 2015 @ 4:31 pm

            Great! I do also have 2 daughters, but I am sure there will be plenty of children/families as well in the area. But I am curious also about the weather in the North as I keep reading it’s much colder and grey certain times. Can you tell me when that is and is it also wet? Or what temps are we talking about anyway? Thanks again for all your help!

          • Matthew Hirtes
            February 4, 2015 @ 7:30 pm

            Generally, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria’s colder and wetter than the south of the island. Now, during the Carnaval which goes on until the end of the February, is the rainy season. It’s been one of the coldest winters I’ve ever experienced here. The south-west of the island’s best for the weather. Lots of microclimates here.

  8. ben
    June 6, 2015 @ 11:24 am

    Hi All!

    So me and the wife are dreaming of moving us and our clan to GC! (Us and 3 kids 8,5,2).

    The pace of life suits us but the main reason is that when we are in GC our oldest sons chronic asthma and eczema completely disappears when we are there!

    We are just back from out latest holiday to the island (4th year now) and his asthma is playing up and we all have colds due to the dirty English air.

    Just a quick question for you guys…

    My line of work is quite niche and I do quite well here in the UK for work but I’m hoping I can carry on in GC. I’m an industrial abseiler and I carry out a lot of work on the many cliffs in the south west preventing land slides and adding cliffs stabilisation, I also do a lot of work on wind turbines.

    So my question to you guys is have you ever spotted any “rope techs” dangling around out there? If so please let me know so I can chase our dream and a much better outlook for our boy!

    My wife is also a qualified early childhood education teacher and registered child minder and would love to work out there too, but we both need to learn Spanish so we can imagine there won’t be much work for her until then, but if you have info for her please let me know also

    Thanks for your time in reading this and I hope to hear from you soon.

    Ben :)

    Reply

    • Matthew Hirtes
      June 6, 2015 @ 1:49 pm

      Hi Ben, Thanks for getting in touch. I wish I could say the same about my dermatitis clearing up over here. But I do live in the city, nevertheless the one with cleaner air than any other Spanish metropolis, rather than the country. Well, we definitely have wind turbines over here. There are plenty of international schools and English academies over here that would employ your wife. Whilst it’s important for both of you to learn Spanish, it’s more key for you to learn it for reasons of employment. Hope this helps, Matthew

      Reply

  9. Elaine Heenan
    July 8, 2015 @ 12:13 am

    Hello,I see you are giving good advice. I hope you can help me. I am a 55 year old woman, living in Ireland.
    I want to move to gran canaria within the next 2 years. Is it easy to find a house outside the city, may be a small village or on its own. I do home care for the disabled. Also I drive a bus. Would there be any work like that out there.
    I have been searching the www but finding it very hard to find anything, until I came across you.
    Please help.
    Thanks Elaine Heenan.

    Reply

  10. Matthew Hirtes
    July 8, 2015 @ 4:20 pm

    It’s pretty easy to find the sort of property you’re looking for, Elaine. Especially as it’s very much still a buyers’ market on GC at the moment. There would be that sort of work available, yes. But you would probably need to speak Spanish. There are some Facebook groups which advise people about job vacancies and the like.

    Reply

  11. Elaine Heenan
    July 8, 2015 @ 11:31 pm

    Thanks Mathew. Yes I am getting private spanish lessons. Would the houses be a lot cheaper where I am looking?.
    Do you know where I should look for a bank re possession.
    sorry for all the questions.
    Thanks Elaine

    Reply

    • Matthew Hirtes
      July 9, 2015 @ 12:27 am

      But exactly where are you looking, Elaine? Vecindario’s probably the best bet for cheap property as they overbuilt there. However, it’s not exactly easy on the eye.

      Reply

      • Geoff Bateman
        October 27, 2015 @ 1:04 pm

        Ah but the shopping Mall with Carrefour is brilliant. We are also thinking of retiring to GC as we have been 8 times in the last 9 years, so we know the area well. One question is about health. Do they have a free health service or do you have to insure yourself. We are in our 70,s.

        Reply

        • Matthew Hirtes
          October 27, 2015 @ 3:09 pm

          Gran Canaria’s in the Mid-Atlantic, Geoff, but it’s European when it comes to its health service. Yes, it’s free. This is not the United States.

          Reply

  12. Elaine Heenan
    July 9, 2015 @ 12:36 am

    Sorry. Gran canaria, I don’t really mind where as I will be driving, not in any city. Rural or village is best as I like peace and quiet. And where I can work as a senior care assistant.
    Thanks Mathew.
    Elaine

    Reply

    • Matthew Hirtes
      July 9, 2015 @ 6:06 pm

      Well, Elaine, I go into more detail in my book about the various sections. But I reckon the Valle de Agaete, located at the end of the GC-2 would be perfect. Let me know when you can make the move. And if you have any further questions, just shout.

