Picture a 4-story giant shopping center full of gay bars, shops, clubs, drag bars, restaurants…basically, a colossal gay playground! This is the Jumbo Centre, the beating heart and soul of Gran Canaria's gay scene.
Gran Canaria is one of the gayest places in the world. Part of the Canary Islands archipelago, this teeny unassuming Spanish Island, is located just 93 miles (150 km) off the northwestern coast of Africa (between the Moroccan and Western Saharan waters). We certainly rate Gran Canaria as one of our favorite gay holiday destinations in Europe as well as one of the top gay travel destinations in the world. It is 365 days of complete fabulousness, with gay events taking place throughout the year. There's always something happening in Gran Canaria, which is why we love it!
Gran Canaria has always been a beacon of tolerance, which is why it has mushroomed into the gay haven it is today. During the dark days of the repressive Francoist dictatorship in Spain (1936-1975) when there was extreme hostility towards homosexuality, the Canary Islands were a popular place to exile people who broke social rules and were perceived as being “different”. Basically, Gran Canaria was too far away from the mainland to bother with, so Franco and his henchmen turned a blind eye to it, allowing more tolerant attitudes to develop.
Each year, thousands of gay boys head over to Gran Canaria for beach fun and a party, ourselves included! There are tons of gay hangouts in the Yumbo Centre, as well as an abundance of gay hotels for all budgets. We've put together this detailed gay guide to Gran Canaria based on our firsthand experience in which we sift through the main gay bars/clubs on the island (there are a lot!), showcase some of the hotels we tried out, summarise the best gay events, and lots more!
Heads up: We just wanted to let you know that this post contains affiliate links. That means if you book something through one of those links, we'll get a small commission, at no extra cost to you. It helps us keep our blog going – so thank you in advance for your support! ♥
Gran Canaria gay area
The Yumbo Centre…enough said!
This is the official gay neighborhood of Gran Canaria – a large 1980s rectangular 4-story shopping mall in the Playa del Ingles area of Maspalomas. Inside it has all the best gay bars, clubs, boutique shops, restaurants, and basically, everything a gay boy needs for his gaycation. There are bear bars, drag bars, karaoke bars, Eurovision bars, and hanky panky(!) bars with lots of dark spaces…you name it!
In addition to the Yumbo Centre is Gran Canaria's gay beach called Kiosco #5. Note that it used to be called Kiosco #7 before the pandemic but has since changed to #5.
Reaching the gay beach of Gran Canaria is an experience in itself. From Yumbo Centre you head south to the Riu Hotel, then just head out into the sand dunes until you reach the gay beach on the other end. But take extra care not to wander off the designated marked path as the police monitor the area and can give you a fine if you're caught doing anything naughty here!
A typical day for us in Gran Canaria would involve hanging out by the gay beach by day, then slowly gravitating to the Yumbo Centre later in the evening for food, drinks, and play.
Gay sail in Gran Canaria!
Grab a group of friends and book this gay (clothing-optional!) sailing excursion. The very handsome Captain Juanvi takes you sailing around the south of Gran Canaria to the remote Gui-Gui beach. The excursion includes unlimited drinks, lunch and hotel pick up.
Gay hotels and resorts in Gran Canaria
There are many many gay hotels, adults-only hotels, gay guesthouses, gay BnBs etcetera to choose from in Gran Canaria! Whilst many have quite varying degrees of standards and also reviews, for this section we've picked our top 3 (one for each budget range), which we've tried, loved, and highly recommend.
For a more in-depth review, be sure to check out our guide to the best gay hotels in Gran Canaria.
Arriving in Gran Canaria soon?
Gran Canaria's airport is located on the eastern edge of the island, around 18 miles (30km) from the Yumbo Centre. Whilst there is a public bus between the airport and Maspalomas, it's infrequent and very slow. We instead highly recommend pre-booking your airport transfer. The taxi takes around 20 minutes and pre-booking it online will ensure you have an English-speaking driver waiting for you at the Arrivals Hall.
