Located on the southern coast of Gran Canaria is the town of Playa del Ingles. It is a bustling town with a thriving gay scene, as evident in the area’s numerous LGBTQ-friendly bars, clubs, cabaret shows, and ultra-popular gay pride events. The tourist hotspot also has various attractions and is enormous enough to host nudists, families with kids, and young couples, guaranteeing that your trip, whether solo or with a company, will be one for the books.

History

Playa del Ingles literally translates to “Englishman’s Beach”. The origin of its name remains to be a topic of some speculation. The most popular theory suggests that, in the 1930s, an English farmer grew tomatoes where the resort is now and transported his harvest to the closest harbor via camel. Lord Nelson, who may have camped here while plotting his 1797 attack on Puerto de la Cruz on Tenerife, is also credited by some as the inspiration for the moniker.

Regardless of its true etymology, PDI was previously farmed for wheat and barley, and later tomatoes. Then, in 1962, the first apartments and other infrastructures were constructed to kick start tourism. Today, millions of tourists flock to this coastal town from all over the world for their holidays.

In addition, Playa del Ingles has emerged as an ultimate destination for gay tourism; estimates place the percentage of LGBTQ guests at between 15% and 20% annually. The history of gay tourism in the area dates back to 1978, when its first gay bar, “Jeans,” opened in the Yumbo Shopping Center, the epicenter of the LGBTI community in Gran Canaria and a primary example of the local’s friendly and accepting nature.

At a Glance

Playa del Inglés and the neighboring tourist communities of San Agustin, San Fernando, and Sonnenland make up the mega holiday zone of Maspalomas. Just to the south of the resort is the Maspalomas Dunes Nature Reserve.

With a length of about three kilometers and a width of about one hundred meters, PDI offers plenty of space for beach goers of all preferences. Its fine golden sand and tranquil waters have made it one of the most popular beaches not only in the Canary Islands but in all of Europe.

Like the rest of the Canary Islands, the climate in Playa del Ingles can be classified as subtropical. The average annual temperature is around 24 degrees Celsius, and the summers are warm and breezy. Since temperatures rarely drop to extreme lows in the winter, the season is generally mild. Around February, you can expect temperatures of around 17°C, still perfect for al fresco dining and a swim in the 19°C in the sea.

Playa del Ingles is visited by hundreds of people every day because of its beautiful, expansive beach and the abundance of available activities. Vacationers can stroll with their feet in the warm waters toward the other must-see attractions and coastal resorts in Maspalomas. If you stick by the seaboard on your walks, you’ll stumble upon the area’s surfers spot. It is down the coast near the Punta de Maspalomas, followed by the nude beach where naturists bathe in freedom.

In addition to the beach, plenty of excellent accommodations, restaurants, and nightlife establishments are available just off the sandy stretch. Many of these have undergone renovations in recent years to make them more in keeping with the area. The resort’s largest shopping centers, Yumbo and Kasbah, are further inland.

Things to Do

Playa del Ingles Beach Area

With three kilometers of fine, golden sand and millions of barely-clothed bottoms on it every year, Playa del Inglés is by far one of Europe’s busiest and most famous beaches. You might think that a beach with so many people would be too crowded, but PDI actually has plenty of room for everyone.

Playa del Ingles parallels the front of the resort and extends into Maspalomas Dunes Nature Reserve towards the east. There are designated beach areas where parents with young children can frolic. Vacationers can also relax under one of the many sunbeds and parasols for hire strewn across the beach, or rent water sports equipment like jet skis and try banana boating, paragliding, or fly boarding not far from Annexo II.

The water gets choppier as you head south to Punta de Maspalomas. A fantastic surfing destination, surfers and kite surfers love the Atlantic swells and breakers here. The area also features several schools for these watersports, making it an excellent choice for beginners.

If you head further south along Playa del Inglés beach, you’re more likely to run into naturists. And once you round the curve onto Maspalomas beach, you’ll notice that it’s almost entirely nudist. While you won’t need to undress to take a stroll along the beach, you should be aware that this is a clothing-optional spot. People in birthday suits usually seek solitude in nature and escape from prying eyes, so don’t stare at others and enjoy while respecting their privacy.

