With year-round sun, plenty of gay clubs and bars and a history of tolerance and acceptance, Gran Canaria is a gay paradise. Just one of the eight Canary Islands, Gran Canaria is a haven of gay tourism, with year-round events for travelers to enjoy.
Gran Canaria claims an impressive 60km of beaches, which are as varied and diverse as the island’s landscape. From volcanic mountain ranges to the endless dunes of Maspalomas, Gran Canaria has plenty to offer when it comes to breathtaking views and opportunities for outdoor exploration. The sun-soaked island is rich in history and ancient culture for travelers to immerse themselves in.
Gran Canaria blossomed into the haven for LGBT travelers it is today during the oppressive and deadly Francoist dictatorship in Spain. During this period much of Spain’s LGBT community escaped to the Canary Islands as they were seen as too far away for Franco and his government to effectively control. As such, the island became a sanctuary for the outcasts of Spanish society and has over time developed to earn its reputation as an international gay travel destination alongside the likes of San Francisco and Mykonos, albeit a more affordable option.
AxelBeach is an upmarket and adult-only hetero-friendly resort in the Maspalomas area of Gran Canaria. The resort has 92 modern and stylish apartments complete with bedrooms, living, and cooking areas. AxelBeach is only minutes from the beachfront and is one of the most popular hotels for gay travelers in Gran Canaria. AxelBeach is also home to a relaxing and enclosed garden area, fully equipped gym, and resort bar. The resort is the ideal hotel in Gran Canaria for gay couples or groups of friends.
Another adult only, and the gay-popular hotel is the MUR Neptuno Gran Canaria. Situated conveniently near the Yumbo Center, a hub of gay nightlife on the island, the MUR Neptuno is a comfortable and convenient hotel for travelers with the best value for money in mind. The popular gay Hut 7 beach can be easily accessed by a 15-minute walk or by the hotel operated shuttle service, offering hotel guests free transport to the beach.
For those traveling on a budget, the Hotel RIU Don Miguel offers simple yet stylish accommodation in a central location and near the most popular gay attractions. The hotel also boasts an impressive pool area which often hosts a variety of live performances and shows for guests to enjoy. Guests can also enjoy the on-site restaurant, gym, and whirlpool.
For the most popular and lively gay bars and clubs look no further than the Yumbo Center. This expansive shopping center is home to over 200 businesses, many of which cater directly to the LGBT community and tourists who populate Gran Canaria. The gay venues that can be found in the Yumbo Center range from gay dance clubs to saunas and cruising venues and whilst the Yumbo is not the most culturally or aesthetically enriching place it does offer unashamed and unparalleled fun.
On the fourth floor of the Yumbo Centrum, you’ll find Mykonos, a lively dance club that attracts a trendy and young crowd and is packed out most nights. The club is known for its large dancefloor, pole dancers, and mix of pop and Latin hits. Mykonos has a more relaxed atmosphere earlier on in the evening but by the early hours its a hub of activity. The club even has a few private cabins for patrons seeking discreet fun.
The Bärenhöle, meaning Bear Cave in English is one of the Yumbo Center’s longest-running bar for bears and their admirers. The bar has a laid back feel and serves affordable drinks throughout the night. The Bärenhöle is also a popular venue for gay travelers to begin their night before moving onto some of the areas bigger clubs.
Mantrix is a hugely popular gay club open 7 days a week and boasting some of the biggest crowds on weekend nights. The club is open very late and attendance really picks up in the early hours of the morning. Mantrix also has some cruising areas as well as an outside terrace and large dancefloor. Most nights out in the Yumbo Center end up at Mantrix and visitors are guaranteed a good time.
The main cruise clubs in Gran Canaria are again in the Yumbo Center, however, the dunes near the Hut 7 beach are also a popular destination for cruising and there are a number of clubs in the Maspalomas.
BUNKER bar is a men-only hardcore gay cruise club in the heart of the Yumbo Center. This fetish club doesn’t enforce a dress-code and features a range of facilities including lockers, slings, cages, and private cabins.
The Hole is Maspalomas’ newest and largest cruise clubs and is quickly becoming one of the islands most popular. The Hole welcomes guests with a variety of fetishes and sexual interests. The club boasts slings and glory holes as well as a designated “wet” area. It’s the place to go if you like to play harder, so to speak.
Wander the expanisve Maspalomas Dunes
The Maspalomas Dunes are a jaw-dropping expanse of sand dunes on the south coast of Gran Canaria. They are consistently regarded as one of the most worthwhile destinations to visit on any trip to the island and cover an impressive 404-hectares. The dunes have been designated as a protected nature reserve since 1987 and as such have retained their pristine and untouched condition ever since. In addition to being a popular cruising destination for gay travelers, they are also a key example of Gran Canaria’s stunning and diverse landscape.
Discover the secrets of the Caves of Valeron
Despite looking more like a gothic Gaudi creation, the Caves of Valeron are the largest collective granary built before Roman times. These intricate and beautifully handcrafted dwellings are comprised of 298 individual compartments that housed Gran Canaria’s population before the Roman invasions of the 15th century. The attraction is located close to the iconic painted cave and is accessible by a bus from Las Palmas.
Live out your cowboy fantasy at Sioux Park
Accessible by a free pick up bus service, Sioux Park offers travelers the chance to experience the American West. Sioux Park features a recreated western town and has been used as a filming location for a number of western movies. Whilst visitors are able to freely explore the town, appreciating the minute details that have been replicated with precision, the main attractions are the daily shows in which costumed actors perform action-packed battles and heists.
Gay rights in Gran Canaria
Spain is considered one of the most socially liberal and LGBT friendly countries in the world and Gran Canaria offers gay travelers an amplified version of this acceptance. Gay marriage has been legal in Spain since 2005 and there are a number of anti-discrimination laws that protect both citizens and travelers from persecution and aggression as a result of their LGBT identity.
The Maspalomas pride happens annually in May and is the largest gay summer party on the island. The celebrations draw a gay crowd from around the world and feature a number of events at many of the island’s most popular LGBT venues as well as an extremely well-attended street parade.
Since 2007 the island has been host to the Maspalomas Winter Pride. Focused around the Yumbo Centrum, the Winter Pride Festival features a range of events from drag shows and live performances to pride parades and pool parties. There is something for every gay traveler at the Winter Pride Festival.
The Bear Carnival takes place in Gran Canaria every year in March and is one of the worlds best events for bears and their fans. Spread across a number of the islands most popular bear focused clubs and bars, the festival is a truly inclusive and iconic event.
by George Pizani | On: Gay Gran Canaria