Barcelona needs little introduction and it’s one of the most popular destinations in all of Europe. With year-round mild temperatures, a seaside location and a welcoming atmosphere for LGBT people, it’s no wonder that gay travelers from around the world come here to indulge in the culture, nightlife and vibrant atmosphere. If the warm weather and seaside location isn’t enough, its stunning architecture and welcoming gay scene will keep you coming back for more.
You can download the Gay Barcelona guide for free. Just provide your email address and we’ll email you a PDF.
Table of Contents
1. General Tips
2. Transportation & Airport Transfer
3. Gay Hotels in Barcelona
4. Sightseeing & Activities in Barcelona
5. Gay Tours in Barcelona
6. Restaurants and Cafes
7. Barcelona Gay Bars and Clubs
8. Barcelona Gay Saunas & Cruising Bars
9. Gay Beaches in Barcelona
10. Gay Events in Barcelona
11. Day Trips from Barcelona
Barcelona is one of those cities that has so much to offer, you can never see it all. Given the number of attractions and places of interest, you should probably plan on spending at least 3 to 4 nights here to really get a good feel. There are many nice neighborhoods in Barcelona to stay including Raval, Barceloneta and Gracia. If you want to be in the heart of the action, the gay neighborhood is called Eixample (its nickname is “Gaixample”) and is centrally located in the city. An underrated gem can be found in Poble-Sec down from Plaza España, where you'll find a lively area on Carrer Blai to enjoy “pinchos” and drink with the locals.
As far as accommodations, you can find budget friendly options at gay hostels in Barcelona. Hostals are not to be confused with youth hostels. In Spain, a ‘hostal' is a small, privately owned 1 to 3 star hotel with private rooms and basic amenities. Rates are often as low as 40€ per night for a private room with a shared bathroom.
Transportation & Airport Transfer
Barcelona is incredibly easy to get around and the city offers great public transport with the metro, regional trains and buses. The regional train is called the Rodalies and is best used for traveling longer distances or to go outside of the city center. Taxis are also fairly inexpensive and you probably won’t pay more than 10-15€ per ride if you’re staying in the center of the city. You can buy multi-day public transport tickets here.
The airport is located 12 kilometers (8 miles) from the city center and takes about 35 minutes via public transport. The most economical route is to take the regional train (Rodalies line R2, 4€ one way) to one of the central stations in the city center – the station called Passeig De Gracia would be the closest to Eixample and you can always transfer to the metro from there if needed. A taxi should cost about 25-30€ from the airport to the city center. A private transfer can also be booked in advance starting from 39€.
Gay Hotels in Barcelona
If you are traveling to Barcelona during high season (June to August), on the weekends or during major gay events, you’ll need to book these rooms in advance to ensure availability. Many of these properties are small and book quickly when in high demand.
NH Collection Barcelona Gran Hotel Calderon – ideally placed by “Gaixample”, this effortlessly sleek and classy hotel is a five star option found right in the heart of the action. Its rooftop terrace has a large pool and bar serving quality cocktails, while sporting a 360 view of the city below. The breakfast buffet has a healthy proclivity, including antioxidant dishes and fresh fruit – the perfect remedy for those feeling the effects of Barcelona’s nightlife. Rooms start at 250€.
Hotel Clarís – this property is a gay-friendly place located in Eixample near plenty of shopping and cultural attractions, only steps away from the Passeig de Gràcia, the legendary Plaza Catalunya, Las Ramblas and the historic Gothic Quarter. Rooms start at 150€ per night.
Axel Hotel – There are countless places to stay in Barcelona, but one of the most famous Barcelona gay hotels is the Axel Hotel. They are the first gay hotel chain to coin the term “straight-friendly.” And even better is the rooftop patio with a pool and bar. Even if you don’t stay here, the rooftop bar is open to the public and well worth a visit during the evening for a cocktail and nice view. The Axel is located in the heart of the Eixample gay neighborhood. Great gym and restaurant onsite. Rates start at 100€ per night.
Two Hotel by Axel – the new, second edition of the Axel Hotel. The demand for rooms at the original Axel has been so high that they are opening a second hotel in Eixample. The original Axel will still be the larger, flagship property but this new hotel opening in July 2015 will be another option with a different style though still offering a fantastic rooftop terrace and bar. Rates also start at 100€ per night.
Hotel Soho – a gay-friendly property, without specifically being a gay-only hotel. Hotel Soho is open and welcoming to anyone, but they’ve made the conscious effort to embrace the LGBT community. They support the Barcelona Pride fund which puts on the annual gay pride each June, and come July, they even offer a dedicated poolside bar during the infamous Circuit Party. Located in Eixample. Rates start at 70€ per night.
