Gran Canaria may not be as lush of an island as Hawaii and its beaches aren’t as renowned as Ibiza’s, but what it may lack in traditional outward appearances it makes up for with a unique, fun-loving personality, gay-friendly attitude and an adventurous spirit.
Gran Canaria is a unique, gay-friendly and adventurous place to visit. It’s a hot gay destination year-round due to the warm climate and Maspalomas is its gay capital. Drag shows are famous here and the Yumbo Center in Maspalomas is the center of the gay nightlife with gay bars, clubs, restaurants and cafes. Maspalomas has been a gay haven for years and countless Europeans visit the island throughout the year for its incredible gay scene.
Though just off the coast of northern Africa, the Canary Islands are part of Spain and enjoy year-round warm weather. Maspalomas is well known as a gay-friendly destination with its summer pride event attracting over 100,000 people. The warm, temperate weather in Maspalomas makes it a particularly inviting destination for those looking to enjoy some sun in the winter or spring when most European destinations are still waiting to warm up.
Transportation & Airport Transfer
The easiest way to get from the airport to your hotel is by taxi, which will cost about 30€. You can also pre-book a private transfer for roughly the same price.
If you’re on a budget, there is local bus service (route 66) from the airport. It stops at both Playa del Ingles and ends at Faro de Maspalomas (the lighthouse), which is the main touristic area of the city where many hotels are located. The one-way bus fare is 4€. You can also pre-book a shared transfer for 4€.
Once you arrive in Maspalomas, you can get around by bus or taxi. The island of Gran Canaria is generally inexpensive, so taxi rides for short distances are probably much more convenient than trying to learn how to ride the bus.
Gay Hotels & Resorts in Maspalomas
There are plenty of gay accommodations in and around Maspalomas. The gay beach is great to catch a tan but having a (clothing optional) pool right next to your room is also convenient for lazy days as the beach can be a bit of a trek to get to. Choosing one of the many gay-friendly accommodations in Maspalomas will ensure a wonderful stay during your holiday.
** all these properties marked with stars are gay-specific hotels.
Hotel Nayra – adults-only hotel located in Playa del Ingles. This property features an outdoor pool and a sun terrace. The hotel offers a 24-hour reception, and there is also a bar and buffet restaurant on site. Across the street from the Yumbo Center and Playa del Ingles Beach is a 15-minute walk.
Axelbeach Maspalomas**- the most famous gay hotel chain has a location in Maspalomas with 92 modern apartments, distributed over 4 floors. The complex has a pool, gym, bar and a nice outdoor relaxing area designed exclusively for you to feel the Axel cool atmosphere.
Seven Hotel & Wellness**- gay men-only hotel with a heated outdoor saltwater pool, and each room comes with a furnished porch. The property features the Abora Restaurant. The beach and Maspalomas Dunes is about a 20-minute walk, while the Yumbo Center is a 10-minute walk away.
Birdcage Gay Resort **- This cozy resort offers body treatments, sun deck and an outdoor pool. All rooms provide a private terrace, mini bar, a refrigerator and a satisfying breakfast is available each morning. For guests with day trips planned, the resort offers packed lunches.
Atlantic Sun Beach **- apartments for gay men only with outdoor pool, sun terrace and gardens. Each apartment has a private balcony or terrace. They also offer bicycle and car rental services.
Paso Chico **- a great budget option for private bungalows, with a pool right across from all the gay nightlife. It’s a small property owned by a friendly German couple and offers plenty of space with a separate bedroom, kitchen and living room. The personal outdoor patio in front of each bungalow is perfect for relaxing with your morning coffee or having an evening cocktail before a night out.
There are many sites for apartment rentals in Maspalomas, with AirBnB probably being one of the most popular. Prices are generally comparable to budget hotels, especially if you’re willing to get a room in a shared apartment.
There are even a few LGBT-oriented booking sites like misterb&b with listings from gay hosts for gay guests where you can either rent a whole apartment or a private room in a shared apartment. Understanding Maspalomas’ gay scene is much more easily done with the help of a local and apartment sharing is one of the best ways to meet someone living in the city who knows how things work, where and when are the best nights to go out, and what places to eat at and which to avoid.
Special Offer!Sign up with AirBnB or misterb&b and you will receive a free $25 credit to use on your first booking!
Sightseeing & Activities in Maspalomas
Gay Boat Tour – Perhaps the best thing you can do to enjoy Gran Canaria is to take a private gay yacht tour to a secluded beach on the southern side of the island with a friendly, charming gay captain. This company offers an all-day trip on the boat, time spent on the beach and provides tapas and quality drinks. You can also snorkel, swim and even see dolphins or whales along the way. The trip leaves from Puerto de Mogan and heads to Guigui Beach, an often-empty black sand beach with the occasional hippie laying around. Book tour →
Take a Surfing Class – Learn to surf with perfect weather, perfect waves and with highly experienced, fun and qualified instructors in small groups. Surf Canaries Surf School is based at the foot of the sand dunes of Maspalomas in Playa del Inglés. Book tour →
Visit the Sand Dunes – Don’t miss the chance to visit the sand dunes of Maspalomas. These gently undulating dunes are a protected nature reserve that look like a dazzling corner of the Sahara Desert.
Restaurants and Cafes
LoLa – contemporary restaurant with modern Mediterranean cuisine. The menu changes every 3 months. Casual, fine dining restaurant located in the Yumbo Shopping Center.
Wapa Tapa – tapas restaurant bar located within the heart of the Yumbo Centre. They offer an imaginative mix of quality Spanish and international tapas and a balanced selection of Spanish wines at competitive prices.