Walking along the seafront promenade behind Playa del Inglés is a great alternative to lounging in the sand. It begins at Avenida Tirajana in the heart of PDI and continues all the way to San Agustin, which is located a few kilometers to the east. It’s a fantastic way to start the day and one of the best resort walks on Gran Canaria.

Templo Ecumenico de San Salvador

Construction of the Templo Ecumenico de San Salvador began in 1969 and was completed in 1971. The architect Manuel de la Peño designed the temple’s unique structure, highlighted by the massive metal facade that serves as the temple’s entrance. The spectacular stained glass mosaic that makes up the church’s windows is an equally impressive feature.

Templo Ecumenico de San Salvador is unique and contemporary, fitting in well with the bustling atmosphere of Playa del Ingles. It’s also a quiet place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the beach for a while. In addition to the daily mass, the stunning church also hosts organ recitals, choir concerts, as well as lectures and presentations on Gran Canaria’s history and culture. Hence, a visit there is more than a spiritual or religious experience.

Yumbo Centrum

Yumbo Centrum has multiple floors, with numerous courtyards and terraces throughout the shopping center. It houses more than two hundred dining options and stores that sell everything from clothing and shoes to cosmetics and jewelry to home appliances. Through the ground floor entrance, visitors can access these commercial outlets, which are mostly scattered several levels below. It is also home to a tourist information office run by the Cabildo Insular de Gran Canaria (the governing body of the island), located at street level along Avenida de España.

Yumbo is also well-known for its vibrant nightlife, which features numerous gay bars, discos, nightclubs, and drag cabarets, making it a popular destination for LGBTQIA+ tourists. In fact, every May and November, the center plays host to thousands of revelers for the summer and winter editions of the annual Gran Canaria Gay Pride celebration.

Plaza Maspalomas Shopping Center

The area around Avenida Sargentos Provinciales is one of Playa del Ingles’ busiest entertainment districts. The Plaza Maspalomas Shopping Center can be found immediately before the church. Its stairs and escalators provide access to the lower level, which features shops, bars, karaoke bars, restaurants, and pubs. In the evenings, the area swarms with young people heading to the numerous bars and clubs lining the ground floor.

Hardworking greeting boys and girls on the square between the church and the Plaza shopping center entice potential guests to their establishment with special offers, including a free drink for the first time you visit. Evening happy hours are typical at bars, and most nightclubs don’t require membership or entrance fees.

Kasbah Shopping Center

The Kasbah can be found to the left of the Templo Ecumenico de San Salvador, just across Calle Malage from the church. There are numerous stores in the shopping center, but the heart of Kasbah is its central courtyard, which restaurants and bars surround. Here, live music and plenty of dancing start every night at 6:30 p.m.

Tourists and locals flock there on weekends to party the night away, so seating can be challenging to come by. Also expect to experience some fierce competition among barkers to recruit customers.

Paseo Maritimo

Paseo Maritimo is located just behind Playa del Ingles. When you stroll along the boardwalk, you can take in the beautiful scenery of the ocean and the nearby dunes. Many people use the paseo as a place to get in a morning run, especially before work when the temperature is ideal, and the coast is peaceful and quiet.

Paseo Maritimo
Maritime promenade, Paseo maritimo – © Ulysse Pixel

Beachgoers frequent the area’s numerous shops, cafes, and restaurants during the afternoon. You can also find late-night munchies here as many of its food establishments close after midnight. Conversely, bars stay open well into the morning. These bars are perfect for cocktails or cappuccinos in the afternoon and become lively spots for parties after dinner. Every trace of last night’s fun is then cleaned, and Paseo Maritimo is again a picture of tranquility during the day.

Waterpark Aqualand

Aqualand Maspalomas, one of Europe’s largest waterparks, is located just a short drive from Playa del Ingles. Slides of varying lengths, heights, and shapes can be found throughout the amusement park, each one guaranteed to raise your heart rate to dizzying new levels. The perfect place to get away from the summer heat, families and friends can have a great time on the rides and slides together, and those who would rather relax away from the action can bask in the sun on one of the sunbeds by the pool. A convenient place to grab a bite to eat or sit down for a meal is available on-site.