TOC Hostel – this hostel is very well designed, extremely central and offers very affordable prices especially if you sleep in one of the shared rooms. It's a high end, designer hostel located in the gay neighborhood of Eixample. It’s not necessarily a gay place, but they are very gay friendly. This is a great option if you’re on a tight budget or really like the social atmosphere found in hostels. You’ll find lots of great common areas plus an outdoor pool and terrace. They offer both shared and private rooms starting at 20€ per night.
Barcelona City Center Hostal – a gay-owned hostel in Eixample with simple and clean private rooms. It’s located just three streets away from Las Ramblas and the Gothic Quarter. Rates start at 50€ per night.
Fashion House – a gay owned bed & breakfast located in a 19th century building in the heart of Eixample, not far from the Paseo de Gracia and Plaça Catalunya. The property is intimate and elegant and room rates start at 50€ per night.
We’ve partnered with misterb&b to help curate the most LGBT+ friendly homestays. misterb&b is not a hotel or chain, but rather a booking platform for rooms, apartments and homes and it allows you to book from gay and gay-friendly hosts around the world. They have hosts in more than 200 countries and territories with more than 1 million total listings. Understanding the gay scene is much more easily done with the help of a local and home-sharing is one of the best ways to meet someone living in the city who knows how things work, where and when are the best nights to go out, and what places to eat at and which to avoid. misterb&b is our top choice if your priority is exploring the local gay scene.Special Offer! Sign up with misterb&b and you will receive a free $10 credit to use on your first booking!
Sightseeing & Activities in Barcelona
You could spend weeks in Barcelona visiting the numerous architectural wonders, historic plazas, art museums, beaches and parks. But we know, most people will just spend a few days here so we’ve narrowed down our top must-see places on any visit to Barcelona.
Sagrada Familia – Paris has its Eifel Tower, New York the Statue of Liberty and for Barcelona, the Sagrada Familia is without a doubt the most famous landmark of the city, designed yet never finished by Antonio Gaudi. Despite the fact it's never likely to be fully completed, Sagrada Familia has to be the most original and beautiful cathedral in the world – the exterior being a gothic masterpieces and the interior like being inside a stone forest. An entrance ticket costs 15€ and you might face a long wait especially in the high season. Book tour →
Park Güell –this park is another one of Gaudi’s surreal masterpieces and is well worth the uphill climb from the closest metro. The park offers both free portions and a paid entrance which gives you full access to the park. It’s garishly colorful buildings, marble staircases and bizarre architectural wonders contrast with the park's greenery, making it a one-of-a-kind and a must-see attraction – especially if you’re a fan of Gaudi. There are also amazing views from higher up the park. Admission is usually granted on reserved time slots so consider buying your ticket in advance. Book tour →
Beaches –one of the few cities in Europe with so much to offer including a beach to relax in the warm, Mediterranean weather. Barcelona’s beaches are nice as far as city beaches go, but have only been around since the revitalization project in preparation for the 1992 Olympics. Nevertheless, the weather’s usually great and they make great spots to relax at during the heat of the day while enjoying a nice cocktail or afternoon meal if you’re feeling lazy. The further you walk out of town up from the Olympic Port, the better – and less busy – the beaches get and the nicer the ‘chiringuitos' (beach bars) are.
Palau Nacional and the Magic Fountain – this palace was built for the 1929 International Exhibition in Barcelona and now houses the National Art Museum of Catalonia. You’ll find the Magic Fountain at the foot of the Palau Nacional, which amazes crowds during certain times at night with a spectacular light show to the tune of ‘Barcelona' by Freddy Mercury and Montserrat Caballe. The walk up to both attractions is impressive with one of the best views of the city from in front of the museum and the rest of Montjuïc is filled with labyrinth-like gardens – some with exotic plants exported from South America – to lose yourself in. A hike up the mountain – or catching a cable car from down near the beach – will reward you with a lesser-known castle and a mirador café/restaurant. Download the full guide for more information on free shows. Book tour →
La Rambla – the most famous street in Barcelona stretches all the way down from Plaza Catalunya to the port, and it’s practically impossible to explore the city without passing through. It hums with energy and is well worth walking the full length of at least once – be wary of the tourist trap restaurants and pick pockets though. Towards the bottom you’ll find Plaza Real, a large scenic plaza that’s great to have a coffee or beer in.