Restaurante Etiopico Afrika – Ethiopian restaurant with great reviews and good options for vegetarians/vegans.
Tavolo14 – traditional Italian restaurant serving homemade pasta and pizza. Delicious pasta dishes, plus fresh salads and seafood.
La Palmera Sur – fine dining with a creative Spanish Asian menu. The ambiance, the modern decor and the swift friendly service make a meal at La Palmera Sur one to remember.
ABRASA – offers high-quality meat cuts from Spain, Uruguay and Argentina. The charcoal-grill gives a wonderful flavor to the meat served with homemade french-fries, Canarian green peppers and delicious herb butter.
Bollywood Indian Masala – top-rated Indian food with lots of delicious traditional meat dishes plus vegetarian and vegan options.
Maspalomas Gay Bars
Maspalomas has huge amount of gay nightlife venues and almost all of them are located in the Yumbo Center. We’ve listed a sample of the places below, but it might just be best to take a stroll around Yumbo and see which place looks the most interesting to you.
Parrots Gran Canaria – if you’ve visited Sitges, you may remember this bar. It has modern decor with outdoor seating and colored ambient lighting. Choose from a menu of about 50 different cocktails.
Adonis Bar – another indoor/outdoor bar with standing tables or more relaxed seating on the terrace. Welcoming to all but caters to German’s.
Bar Diamonds – another place with a big outdoor terrace on the ground floor of the Yumbo Center.
Drag shows in Gran Canaria are like the residency shows of Las Vegas, with a slightly smaller budget and a lack of celebrity status. Still, they’re a hit and they’re a must. The Yumbo Centre in Maspalomas is the center of the gay nightlife with gay bars, clubs, restaurants and cafes. Here you’ll find quite a few drag shows with various acts focusing on comedy, lip-syncing and even live singing in some cases.
Terry’s Show – local favorite with talented Spanish drag performers. The show is perhaps more authentic compared to many others in Yumbo.
If you’re looking for something raunchy, these British-style drag places lead the pack at top favorites like Sparkles or Ricky’s Cabaret. British-style drag is focused on humor and much less on beauty or performance.
Maspalomas Gay Clubs and Parties
There are three gay clubs all located right next to each other on the 4th floor of the Yumbo Center. People often crowd out onto the walkway in front of the three venues.
Mykonos – this place has disco-pop music, video projection screens, a dance floor and a cruising area with cabins. Closes at 3:30am.
Tubos – plays pop and Top 40 hits. Closes at 3:30am.
Mantrix – a popular dance club with a cruising area and darkroom. This is the main gay club in the Yumbo Center. Usually doesn’t open until 2am but stays open until 6am.
Maspalomas Gay Saunas & Cruising Bars
Below is just a small sample of gay cruising bars in the Yumbo Center. You can also find more places like Bunker Bar, The Hole and The Box.
Sauna Heroes – recently renovated featuring large cruising area, private cabins, dry sauna, steam room and café bar.
Cruise Bar – a bear and leather bar with multiple cabins, passages, mazes, slings, a porn video room, glory holes and two dark rooms.
Tom’s Cruising Bar – you will find people of all ages here. They offer cabins, glory holes, slings, an exclusive area for smokers and more.
Gay Beaches in Maspalomas
About a quarter of Gran Canaria’s 236 km of coastline is beaches. The gay beach is located at kiosk number 7, between the Maspalomas lighthouse and Playa del Ingles. You can arrive there in about 15-20 minutes walking along the shoreline from the lighthouse or through the dunes from Riu Hotel where you’ll find occasional cruising. Once you arrive, there are plenty of cheap loungers (around €3) and umbrellas that you can rent for the day or simply sprawl your towel out along the spreading sand. Sunbathe with or without your bathing suit, like most gay beaches, it’s your choice. On a very windy day you may just want to opt for your hotel pool as the blowing sands can be brutal.
Gay Events in Maspalomas
Maspalomas Carnival – Gran Canaria is one of the regions of Spain which has a huge Carnival celebration. The event takes place in February or March depending on when the holiday falls each year.
Maspalomas Winter Pride – every year in November they celebrate winter pride in one of Spain’s most gay-friendly destinations. The event consists of live shows in the Yumbo Center, the center of the gay nightlife with gay bars, clubs, restaurants and cafes.
Maspalomas Gay Pride – Maspalomas is home to one of the first gay pride celebrations of the European season kicking off in May each year. The event includes a giant street parade in Playa del Ingles, as well as a variety of performances by international artists, dance and pool parties and boat trips.
Day Trips from Maspalomas
Climb Roque Nublo – If you drive around the island, you’ll notice that there are quite a few lookout points with beautiful views of the ever-changing terrain. Head to Roque Nublo for a nice 20-minute, mild hike that ends at amazing rock formations that create that perfect backdrop for some fun photos. Book tour →
Visit Bodega Los Berrazales – The Agaete Valley of Gran Canaria is the only place in Europe where coffee is naturally grown and is an interesting place to learn about local produce. As you head through the valley, you’ll catch nice views of white painted houses clustered together along the mountainside. While there, take a tour at Bodega Los Berrazales to learn not only about their coffee crops, but also about the 40,000 bottles of wine they produce a year and the many other things grown onsite like grapes, oranges and bananas. On the tour, you get to try three wines accompanied with Serrano ham, cheese, coffee and sponge cake. Book tour →
Gran Canaria Island Tour – Experience all of Gran Canaria in a day on a tour of the island. Make your way out to the heart of the island to see beautiful natural areas, magnificent viewpoints, and traditional villages, with a stop for a homemade picnic lunch along the way. Book tour →