Hotel RIU Palace Palmeras
Why we love it
- From £152 per night
- Stylish and modern rooms with great views
- Exceptional staff who love to spoil their guests
- 2 outdoor swimming pools and a fitness center
- Right by the beach and shopper’s dream, the Yumbo Center
The Riu Palace Palmeras had won a gold star from us before we even checked in. Though, we solely based this on the fact that the hotel was a mere 350 yards away from the fabulous Playa del Inglés.
But after our stay, we had no other choice but to upgrade our ranking to platinum!
Our time spent there was simply magical, with the staff treating us like the queens we are. From waking up each morning, where we’d tuck into a delicious breakfast buffet before heading to the beach for a game of volleyball, to enjoying the hotel’s nightly live performances, ahead of sinking into our comfy king-sized bed, every moment of our experience was graced with luxury.
The hotel has over 250 rooms, which are all equipped with a TV, mini-fridge, and either a balcony or terrace. Around the resort, there are two swimming pools and a fitness center (which we only used once because hello…we’re on holiday!)
They have an exquisite a la carte menu at the Krystal Fusion restaurant, which we highly recommend booking whilst checking in as it can get quite busy. As well as a bar to grab a drink in after a busy day of, well, relaxing.
The Yumbo Centre is only an 8-minute walk away, where you can fill your time shopping, eating, and enjoying a fabulous drag show at Ricky's Cabaret Bar. The surrounding area is filled with cafes and restaurants that we loved exploring, as well as the scenic seafront to share an intimate moment.
Paso Chico Gay Bungalows
Why we love it
- Excellent value male-only clothing-optional gay hotel opposite Yumbo Centre
- Stay in one of 6 cute spacious bungalows
- Perfect if you're a large group of friends
- Secluded pool and garden area to hang out at during the day
12 Speedo-clad queens, one pool, 6 bungalows, and lots of drinks… That was our favorite memory from our stay at Gay Paso Chico. We came with 10 of our friends, with 2 staying in each bungalow, making it one big fun guurl-cation!
Gay Paso Chico is perfect if you're looking for an inexpensive base in Gran Canaria. It's just across the road from the Yumbo Centre and around 25 minutes walking distance over to the gay beach. It's well priced yet doesn't feel cheap at all – the bungalows are pretty impressive, and it even includes a pool.
The first thing about Gay Paso Chico – this is one for the gay boys only (the clue's in the name!). It's also clothing-optional. Thanks to the high fences, it felt completely secluded and private. We had lots of raucous drinking games and late-night skinny-dipping sessions during our stay! We also love the fact that the staff just let you get on with it and leave you alone. We only saw them at breakfast and then they left for the rest of the day, so it felt like we had the entire place to ourselves.
The 6 bungalows at Gay Paso Chico have plenty of space. Each one has a separate kitchen/living area, a bedroom with an ensuite, and its own terrace. The decor is also super gay, with plenty of Tom of Finland-inspired art pieces dotted around.
Finally, as we mentioned above, the location. You cannot get any closer to the Yumbo Centre. Want to bring a few boys to top up your midnight pool playtime? Easy…!
Why we love it
- “Heterofriendly” adults-only hotel
- 10-minute walk to Yumbo Centre
- Perfect for a mixed group of friends (gays and gals)
- Stay in one of 92 modern apartments on site
The Axel is a more upmarket adults-only hotel in Gran Canaria, located a few blocks north of the Yumbo Centre. We've stayed in several Axel hotels – in Berlin, Barcelona, and Miami Beach, and we always love the vibe. It's a “hetero-friendly” hotel, more mixed, with a hip, trendy feel.
The Axel is ideal if you're a group of mixed friends, particularly gay boys traveling with their queen bees. There were a lot of both straight and gay couples here during our visit, all happily getting on without judgment.
