This post was updated on June 22, 2020.
Barcelona is a very popular destination for LGBT travelers so not surprisingly, our summer-long #mygaypride campaign in which we covered 8 different city Prides also took us to this beautiful city on the Mediterranean coast. Living in Madrid, it’s just a two and half hour train ride away with the AVE, Spain’s high-speed train. We used our Eurail pass, which allows us nearly unlimited railway travel around Europe for two months, to book our seats on the AVE and off we were! Barcelona is easily connected via railway not just within Spain, but there’s also a high-speed train from Paris. Once there, we met our #mygaypride team members as well as our media partner, Gay Star News, and discovered some of the best summer activities when in the capital of Catalunya.
This circuit party advertises itself as the world’s largest international gay event and has taken place in Barcelona each year since 2008. The nearly two-week-long event in August is mostly centered on the parties that vary in location be it a pool party, beach party, club party, or water park. However, it’s not all party as there are various day events as well including art exhibitions, workout sessions, yoga, beach volleyball tournament, paddle boating, speaking sessions and workshops regarding issues affecting the LGBT community, films, and walking tours. This festival has a lot to offer in the way of culture and leisure and is a great summer event to plan a trip to Barcelona around.
Barcelona Pride is surprisingly not the largest in Spain, but it still makes a large impression. The ten-day event in June is packed with events like a bike ride through the city, high heel race, Miss Drag PRIDE Barcelona, an excellent outdoor foam party and even activities for kids. Of course, there’s also the Pride Parade on Saturday that attracts around 200,000 spectators and there are plenty of Pride parties around the city. The Pride Village is located at Avenida Reina Maria Cristina which leads directly to a beautiful fountain with the gorgeous Palau Nacional behind it. Pride in this vibrant, international metropolitan city with Catalan culture and flair is a must-attend annual event.
If you’re not visiting Barcelona during any particular gay event, fear not. Summer in Barcelona is a gay event in and of itself. This extremely queer-friendly city attracts the LGBT community from all over to experience its historical sights, gay scene, beaches, gastronomy and overall city life. For an intimate, detailed look into Barcelona with a queer guide, go with a gay city tour of Barcelona. They offer a multitude of gay tours to choose from including the Old Town, architecture, the city center, tapas, La Sagrada Familia, day trips and nightlife. This is a great tour option for a more personal, comfortable experience than you would normally get as an LGBT traveler with a standard hetero tour guide and group.
4. Gay Beaches
Barcelona has about 4 kilometers of beaches with two main gay beaches. First, there’s Platja de Sant Sebastià near metro Barceloneta. This beach is right next to the other popular and gay-friendly beach, Barceloneta. There are plenty of gorgeous guys here showing off their gym-prepped bodies. You’ll also get in the know about the gay parties that are happening as groups of hotties hand out flyers for various events. The other gay stretch of sand is Platja de la Mar Bella near metro stop Poble Nou. This clothing optional beach, like most nude beaches, is farther out from the center on the northern end of the city’s beachfront. Here you’ll also find Chiringuito BeGay, a popular restaurant and bar where the gays go to dine and drink.
5. Outdoor Dining & Drinks with a View
The food culture in Barcelona is incredible and the only thing that can make its gastronomy better is dining outdoors in the summer with breathtaking views. Restaurante Forestier at the Miramar Hotel has a great selection of Catalan and Mediterranean dishes which are best enjoyed on its outdoor terrace with views of the city and the sea. Located on the Olympic Port in Barcelona, El Cangrejo Loco is a spectacular seafood spot with exquisite views overlooking the sea and port whether you’re dining inside or outside on the terrace. Specializing in fish and seafood, Abrassame at Centro Comercial de Las Arenas, a former bullfighting ring turned shopping center, is a great choice with terrace seating for views of the city and the Palau Nacional, or National Palace. If you’re looking to skip out on dinner and just want drinks with a view, head to Sky Bar at Axel Hotel for great cocktails and a view over Gaixample.
Bonus: Day Trip to Sitges
This one is not technically in Barcelona so it’s a bonus, but it’s definitely worth the trip when visiting the city. Just forty minutes south of Barcelona by train, Sitges is a must-see beach town for any gay traveler. It’s filled with great restaurants, bars and clubs that gay travelers fill all summer long. The town itself is also charming with long stretches of beaches that are quite frankly better than Barcelona’s.
What activity or event would you like to do in Barcelona? Share with us in the comments below!
Note: Turisme Barcelona and Eurail sponsored our visit to Barcelona. As always, rest assured all opinions are 100% our own.