Madrid Gay Travel
wolfyy’s Madrid gay guide to top hotels, gay bars, clubs, parties, saunas, restaurants & things to do.
The Gay Travel Experience: Madrid, Spain
Madrid is my favorite city in the world. I have never felt more at home in a foreign city than here in the Spanish capital. Madrid’s gay scene is huge, the gay clubs are world-renowned and LGBT pride is everywhere!
Gay locals in Madrid are super friendly and love meeting travelers. If you hang out in local gay bars, you’re bound be absorbed into a friend group of fun Spaniards.
No matter whether you’re a solo traveler or traveling in a big group, gay-friendly Madrid will be thrilling and easy to navigate, similar to other large popular gay destinations in Spain like the cities Barcelona, Valencia, and Seville.
In this Madrid gay guide, I’ll cover where to stay, top gay hotels, local gay bars, clubs and parties, things to do, and more.
Gay Madrid: Hotels & Where To Stay
Firstly, Madrid is such a gay-friendly city that there’s no need to worry about searching for a gay-friendly hotel. You can expect just about every hotel in the city will be LGBT-friendly.
Many guys love Madrid for the city’s high-quality gay hotels. These hotels are a big part of the gay scene as well.
Each one of Madrid’s neighborhoods has a unique vibe. Below I’ll mention the best Madrid neighborhoods for gay travelers along with the most popular gay hotels.
Malasaña is one of the trendiest neighborhoods in Madrid, nestled at the northern end of the city’s core.
Full of Madrid gay locals, amazing restaurants, and boutique storefronts, you’ll feel right at home here among the Madrileños. It’s also close to the popular Chuca gay neighborhood.
A Malasaña VRBO rental is my top recommendation for travelers who don’t necessarily need a traditional hotel experience and want to experience an authentic slice of Madrid.
Many of the luxury rentals in Madrid curated by Plum Guide are also around Malasaña. Plum Guide is a fantastic platform to find apartments with unbeatable style and quality.
Plus, tourists tend to miss Malasaña, so you’ll have much more of an authentic experience! Malasaña is conveniently walkable to Gran Via and the main city center in about 10-15 minutes.
Chueca Gay District
Staying in Chueca, the Madrid gay district, is great for meeting locals as well as other gay travelers. Many gay guys live in this area, but not exclusively. You can easily find LGBT locals outside of Chueca as well.
Axel Hotel Madrid
The Axel Hotel Madrid is one of the most popular gay hotels in the city. It has a fun, chic interior design as well as some pretty awesome suites.
The hotel is among some of the most popular Axel Hotels in the world, especially for their iconic rooftop pool and sauna/steam room facilities. It’s definitely worth considering!
Room Mate Óscar
Room Mate Óscar is one of the most popular gay hotels in Madrid. Colorful, modern, and stylish throughout, I love the hotel’s design. They have a stellar location too, right in the Chueca neighborhood a few blocks from Gran Vía.
The rooftop pool terrace at Room Mate Óscar is gorgeous. The views from here are epic and there are plenty of lounge chairs and couches to relax on to take it all in.
The views from the hotel’s rooms are also fantastic. One of the best parts about this gay hotel is all the private balconies that come with both the traditional suites and mini-suites.
Staying In Embajadores
Embajadores is another great area of Madrid, located on the south end of the city center. Many younger people live here, including some gay locals I know. The metro from Embajadores will take you directly to the center of Madrid in 10 minutes or 25-30 minutes walking.
This area also tends to be cheaper than other Madrid neighborhoods. Embajadores rentals are probably your best bet for cheap accommodations.
Tirso De Molina & Sol Hotels
Tirso de Molina, an area just south of Puerta del Sol is another great part of the city to stay in. Hotels in Tirso de Molina and the surrounding area will be a bit closer to the city center, but not exactly next to the Sol metro station.
I recommend staying a bit farther south of the Sol metro station since this area is usually overcrowded with tourists.
ME Madrid by Melia
ME Madrid by Melia is absolutely stunning and beloved by gay travelers. This hotel takes luxury design to the next level, and it’s still affordable!
I love all the features of the different types of suites. Some have stately private terraces with outdoor seating, some have floor-to-ceiling windows, and others have
The ME Madrid by Melia hotel also has a stellar fitness center with tons of free weights, a chic rooftop terrace, and a high-end restaurant. There’s so much space to take advantage of! And just southeast of the Sol metro station, you’ll be in the heart of Madrid.
Madrid Gay Travel Experiences
Plaza Mayor, Parque de El Retiro and the Royal Palace of Madrid are a few must-see attractions in Madrid to start with. Plaza Mayor is in the center of the city and has a ton of history. Many restaurants and small shops surround the plaza.
El Retiro Park is enormous and you could easily spend half a day strolling around. There are unlimited quiet trails and manicured garden areas.
