Gay Guide to BARCELONA
Gay Barcelona, the home of the circuit party, Salvador Dali and the siesta, is one of the most vibrant, tolerant and welcoming cities in Europe.
Barcelona offers a delicious blend of architecture, nightlife, style and sophistication with a sprinkling of tradition and infused with a fierce independent Catalan spirit. Welcome to Europe’s no 1 gay destination.
Equal rights are enshrined in the Spanish constitution and the unique Catalan “Live and let live” approach to life permeates throughout the city. Add in world class dining, a stunning Mediterranean coastline and a late night party scene that never ceases to surprise, you have all the ingredients for a perfect sun filled city escape!
The first thing you will notice when you arrive is that everything is in two languages, Catalan and Spanish. But don’t worry, French, English and other European languages are understood especially in the gay district of Eixample or Gaixample as it is known locally. Note that most of the businesses here will use the Catalan street name in their addresses so bear this in mind when taking a taxi or the metro.
Barcelona is a collection of diverse quarters and a melting pot of different cultures and ethnicities. Remains of the old city walls date back to Roman times. Start by taking a stroll through the narrow winding streets of the ‘Barrio Gotic’, the medieval Gothic quarter full of interesting tapas bars and cafes. Check out Picasso old hangout, ‘Els Quatre Gats’, which has been renovated without losing its bohemian charm.
Slightly more touristy is ‘Las Ramblas’, a pedestrian street with dozens of outdoor cafes. Here, you’ll find flower-stands, book kiosks and small market stalls. There is also an endless stream of jugglers, singers, dancers, puppeteers, sidewalk artists, living statues and assorted oddballs on parade. Its worth a visit, but be careful as pickpockets are a problem in this area.
The main gay area of Gaixample is quite compact. You can easily walk from bar to bar and the area is just minutes from popular tourist attractions such as Gaudi’s Casa Batlló, the Museu Picasso, Parc Guell or Montjuic.
Barcelona is also a beach city with expansive views of the Mediterranean. Most of the beaches were created during the City’s Olympic redevelopment. Platja de Sant Sebastià located in the Barceloneta is a popular mixed nudist beach.
From the bustling Ramblas to the sublime rooftop pools and clubs, Barcelona is a sumptuous city that has a bustling gay scene throughout the year.
Barcelona is a city that loves to party… late! Bars and clubs get busy from around 1am. Hit the bars of Gaixample from 12am until 3am. Bim Bam Bum and La Chapelle are two of the most popular at the moment.
Most of the local Spanish boys will be out by 1am. Clubs get busy from 3am. One of the busiest is Metro, attracting everyone from tourists to muscle boys, goths to preppy fashionistas. The club is open every night and has a more eclectic mix of visitors during mid-week.
If you are here at the weekend check out Matinee Group’s “PERVERT” on Saturday nights and “The Black Room” on Sundays for buff boys who like to party hard.
Meanwhile for those seeing something ubercool and ultra-trendy, head for the Eclipse bar on the 22nd floor of the W hotel!
No guide to Barcelona could be complete without mentioning the Circuit Festival. The event takes place every year during the first two weeks of August and attracts more than 70,000 visitors to the city. If you plan on visiting Barcelona during the circuit festival we advise you to book your hotel or apartment early to ensure you get both a good rate and a location close to all of the parties and events.
The most popular and recommended clubs and bars to visit – as voted by our editors.
There is no shortage of beautiful hotels in Barcelona. Competition for clients is high and therefore so are standards. Booking in advance can save you a lot, especially during the key Summer months and during the Circuit Festival.
Barcelona also has more short-term rental apartments for tourist lettings than any other city in Europe. They are fully serviced and offer you all the conveniences of home. They can also work out quite well for groups of friends wishing to stay centrally but save on hotel bills.
The Epicentre of gay life in Barcelona is the Hotel Axel. It was one of the world’s first “Hetro Friendly” hotels and has since become synonymous with city’s gay friendly reputation. The hotel was recently refurbished and is located in the heart of the gay district of Gaixample. Right around the corner from the Axel hotel is the Hotel Cram. This boutique hotel is more demure in its approach to gay clientele. It is both stylish and relaxed and is the choice of discerning travelers to the city.
Finally, if you want to stay in one of Barcelona’s most iconic buildings on one of the most famous streets in the city, check out Suites Avenue. These 5 star apartments offer deluxe amenities and service to match!
Check out our hotels and apartments guide for some of the best places to stay in the city, no matter what your budget.
Barcelona provides a wide range of places to stay from hip designer hotels to fully catered apartments. The city is busy year round with no real off-season. Book early to get the best rate.
Take the time to explore all the city has to offer. Barcelona is a big city, but is easy to get around with Buses and Taxis. Many of the locations listed will take more than half a day to explore. Also, be aware that queues can be quite long so we suggest you purchase a skip-the-line ticket online beforehand to avoid any hassle.
The Barcelona Card is a great way to save money and ensure you get to see the best of everything. It includes access to the best museums and things to see and do in the city. Purchase a Barcelona Pass to get the best deal.
The easiest way to see the city is by taking the bus turistic. You can purchase your tickets here. Tickets are valid for 24 hours and you can hop-on/hop off as many times as you like.
Alternatively hire a private tour guide for the day and take in a tailored tour, matched to your requirements.
Barcelona is a treasure trove of cultural and architectural delights! Its impossible to see all of them during a short visit – so here are the most popular as chosen by our city editor!
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