The AxelBeach Maspalomas is pretty huge. It has 92 apartments spread over 4 floors. The rooms are modern with super comfy beds. Be sure to look out for the iconic “Do Disturb” signs that you can place on your door to invite in a bit of rumpy pumpy fun from fellow guests… The Sky Bar of Axel is where most hang out by day if not undertaking the 2km pilgrimage walk south to the sand dunes for the gay beach. It has a large pool area and bar. For us the pool was the perfect hangout for those mornings when we woke up feeling a bit fragile from the previous night, otherwise, we opted for the journey over to the gay beach.
Other perks of staying at the Axel include the Axel Lounge Garden – a garden area of calm & serenity surrounded by Palm trees, and also a fully equipped gym to bump out those biceps veins before taking all those obligatory Gran-Can-Thirst-Traps.
STAY WITH A GAY LOCAL
Misterb&b is the Airbnb equivalent for the LGBTQ community. Unlike on Airbnb, you know your host is gay, voiding any nasty surprises when you check-in. It is also a great way to meet gay locals and discover the underground gay scene. Click below to get 10 € (or $10) off our first booking.
Seaside Grand Hotel Residencia
Why we love it
- Top luxury 5-star hotel in Gran Canaria
- Lavish pool area
- Outstanding foodie offerings
- Where the celebs stay in Gran Canaria (like Bruce Springsteen, Mary Berry)
Serving Colonial glamour and opulence…you own everything honey! The Seaside has Grand in its name and in feel. Checking into this lavish hotel made us feel like rock stars.
From the moment we arrived, we were made to feel so welcome. Whilst this is not a gay hotel, welcoming LGBTQ travelers felt like it was second nature for the staff (most of which are gay themselves).
Our room was absolutely huge, with one of the best bathtubs we've ever experienced – massage jets with flashing lights! Can you imagine?! Whilst all the rooms are located in stylish two-story villas, we recommend splurging on one of the upper-floor suites for the best views of the ocean and the sand dunes.
The saltwater pool area is gigantic, extending over the central expanse of the hotel. It reminded us of a paradisiacal valley, a total contrast to the bustling world of Yumbo Centre. Hanging out at the Seaside Grand Hotel's pool was a highlight of our stay in Gran Canaria. It's so big that you'll always find a quiet spot all for yourself. There is also an impressive outdoor fitness area for the gym bunnies.
The Seaside Grand has a terrific restaurant open for dinner every evening. The food is exquisite! I tried and loved the Marinated Atlantic turbos, which served as a ceviche. Seby went gaga for the beef tartare with fried quail egg. Note: on Wednesday and Sunday evenings they have a themed BBQ buffet evening which includes Moroccan, Japanese, and Spanish.
Gay beaches in Gran Canaria
The main official gay beach of Gran Canaria is “Kiosco #5″ located on the sandy beach between Playa del Ingles and Maspalomas on the southern tip of the island. This is where most of the gay boys will be hanging out during the day.
To reach the famous gay beach, you first need to head to the Riu Maspalomas Hotel and from there keep going straight down, through the sand dunes for around 15 minutes until you reach the beach. When you get to the beach, you'll instantly spot the gay section by all the rainbow flags flying. There are sunbeds to rent and a small buzzy beach bar. Note that although it's clothing-optional here you can wear whatever you're comfortable wearing and no one will care.
There are a few smaller less-known beaches to check out in Gran Canaria, which whilst they're not gay, attract a more local crowd. Our favorites include Playa de Montana Arena, which is a popular beach for both gals and guys who like to hang out in the buff! In addition, we recommend the completely isolated Gui-Gui Beach which you can only reach via boat, which makes it totally private and secluded.
Gay bars in Gran Canaria
Just head to Yumbo! Inside is where all the main and best gay bars of Gran Canaria can be found. Note there are many gay bars in the Yumbo Centre – tons!! – but for this section, we've only set out a snippet of our favorites. What we love most about it is that there is something for everyone, whatever and whoever you're into!