      Reply

  13. Mrs.Maria Horner
    October 25, 2015 @ 11:22 pm

    I am a 50 yr old British divorcee who bought an apartment in Puerto Rico this year. I intend to spend more timeout in Gran Canaria and possibly relocate eventually. I would love to meet other expats. I very much enjoy walking. I’ve just booked a last min flight arriving 26th Oct for this week before heading back to UK to start new job. Any help much appreciated

    Reply

    • Matthew Hirtes
      October 25, 2015 @ 11:49 pm

      Maria, many thanks for your comment. There are numerous GC-related groups on Facebook that you can join. Let me know if you need help finding them.

      Reply

  14. jade
    December 9, 2015 @ 12:30 pm

    Hello. I know basic Spanish and want to move to the south of GC. I know the island well but I want to know about local Infant schools my son will be 9months when I go for a visit to look around at apartments and schools. Is there fees for local spanish schools. What are the school hours for infants if I work?

    Reply

    • Matthew Hirtes
      December 10, 2015 @ 12:39 am

      Hi Jade, there are no fees for Spanish state schools. Hours tend to be 9:00am to 1:00pm. You have to pay extra for lunch and for after-school activities if you want to keep your child in the school whilst you work. Best of luck, Matthew

      Reply

  15. jade
    December 10, 2015 @ 1:37 am

    Thank you Matthew that was a great help.

    Reply

  16. Desislava
    December 24, 2015 @ 10:49 pm

    Hello,

    I’ve been on Gran Canaria before 2 years and I had amazing time there for the 8 months I spent on the island. At this time I found a job really quickly in Playa del ingles, the first day I started to look for it and I found it (waitress). I woild like to move now there for a longer time, but I would like to ask if my first expirience was just a luck or is still possible to find job fast, not for a day, but for week or two. I have degree in Tourism, speak English, basic Spanish and German. I plan to be there in the begging of February or March. Is it a good time to do it or is better to wait for the begging of the summer.

    Thanks!

    Reply

    • Matthew Hirtes
      December 26, 2015 @ 12:06 am

      Hi Desislava, Luck certainly played its part. I’d recommend setting up something in advance if you can. There are various FB groups which can help. Gran Canaria’s a year-round destination, so the time of the year’s not that important. However, winter tends to be very much the Scandinavian season. Best of luck, Matthew

      Reply

  17. Desislava
    January 2, 2016 @ 10:15 am

    Thank you Matthew!

    Reply

    • Matthew Hirtes
      January 2, 2016 @ 10:42 am

      You’re very welcome, Desislava.

      Reply

  18. Sally
    January 28, 2016 @ 3:31 pm

    Hi, we will shortly be moving into our new flat in Las Palmas and are looking to install a water filtration system. We found a company called Filtrosalud, who install and then service the system annually. Unfortunately, as they are based in Tenerife it is not cost effective for them to come to Gran Canaria. Any ideas of how we can go about getting a whole house water filter fitted for showers as well as drinking?

    Reply

    • Elle Draper
      January 28, 2016 @ 7:33 pm

      Hi Sally. I could have recommended someone fabulous if it was for Lanzarote but I can’t help with Gran Canaria. Perhaps if Matthew sees this message he may know someone?

      Over to you Matthew.

      Elle x

      Reply

    • Matthew Hirtes
      January 28, 2016 @ 11:31 pm

      Hi Sally, I posted an enquiry on a FB group I belong to. Cutting and pasting the first reply I’ve received: “Matthew – you can contact Nadine on 696 468 168 – they install full filtration systems for both domestic and business”. Hope that helps. Best of luck with your move, Matthew

      Reply

  19. Sally
    January 28, 2016 @ 9:13 pm

    Hi Elle, What a shame, fingers crossed there is someone out there who can help us. Thank you so much for taking the trouble of replying.

    Best
    Sally

    Reply

    • Elle Draper
      January 28, 2016 @ 9:19 pm

      There should be someone. If Tenerife and Lanzarote both have someone, then GC should have.
      E x

      Reply

  20. Sally
    January 30, 2016 @ 11:57 am

    Hi Matthew, just picked up your post, many thanks for that, we’ll contact Nadine and let you know how it goes.

    Sally

    Reply

    • Matthew Hirtes
      January 30, 2016 @ 5:09 pm

      Best of luck with that, Sally.

      Reply

  21. A.J. LAWRENCE
    February 2, 2016 @ 8:08 pm

    Hello, Matthew. Thank you for the insight in your article and comments. I’m thinking of moving my family to Gran Canaria this coming summer. To get a better feel of things, my wife and I are coming February 18th through the 22nd to visit some schools and drive around. Do you know of any real estate agents that would show us around some rentals, so we can better understand the lay of the land?

    Cheers and thank you!

