Barcelona has a rich history, unique culture, iconic architecture, a lively and varied nightlife, beaches, and exceptional weather. Few European cities have so much to offer to their visitors, so it’s incredible that it also succeeds in being one of the world’s top gay cities as well.
Prepare for your days to be filled with eating, drinking, and shopping around the city’s sunny streets, which remain busy and full of life well into the night. If you need to cool down, Barcelona’ urban beaches make a dip in the sea incredibly easy, while an endless array of bars and cafes spill their tables onto the sidewalk for an ice-cold beer or sangria at any time of the day.
In terms of culture, Antoni Gaudi’s inimitable design can be found throughout the city, particularly in the insanely colorful houses he created for Barcelona’s elite and in his as-of-yet-unfinished masterpiece, the Sagrada Familia basilica. Football fans can’t miss a visit to Barcelona FC’s Camp Nou, while foodies will have to be dragged away from the offerings at La Boqueria food market.
Then, of course, there is gay Barcelona. Clustered around the “Gaixample” in the bustling Eixample area of the city, Barcelona’s gayborhood has a great variety of bars, clubs, saunas, hotels, and shops. There are a few other gay highlights around the city, including a nudist gay beach right in the middle of the city and a small selection of low-key gay venues in El Raval. Pride comes to town in a big way every summer, as well as other LGBT culture festivals throughout the year.
Barcelona’s main gay area is in the neighborhood known as the Eixample, which is why, when you talking about gay Barcelona, the delightful term Gaixample is likely to come up. The Gaixample area is rich in gay nightlife, with dozens of bars, clubs, saunas, and shops to choose from. Gaixample also happens to be very close to most of Barcelona’s main sights, such as Gaudi’s architecture, the Ramblas, and the old town. This makes it a favourite area for gay travelers, however it’s not the only option. Some gay visitors choose to take advantage of Barcelona’s city beaches (and in particular its gay nudist beaches) and stay closer to the sea, while others will go a little bit north of Eixample to Gracia, near the iconic Sagrada Familia.
As a whole, Spain is a very tolerant country of homosexuality. In fact, a 2013 study found it to have the highest rate of homosexual acceptance (88%) of all countries polled. Despite having only recently emerged from a troubled history of fascism the country developed progressive gender and sexuality laws very quickly, and is now amongst the best in the world for LGBT rights.
Barcelona itself is particularly liberal and progressive, so openly gay visitors are not likely to be noted or discriminated against.
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