When it comes to gay destinations in Europe, Gran Canaria easily makes our top 5!
We first visited for our very first holiday together back in 2007 and we have been back 8 times since!
Gran Canaria is one of 8 Canary Islands which are located off the west coast of Africa and are the southernmost autonomous community of Spain.
Each time we visit Spain, we know we are going to feel welcome as a gay couple. It’s one of our top gay friendly countries in the world and we have both spent time living there.
This is equally true for the Canary Islands with Gran Canaria being the gayest island of them all.
With its huge gay scene, hot weather all year round (see Winter Pride), beautiful beaches and the fact it’s a relatively cheap destination, you can start to see why we have been so many times!
We have put together a full guide to showcase all that gay Gran Canaria has to offer including the gay areas, the abundance of gay bars, the gay beaches, gay hotels, huge events and so much more.
This is a mammoth, detailed guide, so make sure you add it to your bookmarks/favourites to refer back to later (or pin it at the bottom of the guide). [no_toc]
We are sure that after reading this you will be booking a flight and partying in the Yumbo Centre in no time!
Gay Areas of Gran Canaria
The whole of Gran Canaria is gay friendly, but like any country, there are specific gay areas where we would highly recommend:
Maspalomas: Playa Del Ingles
The main gay area in Gran Canaria is Maspalomas without a doubt.
Maspalomas stretches from Meloneras in the west, to the resort towns of San Agustín and Playa del Inglés.
However when is comes to the gay area of Gran Canaria we are specifically looking at and around Playa Del Ingles where the majority of the gay scene is focused.
The ultimate gay hotspot within Maspalomas is the infamous Yumbo Centre where you will find many gay shops, saunas and over 30 gay bars and clubs! More on that below.
Las Palmas (capital of Gran Canaria)
Las Palmas has been popular with the gay community since the 80’s and was one of the ‘go to’ places before the likes of Madrid on mainland Spain also became popular.
Las Palmas does not have huge gay events like Playa Del Ingles/Maspalomas but it still has a great gay scene with a good selection of gay bars, clubs and saunas.
Gay Hotels in Gran Canaria
First things first, you need to find an amazing gay hotel.
There are many gay hotels in Gran Canaria and the number keeps on growing.
In Gran Canaria, all hotels are going to be welcoming, but for this guide we have focused on the ones that are definitely aimed at gay travellers.
We have stayed at both ‘non-gay’ and full on gay hotels in Gran Canaria and we can definitely appreciate the difference.
The atmosphere and environment when you stay at a gay hotel like Axel Beach Maspalomas feels so much more relaxing for us because we aren’t having to give a second thought about our sexuality.
Here are some of the best gay hotels in Gran Canaria we recommend:
Gay Hotels in Maspalomas/Playa Del Ingles
Axel Beach Maspalomas
Out of everywhere we have stayed over the years, this would be our first choice.
Axel Beach Maspalomas is an apartment style hotel with large rooms, self-catering facilities and large balconies overlooking the pool.
The pool area is modern, with a separate section for the jacuzzi, steam room, sauna and also a mini cruising area.
We loved the breakfast here, made good use of the gym and it was just a short 5-minute walk to the Yumbo. We could have lived here to be honest!
Check it out and reserve a room here.
Ritual Hotel Maspalomas
Ritual has a very similar concept to Axel and is one of the newest gay hotels in Maspalomas.
We have been to Ritual for a pool party and it does have a very cool pool area. The rooms have been newly refurbished but don’t offer self-catering facilities.
It is right next to the Yumbo so it is great in terms of location for a night out.
Take a look at their current rates and book here.
Club Torso offers twelve contemporary and modern style bungalows and is clothing optional.
They have a heated pool, jacuzzi, sun loungers, a pool bar serving everything you could want, fast wifi (for those grindr hook ups!) and offer a continental breakfast until 11am.
For more on Club Torso and to book, take a look here.
This a gay men only complex with 6 bungalows, a pool (clothing optional) and a small garden. It is self-catering and so somewhere between a hotel and a holiday let.
In terms of location, it can’t be beaten! It is seconds away from the Yumbo Centre.
