So you and your mates have all agreed that you’re overdue a serious lads’ holiday – no other halves, no kids and definitely no killjoys! You’ve probably already worked out that Spain’s Canary Islands offer everything you need, from loads of sunshine and beaches to clubs, pubs and a full English breakfast the morning after (or let’s be honest, more likely the afternoon after). But which of all the great resorts on all the different islands should you choose?
Well, I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that if you’re looking for a full-on party holiday where you can drink until dawn, collapse on a sunbed all day and then do it all again the next night, the location for you is Playa del Inglés on Grand Canaria.
Playa del Inglés has quite a reputation, and it’s one for hard-core partying and lively group holidays. Everywhere you go – from the accommodation, restaurants, bars and shops – everyone speaks English, and if Paella isn’t your thing then you’ll find fish and chips or even an English roast easy to come by.
But the real lure here is, of course, the nightlife. By day you can walk through the resort’s quiet main areas and wonder what all the fuss is about, but as the sun begins to sink it becomes quite a different story. As the shutters go up on the many bars and clubs, from nowhere the crowds begin to appear, and everyone from stag and hen dos to groups of mates throng into the centre to kick the night off in the bars, which are offering a first drink free for happy hour.
As a sign of just how hot the nightlife is here, both Pacha and Ministry of Sound have recently opened the doors to new nightclubs in Playa del Inglés. Whether you’re into 90s house, garage or more mainstream international pop, there’ll be a bar or club for you.
Insider Tip: Keep your eyes open for Yumbo, the resort’s famous gay club – you wouldn’t want to stray into there by accident if it’s not your scene.
The nightlife of Playa del Inglés centres around three key areas:
Once you’ve roasted yourself on the beach it’s great to only have to stagger a short distance for your first beer, which is what makes Paseo Maritimo a great place to start your evening (or afternoon, if you can’t wait that long).
The party starts early in the many bars here, and expect to hear the sounds of competing DJs blasting out their tunes to lure in early drinkers by the afternoon. Paseo is a lot of fun and draws a throng of visitors every night, many of whom will stay until the early hours when the bars begin to close.
If you’re looking for a change of scenery and the real heart of Playa del Inglés’ nightlife scene then you’ll have to head slightly away from the coast towards the Plaza, a massive shopping and entertainment complex around five minutes walk from the beach.
This is where the crowds gather after dark and every step you take another tout will be trying to lure you into a different bar or club with fliers offering free drinks. If you really want to make a night of it, there is a selection of clubs in the Plaza which won’t kick you out till 6am.
Across the road from the Plaza shopping centre is the Kasbah, the other highlight of the resort’s bustling nightlife scene. This is where Pacha and Ministry of Sound have set up shop and it’s very popular with the young clubbing crowd. But while the cool kids hang out in Pacha, I recommend checking out The Garage – it’s a great club with a slightly older crowd playing pop and dance music, but the real highlight here is the outdoor games room with pool table.
How to Get to Playa del Inglés
Kicking off your lads’ holiday is easy with regular flights to Gran Canaria’s Las Palmas from most UK airports on a range of budget airlines including Ryanair, easyJet and Jet2.
If you and your mates don’t want the hassle of standing in queues and bartering with Spanish taxi drivers at the airport, then you should book yourself a Gran Canaria group airport transfer with Shuttle Direct before you leave Blighty. You can sort it all out online, and when you land your driver will be waiting for you with a minibus big enough to fit you all in, ready to drive you to your resort.
Where to Stay:
Sentido Gran Canaria Princess – Make sure that it’s only big kids like you and your mates splashing around in the pool and playing table tennis on the terrace at the adults-only Sentido Gran Canaria Princess. All the rooms have balconies and flat-screen TVs and, for those nights when you want to start off at your hotel, there’s a restaurant and a lively bar with day and nightly entertainment.
IFA Continental Hotel – Just a three minute walk from the beach and with two adults-only swimming pools and four hot tubs, IFA Continental Hotel is a great choice for a lads’ holiday. There’s entertainment every night in the hotel bar and a choice of buffet restaurant or snack bars for you and your mates to line your stomachs in before a big night out. Be warned, there is WiFi but you’ll have to pay €2 every 24 hours for it.
Labranda Marieta – The four-star Labranda Marieta is a stylish adults-only hotel just two minutes from the beach. Get the party started on the roof-top terrace with its own plunge pool and bar while you look out over the resort and plan your night ahead. If you find yourself with a hangover you just can’t shift, you could always step into the onsite spa and have a masseuse gently sooth it away.
About Shuttle Direct:
Shuttle Direct is the leading provider of airport transfers across Europe and North Africa. Book a shared ride shuttle service online before you leave home and when your flight lands, you and your mates can all bundle into a coach or minibus which will be waiting at a predefined meeting point to take you to your resort.