Barcelona Gay Travel
Barcelona gay travel recommendations for the best gay bars, parties, beaches, hotels & saunas.
The Gay Travel Experience: Barcelona, Spain
Sunny Barcelona has the hearts of gay travelers from all around the world, and rightly so! The city is very welcoming to the gay traveler, with famous gay beaches, high-energy gay clubs and a cozy gay district with tons to explore.
Barcelona has been a popular LGBT destination for decades, and after visiting once, I can see why. I had such a blast dancing at the huge gay clubs, perusing incredible classic architecture and enjoying the relaxed life of Catalonia. This city is undoubtedly a gay travel must-see.
You’ll feel how gay-friendly Barcelona is simply by walking the streets. After visiting for a few days, I kept noticing women carrying these rainbow tote bags. It was an adorable way people were showing pride!
Barcelona is quite an international city. Many gay expats live amongst the locals for the long, beautiful summers and easy pace of life, so you’ll have no problem meeting new friends.
During the summer, many travelers spend weekends here from inland Spanish cities Madrid, only increasing the already large gay scene in Barcelona.
Gay Barcelona: Hotels & Where to Stay
Barcelona is a huge city, which actually isn’t so obvious from looking at the city’s street grid on Google Maps. So if you prefer t avoid taxis, it will be much more convenient to book accommodations close to the places you want to visit.
El Poble Sec hotels will be best for the most local, authentic gay travel experience. With few tourists around, prices are cheaper. Locals rave about the amazing authentic tapas restaurants in this working class neighborhood. I loved staying in this area!
Poble Sec 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. I definitely thought the cheaper prices of El Poble Sec apartment rentals were worth it.
Barceloneta & The Gothic Quarter
Note that if you stay in the Gothic Quarter or in Barceloneta, you might find mostly tourists around you. Locals tend to avoid these areas, so accommodations around here will be less authentic.
I have to say that the luxurious W Hotel Barcelona is definitely 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 haven’t ever met a Barcelona gay traveler that didn’t love staying here. It’s so popular among gay travelers, you might even be able to consider the W as a Barcelona gay hotel!
It’s certainly a gay-friendly hotel option. Check out the stunning design in the video above.
The Eixample Gay Neighborhood
Staying in Eixample (pronounced “eye-shamp-luh”), the official Barcelona gay neighborhood, is perfect for first timers.
Eixample is best for quick access to gay nightlife in Barcelona. If you’re traveling with friends, I recommend staying here, because obtaining several cabs from other parts of town can sometimes be difficult.
VRBO rentals in Eixample are super affordable and usually quite stylish. There’s 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.
Traditional Barcelona Gay Hotels
Many gay travelers in Barcelona highly prefer to stay in one of the city’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 Hotel Barcelona is the most popular gay hotel. With 101 rooms, a fun rooftop and a fantastic location in what they call “Gayxample,” 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 in. Axel is also adults only!
Two Hotel is another official Barcelona gay hotel, also owned by Axel. With the original Axel Hotel’s popularity, they opened Two Hotel a little to the south of the Eixample gay area.
Rooms in Two Hotel are a bit more modern than the original Axel Hotel. They also have a fun 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 busy streets of the Gothic Quarter, 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!
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 by mainly tourists.
You definitely have to see Parc Güell 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.
Continue walking along the path toward the top of the mountain. There is a large rock platform with steps up to the 360-degree views. It’s completely free.
The Sagrada Familia
The world-famous Sagrada Familia is on many visitor’s must-see list. 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 to only view the outside, which is what I did.
Gay Beaches in Barcelona
Platja de la Mar Bella is the famous and most well-known Barcelona gay beach. Locals prefer it because it’s away from the tourist epicenter in Barceloneta.
Chiringuito BeGay is a large covered outdoor restaurant with walk-up bar offering decent service. I had a ton of fun here! A second option near Mar Bella is Bogatell.