Love it or hate it, Sparkles is the beating heart and soul of the Yumbo Centre. It's the first thing you'll probably hear and see when you enter! They have several drag shows every evening going on through the night. Some might call them trashy, but we love them. They're fierce, totally crass, and completely in your face. Literally: if you sit in the front row, be warned that you will be picked on and paraded about on the stage as I found out on a few occasions! Sparkles is open every evening and goes on until around 3 am. We usually started our Yumbo night here.
Terry's is where we recommend you head to see more refined and less confrontational(!) drag shows. We love Terry's because the queens perform some of the classic Spanish hits by the Diosas – Divas from the 1960s, 70s, and 80s like Isabel Pantoja… Intense drama! Pathos…ESCANDALO! The queens encapsulate the passion and soul of these Latin Divas so impressively. It's truly incredible to watch. Terry's is one of the most unassuming bars in Yumbo, located in the upstairs section. The drag shows start at around 10:30 pm every evening and go on until the early hours.
Eurovision gays, this is where we hang out! I am one of the many Euro gay guys who watch it religiously every year and know and love the words to every song to have ever come out of this competition…WunderBar is MADE for people like me! Monday and Friday evenings are when they have their famous Eurovision nights which I love, playing the classics all night…Conchita, ABBA, Foureira, Gina G, Dana, Bucks Fizz…you name it! They are of course open on the other nights of the week until around 2:30 am, but their Eurovision nights are when gay boys like me will be found partying the night away at the WunderBar!
Bärenhöhle is the best bear bar in the Yumbo Centre. Bear boys, otters, cubs, and wolves, this is for you! Bärenhöhle means “bear cave” in German – a nod to its friendly Deutsch owners. Despite the name, everyone is welcome here, regardless of your size. Every time we came to Bärenhöhle we felt very welcome which is why we love it. It's so easy to make friends here. It's an attitude-free zone with blokes who simply want to hang out. Bärenhöhle is open every evening from 8 pm until around 3 am. Look out for their “Happy Bear Hour” between 8-10 pm where beers are only €1!
If you know and love the Sitges gay scene as much as we do, then you'll be familiar with Parrots, which has now opened up right here on the Jumbo Centre ground floor. It's one of our favorite places to come for a bite to eat (some impressive French food here), a few cocktails, and people-watching. Similar to Sparkles, Parrots has become another gay epicenter of the Yumbo Centre – always something happening with a buzzy crowd. On most nights Parrots has a few drag shows and exotic dancers to entertain the crowd but on weekends it can get pretty full-on here! Note Parrots is closed on Tuesdays/Wednesdays, otherwise is open every day until around 2:30 am.
Gay clubs in Gran Canaria
Spanish guys sure know how to party! Nothing is done in small measures. The only downside is things start very late in Spain – don’t even think about turning up at some of these clubs until after 1 am otherwise you’ll be Billy-No-Mates in the corner… These are a small selection of the best gay clubs in Gran Canaria that we liked the most. For convenience, we’ve only focused on those in the Yumbo Centre:
Mykonos is where the cool kids hang out for drinks from around 11 pm. You’ll find us boogying away right here because we love the music – cheesy pop hits with plenty of Latino classics thrown in. From around 1 am onwards Mykonos becomes a dancing venue, complete with poles. YES, POLES! Every gay boy secretly dreams of being a pole dancer, right? At least these two queens did after several rum/cokes… Well, Mykonos is the place to live out that dream! Mykonos also has a few dark spaces where you’ll find a few gentlemen engaged in a bit of rompy pompy…
Tubos is located right next door to Mykonos. And like Mykonos, it also starts as a bar, then becomes a buzzy club from around 1 am. We love it because when it gets busy, the crowds from both Tubos and Mykonos spill out into the corridor outside and merge into one big happy campy family. It’s a great place to make new friends who you’ll probably end up going to Mantrix later. The music at Tubos was made for me and Seby – cheesy pop anthems blasting away all night long!
Mantrix is the main gay club in Yumbo where everyone is likely to end in at some stage in the night – that hottie you were cruisin’ earlier over at the gay beach in the sand dunes? He'll most likely be hanging out here! Mantrix was definitely our favorite club on the island with gay disco house music pumping out till the early hours. It’s open every day until around 6 am (sometimes later) but we prefer to come on weekends when it’s busiest. Generally, though, we’ve never had a bad night out at Mantrix and are always excited to go back for more.
