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Barcelona Gay Travel

wolfyy’s Barcelona gay guide to the best hotels, beaches, gay bars, clubs, parties, & saunas.

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The Gay Travel Experience: Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona has the hearts of gay travelers from all around the world, and rightly so. With famous gay beaches, high-energy nightlife, handsome locals, and a vibrant gay district, what’s not to love?

Barcelona gay traveler
Barcelona gay traveler
gothic quarter building Barcelona

I had such a blast dancing in Barcelona’s huge gay clubs, perusing incredible classic architecture, and enjoying the relaxed life of Catalonia. If you haven’t visited yet, start planning a trip! Barcelona is without a doubt one of the best gay cities in Spain.

gothic quarter building Barcelona

Meeting gay locals or other travelers is super easy in Barcelona. The city is quite international and attracts tons of tourists. Many gay ex-pats also live here, so there will be plenty of opportunities to make new friends.

During the summer months, many people visit the city from inland Spanish cities like Madrid. This includes lots of gay locals, too, making Barcelona’s already large gay scene even larger.

Barcelona gay beach
Barcelona gay beach
Barcelona storefront

In this Barcelona gay guide, I’ll fill you in on the best hotels and where gay travelers should stay, plus recommendations for the best things to do, gay nightlife venues, saunas, and more.

Gay Barcelona: Hotels & Where to Stay

Barcelona is a huge city, which actually isn’t so obvious from looking at a map of the city’s street grid. So, it’s best to book a hotel near the attractions or venues you plan to spend the most time visiting.

Here are some of the best areas for LGBT tourists to stay, followed by the most well-known Barcelona gay hotels.

Barcelona gay area

El Poble-Sec Hotels & Apartments

Hotels in El Poble Sec are best for the most local, authentic gay travel experience. With few tourists around, prices are cheaper. Locals rave about the amazing tapas restaurants in this working-class neighborhood. I stayed here myself and loved it!

Eixample gay district

The El Poble Sec neighborhood is about a 35-minute walk to the tourist epicenter of Barceloneta (where the famous W hotel is located). But fantastic public transit in the neighborhood can get you there in just over 15 minutes.

The cheaper prices of El Poble Sec vacation apartments were worth it in my opinion.

Barcelona gay area
gay hotels Barcelona

Luxury rentals in Barcelona curated by Plum Guide are the absolute best option if you’re looking for superior quality. There are quite a few listings throughout the city.

Hotels in Barceloneta & The Gothic Quarter

If you stay in the Gothic Quarter or in La Barceloneta, you’ll likely find that everyone around you is a tourist. Locals tend to avoid these areas, so accommodations around here will be less authentic.

gay hotels Barcelona

W Hotel Barcelona

The luxurious W Hotel Barcelona is the exception to my above recommendation to stay in the more authentic Barcelona neighborhoods.

One of the most iconic W Hotel locations in the world, I’ve never met any gay traveler who didn’t love staying here. It’s so popular among gay travelers, that you can pretty much consider the W to be a Barcelona gay hotel! 

Eixample Gay Neighborhood Hotels

Eixample (pronounced “eye-shamp-luh”), is the official Barcelona gay neighborhood. Also known as “Gaixample“, it’s the perfect area for first-timers to stay.

Eixample hotels are great for quick access to Barcelona’s gay nightlife. If you’re traveling with friends, I recommend staying here, because obtaining several cabs from other parts of town can sometimes be difficult.

Barcelona gay neighborhood
Barcelona gay neighborhood
gay area of Barcelona

VRBO rentals in Eixample are super affordable and usually quite stylish. There are plenty of nearby restaurants, bars, and saunas, too.

The Eixample neighborhood has great access to the metro. Being nearby a metro station can be a great convenience.

Check out Barcelona’s metro system map before booking your place to stay. The Metro runs almost 24 hours and usually gets you places faster than a taxi.

gay hotel pool Barcelona

Barcelona Gay Hotels

Many gay travelers prefer to stay in one of Barcelona’s traditional gay hotels. These are the hotels where you’ll find a ton of sexual energy among hotel guests as well as spaces perfected for the gay community.