Walking through Barceloneta is great after some time at the beach. My first time in Barcelona I walked from the W hotel toward the port to go jet skiing. I saw the sunset behind the W hotel from the water, a picturesque view I will never forget.
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 Bars
Gay nightlife venues in Barcelona come in a range of options, from lounge-like gay bars to mega dance-clubs. Here are some of my favorite bars!
La Chapelle is a smaller, cozy Barcelona gay bar. Local gay residents frequent this spot in Eixample, Barcelona’s gay neighborhood.
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 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 normally attracts groups of friends looking to socialize before moving on to another gay bar.
Bar Punto 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 gay bars in Barcelona.
GinGin Bar & BoyzBar BCN
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. The bar staff is friendly and so are the guys that hang out here! I found there to be a mix of English and Spanish speaking people, both locals and tourists.
I visited GinGin Bar on a Tuesday and they had great drink specials. They pour a deliciously strong drink, too.
BoysBar BCN is another favorite small gay bar in Barcelona. It gets a little more rowdy and risqué here, with sexy dancers showing off behind towels. Definitely worth stopping by while you’re in BCN!
Barcelona Gay Clubs & Parties
Gay clubs in Barcelona are some of the best in Spain. Lots of LGBT travelers come specifically to Barcelona to party. Here are some of the top gay clubs and parties in the city.
The Black Room Gay Club
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.
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.
The DJ at Metro Disco was great when I visited. They played more lyrical dance/pop music. They have a cool little booth tucked into the wall of the dance floor. Lastly, drinks here were a bit more expensive than other bars.
Yass! Gay Party
This one is a newer gay party in Barcelona. 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!
Entry to the party with a drink included is 12 Euro until 1:00 AM, then 15 Euro afterwards. There seems to be a great mix of different types of gay guys at Yass!
Locals always mention the Tanga! Party as one of their favorites. Although its open during the week, there may only be a few people on these nights. It will definitely be fuller on weekends.
Most Barcelona gay clubs charge an entrance fee at the door, usually 10 Euros, but this includes a drink voucher. They just want to make sure you’re buying a drink!
Barcelona Gay Saunas
If you’re still up for more fun after the party ends, the best Barcelona gay sauna is Sauna Casanova. While it’s hard to come by a gay sauna these days that has anywhere near raving reviews, Sauna Casanova ranks pretty well on the cleanliness scale.
The peak hours at Casanova are usually Saturday and Sunday mornings between 5am and 8am. The facilities have everything you’ll need from lockers to showers.
Barcelona Travel Tips
If you’re going out to the gay clubs on the weekend, don’t expect anyone to show up until at least 2:00 in the morning!
Drink specials usually encourage arriving prior to 1:00, so people filter in from 1:00 to 2:30. Local gay men party all night, often until 6:00 in the morning!
Whenever I’m flying between European cities, I always check Vueling first. Their tickets are some of the cheapest and I’d definitely choose them over Ryanair. Barcelona is also Vueling’s hub, so there are tons of flights all the time.
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 between cities in Spain and nearby France is quite convenient by bus. I traveled all around the Mediterranean coast using Flixbus buses, which are almost always exactly on time, comfortable, civilized and safe. They’re also pretty cheap. Book your ticket!
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 BCN, a result of being an easy target with my phone hanging out of my pocket.
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Barcelona Local Language & Identity
If you meet someone born and raised in Barcelona, you may learn they don’t consider themselves to be “Spanish,” but “Catalan.” Catalunya has been fighting from 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!
You also be familiar that Catalan is the local spoken language. It is 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.
Since 2005, MSM’s have been permitted to donate blood, gay marriage has been legal and LGBT adoption has been legal.
The workplace has protected sexual orientation discrimination sine 1995. Gender identity is protected in some regions, but not everywhere. One of the highest acceptance rates of homosexuality is in Spain, with 88% of the population supporting it as of 2013.
Rates of hate speech nationwide has slightly increased in recent years. This has been taken seriously and in 2014, the government of Catalunya passed a law imposing fines over 10,000 Euros for any hate crimes against the LGBT community.