    Reply

    • Matthew Hirtes
      February 2, 2016 @ 11:02 pm

      You’re very welcome, A.J. This article might come in handy: . Best of luck, Matthew

      Reply

  22. Natalie
    February 6, 2016 @ 5:06 am

    Hi I’m wanting to move to gc very soon but I need advice on schools that are free to attend and speak English and also cheapest place to rent!! I’d find bar work so I’d need to b able to commute each day thank you

    Reply

    • Elle Draper
      February 6, 2016 @ 9:55 am

      Hi Natalie – I’d be very surprised if there was a school that taught in English that is free. However, Matthew will be able to advise with more accuracy. If your kid/s are young enough though, they’ll slot nicely into Spanish state schooling.
      E x

      Reply

  23. Vicki Hughes
    March 10, 2016 @ 4:45 pm

    Hi everyone. My husband and I might be moving to GC from UK this August if he gets the teaching job he has applied for. Looks very promising. We have a house in UK which we will rent out so we will be renting over in GC until we know for sure if we are staying longer than 12 Months. Our only concern is that we would need to rent a place that allows pets (1dog and 2 cats). Does anyone know if this is a huge problem or not? In UK we’ve managed it but most placed don’t allow pets. Any advice would be great. Also does anyone know the likely cost for flying pets from UK to GC?

    Thanks.

    Reply

    • Elle Draper
      March 10, 2016 @ 6:40 pm

      Renting somewhere that allows pets shouldn’t be too much problem but speak to your agent and they’ll bear your fluffies in mind.

      Not a clue on flight prices for pets… you’ll need to speak to airlines for that I’m afraid. be prepared to dig deep though.

      E x

      Reply

  24. sara keenan
    May 9, 2016 @ 8:43 pm

    Hi Matthew, I just ordered your book here in the US and can’t wait for it to come! I traveled to GC last month spending some time in Las Palmas and hiking from Galdar to Maspalomas and back over the course of a week. I fell in love with the island. It has similar plants and geography as California, where I live. It is very much like a Hawaiian island except for two things: life is affordable and islanders are happy to meet you. We are hoping to visit more and retire there in 4 years. What does an American expat have to do to qualify for medical coverage? I could afford to retire now if I didn’t have to budget one million dollars for health insurance in the US for the next 30 years until I’m 90. So we are looking to “jump-ship” from the New World. Looking forward to reading and learning. Thank you!

    Reply

    • Matthew Hirtes
      July 19, 2016 @ 7:37 pm

      Hi Sara, Thanks for your lovely comment. Hope the book’s arrived. Regarding your medical coverage question, this site should be able to provide the answer: . Best wishes, Matthew

      Reply

    • Hanna Pryce
      August 31, 2017 @ 8:47 pm

      Are there any American groups to join at GC ? ??

      Reply

  25. Jane
    June 13, 2016 @ 6:23 pm

    Hi thanks for this article it’s great. I have the opportunity to teach in GC down the South at The British School. I am married with 2 boys aged 11 and 14. My question is this. Would my husband be able to get a job? He is a qualified joiner and has licences to drive lorries, in the UK he has his own business M&J Property Services.

    We also have cats and dogs which we would bring with us.

    Reply

  26. Matthew Hirtes
    July 19, 2016 @ 7:39 pm

    Hi Jane, Glad you liked it. Most GC jobs, with the obvious exception of the one you’re being offered, require a good level of Spanish. However, the south of the island is home to quite a few Brits who have managed to find a job without mastering the local language. Best of luck, Matthew

    Reply

  27. isabelle
    October 8, 2016 @ 11:18 am

    Hi Matthew,

    I bought your book before coming to L.P, we decided to move in very short notice (few days). Everything is fine, however it is difficult to meet over expats. My son is only 16 months and goes to Dr Sanchez because it is super close to my apartment and I think moving to Tafira or anywhere nearby the American school where my son will start in a year. Do you know some mom expat clubs or else (my job is based in the US but I am working a lot in Western/Eastern and South Africa.
    Thanks

    Reply

    • Matthew Hirtes
      January 15, 2017 @ 8:31 pm

      Hi Isabelle,

      Sorry for my tardiness in getting back to you. People tend to meet up at The British Club in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, but this is probably an older crowd. There are also language exchange groups which are a handy way of meeting people: https://www.facebook.com/LEGIntercambio/

      Best of luck,

      Matthew

      Reply

  28. Gustavo massacrito.
    November 29, 2016 @ 7:09 pm

    I would like to move to gc from cabo verde,i am an interpreter speak french,spanish,english and portuguese.Could i get a job there.

    Reply

    • Elle Draper
      November 30, 2016 @ 10:12 am

      I would say that your language skills would be useful, but only you know how employable you are.

      Reply

  29. Tom
    January 12, 2017 @ 7:50 pm

    Are there any English ex pat groups that socialize on a regular basis? Also, any writer S groups and/or tennis clubs?

    Reply

    • Matthew Hirtes
      January 15, 2017 @ 8:33 pm

      There’s the British Club in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Tom. They organize regular poetry meets. There are tennis clubs too, but padel is increasingly more popular.

      Reply

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