Gay Spain.

What's it really like?

Spain is a country filled with gay-friendly destinations. Madrid is perhaps the gayest of them all – if anything due to the sheer size of the gay Madrid community (approximately 500,000 LGBT residents). The city’s gayborhood of Chueca is the largest in Spain and one of the liveliest in the world, with more gay bars, clubs, shops, saunas, and cafes than you will be able to fit in during one stay. Locals like to say that Chueca isn’t gay-friendly, it’s hetero-friendly.

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.

Beyond Madrid and Barcelona, are Spain’s famous islands. Gay Gran Canaria is no different, with gay visitors flocking here by the thousands every year to admire the masses of shirtless torsos and take advantage of the incredibly convenient gay nightlife. While the gay beaches down south offer plenty of opportunities to make new friends, Yumbo in Playa del Ingles is a gay nightlife complex unto itself, complete with everything to guarantee you a great night.

Nowadays, Ibiza is as gay-friendly as other European beach party destinations like Sitges and Mykonos. The main difference is that, thanks to an anything-goes liberal attitude, gay and queer spaces tend to be significantly more mixed. Most gay bars are hetero-friendly, and most regular bars are gay-friendly.

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Gays and the Law

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.

Madrid, Barcelona, and the tourist hot spots of Spain are particularly liberal and progressive, so openly gay visitors are not likely to be noted or discriminated against.

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