A city to enjoy for the circuit festival, pride or just fun in the sun !
Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia, as well as the second most populous municipality of Spain. With an urban population of just over 1.6 million within city limits and extending to the numerous municipalities within the Province of Barcelona the overall population is close to around 4.8 million people and growing as more companies open offices in or around the city.
It is one of the largest metropolis on the Mediterranean Sea, located on the coast between the mouths of the rivers Llobregat and Besòs, and bounded to the west by the Serra de Collserola mountain range. Founded as a Roman city, in the Middle Ages to become the capital of the County of Barcelona. After merging with the Kingdom of Aragon, Barcelona continued to be an important city in the Crown of Aragon as the economic and administrative centre of this Crown and the capital of the Principality of Catalonia.
Barcelona has a rich cultural heritage and is today an important cultural centre and became a major tourist destination after hosting the 1992 Summer Olympics. Particularly renowned are for the architectural works of Antoni Gaudí which attracts many tourists and several of these attractions have been designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Barcelona is one of the world's leading tourism, economic, trade fair and cultural centres influencing commerce, education, entertainment, media, fashion, science, and the arts. This contribution has elevated the cities profile and status to one of the world's major global cities.
Barcelona is very easy to get around. Many of the tourist attractions, night life and beaches can be reached on foot. The metro or public buses are efficient and with a T10 ticket which allows you to make 10 journeys within centre of city and one of the cheapest way to get around.
Taxis are plentiful and the mobile apps such as Uber can be used despite resistance from local taxis.
The main airport is located around 12 kilometres (8 miles) from the city centre. The most efficient and generally most popular way to travel to the city centre is by the Aerobus. The journey time takes approximately 35 minutes and run almost every 5 minutes at peak times.
There is a train from airport that is a little cheaper but if you have heavy luggage the Aerobus is much easier or a taxi which will cost approximately €30 depending on traffic and the time of day.
Places to stay
Barcelona is a city with some exclusively gay or hetero friendly hotels as well as number of very gay friendly places to stay. It is a city that has many conventions and corporate events so it is always wise to book your accommodation in advance to guarantee availability and choice.
There are several LGBT events throughout the year and for most weekends year round book in advance to get the best choice of places to stay and to be able to stay in the gay neighborhood which is called Eixample (Slang name “Gaixample”) and is centrally located in the city and hot spot with all bars, clubs, saunas etc close by.
There is a lot to see in Barcelona and you could spend weeks visiting the numerous tourist attractions, historic monuments, art museums, beaches and parks. As the majority of visitors will spend just a few days in the city we would recommend you visit some of the attractions listed below
Sagrada Familia is the most iconic and famous land mark of the city, designed and only recently finished by Antonio Gaudi. It’s one of the most popular places most tourist visit and you need to buy an entrance ticket if you want to go inside. The queues can be very long and many people therefore just visit and view from the outside.
Gothic Quarter of the city is close to Barcelona cathedral and a maze of narrow streets surrounded by several nice plazas. Here you will find the remains of ancient Roman walls as well as the Jewish quarter and plenty of nice shops and cafes to explore and stop to sample tapas, sangria, cava and other local food and drinks.
Park Guell is the 2nd most popular tourist attraction created by Antonio Gaudi. The park has area which can be access for free and those where you need to buy a ticket to enter. If you are a real Gaudi fan then it is worth to buy a ticket online in advance to avoid the queue during peak holiday periods.
Palau Nacional & Magic Fountain. The palace was originally built for an international exhibition in 1929 and no houses the National Art Museum of Catalonia.
The Magic Fountain at the foot of the Palau Nacional and the walk up to both attractions is worth the effort to get a great view of the city.
The main beach is a man made beach and approximately 4.2 kilometers long and was created for the 1992 Olympics. The sand was transferred to create the beach. The beach are free and can get exceptionally crowed during the peak summer months. The beach is divided in to different sections and it is nice to walk along the beach to enjoy lunch, dinner or cocktails on one of the many terraces. Typically the gay community go to the beach after lunch or late afternoon and stay to early evening as they would have been out late the night before.
There are 3 sections of the beach which are popular with the gay community.
Mar Bella is located as the far left side of the beach and has a popular famous beach bar called El Chiringuito de la Mar Bella. It is busy all summer long during the day and during the evening.
San Sebastian is a more relaxed section of the beach close to the W Hotel and a more low profile beach for gay community with lots of gay couples and friends. It is located on the far right hand side of the beach. During the late afternoon flyers for the clubs are handed out by the Go Go boys for the cities events and parties. A nice place to top up your tan to go clubbing using one of the flyers you have been given on the beach.
Barceloneta is a district of the city and the area behind the middle area of the beach. If you want to top up your tan away from the gay community it is a good option. It can however get very crowded and noisy.
Bars, Clubs & Parties
Barcelona is known for it nightlife scene which is very busy at weekends when more tourists are in town. As many of the local and tourists in the summer months go to the beach late in the afternoon and then have a short rest before taking a late dinner before going clubbing after midnight. There are bars open from 5pm but the clubs typically only get busy after 1 am.