At the main entrance to the park, there are some stellar views of the east side of the city. Explore the park near the entrance and you just might find the spot where all the shirtless guys are working out.
Madrid’s Royal Palace can be a place you stop by briefly to see the outside, or you may choose to go in for a tour. If you plan to visit the palace, get a skip-the-line ticket. Personally, I just admired it from the outside.
For shopping, there are several department stores along Gran Vía near the Callao metro stop. El Corte Inglés is the main department store, but note that it is broken up into 5 buildings, each with different categories of items.
The stores are dotted along the street from the Callao metro stop to the Sol metro stop. Major brand stores are in between.
Tour Madrid's Gay District
Chueca is the official gay neighborhood of Madrid, and it’s a wonderful area to explore, day or night! You can grab a snack or cocktail at one of the dozens of gay bars and gay-friendly restaurants within a radius of just a few blocks.
Joining a Chueca neighborhood tour is a fun way to explore while making some new friends. You’ll also get the insight of a gay local!
Other ways you can explore local gay life in Chueca are going to a Saturday drag brunch or booking a gay tour of Madrid that starts in Chueca and covers other must-see areas of the city.
Madrid Museums: Modern & Historical
There are two museums in Madrid that I absolutely loved. Museo ABC is a graphic design showcase with many interesting pieces, all very different from one another.
I liked visiting Museo ABC because it was modern and not very busy! It is not one of the museums that tourists flock to, since it’s a little off the beaten path. Entry is free.
The Museo Municipal de Historia is another great, and free, place to spend a few hours. The museum showcases the urban development of Madrid—the different eras of infrastructure construction, models of famous architectural sites, and many maps of the city.
In the museum’s basement, there’s a model of the entire city of Madrid from a specific year in history.
It’s absolutely impeccable and is one of the first models that depicted the empty space between Madrid’s buildings. If you love architecture or city maps, you will absolutely adore this.
Walk from Gran Via toward Embajadores and you’ll find kebab and Indian food everywhere. With lots of outdoor seating, the ethnic food in this area can be a delicious and cheap bet.
Azotea del Circulo Rooftop is a fantastic higher-end restaurant option. Here you’ll get some of the best views of Gran Via.
Azotea is especially good if you like seafood. I got some Calamari, Patatas Bravas and white wine. It’s on the pricier side, but the views are worth it. They offer both indoor and outdoor seating.
There are tons of restaurants and bars in this vibrant part of Madrid. I recommend just wandering through Chueca, watching gay locals and tourists mingle, and seeing what else you find!
Madrid Gay Bars, Clubs & Parties
The gay bars and clubs in Madrid are world-renowned. The city is also known for hosting some of the world’s best circuit party events. Here in the heart of Spain, there’s always a party happening somewhere.
THICK is one of Madrid’s newer gay bars, located in the Chueca area. It’s been happily welcomed too, especially by those tired of the older, more traditional gay bars in the city. THICK is a colorful and upbeat gay bar popular for its trendy decor.
While THICK is primarily a gay bar for bears (and you’ll certainly find a bear/mature crowd), all LGBT tribes congregate here. Weekends are most popular.
Black&White by La Plexy is one of Madrid’s most popular gay bars in Chueca. If you’re looking for energetic drag shows, you’ve got to try this spot! Black&White is also a great weekday option for some gay nightlife.
Tanga! is undoubtedly one of the most popular Madrid gay parties. It’s a monthly event known for starting on Sunday evening at 7:30 PM.
The party mainly caters to those who work on Monday. But as is typical in Spain, the party keeps going until 6 AM Monday morning! I loved Tanga because different gay “crowds” mix for one giant event.
Tanga is hosted at Teatro Barceló, which has several “salas,” or rooms on different levels. The main floor plays pop music and all-time favorites.
As the night progresses and the night owls show up, the higher levels will gradually open. The third level will play techno and house music.
Boyberry Madrid is perfect if you want to experience a gay bar with the option of cruising. Downstairs in the back of the bar, there’s a dim basement sex club area. It’s a much more casual situation than one of the local gay saunas or cruising clubs.
Kluster Circuit Party
Kluster is another super popular Madrid gay club. I had such a blast at a circuit party here. They play house/circuit music with on-stage dancers and everyone tends to wear sexy circuit gear.
This is a jam-packed, intense Saturday night party that continues until the sun rises (see the vibe in the below video). Entry is about 10 Euros, which includes a drink.
Marta Cariño is a cute and spacious bar right next door. It isn’t specifically a gay venue, but tons of gay guys hang out here before the Kluster party—or before heading to another part of town for a night out.
The venue is an beloved gay nightlife spot, especially for the Baila Cariño party.
