Gran Canaria is a notorious gay destination in Europe, specifically in Playa del Ingles in the South.
The island has always been a beacon of tolerance whilst in the olden days, mainland Spain used to have an extremely hostile conservative attitude led by the Catholic Church. The Canary Islands were a popular place to exile people who broke social rules and thought differently.
During the harsh, repressive Franco years, Gran Canaria was too far away from the mainland to bother with, so they turned a blind eye to homosexuality there. From the 1960s, tourism really started to take off, attracting more and more foreigners and therefore even more tolerant attitudes.
Today, the island is a playground for the gay boys, particularly in the famous Yumbo Centre – a shopping mall in Playa del Ingles full of mainly gay bars, clubs and boutique Clone Zone type shops.
There's so many gay hangouts in Yumbo Centre to choose from, we've sifted through some of our favourites in our gay guide to the best gay bars, clubs and events in Gran Canaria.
Gay hotels in Gran Canaria
There's plenty to choose from, whether you prefer to be based in the heart of the gay scene near Yumbo Centre in Playa del Ingles, or somewhere more plush and luxurious in Maspalomas.
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We stayed here with a group of friends and had an amazing time! This is the ideal base for those who want to be near Yumbo Centre. It's a fun and friendly men only gay complex. As well as being only a stone's throw away from Yumbo, it's also walking distance to the sand dunes and the famous gay beach at Kiosk #7.
Gay Paso Chico have 6 newly refurbished bungalows, which are spacious, clean and with full kitchen facilities so you can cook your own meals if you don't want to head out.
The other highlight other than the location to Yumbo is the pool. We loved having drinks with friends here listening to music, getting ready to party over in Yumbo across the street.
Rooms start from €75/$84 and minimum stay is for 5 nights.
After so many drunken nights out in Yumbo, we wanted a break from the party scene, a place to relax and unwind. The luxurious 5* Seaside Palm Beach Hotel in Maspalomas fit the bill nicely.
Seaside Palm Beach has an impressive adult only lagoon pool, surrounded by a lavish palm garden and part of a protected UNESCO nature reserve. It also has a wonderful spa area for adults with saunas, steam rooms, plunge pools and a pretty outdoor patio to relax in.
Rooms start from €210/$240 a night, including breakfast.
For a more exclusive experience, stay at the Seaside Grand Hotel Residencia, which is famous for its Michelin recommended restaurant. Service is taken very seriously here and you're made to feel like a true princess from the moment you set foot in the door.
The Frenchman was particularly pleased by the culinary offerings, from Marinated Atlantic turbot served as Ceviche to beef tartar with fried quail egg – and more!
Rooms start from €385 /$430 a night and includes breakfast and sometimes half board.
GAY BARS TO START THE NIGHT
- Terry's Show: Terry's has some excellent Spanish drag shows from 10:30pm-1am, which you will love. They have WiFi so you can Shazam all the awesome hispanic tunes they play.
- WunderBar: Eurovision geeks like Stefan love hanging out here on Mondays and Fridays when they play classics from the show all night long. Otherwise they're open daily from 8pm to 2am, located on the ground floor.
- Sparkles Show Bar: Sparkles is a show bar open daily from 8pm. Although it's officially a gay bar, it's more likely to be full of hen parties and straight couples looking for what they think is an alternative night out. The drag queens seem to have been shipped in from Blackpool. Go on the right night and you'll see the extremely talented and unique Miss DQ:
GAY BARS TO PARTY
- Coco Loco: popular gay bar next to Terry's on the 2nd floor in Yumbo. First time we went there, around 11pm, it was totally empty. But if you go at the right time it gets quite lively – usually after the drag shows at Terry's finish around 1am.
- Mykonos: this is where the young sexy cool kids hang out. It's open from 11pm-3:30am and is one of the larger and more popular bars from all the offerings in Yumbo, playing the best pop music. And it's got poles. Every gay boy secretly wants to be a pole dancer right? This is the place to live out that dream!
- Tubos: another popular bar, next to Mykonos and also open 11pm to 3:30am. It gets quite packed and the crowds spill out into the corridor outside. Great atmosphere to get warmed up before heading over to Mantrix.
AND TO KEEP ON PARTYING…
- Mantrix: the main gay club in Yumbo, open from 2am till late. Definitely the best club on the island, attracting both locals and tourists. That hottie you met on the beach earlier? He'll most likely end up here at some stage.
GAY EVENTS IN GRAN CANARIA
Gran Canaria is a lot of fun, but even more so during one of the many big parties that take place throughout the year:
- Maspalomas Gay Pride: the largest gay summer party on the island, which draws a massive international LGBTQ crowd. It takes place in May.
- Maspalomas Fetish Week: popular with leather aficionados, taking place every October.
- Maspalomas Winter Pride: in case you missed your summer Pride fix, there's one right here in the GC sunshine every November.
- Carnivals: the famous Catholic winter festival is a big deal in the Canary islands and Gran Canaria has 2, one in Las Palmas and the second in Maspalomas, both in February/March. Check out our guide to the best carnivals in the Canary Islands.
- Bear parties: bear parties are popular throughout the island. The 2 most prominent are the Bear Pool parties (held in October and November), and the Bear Maspalomas Carnival in March.
To read more about alternative experiences on the island, check out our 5 interesting facts about Gran Canaria and also check out our 5 favourite gay friendly hotels in Gran Canaria. Spain is also one of our top 10 favourite gay friendly countries in the world to check out.
Happy travels are safe travels
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