Axel gay hotel Barcelona
Barcelona gay hotel
Axel gay hotel Barcelona

Axel Hotel Barcelona

Axel Hotel Barcelona is the most popular gay hotel. It’s also the original and now most iconic of all the Axel Hotels. With 101 rooms, a fun rooftop, and a fantastic location in what they call “Gaixample,” it’s easy to see why Axel is so popular.

The hotel has an elegant wellness club and a sophisticated sky bar, both great spaces to socialize and meet friends. Axel is also adults only!

Barcelona gay hotel

Two Hotel by Axel

Two Hotel by Axel is another official Barcelona gay hotel, also owned by Axel. With the original Axel Hotel’s popularity, they opened Two Hotel in the southern part of the Eixample gay area.

room two hotel by
gay hotel pool Barcelona
room two hotel by

Rooms in Two Hotel are a bit more modern than those in the original Axel Hotel. They also have a sweet rooftop with a small pool and fun bright pink lounge chairs.

Barcelona Gay Travel Experiences

Barcelona is quite large and spread out, so you’ll definitely be better off planning your activities before starting your day. The city is also quite touristic, so try to stick to some more authentic attractions after you hit the must-see spots.

Roman Ruins in the Gothic Quarter

Peruse the Gothic Quarter‘s busy streets, especially if you love history and architecture. In the exact center, you can enter the old Roman city, so check out the striking change in architectural styles.

I had a local gay friend who grew up in Barcelona show me these amazing sites!

Barcelona gay local
gothic quarter Barcelona
Barcelona gay local

While the Barcelona Gothic Quarter is very pretty and full of shops, it’s not a place where you can expect to find much authentic Spanish/Catalonian culture. Definitely go for the beautiful architecture, but take note that you’ll be mostly surrounded mainly by tourists.

gothic quarter Barcelona

Parc Güell

Parc Güell is a must-see, even though it’s one of the most touristic areas in Barcelona. The stunning views are very much worth it. I recommend completely skipping the tourist lines for the observation area because you can get a better view without paying.

Barcelona gay traveler
Barcelona gay guide
Barcelona gay traveler

Continue walking along the path toward the top of the mountain. There is a large rock platform with steps up to 360-degree views. It’s completely free!

Pack a pair of dark-colored sneakers that will stand up to the dirt trails and rocky lookouts at Parc Güell. Getting your good shoes dirty is no fun.

The Sagrada Familia

The world-famous Sagrada Familia is on many visitor’s must-see lists. Get there at sunrise to beat the tourists! It’s beautiful to see the sun’s reflection early in the morning. 

The experience of waiting in line to go inside gets mixed reviews. Some prefer just to see it from the outside, which is what I did. But, a great way to get the best of both worlds is to buy a fast-track Sagrada Familia tour ticket.

sagrada familia
sagrada familia
Barcelona gay tourism

Barcelona Gay Beaches

Platja de la Mar Bella is the most popular of the gay beaches in Barcelona. Locals prefer it because it’s away from the tourist hotspot in Barceloneta but still near central Barcelona.

Barcelona gay travel

Chiringuito BeGay is a large covered outdoor restaurant near the gay beach with a walk-up bar offering decent service. I had a ton of fun here! It’s a great place to make friends and show off your best sexy swimsuit

A second beach option near Mar Bella is Platja de Bogatell.

Barcelona gay travel
gay beach Barcelona

Walking through Barceloneta is great after some time at the beach. My first time in Barcelona, I saw the sunset behind the W hotel from the water. It was a picturesque view I will never forget.

gay beach Barcelona

The next day my friends and I rented one of those “banana boats” that whips you around out on the water. A few bruises and a ton of laughter later, we regretted nothing.

Barcelona gay tourism

Barcelona Gay Bars

Gay bars in Barcelona range from lounge-like gay bars to mega dance clubs. There are a lot of them, too!

With all of Barcelona’s gay nightlife and so many friendly locals, I consider Barcelona to be one of the best destinations for single gay travelers. Here are some of my favorite gay bars.

Eixample gay bars

La Chapelle

La Chapelle is a smaller, cozy Barcelona gay bar. Local gay residents frequent this spot in Eixample, Barcelona’s gay neighborhood.

la chapelle Barcelona
la chapelle Barcelona
Eixample gay bars

It’s super easy to pay a visit to La Chapelle as a solo traveler. The layout is narrow and the space is relatively small, so you won’t feel like you’re showing up to a huge space without a wingman.