Gay saunas in Gran Canaria
There are several gay saunas in Gran Canaria but many open/close all the time. Sauna Heroes is the latest one that fell victim to the global pandemic in 2020/21 and shut its doors for good in June 2022 sadly. However, Sauna Portugal in Las Palmas has held up strong.
We’ve also found the unique sensual services of Martin for a more alternative massage experience:
Sauna Portugal in Las Palmas
If you’re heading up to the Northern side of the island, then Sauna Portugal is where you’ll want to head for playtime. It’s a more local vibe here than Sauna Heroes, so the perfect way to mingle with a few Canarian gentlemen. Sauna Portugal includes dark rooms, a labyrinth, a steam room, a Finnish sauna, and cabins. It is located at Calle Portugal 27 and is open every day from 4 pm until midnight.
Gay massage in Maspalomas / Playa de Inglés
For a more unique and sensual experience, we recommend the private services of Martin. He is based in Maspalomas and offers a one-on-one massage service for men aiming to achieve a balance between spiritual harmony and the physical pleasures of the body! He always stays within your comfort zone and never strays beyond this. Martin is also a “Reiki Master” with a specialty in Lomi Lomi and Esalen. He is based in Playa del Ingles and can be contacted via his Facebook page, which includes a link to his Whatsapp.
Gay cruising in Gran Canaria
The main gay cruising area in Gran Canaria used to be in the sand dunes. You’ll pass them on your way over to the gay beach and you’ll most likely stop to do a bit of sightseeing along the way! However, since the days of the pandemic, police now monitor the dunes and will fine you if you deviate away from the marked route so take care!
There are a few other places for a bit of indoor rompy pompy both in Maspalomas and up in Las Palmes, which are a lot safer and less likely to get you into trouble. We’ve summarised the main ones below:
The Factory in Maspalomas
The largest gay cruising club in Gran Canaria! The Factory was set up and run by enthusiastic owners (and former adult film actors), Kris and Bruce. It includes no fewer than 3 slings, lots of private cabins with comfortable beds, huge labyrinths, an entire zone dedicated to showers of pleasure(!), a military zone, an SM zone, and even a St. Andrew's cross. The Factory is open daily from 10pm-3am. It is located in the Yumbo Centre in the passage close to Neptuno.
Reds Club in Maspalomas
Reds is one of the best clubs for playtime fun in Gran Canaria. It’s located a stone’s throw away from Yumbo Centre, with a themed event happening every day to include everyone but it’s most popular with the older bear crowd. Other parties include Rubber, Leather, Boots, Skins and Lycra. Reds is open every day from 9pm until 4am. It is located at Barbados II, Avenida de Tirajana, 17, next door to the Spar supermarket.
Black Door Bar in Las Palmes
If you’re up in Las Palmes and want a bar to go to for a bit of playtime adventures, head over to the Black Door Bar. It’s smaller compared to the other bars on the other end of the island in Maspalomas. It’s a more local crowd, in their 30s, 40s and older, particularly popular with bear boys and chasers. It includes cabins, dark areas, video rooms and more. It is open only Thursday to Sunday evenings from 10pm until 3am. It is located at Calle Torres Quevedo, 25.
Gran Canaria Gay Pride and other events
Gran Canaria has a big gay event happening almost every other month starting with the Carnivals in the winter/spring months, the Pride events in the summer and a few others in Autumn. The main gay events in Gran Canaria to look out for include the two Maspalomas Pride events: the first in May, the second in November. Here is our summary of the main ones to keep your eyes on:
Maspalomas and Las Palmas Carnivals (March)
The Carnival is the most exciting event in the Catholic calendar. Transport that over to a gay island and you’ve got yourself the recipe for some of the most exciting parties ever! Whilst this is not an expressly gay event, it has prominent gay segments including a Drag Queen Gala and a boisterous Carnival Parade through the streets. Both Maspalomas and Las Palmas have their own separate gay carnival on a different week in March allowing you to go to both.