Gay Friendly Hotels Gran Canaria
If you aren’t interested in staying at a gay hotel as such, we have also stayed at and recommend the following hotels/resorts:
Hotel Servatur Waikiki
This is a 4-star all-inclusive hotel in Playa Del Ingles and when we went the rooms had just been renovated in a fresh, modern and bright style.
We have stayed here twice because we have found that it was very good value for money, has a great pool and is just a short 15-minute walk to the Yumbo Centre.
Hotel Riu Palace
The Riu Papayas is the ‘gate to the gay beach’ and one of the more luxurious hotels in Maspalomas.
This is a hotel that you can book on a half board basis with great food, a lovely pool area and very good location.
It ranks very highly on TripAdvisor and is therefore a little bit more expensive, but definitely worth looking at.
Take a look and reserve here.
For our last trip, we were with friends and wanted to go self-catering.
The apartments at Parquemar are a good size, clean, modern, well located and have a great pool area. They also offer a lot of privacy if you just want your own space.
This was also one of the best value options during Winter Pride and we were very happy with it.
You can reserve with free cancellation here.
For many more options, use the search box below:
Gran Canaria Gay Bars: Maspalomas
If you are looking for the biggest gay night out in Gran Canaria then you have to head to the Yumbo Centre, we have had so many great nights out there.
The Yumbo Centre is a large, multi-storey shopping centre by day, and gay nightlife hotspot by night with a huge open square in the centre.
We have listed over 30 gay bars, clubs, bear bars, show bars and cruising bars below, however there are even more. Make sure you check out our top 6 favorite gay bars in the Yumbo.
Gay Bars to sit, drink and chat
Every time we go to the Yumbo, we always have a ‘process’ in mind. Start by sitting, chatting and drinking until the vodka kicks in and move on when we are ready to dance.
Check out these bars to start your night:
Possibly some of the cheapest and strongest drinks in the Yumbo, we often started our night at Diamonds.
It was a good place to sit and people watch with very friendly staff.
Parrots Pub Terrace
We first came across Parrots in Sitges where it is a big name on the gay scene. It was great to see that it has made its way over to Gran Canaria!
This is another great option to sit, cocktail in hand and enjoy drag shows, DJ’s and watching the world go by.
Cheyenne’s The Lounge
If you want to start at somewhere more chilled then check out Cheyenne’s.
They only serve branded drinks, made to order cocktails and offer wifi and shisha for free to all customers.
This is a long running gay bar and restaurant so it’s also a place to relax during the day.
Buddies is also used a lot during pride as a meet and greet place for those looking to make friends.
This is a small, cosy gay bar on the ground floor of the Yumbo and has been open since 2003.
They have indoor and outdoor seating so you can watch all the action unfold in the main square until you are ready to get started.
Another bar that many recommend to start night your night.
If you enjoy your beer, check out this German bar.
Adonis is also one of the bars that makes up the infamous six-pack zone (see below).
This is a very popular bar with many people describing it as incredibly welcoming and a good place to meet people and make new friends (without it being cruisy).
Literally means ‘Bear Cave’ and is aimed at bears, their friends and admirers. Of course, like everywhere, anyone is more than welcome.
For something a bit quieter without having to shout over music, check out this lounge bar.
Zaza Bar has been going since 1989. It has an outdoor terrace and a laid-back vibe with a range of beers on draft.
The list goes on and on and on. Hopefully you are starting to get the idea that there is quite literally something for everyone.
Other gay bars include; Pirates, The Corner, Spartacus, Divinity Karaoke Bar, Voulez Voux Cocktails & Music Bar, Wonder Bar and Mardi Gras.
Gran Canaria Gay Bars to Dance
We can confidently say that we end up in Kiki at least once during every night out in the Yumbo.
Kiki is found on the ground floor, in the centre of the Yumbo above Bunker and has a great DJ playing current pop and chart music.
This is one of our favourite places to move on to once we are ready to start dancing.
With a mix of music from the 80’s to 90’s to current chart, Coco Loco is another gay bar we always head to for a dance.
Coco Loco also has some great drag queens who entertain the crowd and if you are feeling energetic, get yourself up on one of their poles.
When it starts to get later on into the night, everyone seems to migrate to Mykonos which can be found on the top floor.
This is a long dance bar, with poles, a mix of music (UK chart with some Spanish chart in the mix too) and a few dark rooms at the end.
