A Gay Guide to Gran Canaria
Gran Canaria is the most popular gay destination in the Canary Islands and with beautiful beaches, plenty of bars, cheap beer and good food, it is easy to see why.
Gran Canaria is the third largest of the Canary Islands and lies of the western coast of Africa, some 1000 miles from Mainland Spain. The subtropical climate provides year-round warm weather, though winter months are best spent in the capital Las Palmas, as December and January can be a little too chilly for the beach.
Gran Canaria is well served by its own international airport which is functional and well-located if a little tired inside. Transport, eating and drinking are substantially cheaper than most places in Europe and your average beer will set you back around €2 – some of the touristy places might be more expensive.
Gay visitors to Gran Canaria have two main options. The first is to head to the Maspalomas, primarily a beach destination, or to head to the eclectic capital city, Las Palmas. Both are easily reached with Gran Canaria airport transfers. Each destination has its own unique quirks and it depends if you’re seeking uninterrupted sunshine or fancy a little cultural foray on the side.
Famed for its vast expanse of sand dunes, Maspalomas has mainly developed around the tourism industry. Despite this, its policy of urbanisation has avoided mass high-rise hotels and instead, the area tends to offer visitors bungalow accommodation, preserving the aesthetic beauty of the area as much as is possible in a tourist hot spot.
There are a number of gay-only hotels and resorts in Las Palmas, many of which are clothing optional. They are often fully0booked in high season so advised to book well in advance.
The gay bars in Maspalomas are fairly busy all year round though summer sees a dramatic increase in the number of clientele. Most of the action takes place around Estados Unidos where you’ll find , multiple bars and clubs. A few of the firm favourites include Diamonds Bar, Buddies Bar and Fiction.
Despite being situated on a tiny island, Las Palmas is one of the largest cities in Spain and has a population of almost 400,000 people. There are two main areas of interest to visitors, the first being the commercial centre close to where the cruise ships dock and the second being the Old Town located roughly 5km to the south. On a pleasant day the walk between the two takes around an hour, alternatively, bus number 17 happily connects the two localities and comes at regular intervals.
Most of the tourist attractions are located in the Old Town, known locally as Vegueta. Here you’ll find the cathedral, Columbus House, the Modern Art Centre and cute shops and eateries lining the Colonial-style streets. If you’re in town on Thursday then all the bars and restaurants here serve beer and tapas for one euro. Away from the Old Town, attractions worth exploring are the Botanical Gardens, the Central Market and the main commercial street called Triana.
There are a few gay bars in Las Palmas, though many of them are closed in the week and are unpredictably quiet, even at the weekends. Peach is a popular standard bar and Black Door has a cruisy vibe and has themed events on certain nights – check their website for details.