Bear Carnival (March)
Touted as The Most Fun Bear Holiday Of Your Life! Bear Carnival sometimes also called Bear Week is one of the largest bear events in Europe. It has over 40 events happening over 9 days which include pool parties, Bearaoke and parties with a leather or rubber dress code. Bear Carnival also includes the presentation of the year’s official Mister Bear Gran Canaria. Note: the team behind Bear Carnival also organize Bear Camp week in August. They’ve done it twice now (2018 and 2019) and whilst they have no plans to do it again, check the Bear Camp website for the latest info to see if they do plan it again.
Maspalomas Gay Pride (May)
Maspalomas Pride in May is the largest gay summer party on the entire island. Every year it draws a massive gaggle of gays from all around the world. This 10-day festival includes many fantastic events, from Drag Races, a Please Disturb Pool Party(!), the Wet & Hairy Bear Pool Party, the Women’s Pool Party, lots of free outdoor parties every night in the streets of Maspalomas and the climax, the Street Parade on the final day. Celebs also turn up in their numbers to perform/host events, which have included the likes of Conchita Wurst and Austin Armacost in the past.
Maspalomas Summer Fiesta (August)
Every August, the entire LGBTQ community of Gran Canaria get together to host 4 weeks of parties every night. This is probably the best (albeit busiest!) time to head to the island. It’s the hottest time of year and every night you’re guaranteed to have a wealth of parties to choose from: bear events, drag shows, BBQ parties, wine tasting excursions, boat parties, mountain excursions, cocktail nights, drag races, and even a scuba diving experience.
Freedom Festival Maspalomas (September/October)
Summer does not end in September! And Gran Canaria makes sure it doesn’t! If you didn’t make it over for Pride or the Summer Fiesta, fear not ‘cause the festival fun continues with the Freedom Festival in late September – conveniently coinciding with my birthday! What began as a small event in 2016 has now mushroomed into an annual fortnight of events like foam parties, Burlesque, dress-up nights, and more. It has been colloquially dubbed as “the little brother of Maspalomas Pride”.
Maspalomas Leather Week (October)
San Francisco and Berlin step aside…cause there’s a new Folsom kid in town! Well ok, Gran Canaria’s Folsom-equivalent festival in early October is hardly on par as Berlin and San Francisco in terms of size and numbers. But for such a comparatively small island, it sure punches above its own weight, especially as this is the only leather-play event that takes place by the beach! The week includes parties for all things leather, rubber, sports and other uniforms.
Maspalomas Winter Pride (November)
Gran Canaria insists on closing the gay year with a huge bang. Every November, the island hosts a week of beach fun, pool parties, dance sessions and a colorful parade. Celebrities performing at previous Winter Pride have included 2Unlimited and Cristina Ramos. The Maspalomas Winter Pride also coincides with the ebullient German Carnival (Carnaval Alemán) who have carved out quite a large expat community on the island and lead the way with the best playtime events.
Gay friendly restaurants in Gran Canaria
Most of the best gay restaurants will be in the Yumbo Centre. Let's be honest, pick any restaurant in the Yumbo Centre and it's pretty much gay-all-the-way! Buddies Bar is probably the most famous and certainly our favorite. There are a handful of restaurants in and around the Yumbo Centre that we loved and set out some of our favorites right here:
Buddies Bar in Maspalomas
Most will head to Yumbo for their gay night out and will start with dinner and drinks at Buddies. It's located right slap bang in the middle of the Yumbo Centre so you can't really miss it! They serve simple but delicious food like pizza, burgers, toasted sandwiches, salads and Sunday roasts. They also do a fab full English breakfast as well as brunch. Their coffee is delish as are their cocktails. The highlight of Buddies bar, however, the rainbow cake! Whether it's your birthday or you're just a greedy drama queen (ahem Seby!) they'll be a glittering rainbow sponge cake waiting for you at Buddies.