AstroGC

AstroGC’s astronomy workshop is great for people of all ages, from those just beginning to learn about the cosmos to avid stargazers who have been fascinated by it for years. A professional team will take them to the mountains of West Gran Canaria, far from any light pollution, and use powerful telescopes to show them galaxies, clusters, nebulae, and planets. There will, of course, be details on how the telescopes and the universe function. You can also anticipate learning the fundamentals of how to read the sky.

Astrogc Elders
You will take part to an astronomy workshop – © AstroGC

Camello Safari Duna Oasis

Playa del Ingles has an extensive variety of attractions partly because of its proximity to other popular vacation destinations. To see the world-famous Maspalomas Sand Dunes, book a guided 30-minute camel ride through Camello Safari Duna Oasis. Having a seasoned guide lead the excursion and direct the animals makes this a fun and safe activity even for youngsters. Furthermore, it’s an excellent way to enjoy the island’s natural beauty while experiencing how it feels to travel through the arid regions of faraway lands. Absolutely well worth the €15.00 for adults and €10.00 for kids 3 to 12 years old.

Dining Options

An outstanding culinary experience plays a big role in vacation satisfaction. Thankfully,the dining options in Playa del Inglesare not only plenty but also good. Mouthwateringly good!Here, it’s just as easy to eat till you drop as it is to keep it small without feeling disappointed. Haute cuisine or homemade comfort food. All-you-can-eat buffet or a cone of ice cream. A prime example of art on a plate or sloppy stack of pancakes. This coastal town is indeed one attractive gastronomic destination. And if you are a food lover, you are bound to love it here.

Check out our must-try restaurant list, pick what will bring pleasure to your palate, and come hungry!

Candombe Bar

Meat eaters and vegetarians alike will find what they’re looking for at the Candombe Bar: delicious, reasonably priced, and served in generous portions. It’s also for someone who wants to try what’s popular with the locals and go to an area tourists don’t frequent. While the wine list is good and the lasagna is delicious, the fillet steak and burgers (turkey, choripan, classic American, vegetarian, and many more) are the real draws here. There is also a selection of kid-friendly comfort foods.

Shorty’s

This restaurant on Avenida Tirajana manages to avoid the gimmicky vibe typical of tapas joints in many touristy towns on the Canary Islands, offering a simple yet cozy setting and big plates with big Spanish and Canarian flavors instead. The paella and the 10 tapas for 20 euros are out of this world and in portions meant for sharing, even for large groups. If you’re a meat eater, you’ll never forget the rump steak once you’ve tried it. And, no matter how you do it, make sure to save room for the almond cake.

Shorty’s Restaurant
A cozy table for two or the whole family – © Shorty’s Taperia

La Palmera Sur

Playa del Ingles is abuzz with dining options offering upscale fare, and La Palmera Sur is right in the middle of all the action. In addition to the large windows, there’s a chic indoor space with a blend of cool and dark tones. The menu, on the other hand, consists mostly of small-plate offerings. The sea bream tacos, crunchy black pork cheek tacos, and modern tapas are always served fresh. The fried squid sandwich features charcoal bread, black garlic mayo, and lemon. Guests can choose from an extensive selection of sparkling, white, rosé, and red wines. La Palmera Sur also shines in the other beverages with a boozy kick department, offering drinks such as tequilas, mezcal, vodka, brandy, cognac, Armagnac, and plenty of others.

Mana 264

If you can only try one restaurant in Yumbo Centrum, which houses countless dining options, let it be Mana 264. It’s one of the busiest bars in the commercial center, especially on the weekends.

Maná 264
Cocktail atmosphere – © Maná 264

As the old adage goes, “good things come in small packages,” and Mana 264 proves this true. This narrow restaurant boasts a cool atmosphere, black and purple interior paint, and rarely any unoccupied tables. Tapas, mushrooms stuffed with Iberico ham, and steaks are some of the most popular items on the menu. Not to be outdone, they also serve gluten-free bread that is always hot out of the oven and accompanied by a delicious homemade alioli, and they make a mean sangria.