Tubos is next door to Mykonos and when it is busy they almost blend into one big club with people spilling out onto the terrace area.
Another gay bar where everyone is dancing and having fun.
Six Pack Zone
Not a bar, but an area that gets very busy later on in the night and is completely packed out during pride.
The six pack zone is made up of Adonis Bar, Gran Café, Latino Bar, Peppermint, Parrots and Junior Bar.
When everywhere is shut but you want to keep on dancing, Mantrix is the place to take you through to the very early hours of the morning, enjoy!
Gay Cabaret/Show Bars
We went to Sparkles for the first time in 2019 and we wish we had gone earlier.
The drag show was absolutely hilarious and we can easily see why this place is so popular.
All drinks are table service so you can stay seated and enjoy the show which we thought was a nice touch.
Ricky Cabaret Car
This is another award-winning drag show bar and is sure to get you in the mood for a night out.
Chez Funny Boys
Here you can expect outrageous performances full of entertainment and for the brave, some audience participation.
This drag show bar has been running for over 20 years and a favourite amongst returning visitors. In particular, you have to check out their flamenco show!
Gay Café Bars
If a big night out is not on the cards and you just want to relax during the day in the Yumbo, check out these gay cafés:
- Eden Bar
- Blue Havana
- Cafe Ritz (for ice cream)
Gran Canaria Gay Cruising Bars: for when you don’t want the night to end…
The Yumbo Centre has its fair share of cruising bars. Take a look at the list below, Bunker and Construction are probably the largest and most popular:
- Construction Bar
- Toms Cruising Bar
- Noxom Fetish Club
Gran Canaria Gay Bars: Las Palmas
We have not yet been to the capital of Gran Canaria, Las Palmas, however we have heard good things about the gay scene there with a number of gay bars including Abuela Bar, Black Bar and 27 Funny Boys.
Gay Beach Gran Canaria (Maspalomas)
This is still our favourite gay beach we have visited and it all comes down to the atmosphere.
Many gay beaches around the world can be quite quiet and chilled, however this is by far the busiest and most friendly gay beach we have been to, especially during pride where there are hundreds of guys on the beach.
The gay beach can be found at Kiosk No7 along the Maspalomas sand dunes. There is a bar serving drinks and snacks and a toilet available. You also have the option of hiring a sun lounger for the day.
The beach is also a nudist beach so wear as little as you want!
It can be a bit tricky to find, head over to ‘How to find the gay beach in Maspalomas’ for detailed directions.
Gay Events in Gran Canaria
When we say Gran Canaria is a gay destination all year round, we are not exaggerating!
While many destinations may have their annual pride, Gran Canaria has huge gay events and parties every few months. In any case, no matter when you go, it is always busy at the Yumbo Centre during the weekend.
Here are the current biggest and best gay parties in Gran Canaria:
Maspalomas Gay Pride (Summer)
Gay Pride Maspalomas has been running for over 18 years and attracts tens of thousands of visitors. It’s one of the biggest and longest pride celebrations in Europe!
The pride celebrations last for 10 days during May featuring international artists on the main stage in the Yumbo (free access), a huge parade which you can watch or join, gay boat trips, pool parties and beach club parties.
We have seen the Maspalomas Gay Pride festival grow year on year, every night at the Yumbo looks like a concert venue because there are so many people in attendance.
In 2020, the dates are May 7th-7th. We highly recommend booking some accommodation near the Yumbo just to make life easier. A lot of accommodation books up once dates are released so take a quick look below (or refer back to the hotels we mentioned above) and get something reserved asap!
We are asked time and time again if Winter Pride is quiet in comparison to Summer Pride – the simple answer is no.
The latest edition of Winter Pride Maspalomas which we attended in 2019 was by far the biggest and best in its 6 years history!
It follows a very similar format to Summer Pride with the main stage in the Yumbo, pool parties, beach parties and international acts over a 10-day period.
The only main difference is that it is held in November each year, so if you are looking for some winter sun and you are in need of a pride pick me up, you should definitely consider this gay event in Gran Canaria.
Maspalomas Fetish Week
Maspalomas Fetish week is held every year in October for 7-10 days and its title is fairly self-explanatory.
The week is full of events catering to a wide range of interests with parties hosted every night at the various cruise clubs in the Yumbo.