Blending in is pretty easy while enjoying a few drinks served by the handsome bartenders.

Punto BCN

Punto BCN is right across the street, quite popular among LGBT tourists visiting Barcelona. The space is quite big, but it’s not common to dance here.

The overall vibe is friendly and normally attracts groups of friends looking to socialize before moving on to another gay bar.

Bar Punto BCN gay bar
Bar Punto BCN gay bar
Barcelona gay bar

Punto BCN is a fantastic and inclusive place to start your night. They also seem to have the largest number of queer/lesbian patrons out of all the local gay bars.

Barcelona gay bar

GinGin Bar

On the smaller side, GinGin gay bar is a great option for a mid-week hangout or a spot to start your night out on weekends. There’s typically a mix of English and Spanish-speaking people, both locals and tourists.

Boysbar BCN gay bar

I visited GinGin Bar on a Tuesday and they had great drink specials. They pour a deliciously strong drink, too.

Boysbar BCN gay bar
Boys Bar Barcelona

BoyzBar BCN

BoysBar BCN is another popular little gay bar in Barcelona. It gets a little more rowdy and risqué here, with sexy dancers showing off behind towels. Sunday evenings are also a great time to visit BoysBar.

Boys Bar Barcelona

Barcelona Gay Clubs & Parties

Gay clubs in Barcelona are some of the best in Spain. Lots of LGBT travelers come here specifically to party. Here are some of the top venues.

The Black Room

The Black Room is my favorite gay club in Barcelona. I have been to this club a bunch of times. They have unbeatable music, sexy go-go dancers, and pretty good drink specials.

The Black Room Barcelona
The Black Room Barcelona
Barcelona gay circuit party

If you arrive earlier in the night, you usually get a free drink upon entry. Don’t forget that the guys in Barcelona start the party late! It’s common for most to show up to the club at 1:00 AM to start the night. Don’t forget to wear your sexy gay circuit gear.

Barcelona gay circuit party

Yass! Gay Party

Yass! didn’t exist when I visited, but has since grown to be a local favorite. My friend Xavier, who spent several years living in BCN, loves this party and recommends we all get there as soon as possible.

Yass! Barcelona gay party
Barcelona gay nightlife
Yass! Barcelona gay party

Entry to the party with a drink included is 12 euros until 1:00 AM, then 15 euros afterward. There seems to be a great mix of different types of gay guys at Yass!

Barcelona gay nightlife

Tanga! Barcelona

Locals always mention the Tanga! Party as one of their favorites. Although it’s open during the week, there may only be a few people on these nights. It will definitely be fuller on weekends.

Tanga gay party Barcelona
Barcelona gay cruising
Tanga gay party Barcelona

Most Barcelona gay clubs charge an entrance fee at the door, usually 10 Euros, but this includes a drink voucher.

Barcelona Gay Saunas

Sauna Casanova

Sauna Casanova is the most well-known gay sauna in Barcelona. They’re open 24 hours a day and located in the city’s Eixample neighborhood near various gay bars.

Barcelona gay cruising

While gay saunas in general don’t get the best reviews regardless of what city they’re in, I’ve had good experiences at Sauna Casanova. It’s nothing glamorous, but it does the job.

Peak hours at Casanova are usually Saturday and Sunday mornings between 5 AM and 8 AM. The facilities have everything you’ll need from lockers to showers. Wear your best jockstrap!

Barcelona gay sauna

Sauna Bruc

Sauna Bruc is now the most popular gay sauna in Barcelona. The facilities are more modern and the entry price is much lower than the city’s other gay bathhouses.

Barcelona gay sauna
popular Barcelona gay sauna

With Sauna Bruc’s never-ending list of amenities, I guarantee you’ll enjoy yourself no matter when you visit.

popular Barcelona gay sauna

Explore the video room, dark room, jacuzzi, hydromassage pool, Finnish sauna, smoking terrace, and the new “Egyptian Zone,” where you can regulate the intensity of the lights.

Sauna Thermas

Sauna Thermas is a medium-sized gay sauna located in the southernmost part of Eixample that is known for attracting super sexy ex-pats.