Accommodations

The race to host increasingly well-traveled vacationers has made the hotels, apartments, and villas in Playa del Ingles one of the bests on the island. The friendly and accepting nature of Gran Canarians is also most evident in the resort town, which offers sixteen “LGBT exclusive” accommodations. In addition, many are within easy walking distance to the beach, major attractions, and food establishments.

It’s essential to do some research before making a reservation because each hotel offers a distinct holiday experience. Bear in mind that what’s suitable for families with kids may not be ideal for young couples looking for a sexy weekend. Perhaps you seek a luxury hotel or an authentic Canary experience with an excellent location. No matter what’s on your list of requirements, here are the accommodations in Playa del Ingles we highly recommend.

Abora Continental by Lopesan Hotels

Formerly known as the IFA Hotel Continental, the Abora Continental by Lopesan Hotels is conveniently situated nearby the popular beaches of Playa del Ingles and Playa El Veril. This three-star hotel has 396 spacious double rooms, which may include sofa bed options when traveling with a family or a larger group, spread across 7 floors and serviced by 3 lifts. Within the complex is the “24/7 by Abora” snack bar, serving food and beverages around the clock. On the other hand, the “sABOReA” Restaurant offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner buffets. When you want to eat outside and make the most of the Gran Canaria sun, “Snack & Go” is the perfect place. In addition, it has two adult pools, one children’s pool, a few hot tubs, and an extensive entertainment program for guests of all ages. Further, the hotel’s recent renovation has left it looking as good as new.

HL Suitehotel Playa del Ingles – Adults Only

As an adults-only establishment, the HL Suitehotel Playa del Ingles could be the perfect spot for a honeymoon or other romantic getaway for couples visiting Playa del Ingles. It was recently renovated in the summer of 2016 and features 260 tastefully designed rooms. The trendy hotel is just 200 meters from the beach and the promenade. It is also surrounded by numerous restaurants, bars, and shops, while the Kasbah and Plaza shopping malls are only a short stroll away. The facilities include a main restaurant serving traditional Spanish and international cuisine, an indoor hot pool, and an outdoor pool area with one normal-size pool and one semi-Olympic-size pool. There are jacuzzis, sun loungers, a bar, and a stunning ocean panorama from the top of the building.

Hotel HL Suitehotel Playa del Ingles
Outdoor swimming pool – © HL Suitehotel Playa del Ingles

Barceló Margaritas

Hotel Barceló Margaritas (formerly Occidental Margaritas) is conveniently close to Yumbo Centrum, Maspalomas Golf Course, and Playa del Inglés. The Maspalomas Dunes and the beach are easily accessible via the free shuttle service. Renovated in 2021, the elegant complex offers a wide range of services and numerous facilities, which include two pools, two pool bars, a nudist roof terrace, and a buffet restaurant. In addition, adults can work up a sweat at the fitness center, which is designed for functional and high-performance training, on the tennis court, or mini-golf course, while kids aged 4 to 12 have a blast at the mini club and playground, which feature an entertaining and educational animation program. The hotel’s reputation for friendliness, multilingual staff, and wealth of amenities has made it a favorite of families and couples alike.

Gran Canaria Princess – Adults Only

The Playa del Ingles and Maspalomas Sand Dunes are within walking distance from the adults-only 4-star Gran Canaria Princess Hotel. It’s ideal for vacationers searching for rest, relaxation, and recreation. Indulge in international and local specialties at the buffet restaurant or the a la Carte-Restaurant “El Boho,” or relax in the zen-style wellness area with Balinese beds and outdoor jacuzzis. Guests can take advantage of the fitness center, table tennis, pool billiards, and a dart corner, in addition to the many other available activities and night and day entertainment options.