During the day they also run special fetish pool parties and events at many of the gay resorts in Maspalomas.
For more, take a look at Maspalomas Fetish Week.
Freedom Festival Maspalomas
Dubbed the ‘little brother’ of Pride, Freedom Festival Maspalomas has been running for over 4 years and is another gay event that doesn’t let summer end.
Freedom Festival runs for 5 days, usually at the start of October with free concerts in the Yumbo Square, free Freedom Party parties after each gala, a pool-party, a VIP Boat Party and of course official afterparties.
For more information, check out Freedom Festival.
Bear Week Maspalomas
Brought to you by Bear Carnival, Europe’s biggest bear programme, in March each year Maspalomas hosts Bear Week.
Gay Shops in Gran Canaria (Maspalomas)
We love Spanish brands such as Addicted and ES Collection, however back in the UK we can only order online.
In the Yumbo Centre you can find many gay shops offering these brands and many more (check out our article Our Top 10 Gay Underwear Brands for some inspiration).
Here are our favourite gay shops in the Yumbo Centre:
This is one of our favourite gay shops as it offers a mix of good brands including Barcode Berlin, Modus Vivendi and Addicted. They also often have good sales and discounts.
ES Collection official store
Stocking a wide range of ES Collection apparel from jeans and underwear to swimwear.
Addicted official store
This is probably our favourite brand (a sister brand of ES Collection). They have lots of fun tongue in cheek styles of swimwear, sports clothes and shorts/jeans/shirts right through to full on fetish wear.
Boxer is a brand focused on all thing’s fetish from clothing to toys and pretty much any accessory you can imagine. The staff are very welcoming and friendly if you are a bit over faced with choice and need some help!
This is one of the newer ടex shops selling cheaper novelty items, toys, videos and some clothing.
This is mainly for your standard jeans and t-shirts.
This offers a mix of clothing and underwear with a mix of big and small brands.
Dress Code offers brands like Andrew Christian, AussieBum and TOF. This has a larger selection of jeans, t shirts etc.
Things to do in Gran Canaria
There is more to Gran Canaria than the gay scene, here are our top three activities:
Explore Maspalomas Dunes
The Maspalomas dunes spread across 1,000-acres and are a protected nature reserve.
Visually, they are pretty epic and you can feel like you are lost in the middle of a desert.
You can spend hours (with plenty of water) following the many marked out walking trails through the dunes and exploring.
Hire and Car and see the Mountains
If you want something a bit different, hire a car and spend the day driving up into the mountains. We hired a car for about 20 Euros and had a great day out.
Find a traditional restaurant in the hills, take your time and enjoy some tapas. Gran Canaria is more than just beaches, go and explore!
Get out to Sea
There are many boat/catamaran trips out to sea. Most offer all-inclusive drinks and food.
This is the perfect way to relax and the best way to top up your tan.
Since it is Gran Canaria, there is a company than consistently runs LGBTQ+ boat parties if you want something livelier.
When to go to Gran Canaria? – Gran Canaria is warm all year round – you will still burn in November. The peak season in terms of temperature is from May to August. However, with all of the events from October onward and the fact its a well known winter sun destination it becomes very busy in the last quarter of the year.
Travel Insurance – as for any trip, make sure you have travel insurance.
Can you drink the tap water in Gran Canaria – technically yes but no one does due to its bad taste. Our advice is to just get a huge bottle from the local supermarket.
Shopping for food in Maspalomas – there are plenty of mini markets but the main larger supermarkets include Mercadona (best value), Spar (most familiar) and Hiperdino. Outside of Maspalomas you will also find Carrefour and Lidl.
Getting around – Taxis are very cheap to get around and are all on a meter (no Uber here). The local bus system is also reliable and of course, even cheaper again. Hire cars can be as little at 20 euros per day.
Language – Everyone speaks Spanish here, it is slower than mainland Spain which makes things easier to understand. Get yourself a basic Spanish phrasebook before you start trying to chat up los chicos guapos. Gran Canaria has been touristy for years so you will get by with English but we always encourage learning a few phrases in any case.
We hope our mammoth guide to Gay Gran Canaria helps you plan your vacation and get by. It’s easy to see why we have been so many times and we still have more to do and see! Maybe we will see you there next time…
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