Gay Friendly Bars in Madrid
Head over to Only YOU Hotel in Atocha for a cocktail bar with chic hotel vibes. They make custom cocktails and they look beautiful! There is a wonderful rooftop terrace, perfect for watching the sunset.
Azotea Forus Barceló is another rooftop terrace with more of a garden feel. It’s right across the street from Teatro Barceló. This is a great spot for large groups since they have space to spread out and movable seating.
Note there is no signage on the street for Azotea Forus Barceló, so you just have to head up the outdoor escalator to the fourth level. It’s best to visit in the early evening or late afternoon during sunset.
Madrid Gay Saunas & Cruising
Gay saunas in Madrid are wildly popular, both with locals and visiting tourists. There are quite a few of them too—more than most European cities! Here are the Madrid gay saunas worth a visit.
Sauna Paraiso tops the list. They brand themselves as the “sauna of young people”. I personally liked this establishment for its Turkish baths and large space. They’re located right in the center of the popular Malasaña neighborhood.
Sauna Octopus is the sister sauna of Sauna Paraiso and caters to bears and a more mature crowd. They openly welcome otters, muscle bears, cubs, chubs, chasers & other similar gay tribes.
Centerbeach Sauna is what used to be the old Sauna Principe, the third gay sauna of the trio including Sauna Octopus and Sauna Paraiso mentioned above.
This cruising spot is not very highly rated. I haven’t been to this sauna myself, but judging from reviews of this sauna, they’ve had a bit of trouble with keeping customers happy. It’s one to watch for the future to see if their service and reviews improve.
On weekdays, Sauna Lavapies is the place to be. While other gay saunas in Madrid are busiest on weekends, Sauna Lavapies has more of a consistent crowd on both weekdays and weekends.
This is probably to be expected since they’re open from 2 PM until 11 PM daily. Sunday will surely still be busy, though.
The sauna overall is relatively large, with plenty of slings, a jacuzzi, showers, and cabins. Entry ranges from 12 to 20 Euros depending on the day of the week.
Sauna Puerta de Toledo
Sauna Puerta de Toledo is a medium-sized gay sauna that attracts a range of different types of guys. Facilities include a jacuzzi, video rooms, private cabins, a steam room, and showers.
They’re also open between the hours of 2 PM and 11 PM daily, so this sauna is ideal for cruising in the afternoon. As is typical with any Madrid gay sauna, Sundays will definitely be busiest.
Madrid Gay Pride
I think everyone can agree that Madrid Pride, or “Orgullo Gay de Madrid,” is consistently one of the most fun gay pride events in the world. It’s the largest in all of Europe, with incredible diversity and energy.
Enormous numbers of tourists flood Madrid every year for the pride celebration. The entire stretch of Gran Vía is filled with crowds all day and night.
Madrid Travel Tips
Getting Around on Foot
Madrid’s main city center isn’t very big, so getting around on foot is super easy. Within 30-40 minutes you can walk from the southernmost part of the “city’s core” to the northernmost part.
The north of the city is higher in elevation than the south. Walking from Malasaña to Embajadores is all downhill. Keep this in mind if you’re walking the city.
Personally, I usually take the subway northward but walk southward to make any stroll more enjoyable.
Using The Madrid Metro
Madrid’s metro system is fantastic. Frequent trains will get you to all destinations very quickly and a ride is less than 2 Euros. Buy a card to load at any metro station. The subway also connects directly to the airport.
Madrid has “regular” subway routes as well as a more heavy-duty train that runs in a circular route along the outskirts of the city. This train takes different tickets and costs just a bit more.
You may find yourself taking this train if you’re headed for the Atocha railway station. However, for most people, you likely won’t need it. See more on the Madrid Metro Official Site.
Improve Your Spanish Skills
Want to be able to speak with the handsome gay locals even if they don’t speak English? There’s no harm in working on your Spanish, whether it’s just the basics or brushing up on what you learned previously.
Babbel subscriptions are surprisingly cheap and their app makes learning some language basics easy. The most you’ll pay is $14 per month! Plus, it gets even cheaper if you choose a multi-month package.
Dinner Time in Spain
Spanish dinner time is much later than everywhere else in the world. The typical time for a dinner reservation is between 8 PM and 11 PM. It’s not uncommon to see some Spaniards eat at midnight!
Keep timing in mind while making reservations at restaurants. Many may not even be open yet at the time you would normally have dinner. Most restaurants in Spain will close down in the middle of the day, reopening in the evening.
Next, explore more Spanish cities with wolfyy’s gay guides to Barcelona, Granada, and Valencia.
Or, head to the south of Spain and discover lesser-known Cádiz or the gay paradise of Torremolinos.
For additional resources, visit the Turismo Madrid official visitor website.
See wolfyy’s complete collection of gay travel guides for more gay destination ideas around the world.