Gran Canaria LGBTQ+ travel guide: What to see and where to go

There are few European destinations with as much to offer the LGBTQ+ community as Gran Canaria. With its year-round warm weather, vibrant gay scene, and more Pride events and festivals than you can shake a stick at, it’s hardly a surprise that Gran Canaria is a fan-favourite for LGBTQ+ travellers from all over Europe.

Rest assured – as an LGBTQ+ traveller, you will be welcomed here with open arms!

Globetrotter Guys Sion and Ben run The Globetrotter Guys, a gay travel blog and social media channel for LGBTQ travellers.

Gay-friendly areas in Gran Canaria

LGBTQ+ tourists will be warmly welcomed across the entire island of Gran Canaria, however as with any other destination known for gay travel, there are certain areas and neighbourhoods that are more popular with LGBTQ+ visitors.

Maspalomas and Playa del Inglés

The main gay area in Gran Canaria spans across both Maspalomas and Playa del Inglés, two neighbouring resorts that almost merge into one.

Maspalomas is more of an accommodation-focussed neighbourhood, home to a range of hotels and self-catering resorts, including many of the bungalow style complexes that the island is well-known for. Maspalomas is also where you will find the famous sand dunes, which we definitely recommend a visit to. The dunes cover over 1,000 acres and are a protected nature reserve, so well worth checking out!

However, the islands main ‘’gay scene’’ is in the resort town of Playa del Inglés. It’s here that you will find the Yumbo Centre – the beating heart of gay Gran Canaria! By day the Yumbo Centre is a multi-storey shopping centre, full of gay shops, tourist shops, bars, and cafes, yet at night it transforms into the gay nightlife hub of Playa del Inglés, if not of the island – with over 30 bars and clubs to choose from!

Las Palmas

Las Palmas is the capital of Gran Canaria and has been a popular choice with the LGBTQ+ community for many years.

Whilst it may not have nightlife on the same scale as Playa del Inglés, it does still have a good selection of bars and clubs on offer, and so remains a popular destination for gay travellers to the island.

Gay bars and clubs in Gran Canaria

There is a long list of gay bars and gay clubs to choose from in Gran Canaria, located across the entire island. However, the majority are found within the Yumbo Centre in Playa del Inglés.

Some of the most popular gay bars located here include:

  • Buddies – a long standing gay bar, in the corner of one of the busiest squares of the Yumbo Centre. Buddies is well-known as a meet-up point for a lot of events taking place, so as the name suggests is a great place to make friends.
  • Diamonds – another long running gay bar, Diamonds is known for offering some of the best-priced drinks in the Yumbo Centre. A great choice to start your night!
  • Rickys Cabaret Bar – Rickys is an award-winning drag and cabaret show bar, and a popular choice for many wanting to sit and get in a good mood for their night out!

Some of the most popular gay clubs for dancing are:

  • Mantrix – Mantrix is one of the few actual ‘’clubs’’ in the Yumbo Centre, in the sense that it has a cover charge. Mantrix is the place to go when everywhere else is shut and you want to keep on dancing!
  • Mykonos – Mykonos is located on the top floor of the Yumbo Centre. It is the place to head to once the drinks have kicked in and you are ready to dance. Mykonos is a long dance bar and plays a good mixture of UK chart hits with a few Spanish tunes thrown in.
  • Coco Loco – Coco Loco is one of the most popular dance bars in the Yumbo Centre! With cheesy music, poles and some incredible drag acts, it’s impossible to have a bad night here.

Lesbian bars and clubs in Gran Canaria

Whilst there are no lesbian bars, clubs or specific events in Gran Canaria, you will find that most of the bars mentioned above do attract a mixed crowd. There have been official lesbian bars in the past that have popped up annually during pride, but these are no longer running.

However, Rickys Cabaret Bar is owned by a lesbian couple and would be a great place to start for lesbian travellers.

Gay events and activities in Gran Canaria

Whilst most countries around the world celebrate Pride just once a year, Gran Canaria has gay events scheduled into their calendar pretty much all year long – which makes sense seeing as it is a year-round destination!

In particular, check out the following popular events:

  • Maspalomas Pride – this is the islands Summer Pride celebration, held in May each year. Summer Pride usually lasts for at least two weeks, with the first week being focused around cultural events, and the second week being the party celebrations culminating in the Pride Parade!
  • Maspalomas Winter Pride – Winter Pride is held in November each year, and usually lasts for between seven – 10 days. This is a week of parties, events, boat trips and of course, another Pride Parade!
  • Freedom Festival Maspalomas – Freedom Festival is basically a ‘’miniature Pride’’, held at the start of October each year, this five-day long event is centred around the Yumbo Centre, with free concerts, pool-parties and boat trips.

Explore the island

If you feel a little partied out and want something a little more authentic and cultural, then we highly recommend heading away from Maspalomas and Playa del Inglés and exploring the rest of the island.

Gran Canaria is a visually stunning island, with mountains, nature reserves and many beautiful beaches.

Car hire is relatively cheap, and a popular excursion is to venture inland, find a local tapas bar in one of the hillside villages, and enjoy views of the neighbouring mountains.

Alternatively, the southern coastline is very well connected by public transport, to take you to other popular resort towns such as Playa Amadores, with its sweeping golden-sandy beach, or Puerto de Mogan, where the weekly market is held.

Gay beaches in Gran Canaria

The main gay beach on the island is located beyond the sand dunes in Maspalomas. It is easily recognised by the rainbow flag usually flying above Kiosco Beach N°7 (the beach hut selling drinks and snacks).

It is worth mentioning that this is also a clothing-optional beach, so don’t be too shocked upon arrival!

As with many other gay beaches around the world, it is located a little far out of the resort. The easiest way to arrive is by taking a taxi to the end of Avenida de Tirajana, heading through the central archway (open to the public) to the dunes, and following the well-trodden path to the right.

Alternatively, you can take a taxi to the Maspalomas Lighthouse (Faro de Maspalomas) and walk left (as you face the sea) along the beachfront until you hit Kiosco Beach N°7.

Lesbian beaches in Gran Canaria

Whilst not as busy as the gay beach at Kiosco Beach N°7, there are a few places the are unofficially classed as lesbian beaches. For the best chance of experiencing a lesbian beach, we would suggest trying one of the below during summer or winter pride when the island will have more lesbian travellers.

These beaches include Pasito Blanco, Amadores, Montaña de Arena and Triana.

Gay hotels in Gran Canaria

LGBTQ+ travellers to Gran Canaria will of course be welcomed in all hotels and resorts. However, as a popular gay and lesbian travel destination there are a number of hotels that we recommend either for being a ‘’gay hotel’’ or that are known for being ‘’gay-friendly’’.

  • AxelBeach Maspalomas - Adults Only – AxelBeach Maspalomas is well-known for being a ‘’gay hotel’’ and markets itself as ‘’hetero-friendly’’. The complex offers large apartments with self-catering facilities and a large and modern pool area. Plus, AxelBeach is literally around the corner from the Yumbo Centre!
  • Playa Del Sol Only Adults Hotel – Playa Del Sol offers a large pool area, private rooftop sunbathing and is very conveniently located next to the Yumbo Centre.

When it comes to gay travel destinations in Europe, Gran Canaria ranks very highly, and we think it is easy to see why! If you are searching for that next gay hotspot to tick off your travel bucketlist, give gay Gran Canaria a go – you won’t be disappointed!

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