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Gran Canaria (originally meaning “great island of dogs”) is the most populous island of the Canary Islands, a Spanish archipelago located in the Atlantic Ocean about 150 km off the coast of Africa.
Gran Canaria’s year-round pleasant weather and long beaches with white sand dunes make it a popular tourist destination, attracting over two millions visitors a year. It is particularly popular with British and Germans who look to escape from Northern Europe’s cold winter weather.
Spain is one of the most progressive countries in the world when it comes to gay rights.
The age of consent is 16 for everyone. Same-sex marriage is legal. Same-sex couples can adopt children. Gay men can serve openly in the military. There are anti-discrimination laws in employment, provision of goods and services and against hate speech.
The gay community is highly visible with major gay Pride celebrations each year in Madrid, Barcelona, Sitges and Gran Canaria.
The town of Playa del Ingles is renowned as one of the most popular gay beach destinations in the Europe. There are a huge number of gay resorts and hotels in this area and a vibrant gay bar and cruise club scene focused around the Yumbo Centrum.
The island attracts the young and not so young in equal numbers. The whole scene is attitude-free and welcoming to everyone.
During the daytime, most guys head for the nearby Maspalomas gay beach or enjoy exploring the sand dunes. Others choose to stay by the pool and enjoy the service and facilities of their hotel or resort.
The gay nightlife starts late and is focused almost entirely around the famous multi-story Yumbo Complex in the heart of Playa del Ingles.
The Yumbo Center is home to a huge range of cabaret show bars, cruise bars with dark rooms, late night dance clubs, gay saunas, shops and restaurants.
Most gay bars do not get busy until 11pm. The crowd tends to move on to the late night bars/ clubs around 2am, with some venues staying open until 5am or later.
There is also a gay scene in Las Palmas, the capital city of Gran Canaria, that tends to attract mostly local guys. Most gay bars and clubs in Playa del Ingles will stock local gay maps that provide details of the venues in Las Palmas.
There is a colourful gay Pride held each year in and around Maspalomas, usually in May.
Gran Canaria Airport (IATA: LPA) is one of the busiest in Spain handling over 10 million passengers a year. There are direct flights from most major European airports. Airlines flying scheduled services to Gran Canaria include Aer Lingus, Ryanair, EasyJet, Iberia, British Airways, Vueling, Air Berlin and KLM.
The airport is located towards the east coast of the Island, 25 km north of Playa del Ingles. From the airport to the city, there are several options:
Taxis are available at the signed taxi rank at the terminal and cost between €30-40 to get to Playa Del Ingles/Maspalomas.
There are regular hourly scheduled bus services from the airport to Playa del Ingles (€3.50) and Faro de Maspalomas (€4.05).
Most of major car rental companies operate at the airport. Gran Canaria has a good road infrastructure, and hiring a car is a very good option that gives you the flexibility to explore the Island and beaches at your own pace. Don’t forget to bring your driving licence.
There is an excellent, fast road between the airport and Playa del Ingles (GC-1). Other routes across Gran Canaria are well-maintained, although driving through the mountains requires a good head for heights.
Many resorts in Playa Del Ingles have private parking facilities. There is also a reasonable amount of free, unrestricted on-street parking. Blue lined zones are time limited pay and display areas. Yellow lined zones mean no parking.
Parking close to the beach in Maspalomas can be more of a challenge.
Cars are driven on the right hand side of the road. Seat beats are compulsory for both the front and back passengers. Using a mobile or a GPS device whilst driving is illegal. Do not overtake / cross a single white line in the middle of the road. Keep your driving license on you while driving.
There are a good choice of car rental operators at Gran Canaria Airport. There are also a number of operators in Playa Del Ingles. Book in advance to get the best deals.
Exclusively gay resorts and hotels near the gay nightlife at Yumbo Center are listed on a separate page.
Roque Nublo – a monolith feature that is 80m tall and one of the most famous landmarks on the island.
Las Canteras Beach – one of Gran Canaria’s most famous beaches and is about 3.1 km long.
Playa de Maspalomas – popular area of nude beaches, resorts and large gay scene.
Calle Triana – a nice street with upscale shops and boutiques.
Jardin Canario – a unique garden with examples of every kind of vegetation found on the Canary Islands.
La Vegueta – a charming neighbourhood with old architecture and bars on cobbled roads.
Palmitos Park – a large bird park in the south.
Barranco de Guayadeque – the site of an ancient settlement in Gran Canaria located in the southeast of the island.
Canarian Museum – founded in 1879, this museum is dedicated to the study of the origins, history, and archaeology of the Canary Islands.
Spain is within the Schengen visa area. If travelling from outside Europe, you should check to see if you require a Schengen visa.
The currency in Spain is the Euro. Cash dispensers are widely available. Credit and debit cards are widely accepted. Photo ID may be required if paying by card in some shops.
220 volts, using standard European 2-round pin plugs.
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