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Gay Barcelona

Gay Barcelona

A guide to Gay Barcelona

Gay Barcelona Guide


Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia – a fiercely independent region of Spain that has fought hard to retain its distinctive culture, language and political autonomy. As a result, most of the population of Barcelona speak Catalan rather than (Castilian) Spanish - although all will speak in Castilian if you ask them nicely…


Barcelona spills out on to the Mediterranean, with an impressive port and long line of beaches backed by beach bars and restaurants. Barcelona got its big shot in the arm back in 1992 when the Olympics was hosted in the city. It went from relative obscurity as a destination to being in Europe’s top 5 - and the growth has continued ever since then. More and more luxury hotels have popped up along the shore (such as the W and the Hotel Arts) – all giving spectacular views of the Mediterranean and the city itself.


Like London (and unlike Paris), Barcelona is a very young city. Its streets teem with sexy 20-somethings wearing the latest street fashion. Food here is relatively inexpensive – with excellent tapas restaurants around every corner. There are now also a lot of great mid-priced restaurants, some offering very innovative menus - such as Peruvian-Japanese cuisine. You'll also find some really cool restaurants have opened up in the city's former covered markets.


As in the rest of Spain, brace yourself for some pretty odd opening hours. People eat lunch at around 2pm, shops then close during the afternoon for ‘siesta’, dinner is around 10-11pm, and bars and clubs don’t really get going till 2-3am! We’d recommend a good ‘disco nap’ between say 7pm and 10pm – just to keep you going all night long.


Our top sightseeing tips for Barcelona

  • The ‘route modernist Gaudi’ – hop onto one of the tourist busses for a quick survey of Gaudi’s weird and wonderful buildings and his Parc Guel
  • Chill out at the top of Montjuïc in a café under the trees with a view of the sea
  • The Gothic Quarter, the cathedral, the Plaza de Sant Jaume
  • The port: from Barceloneta to Maremagnum
  • Museums: Picasso, Miró, MNAC, MACBA …
  • Beaches: possibly the best urban beaches in the world
  • Boqueria Market – gorgeous fruit, vegetables, fish, meat and more…
  • Shopping: Wander up Passeig de Gràcia (check out Vinçon’s gadgets and kitchenware)
  • Coffee or lunch on top of the Barcelona History Museum (great views)



  • Passeig de Gràcia, Barcelona’s 5th Avenue, where you’ll find huge shops and department stores
  • Barri Gotic, home to lots of little boutiques
  • El Born, the city’s fashionable quarter with funky boutiques and cafés
    West Eixample (Gayxample), home to gay clothing and sex shops


Getting Around

Taxis are relatively cheap in Barcelona, and the city isn’t huge like London – so this might be the way to go in terms of getting around. The underground metro railway is also very inexpensive and easy to use.


Getting There

Barcelona benefits from excellent connections by land, sea and air. Barcelona International Airport is 12 kilometers from the city with trains and ‘Aerobuses’ to the city at regular intervals between 6am and 1am the next day. Barcelona also has connections to Madrid via the AVE (high speed train), and of course the port is another gateway in the heart of the city. Low-cost airlines also fly to Girona – which is about an hour from Barcelona. Parking in the city costs about €25 a day – so factor that in if you decide to hire a car.


From beyond Europe

If you’re flying here from outside Europe, you can find direct flights to the city from some of the world’s bigger cities. However, you might find it easier to fly to say London or Paris, and then catch a connecting flight to Barcelona itself.


NEXT: Gay Barcelona >

Gay Barcelona

Europe's Gay playground - Barcelona


Events in Barcelona


Barcelona is without doubt one of the world’s great gay playgrounds. The city pioneered the first local gay community in Spain, and a huge gay infrastructure has grown up over the years. Bars, discos, saunas, sex shops, restaurants, shops and all kinds of services, focused primarily on the western side of the Eixample district (known as “Gayxample”) now serve locals and tourists all year round. The city’s cultural life, dining, and of course the beaches (San Sebastian beach is the most gay) make it a mecca for gay travelers the world over. The city also offers lots of great saunas - and the best way to choose between them is to visit SaunaPasses Barcelona.


Should you want a private tour of the city with a 'gay bent' - then why not try Rainbow Barcelona - who specialise in organise tours for gay travellers.


Gay Sitges

Only an hour from Barcelona is the seaside town of Sitges – another gay ‘hotspot’. It’s where Barcelonans escape in summer to get away from the heat and the city – and is one of the top gay resorts in Europe. You can read all about sitges as a destination here >


NEXT: Gay Accommodation in Barcelona >

When it comes to gay hotels Barcelona is like most of Europe’s big cities – gay-only hotels, guesthouses and bed and breakfasts are a little thin on the ground.


However, Barcelona offers one notable exception – the Axel Hotel was one of the first large gay-only hotels in Europe, and though now officially ‘hetero-friendly’ – it is still predominantly gay and has recently expanded. It’s right in the middle of Barcelona’s gay quarter. In terms of gay hotels Barcelona offers more gay-friendly options and exclusively-gay accommodation, so we recommend you use our Property Search Map to find something central that also offers good value for money.


In terms of location, gay travelers should choose between the centre of town (where you can just step out into the middle of it all) or stay at one of the newer hotels along the shoreline (which would require a little more walking, or a cab, to get into the centre of things). These hotels, though less centrally placed, do often offer more spectacular views of the sea and city itself. They also give you easy access to the city’s beaches – which are packed in summer.


NEXT: Top Barcelona Links >

Links to the best Gay Barcelona links

So many Gay Barcelona destination guides attempt to list the top restaurants, bars, shops, events, and websites for a given town - but their suggestions quickly become out of date, because such information is constantly changing. So instead of trying to list our own suggestions, we've listed the best websites or 'apps' for finding out what's hot in Gay Barcelona. That way, you get the best information possible. Simply click on any of the logos below to visit any of our recommended sites.


Best gay hook-up websites

If you’re looking to meet up with some of Barcelona’s gay residents, we’d recommend the Grindr and Scruff apps, and the more Euro-centric Planet Romeo and Spanish-based



Best tourist information sites

To find out what to do and see in Barcelona, the two best websites to visit are for a gay perspective, and the official Barcelona Turisme site.

Visit Barcelona

Barcelona Turisme


Best gay and non-gay events

If you’re looking to see what’s on in Barcelona, then the Gay Welcome Events in Barcelona section is a great start. For a much wider range of events – try TimeOut and Metropolitan.

Gay Welcome

TimeOut Barcelona

Metropolitan Barcelona


Best gay and non-gay events

The food has improved hugely in Barcelona, and the city now offers some of the world’s best restaurants. To find out what's best, check out TimeOut Barcelona, the Zagat Guide or TripAdvisor.

Zagat GuidesTripAdvisor

TimeOut Barcelona


Best shopping websites

Barcelona is a great city for shopping. To find out what to buy where in the city, try TimeOut Barcelona and's listings.

TimeOut Barcelona


Best local gay magazines

The best way to find out what’s on in gay bars, clubs, saunas and shops is to pick up one of the local gay listings magazines found in gay venues. In Barcelona – look out for Shangay.



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