Restaurante Romeo in Maspalomas
“Will you be my Romeo my Stefan?” said my cheesy Frenchman when he surprised me with this gem…Romeo is a special blend of deliciousness, featuring a menu that combines Italian, German and Spanish food. For me, it was all about the lobster – one of my favorite seafood dishes. Seby opted for the giant prawns, which is one of his passions in life (ie he loves cooking king prawns and loves even more to eat them). We also shared a paella, but we'll be honest, it's massive and couldn't finish it off.. Be sure to look out for some of the quirky decor like the mermen ornaments hanging over the bar…right up our alley!
Mr. Greek in Maspalomas
Can you guess what kind of food they serve at Mr. Greek? That's right, this is Gran Canaria's premier Indian restaurant with the best tandoori…only joking! I couldn't complete this list without referencing at least one Greek restaurant. First up, try their saganaki! It's so good… I recommend ordering several small plates of different things like dolmathakia, hummus and tzatziki, then order one of the mains. Seby loves it when I make him moussaka, and he said this one was almost as good as the one I make (smart boy!). For me, it's always a souvlaki that hits the spot. All washed down with an obligatory bottle of retsina wine of course!
Mol Cafe in Las Palmas
Freshly made sandwiches, delicious cakes, hot coffee, and ocean views – Mol Cafe sure knows how to entice us! What’s more, the staff and owner here deliver the kind of service that’s often considered old-fashioned, by going out of their way to make their customers happy. There’s nothing worse than indifference we feel, but here everything is done with a smile so big you can almost taste it in the food! And since everything is artisanally made fresh, it definitely tastes delicious. We loved the healthy sandwiches almost as much as the cheesecake…
Top things to do in Gran Canaria
Darling, let's be brutally honest with you. Most of us will be heading to GC for party, party, beach, party, party, sleep, repeat…right? However, for a small island, Gran Canaria sure has a helluva lot of things to see and do, not forgetting the hike up to the Roque Nublo in the middle of the island. Here are a few of our favorite things to do in Gran Canaria to inspire some ideas beyond the Yumbo Pink Bubble:
Hike to Roque Nublo
Highly recommended! Swap your flip flops for your trainers and hike up to the UNESCO listed Roque Nublo. It is an 80-meter high rock, created by a volcanic eruption around 4.5 million years ago. Roque Nublo is not only the most iconic point of the island, but the views from up here are also pretty spectacular! On a clear day, you might even be able to spot the Teide – Spain’s highest peak on the nearby island of Tenerife. To get more out of it, we recommend doing a guided hike to Roque Nublo, which includes the drive over from your hotel in Maspalomas or Las Palmas.
Join a gay sailing cruise
Another highlight from our trips to GC: grab a group of gays and get everyone to chip in to rent out a gay male-only sailing boat. It's super affordable, includes two meals, unlimited drinks and a very handsome (gay) Captain. Our mini-cruise (fully clothing-optional I might add!) took us around the southern tip of the island, all the way to the remote Gui-Gui beach. We had the entire shoreline here to ourselves…give the gays a few bottles of rum and an empty shoreline and we'll leave the rest to your imagination…! The best part was when Captain Juan took the time to cook up a paella feast for us from scratch right on the beach. A truly magical experience we think everyone should try out!
Do some snorkeling
Gran Canaria is unique in that it has a wide range of African, Atlantic and Mediterranean marine life. This makes it a paradise for snorkeling. We recommend doing a snorkeling excursion with Blue Water Diving which will ensure you head to the best diving spots, taking into account the weather – a professional diving school will have this information at their fingertips. The tour we did included all equipment as well as a professional guide to point out what we were looking at.
Explore Maspalomas on a Segway
Segway adventures always make us giggle. We love them! It always reminds us of that scene in Back To The Future II where Marty is being chased by a gang on hover-boards! We recommend doing a segway tour in Maspalomas. It's certainly a more unique way to explore the city. Our tour took us to the Meloneras promenade and the Maspalomas pond with views over the ocean, the sand dunes and the famous lighthouse. We timed our segway tour to coincide with the sunset, definitely ranking as one of the most unique experiences from our travels!