Gothic Quarter – without a doubt, this is one of the highlights of the city where you’ll find the Barcelona cathedral (not the Sagrada Familia) that dates back to the 15th century and other gothic architectural wonders, like the Basilica de Santa Maria del Pi church. Take a walk through the maze of narrow streets that open up to several nice plazas. This is where you’ll find the remains of ancient Roman walls as well as the Jewish quarter and plenty of nice shops and cafes.
Tibidabo – the tallest mountain surrounding Barcelona with amazing views looking out over the city and sea. The famous church called “Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor” is built at the top, which started construction in 1902. Just to the side of the church is the Tibidabo Amusement Park, which was built and opened around the same time frame. You can reach the top of Tibidabo by taking the funicular from the base of the mountain. The funicular is easy to reach by taking train L7 from Plaza de Catalunya and then transferring to a bus. Book tour →
Casa Batllo and Casa Mila (La Pedrera) – Gaudi’s slightly less well-known masterpieces are two “houses” found above Eixample in the Gracia area. Both act as museums, whose corridors are full of architectural oddities and mind-bending interactive exhibitions.
Gay Tours in Barcelona
There are tons of tours to choose from when visiting Barcelona so it’s best to decide what you’d like to see and what level of service you want. Some of our favorites are listed below.
Pride Side (LGBTQ) of Barcelona on a Private Tour with a local – Barcelona has a vibrant gay and lesbian scene, with a fine array of restaurants, bars and clubs in the district known as the Gaixample. It is fun to explore the LGBT scene in the city only when you go out and explore it with a local. On this tour you will try delicious food, taste amazing beers and visit offbeat places in popular LGBT districts with a local. It is one of the best experiences to immerse yourself into the Spanish LGBT culture. Book tour →
Gaily Tour in Barcelona – If you’re looking for a gay tour in Barcelona, then check out this tour. They offer city tours with local gay guides that can answer any possible question about gay Barcelona you could ever think of. Book tour →
Devour Food Tours Barcelona – If you really want to experience the food culture of Barcelona with a knowledgeable guide, we highly recommend Devour Barcelona Food Tours. We took a similar tour with them last summer in Madrid and had a fantastic time sampling the cuisine at places we never knew to explore. Book tour →
Restaurants and Cafes
Depending on the time of day, there are several restaurants in and around Eixample worth a visit.
El Berro – a nice café that opens early for breakfast at 7am and serves lunch until 2:00pm. You can find a variety of tapas, sandwiches and classic Catalan favorites in this local restaurant for a nice price.
Nikkei 103 – Japanese restaurant located in the famous gay hotel Axel. The food is cultural fusion Peruvian and Japanese cuisine. Like the hotel, the design is retro-modern with a relaxed atmosphere.
Brunch & Cake – this is a great option for brunch if you sleep through your hotel breakfast. They have great pancakes and French toast as well as omelets, soups, salads and sandwiches. They also offer freshly pressed juice and a home-brewed organic coffee.
La Terraza de Ana by Vida Mona – this is a cute rooftop restaurant with nice views at the top of Room Mate Anna Hotel. It's is a good place to enjoy great tapas with a group. The prices are mostly reasonable and they also have a good wine selection.
Flamant – a chic Catalan and Mediterranean fusion restaurant which is a great dinner option with plenty of space for larger groups. They offer different levels of fixed lunch and dinner menus with lots of choices too. For dessert, definitely try the Tim Baon which is turron ice cream topped with crema catalana in a chocolate sauce.
Casa Amalia 1950 – a rather hip restaurant located next to the La Concepcio Market within L’Example. They serve traditional Catalan cuisine consisting of innovative seafood dishes – with all ingredients sourced from the market alongside it.
La Garriga Glòries – La Garriga is actually a chain of restaurants and food shops across Barcelona, with the two big restaurants found in Eixample and Glories. La Garriga Glories restaurant is the newest of their eateries located at Westfield Glòries shopping center in the El Mercat area. It’s also their biggest with the feel of a spacious warm cafe to it. They offer different menus over the day from sandwiches at breakfast to an “a la carte” menu of meat and paella for dinner. It’s also a great place to have a glass of wine – at any time of the day you deem fit!
Imprevisto – this quirky restaurant in Eixample puts creative twists on their Mediterranean dishes to the point you might wonder if you’re meant to eat or admire the food. Luckily the flavorful creations are as delicious as they look. The surprise tasting menu is especially fun to work your way down with wine pairings.
