So what’s all the fuss about?
A trip to Playa del Ingles/Maspalomas is almost a rite of passage for the European LGBT community. With almost guaranteed sunshine and a very liberal attitude the popularity is easy to understand. With direct flights from all over Europe there’s planeloads of hot men (and women) landing here every day.
Taxis are cheap and plentiful – expect to €5 for most local journeys. There are plenty of options from the airport – one of the best ideas is to book a transfer with one of the online companies.
What to expect
My advice to the first time visitor is to go with low expectations and you’ll be pleasantly surprised. It can be tacky, it’s not very sophisticated but it can be really good fun. It’s a real melting pot and you will meet some really great people.
Where to stay
The range of accommodation is from the tawdry to the very swish. There are the standard package hotels and apartments to small friendly all gay resorts. Pick the accommodation to best suit your budget and the type of holiday you want. If you want all day partying then the resorts closest to the infamous Centro Yumbo is probably best for you. If you’re a beach bum – stay closer to the beach.
Axel Maspalomas – part of the hetero friendly Axel chain – lots of muscle men and pool parties. Central and can be expensive
Villas Blancas – Campo del Golf – 40 bungalows with 2 pools – good standard of accommodation and facilities
Vista Bonita – in Sonnenland – half way between the centre of the action and the beach at Meloneras. LGBT resort with 22 great townhouses around a great heated pool (a boon in winter).
Miles and miles of gorgeous sand, back by the infamous dunes. Can be reached from Playa del Ingles or Meloneras Lighthouse. The Gay beach is at Beach Bar 7…though you’ll certainly recognise it when you get there. The hike through the dunes is not for the fainthearted.
Most of the gay life is in the Yumbo Centre – a 1970’s shopping monstrosity during the day that becomes a beacon of neon and music when the sun goes down. There’s about 40 gay bars, a wide selection of restaurants (most with awful pictures of the food on the menus) dance clubs, drag shows and more full-on bars and clubs.
Where to drink
Early bars – Coco Loco, Adonis and Bar Rendezvous, happy hours, pop soundtrack and waiters in swim trunks, great for people watching
Sparkles – very end of the Blackpool Pier – big and brash
Funny Girls – late, polished and professional
Terry’s Show Bar – small, intimate, very Spanish and great fun
Clubs – Mykanos, Mantrix – clustered in the aptly named Six Pack Zone. Dance till 6am
Where to eat
Martell House in the Yumbo is good for people watching and food - just ignore the food photographs on the wall
Miramar - Great terrace away from the Yumbo mobs
Samsara – near the lighthouse in Melonores – fabulous fusion food in incredible space – has to be booked a week in advance
Must do once
Apoteke – the German Beach Bar – near the lighthouse – busy from 4pm – 8pm – drunk Germans and dodgy music guaranteed. Hysterical fun.
Café Vien – another after beach staple – posh cakes served by your granny.
The Open Air Cinema – if you feel that some romance is in order – this is the place for you.