Barcelona enjoys a dual reputation: as a sparkling locale, rich in culture and history, and as a bustling metropolis, full of people from all over the world living and working in Catalonia’s largest city. Barcelona contains multitudes, and one of its most incredible facets is also one of the least-explored: the gay-friendly side of Barcelona! Spain was the third country in the world to legalize marriage equality, and its gem Barcelona is a friendly and excellent vacation destination for LGBT-oriented singles, couples, and families alike.
The Neighborhood: Eixample
As Barcelona’s gay scene is thriving, the city boasts many areas frequented and beloved by its LGBT patrons. One such neighborhood, L’Eixample, is sometimes known by its nickname, Gayxample. A lively, pleasant area near Gaudí’s Casa Milà, L’Eixample houses many different gay-friendly restaurants, shops, and bars. If you fancy a drink, you might try Osbar, a popular hotspot with great mojitos and clients who love to dance late into the night. Want something a little livelier? Atame is a rocking club that allows for relaxing conversation with friends in one moment and then a live show and all-night party the next. As Barcelona is a fairly well-integrated city that celebrates its LGBT citizens, many bars feature a mixed crowd, where people of all orientations gather to spend the night enjoying the city together. No matter which of these places you choose to spend your evening, you’re sure to have a blast in this lovely neighborhood.
The Getaway: Sitges
While you plan your Barcelona adventure, it’s worth noting that one of the most popular gay-friendly vacation destinations actually lies about thirty minutes outside the city. Accessible by train, Sitges is a beach paradise perfect for anyone who loves seaside relaxation. Sitges was home to artist Joan Miró and also hosted surrealist Salvador Dali during his summers, and so it has a long history of culture. Since the 1990s, the area has become popular among LGBT travelers, and as such, has several gay-friendly hotels, restaurants, and beaches. Platja de la Bossa Rodona is the beach most commonly frequented by LGBT families and singles alike, while a handful of clothing-optional beaches are just a short walk away. After a long afternoon at the beach, you can come back and relax with a drink at one of the many bars, watching the sunset. Privilege, a fast-paced dance bar, holds a happy hour and theme parties almost every evening. If that’s not your speed, try Why Not?–the newest bar in town that has a cozy interior and a spectacular rooftop terrace. Whether you want to enjoy a quiet evening at an LGBT-friendly bar or watch an amazing drag show, there’s something for you! Finally, after an evening out, return to one of the many beautiful hotels that dots the edges of the coast.
The Celebration: Pride 2016
In any city, there are few parties as jubilant as Pride celebrations, and Barcelona is no exception. This summer, if you’re near Barcelona, Pride 2016 is a can’t-miss event filled with joyous people from all over the world, celebrating their truths. Pride kicks off on 26 June and includes a two-week series of musical performances, gay-friendly markets, the biggest outdoor foam party in Europe, and high-heel races, all leading up to the big Pride Parade through the city center on 9 July. Strut your stuff or attend with friends and family, watching the colorful and lively procession trail through the Barcelona streets! Watching–and joining!–such an enormous group of people revel in their often hard-won identities is an amazing experience, one that surely can’t be forgotten.
Have you explored the LGBT/gay-friendly areas in Barcelona? What did you think? Let us know in the comments!