Carrer de Blai – an entire street selling tapas and ‘pinchos' -(a yummy selection of goodies such as cheese, meat and even jam or chocolate balanced precariously on top tiny pieces of bread). Any restaurant on Blai sells the same, but a personal favorite is Blai Tonight. The street is always bustling with locals and – being found in the Poble Sec area just outside the tourist zone – you are guaranteed a more authentic Barcelona experience.
Barcelona Gay Bars and Clubs
Barcelona has a great gay nightlife scene, especially during the summer. Many of these places are packed on weekends and a couple of offer options during the week. Keep in mind that nightlife in Barcelona starts extremely late, so don’t be surprised if you arrive at 11pm to a bar (1am at a club) and still don’t see a crowd. Just wait another hour and the place will fill up.
Note: Several of the listings here are part of the Arena collection. They operate several bars and clubs with different themes all located near each other.
Café Bar Punto – a classic Barcelona gay bar and the most popular amongst tourists and locals in their 30’s. It’s open daily and often gets busy early by 11pm. Part of the Arena collection of bars and clubs.
Priscilla Café and Bar – the award for the coolest décor in a gay bar goes to this camp joy of an establishment. Firstly, it’s pink and the walls are filled with ornate mirrors and portraits of gay icons. Next, the seating areas at the front are in the style of an old hairdressers with spin chairs and faux hair dryers. Needless to say: it’s flamboyant and full of character. Priscilla is also – aptly given the name – the place to go to see the best drag shows in Barcelona.
Sky Bar – this is the outdoor terrace at the top of the Axel Hotel. At nighttime, it’s the perfect place to enjoy the warm summer atmosphere of Barcelona while sipping on good cocktails. Though it’s part of the Axel, it’s open to the public during the warmer months starting in April, and is the place to be at the start of a night out.
Madame Jasmine Bar – venturing out of L’Eixample to El Raval – an area just off La Rambla – you'll find a gaggle of queer bars with a more bohemian vibe. The best of which is this edgy and eccentric small – yet frequently packed – venue halfway down Ramblas de Raval in front of the panda statue. Zebra print walls, retro ornaments, free nail varnish at the bar and unapologetically queer – and super friendly – bar staff make for a great atmosphere.
La Federica – another popular choice for those bored with the more typically gay bars of L’Eixample and with those who like a little culture around them as they drink, since the walls are covered in works of local queer artists. La Federica is out in Poble Sec, near Raval but on the weekends it is one of the busiest bars in the area, full of hot hipsters.
Arena Classic – At this edition of Arena, you’ll find a younger crowd with electronic, house and dance music. Open weekends only.
Arena Madre – This edition from the Arena group usually attracts younger people and the music style is mostly pop. It’s one of the few clubs open every day in Barcelona.
Pervert – a regular party on Saturdays run by the Matinee group that’s men-only. It has a circuit party-type atmosphere with plenty of hot, shirtless guys who are enjoying more than just alcoholic drinks. Great option if this is your type of scene.
The Black Room – The more rogue gay party in Barcelona. It’s a popular party only on Sunday nights and the kind of place you probably won’t see many girls. Medium sized party held at a club called Sala City Hall with sexy bartenders, shows and go-go dancers.
Churros con Chocolate – another popular party on a Sunday, which starts at 4pm but finishes early – I mean, people do work in Spain sometimes! Taking part in the Apolo Theater in Poble Sec, it's a study in cheese with silly fun-themed shows! Downstairs plays techno and upstairs cheesy pop. There's not an actual churros though, sadly.
For the girls…
Sala Aire – The girly outpost of the Arena group is the city's largest lesbian club, and as such sees a decent variety of girls shooting pool and dancing to pop, house and '80s classics. On the first Sunday of the month, there's a women-only strip show.
Barcelona Gay Saunas & Cruising Bars
Open Mind – the busiest gay cruising club in Barcelona also has a reputation for being the naughtiest, where anything goes…and comes. Like many of the gay clubs it is located in “Gaixample” and it boasts two floors full of slings, glory holes, beds, cubicles and kinky paraphernalia. They organize different themed parties ranging from naked night to fisting night, so check their website so you don’t get a surprise. On any average night they have a strict dress code where jeans, shorts and street clothing are prohibited, so at least bring your best jock strap or harness.
BoyBerry – You’ll find a darkroom (with lots of goodies), free wi-fi and many other surprises. The Barcelona location actually opened first and they expanded to Madrid after much success.
Night Barcelona – It's the “Boyberry” bar, but since the actual Boyberry location in Barcelona doesn't have a regular bar, they've opened another place located right in Gaixample, the gay neighborhood of Barcelona.
