Introducing Playa Del Inglés & Maspalomas
This is Gran Canaria’s most famous holiday resort and a sun-splashed party place for a mainly northern-European crowd. That said, during the day (and out of season) it has a more upmarket appearance than you may expect. This is not Benidorm, or even Los Cristianos in Tenerife. In the centre you are more likely to stumble across expensive hotels or smart apartment blocks than Dot-and-Alf-style English pubs. On the downside, there is virtually nothing that is even halfway Spanish here; everything is tourist driven and the only languages you’ll need are German or English. The town plan is also undeniably soulless, with the neatly traced boulevards and roundabouts betraying all the town-design spontaneity of a five-year plan.
At night, most of the action takes place in and around the Yumbo Centrum, with the leather handbags and wallets in the stores replaced by leather gear in steamy gay bars. The vaguely wholesome, bustling family atmosphere evaporates as the discos (both straight and gay) swing until dawn, barrels and bottles are drained by the dozen in bars, and the drag shows, saunas and sex shops all do a roaring trade.
The only natural items of genuine interest are the impressive dunes of Maspalomas, also home to some of Gran Canaria’s most luxurious hotels and the island’s largest golf course. The dunes fold back from the beach and cover 400 hectares, and their inland heart has been declared a nature reserve with restricted access.