Canary Islands carnival fun on Tenerife and Gran Canaria

The Canary Islands are renowned for the many pride events, carnivals and orgies of colour that take place throughout the year.

Some of the most colourful of all include Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Las Palmas in Gran Canaria in February, offering up the sort of atmosphere that can rival Rio along with some mind blowing drag queen competitions.

We love our carnival party fun atmosphere and after the Lou Queernaval in Nice, we were keen to discover more, but Spanish style. Read our gay travel guide to learn more about the gay bars of Gran Canaria and best gay hotels in Gran Canaria.


Drag queen fever has taken over the world, especially since THAT iconic Miley Cyrus VMA performance.

The Drag Queen show at the Las Palmas Carnival in Gran Canaria includes spectacular performances from drag queens drenched in glitter, OTT lipstick, fabulous platform heels and some of the best lip syncs you’ll ever see.

Gran Canaria gay scene Drag Queen Gala
Highlights from the Drag Queen Gala of Las Palmas – click here for the source

This is the most anticipated event of the entire carnival and always a sell-out. Once the performances finish, one of the drags is crowned The Carnival Drag Queen and paraded around the city with thousands of onlookers cheering on.

Inspired to join in? You should be – it’s actually traditional for men to dress up as women during carnival, so there’s no excuse! Grab a wig, a sexy pair of heels, make up and embrace the carnival spirit. What better way to celebrate the international LBGT community than with sunshine, sequins and Spanish pop music?

Gran Canaria gay scene carnival drag show
The Hairy Sisters waiting to party at the Carnival


Santa Cruz’s parade is one of the largest outside of Rio and features thousands of beautiful people with outrageous costumes.

One of the highlights include the arrival of The Carnival Queen, as well as the senior and junior carnival queens.

A few days before the parade begins, the carnival queen is voted for by a panel of judges and members of the public via sms, in an X Factor sort of way. The entire event includes the usual display of elaborate floats, loud fun personalities and an incredible party atmosphere.

Gran Canaria gay scene and Tenerife Carnival
A fun party atmosphere for everyone

Playa de Las America is where the gay boys come to play on Tenerife. The Salytien Shopping Centre in the South of the island has a handful of gay hangouts, which get going after 11pm.

Check out staples like Chaplin’s, Cellar Bar, Geminis and Punto Zero Club.

There’s also a gay apartment complex called Playaflor, a few minutes’ walk away opposite the Veronicas Strip.

Gran Canaria gay scene and Tenerife
Gay boys on a Canarian night out

The Canary Islands are a popular holiday destination all year round. What more can you want – gay parties in the sun with some excellent beaches. But head out at the right time of year and you get to do all this during a loud colourful and extremely fabulous carnival.

Read more about our 5 unique things to do and interesting facts about Gran Canaria and check out the official Tourism Board's website for activities available across the island.

Gran Canaria gay scene
Jumping for joy in the fabulous Gran Canarian


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About the author

Hi there! We are Stefan and Sebastien, Greek/French couple behind the travel blog Nomadic Boys. Since we met in 2009, we have been travelling all around the world together, visiting over 100 countries.

Our mission is to inspire you, the gay traveller, and show you that you can visit more places in the world than you thought possible, by providing a first-hand account of our travel adventures, to help you plan a fun and safe trip.

To find out more about us

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