There are quite a few gay saunas in Barcelona. Some of them are luxurious and modern, while others are smaller and cozier. Most of them are located in the city center, especially around the Gaixample. We've listed the three most popular saunas here for you to explore.
Sauna Casanova – one of the most popular gay saunas in Barcelona, located in Eixample with plenty of facilities and open 24 hours. There is a rush of activity when nightclubs close as well as during the Circuit Festival. The sauna has been recently renovated with enhanced space in the basement. The huge jacuzzi fits more than 20 people and next to a very stylish bar. This is the perfect place to find muscled men, young guys and tourists. 15€ entrance.
Sauna Condal – another popular sauna but located in the Gothic Quarter with various themed parties. Generally attracts an older crowd. The entrance can be found through a discreet cul de sac in the Gothic neighborhood. It has three floors, with a huge dark room and a labyrinth. It also organizes theme parties (bear, leather, naked…) and it is the perfect place to visit if you are into bears, mature and chubby men.15€ entrance.
Sauna Thermas – the biggest sauna in Spain happens to be located in Barcelona. It is among the best ones in Barcelona especially due to its great facilities and the fact it opens 24/7. What else do you need? Cute guys! And there are plenty of them. However, one point to keep in mind is that some guys may expect to be paid in return for their company.
Gay Beaches in Barcelona
Platja de la Mar Bella – the biggest gay beach in Barcelona is located at the far left of the beaches (facing the sea) closest to metro stop Poblenou (line 4). Lots of local and foreign hotties come here during the warmer months and there are a number of beachside bars and restaurants to enjoy nearby, most notably El Chiringuito BeGay. There's also a nudist area, affectionately nicknamed “the sausage pit”.
Sant Miquel – also, situated in the neighborhood known as Barceloneta, the is not only the first of the city’s 10 beaches, it is also officially a gay beach in Barcelona. At the foot of the W Hotel, you have one of the best views of the Barcelona coast and a great vibe, which you can enjoy while sipping a cocktail. However, as both the Sant Miquel beach and its neighbor, the Barceloneta beach, are located nearest to the city center, they are often packed with people. Despite this, there's a nudist zone here too.
Gay Events in Barcelona
Barcelona Pride – each June Barcelona holds its own Pride, where some 300,000 people attend. After the parade, most of the festivities revolve around Plaza España with a stretch reserved full of tents, running the whole length up to the Magic Fountain.
Circuit – one of the most famous of its kind each August. With more than 70,000 gays from around the world attending the 10-day event full of parties, it’s a must-attend for anyone really into the circuit party scene. The water park party is iconic.
Matinee Easter Weekend – another big party in March, where the city floods with eligible gay bachelors from around the world looking to party.
Barcelona International Gay & Lesbian film Festival (FICCLB) – for a more cultured experience check out this festival in October to see the best in queer cinema from the year.
Day Trips from Barcelona
Sitges – one of the most popular gay destinations in Spain and just 40km south of Barcelona. You can easily take the Rodalies regional train here for a day trip or overnight visit. Sitges is a beautiful beach destination with the classic white painted buildings and blue shutters framing the windows. The town is well known for being a popular gay-friendly destination and the restaurant and bar scene reflect this. They love a good excuse for a party in Sitges – if you do too, plan your trip around Pride, Bear Pride, Carnaval, Festa Major de Sitges or Sitges Film Festival (to take part in its rather awesome zombie walk). Book tour →
Girona – located 100 kilometers northeast and by train takes about an hour and half to reach. Girona is one of the more prominent cities in Catalonia and has famous sites in the well preserved old town like the Girona Cathedral, the city wall, the Church of Sant Feliu, Plaça de la Independència, and remnants of Jewish history before their expulsion from Spain. Book tour →
Figueres – located in the same direction as Girona, but another 40 kilometers farther. It’s a two-hour train ride from the city. It’s most famous as the birthplace of painter Salvador Dalí and might be worth an overnight visit if you have the time. The museum he designed called Teatre-Museu Gala Salvador Dalí is here and holds the largest collection of Dalí’s completely unique and odd works – even the building is as surreal as the artist himself.
Montserrat – a beautiful mountain monastery located one hour northwest of Barcelona renowned for its unique rock formations. You can reach the mountain by a scenic train route and then take a funicular up to the top. It’s considered one of the most important and significant sites in all of Catalonia. Book tour →
Note: Some of these links are affiliates, which means using them won’t cost you any extra but we do receive a small commission for each referral. You’re not obligated to use them but we appreciate it if you do. Thanks in advance for supporting this site if you choose to use our link!
Featured image courtesy of Rainbow Barcelona.