Café Bar Punto opens early in the Eixample area and is a popular hangout for locals and tourists having been around for many years. The bar gets busiest around 11 pm as some people go for drinks before heading off to a club and is located at Carrer de Muntaner, 63.
Axel Hotel Sky Bar is the outdoor roof terrace on the top of the Axel hotel. If you are in the mood for cocktails it is a nice place to sipping good cocktail in a nice location with great view of this neighborhood. The bar is part of the Axel hotel but open to the public located at Carrer de Aribau, 33.
Within the same area as Café Bar Punto and Axel Hotel there are many other nice bars, cafes and restaurants the majority of which are predominately gay or gay friendly.
The clubbing scene is Barcelona is run by Arena Group & Matinee Group.
Metro Disco is the only all year round midweek club. The club is an institution as it has been open for many years and majority of regular visitors or local have been visited this disco. It attracts a mixed crowd of all ages and there is a darkroom in the back if you’re in the mood. Every night offers a different theme and is location is Carrer de Sepulveda, 185.
Arena Classic is another disco that is only open at the weekends and attract a younger crowd with electronic, house and dance music. The address is Carrer de Diputació, 233.
Arena VIP again only open at weekends playing club hits from the 70s, 80s and 90s plus other contemporary dance music. Only open on the weekend and located at Carrer de Gran Vía, 593.
Arena Madre is another club open every day and attracts a young crowd with mainly pop music atmosphere. The address is Carrer de Balmes, 32.
Most of the main parties in Barcelona are run by the Matinee Group.
Pervert is a regular Saturday night for men only part run by Matinee Group. It has the typical circuit party-type atmosphere for shirtless & hot guys out for a night of fun. The address of the club is Ronda Sant Pere, 24.
Cafes & Restaurants
Depending on where you are staying Barcelona is full of cafes and restaurants. If you are staying in Eixample the majority of place to eat and drink are gay friendly. The choice of different types of food is great and you should not starve except if looking for something to eat late at night after clubbing when only kebab fast food places will be open.
Saunas & Cruise Bars
All the main saunas in Barcelona are owned by the same company and each one attracts different types or clientele. The 2 most popular of the group is Sauna Casanova and Sauna Condal catering for different types of guys.
Sauna Casanova is located in Eixample and open 24 hours. Given the location it is generally the busiest of the saunas in Barcelona. The sauna tends to attract younger guys and is located at Carrer de Casanova, 57.
Sauna Condal is located in the Gothic Quarter and has regular theme parties. Generally the sauna attracts an older crowd but not exclusively and is located at Carrer de Espolsasacs, 1.
In addition to the saunas there is a well know cruise bar. There is Boyberry which is bar with darkroom that is located in the same street as one of the Axel hotels at Carrer de Calàbria, 96.
Barcelona is a great place for shopping with lots of choice. It’s a fashionable city with most of the major brands available. There are 4 main shopping areas.
Eixample (Slang name “Gaixample”) where you will find lots of small boutiques selling lots of nice fashionable brands as well as stores for the brands Addicted, Barcode & ES Collection and others.
Gothic Quarter is a maze of narrow streets with lots of antique shops and small boutique shops selling cloths & accessories from local and new up-and-coming fashion designers.
Portal de l’Àngel is the area where you can find lots of shops selling high end clothing brands and accessories.
Plaça de Sant Josep Oriol is considered an artistic area to find lots of designer boutique and handicraft shops as well as fortune-tellers, musicians and painters.
Main LGBT Events
The main LGBT events in Barcelona are BEARcelona, circuit festival, Easter weekend party and gay pride that attract the biggest crowds. Every April the BEARcelona event attracts bears and bear lovers from around the world to Barcelona. This is fun & friendly event for the bear community.
Every Easter Matinee group arranges the Easter weekend party and attract a large crowd as a good time to travel as the weather starts to get warmer in the spring.
Every June is the annual Barcelona gay pride which attracts typically over 350,000 attendees and good time to visit the city to soak up atmosphere.
Every August is the annual Circuit Festival event attended by 70,000 guys and 10 days on clubbing and water park parties. Every night there is a different themed party and on several days water park parties.
Day trips close to Barcelona
Montserrat is a beautiful mountain monastery located approximately one hour northwest of Barcelona and considered a nice place to visiting in Catalonia. You can travel by regional train enjoying the scenic view on route.
Penedes close to Barcelona is the area where Cava is produced. Getting to Penedes by train is easy, comfortable, economic and ecological rather than driving and takes approximately 1 hour. Once there you can take a taxi to visit one on of the cava producers for taste and buying some to bring home.
Sitges is approximately 40 km south of Barcelona is another popular gay destination. You can travel by train for a day trip or overnight stay. The city has a beach with gay area and lot of narrow streets packed with small bars, cafes, restaurants and shops. It has several bars and clubs and popular with many guys who holiday as they prefer a smaller destination than the much larger Barcelona.
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