Jacuzzi in gay sauna

Travelers often mention that Sauna Thermas is an excellent alternative to Sauna Casanova (mentioned above) because the prices are more affordable and the facilities tend to be in better shape.

Jacuzzi in gay sauna
Sauna Thermas Barcelona

Sauna Thermas’ facilities are pretty modern and include a pool, dry sauna, a massive steam room, private rooms, a video wall, and plenty more.

Sauna Thermas Barcelona

Sauna Condal

Sauna Condal is also open 24/7 located in the Gothic Quarter.

Facilities include dry saunas, steam rooms, private cabins, jacuzzis, hammocks, a relaxation zone, and more, all spread over several levels. The condition of the facilities is decent, similar to what you’d find in Sauna Casanova.

No matter which gay sauna you choose, wear your sexiest gay underwear.

Barcelona Gay Travel Tips

When to Head to the Clubs

If you’re going out to the gay clubs on the weekend, don’t expect anyone to show up until at least 2 AM!

Drink specials usually encourage arriving before 1 AM, so people filter in from 1 AM to 2:30 AM. Local gay men party all night, often until 6 AM!

Barcelona gay travel tips
Barcelona gay travel tips
barcelona museum

Grab Some Inexpensive Snacks

The cheapest grocery store around is Mercadona. Food in Spain is quite inexpensive. But watch out, because you can easily pay double at a small supermarket without realizing it.

Traveling to Barcelona by Bus

Traveling between cities in Spain and nearby France is quite convenient by bus. I traveled all around the Mediterranean coast, including Barcelona via FlixBus buses, which are almost always exactly on time, comfortable, civilized, and safe. They’re also pretty cheap.

barcelona museum

Taxis in Barcelona

Taxis are not too expensive in Barcelona unless you are stuck in traffic! Late-night rides home across the city are usually less than 10 Euro but can be a bit more if you’re hitting lots of traffic lights on the way to the beach on a busy summer day.

When it comes to your ride to and from Barcelona’s airport, the easiest and lowest stress option is to book a private airport transfer in advance. This way you don’t have to deal with negotiating a price, finding an available taxi, or waiting in any taxi lines.

Keep Your Belongings Secure

Whether you’re walking busy streets or dancing at a nightclub, pickpocketing is a huge crime in Barcelona. I personally have been pickpocketed at a club in Barcelona, a result of being an easy target with my phone hanging out of my pocket.

Barcelona gay travel

Tourists in Barcelona are victims of petty theft all the time. Make sure you have your phone and wallet secure in a front pocket.

If you’re going out to a club in tight shorts, get a fanny pack or my personal favorite, a concealable Flip Belt.

Barcelona Local Language & Identity

If you meet someone born and raised in Barcelona, you may learn they often don’t consider themselves to be “Spanish,” but “Catalan.”

Catalunya has been fighting for Independence from Spain for hundreds of years, but recently tensions have grown significantly. If you get a chance to ask a local about their opinions, I bet you won’t be bored!

Barcelona parks
Barcelona parks
Barcelona markets

Catalan is the local spoken language. It’s sort of like a mixture of Spanish and French. Locals usually speak both Catalan and Spanish, so don’t worry about too much of a language barrier.

Gay Life in Spain

Back in the Roman Empire, marriage between men was actually commonplace! Later regimes were responsible for deeming same-sex activity illegal. 

Gay marriage in Spain has been legal since 2005, along with LGBT adoption and the ability of MSM to donate blood.

Barcelona gay travel

The workplace has protected sexual orientation discrimination since 1995. Gender identity is protected in some regions, but not everywhere. One of the highest acceptance rates of homosexuality is in Spain, with 89% of the population supporting it as of 2013. 

Barcelona gay travel experience
Barcelona gay travel
Barcelona gay travel experience

Rates of hate speech nationwide have slightly increased in recent years. This has been taken seriously. And in 2014, the Catalan government passed a law imposing fines for hate crimes against the LGBT community.

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Next, explore more of Spain’s top gay hotspots with wolfyy’s gay travel guides to Seville, Granada, Cádiz, and Torremolinos.

For more inspiration, explore wolfyy’s full collection of gay travel guides.


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