Spot Flipper the Dolphin and her cohort of friends! Dolphins are THE most adorable creatures on the planet. They are so playful and extremely photogenic. You can see them in the wild in Gran Canaria, an experience which we recommend if you've not seen dolphins before. For our dolphin spotting boat tour, we sailed over to the southern end of the island where we saw a few dolphins frolicking in the ocean, took LOADS of pics/videos, then headed over to Gui-Gui beach where we stopped for lunch.
Plan your trip to Gran Canaria
We've put together some handy hints and tips to help you plan your own trip to Gran Canaria. Read on to find out everything the gay traveler should know before they go.
Travel insurance: Please do not leave home without it! We always like to travel with the security of knowing that any flight cancellations, stolen bags or unplanned-for medical bills will be covered. We recommend Heymondo Travel Insurance because their coverage is comprehensive and they are super affordable. Plus it's easy to make a claim online.
How to get there: Most will fly into the main international airport of the island located on the Eastern edge. It is around 18 miles (30km) from the Yumbo Centre. There is an infrequent and super slow public bus between the airport and Maspalomas, but we highly recommend pre-booking your airport transfer instead. The taxi takes around 20 minutes and pre-booking it online will ensure you have an English-speaking driver waiting for you at the Arrivals Hall – zero stress!
Visa requirements: As part of the Schengen Area, many travelers to Gran Canaria won't need a visa to visit Spain and other Schengen countries for up to 90 days. Travelers from the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and many countries in South America can visit Spain visa-free, but make sure you check your personal visa requirements before making any travel arrangements.
Getting around: We relied on taxis in Gran Canaria. There are public buses but they are infrequent and slow. The best advice is to base yourself close to the Yumbo Centre and you'll be just fine!
Currency: The currency used in Spain is the Euro. The symbol for the euro is € and $1 US converts to about 90 euro cents while £1 is worth around €1.17.
Tipping culture: Since Gran Canaria is quite touristy, tipping is widely expected as a reward for good service. Most restaurants will include service so you won't need to tip on top of that. When it comes to your guide, we always recommend giving them a tip of around 10%.
Internet access: Free WiFi is available at nearly every public place in Gran Canaria. If you will need a reliable connection for work or want to be able to connect multiple devices at once, we suggest organizing a portable WiFi device to use during your trip or buying a local SIM card when you arrive at the airport.
Accommodation: For more gorgeous accommodation inspiration in Gran Canaria, we recommend Booking.com. We always use them to find places to stay as they have a huge range of properties and offer the best prices. We also love that most listings have free cancellation, which makes our travel planning a lot easier when we want a degree of flexibility.
Sightseeing and adventure: For more inspiration for things to do, we recommend checking the listings for Gran Canaria on GetYourGuide. They always give us new ideas and their tours are super easy to book.
When to visit: Gran Canaria is sunny and warm throughout the year. July/August are peak seasons and the hottest months. May, June, September and October are shoulder seasons, the heat is more bearable, and our favorite time to visit. Our advice is to head here when one of the big gay events we set out above is happening.
Gay map of Gran Canaria
This is our gay map of Gran Canaria to show you where everything we've mentioned in this article is located. Use it to find out where all the gay hotels we've mentioned above are located as well as all the bars, clubs and beach:
For more inspiration:
- To read more about alternative experiences on the island, check out our 5 interesting facts about Gran Canaria
- Spain is also one of our top 10 favorite gay friendly countries in the world to spend time in
- Make sure you check out our complete gay city guide to fabulous Barcelona
- Find out what it's like to attend Pride in Barcelona
- As well as which are the best gay Pride events throughout Spain
- Need some Pride inspo? Check out these cute gay Pride outfit ideas
- Don't attend any celebrations without packing these must-have gay Pride accessories
- And here are the biggest gay Pride events in the world!