Spain offers one of the highest degrees of liberty in the world for LGBTI citizens, legalizing same-sex marriage in 2005.
Barcelona is one of the best cities in the world to be gay. With its open community, incredible nightlife, vast array of restaurants, and glorious summer weather, the city doesn’t leave you wanting much.
I visited Barcelona once before, and saw it through the eyes of a young first-time tourist. This time around, I was visiting for Pride, and the experience underlined just how great a city this is for any LGBTI individual. (No surprise, given same-sex marriage and LGBTI adoption have been legal since 2005)
Here are some quick tips so that you can have the best, and gayest, time in Barcelona.
What to see
Barcelona, like any big city, has a plethora of things to see and to do. It can sometimes be overwhelming trying to plan your excursions. If you find yourself in this pickle then you should definitely check out Rainbow Barcelona Tours. They offer private excursions so that you can discover all the must-see monuments and places in Barcelona at your own pace without the fear or getting lost or missing something.
Their LGBTI-themed tours are especially strong, offering visitors an inside look into the gay-oriented history of Barcelona that you wouldn’t get from your normal tourist guides. One of the best things about booking with them is you’ll easily easily skip the lines that plague all popular destinations, saving you valuable time.
The most amazing tour on offer is the hour-and-half jaunt around the meticulously-designed Sagrada Família church. This majestic work of art by the late iconic architect Gaudí. It has taken 131 years to build so far, and is set to be completed in 2026. This is a magical, otherworldly site that cannot be missed. Both times I’ve stepped inside, I’ve been captivated. This should be your first pitstop in the city.
Fancy a good view from the top?
Another tour Rainbow offers is the Montjuïc Mountain Tour. Over three hours tour you’ll explore the Montjuïc hill and it’s glorious Parc, offering amazing panoramic views of the city. This is prime selfie gold.
Montjuïc also features an old fortress that was used to defend Barcelona, Olympics facilities, and Plaza España, where the famous Magic Fountain of Montjuïc show takes place. Again, you can’t miss this!
If your looking for a bit more culture than consider stopping by The Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya. This glorious building is located in the Palau Nacional, and constructed back in 1929 for the International Exposition.
Since then it has been adding extraordinary collections of medieval, romanesque, and modernism art. Some famous pieces include the painted Apse of Sant Climent de Taüll and the beautifully wooden crucifix, Majestat Batlló.
My favorite thing about Barcelona is that the beach is so easily accessible. Of course, the Mediterranean climate allows for blazing summers, reliably hot and sunny springs and mild winters. The temperature averages 30C in July and 13C in January. You’ll be suntanning and drinking a margarita in no time.
The beaches are bursting with attractive people laying around and playing volleyball. But if you’re looking specifically for the gay beach then you will want to take a stroll to Platja de Sant Sebastià!
This is the perfect place to bust out that speedo you’ve always wanted to wear. For the truly adventurous you can even go nude at the gay beach Platja de la Mar Bella.
Where to party
Now, if you wanting to find those popular places for the gays then once again, Rainbow Barcelona has you covered. The gay scene in Barcelona is vast indeed so you will definitely want help navigating it. The two-hour Rainbow Night Tour take you through the buzzing Gaixample district to discover the vibrant nightlife.
Be ready, nightlife in Barcelona starts late (anytime between 1am-2am) and goes even later (anytime between 5am-6am).
All the gay bars are within the Gaixample area and are relatively close to each other so the ability to bar hop is very easy. I recommend checking all the bars that interest you because the clubs/discos won’t start going until after 12:30am anyways. Another great bar to check out is Nightberry. Right in the heart of the Gaixample district this bar is always backed and much more relaxed than the Sky Bar in Axel. If you’re just wanting to chill in a fun bar with a beer then this is where you want to be.
Still up at 2am? Head over to Metro Disco. This nightclub is one of the earliest pioneers on the Barcelona gay nightlife scene. It has become a staple in the Gaixample district and after 2am is always full of men from all over the world.
During the weekend it contains two dance rooms to choose from with both pumping out the beats to keep you dancing and moving. If you get bored of dancing you can always breeze on by the cruisy darkroom that most likely will be stuffed with guys looking for some friends.
Where to eat
Barcelona might be known for its tapas-style of dining, but in most restaurants you could always order as I did – plenty of smaller plates. (Plus a main!) Visit Barcelona has an extensive list of popular restaurants to sink your teeth into.
My first was Casa Jaime. This eatery boost a menu featuring Mediterranean, Catalan, and Spanish cuisine. Located conveniently in the Gaixample district, this restaurant has a lovely outdoor patio where you can catch all the eye candy walking by. My favorite dish was the Catalan sausage and criollo brochette with white beans.
Meanwhile, El Cangrejo Loco is the perfect restaurant for lunch because it offers a beautiful beach view of Barcelona. After walking along Olympic Port you can find this restaurant at the very end. Make sure to request the second floor terrace so you can capture all the skyline views while enjoying your food.The restaurant offers a mix of Mediterranean and Spanish dishes with a heavy emphasis on seafood. If you’re a fan of fresh fish then this restaurant is a must. Their seafood paella is popular with regulars and also new visitors.
This is the time to enjoy a leisurely lunch sipping wine and watching everyone on the beach. On a sunny day the best wine to have would be the Catalunya Viña Esmerelda Rosado. It’s fruity, cool, and the right amount of sweet.
Then, La Gavina is a restaurant in Barcelona with a lavish view of all the flashy yachts resting in the Mediterranean Sea.
I enjoyed a savoury cured ham starter plus a tuna tartare which I would highly recommend. For my main I had a steak that was perfectly tender. La Gavina offers a splendorous dining experience coupled with a gorgeous view of the coast while being right in the middle of all the hustle and bustle of Barcelona.
For more information visit the Barcelona Tourist Board and also the Catalan Tourist Board. With thanks to Rainbow Tours Barcelona.
All pictures Pixabay unless otherwise specified. Monument picture from Wikipedia. Restaurant picture from Casa Jaime.