Green Park Apartments

Green Park is an apartment complex for short-term and long-term rentals. It is most suited to travelers who want to be comfortable in a more relaxed setting and those looking for the best deals in Playa del Ingles. These apartments all come with their own balconies, kitchenettes, and lounges, and can be found only around 450 meters from the main beach. It is also only a few minutes walk away from the Aguila Roja Shopping Centre, as well as the bars and restaurants in town.

Getting to and Around Playa del Ingles

By Bus

From the Airport

Getting to Playa del Ingles from the Gran Canaria Airport is not difficult. The town is about 20 km away and can be reached within 40 minutes to 1 hour by bus. Bus lines 36, 66, and 90 bring holidaymakers from the airport to Plaza Maspalomas Shopping Center, while bus number 1 stops at Avenida de la Europea in El Veril, which is only a few minutes walk to many of the attractions and accommodations in Playa del Ingles. The 66 and 90 bus lines are the most convenient as they make fewer stops and run more frequently.

The main terminal’s departure level serves as the airport’s only bus stop. Almost all the buses are well-furnished and equipped with air conditioning, which can be necessary during the warmer months.

Passengers buy the ticket on the bus. Inform the bus driver of your destination and pay the fare in cash, preferably the exact amount in coins. A one-way ticket will cost you €3.50, and no discount is available.

Buying an AB or TRANSGC card before you leave for vacation is the best way to save money on bus fares. If you have an AB card, you can save 20% off the regular fare. The TRANSGC card offers a discount proportional to the amount loaded onto it, so if you plan to spend a long time in Playa del Ingles or elsewhere in Gran Canaria, it’s worth considering.

Getting Around Playa del Ingles

Vacationers can also go around Playa del Ingles and visit various places in Maspalomas by bus. The Plaza Maspalomas Shopping Center is serviced by buses 30, 32, 36, 39, 45, 66, and 90, which can transport vacationers to the nearby Yumbo Shopping Center, Cita Shopping Center, and Playa del Ingles beach. Some go farther, passing the bus stops nearby Faro de Maspalomas and Playa de las Meloneras.

By Taxi or Private Transfer

A taxi is another option for getting from the Gran Canaria Airport to Playa del Ingles and going around the town. Taxis with a green light on drive around constantly; just flag one down. There are taxi ranks in the vicinity of the busiest areas as well, though there may be a short wait, especially during the peak season. Gran Canaria taxis use a meter that indicates the fare, and passengers should expect to pay a little more during the night hours. At present, it takes about 20 minutes and at least €35 to get to PDI from the airport.

Tourists who prefer to skip public transport can book a private transfer online ahead of time. This ensures a vehicle of their choosing is waiting at the airport and ready to take them to their destination. Avoid any hassle by checking the rates and choosing your transfer beforehand.

By Car

Holidaymakers who prefer to reach Playa del Ingles and explore the town and the rest of the island on their own can rent a car directly at the airport. Major car rental companies have offices on the ground level of the main airport terminal and in major tourist towns like PDI. Know your options by checking rental prices and booking a car online in advance.

Driving to Playa del Ingles from the airport is painless. Simply follow the sign that says “GC-1 Sur” to get on the GC-1 motorway, then take exit 43 for GC-500.

Playa del Ingles: A Holiday to Remember

Playa del Ingles is a town of contrasts. Its complex urban area is spread beside a stunning, natural golden sand beach. Its shoreline features both placid stretches and sections with waves ideal for surfers. There’s also a huge portion for families with kids and another for naturists.

In addition, Playa del Ingles has several spots where holidaymakers can enjoy an unforgettable night out. If you’re looking for bars that attract a lively crowd, we recommend checking out Yumbo Centrum, Plaza Maspalomas, or Kasbah. These are the best music-thumping places for nonstop dancing, socializing, and drinking.

But there’s much more to Playa del Ingles than its scenic beach and party scene. The warm, accepting, and welcoming culture of Gran Canaria shines through in this town. Anyone can stay true to what they really are and be with whoever they want without getting judgmental stares. Add in the fantastic weather, incredible dining options,great shopping experiences, lovely beach, and some of the most wide-ranging nightlife spots in the Canary Islands, and travelers of all orientations and identities are set for a holiday to remember.