LGBT Spain Travel: Exploring the Scene

October 8, 2014
LGBT Spain Travel: Exploring the Scene

pink pangea foreign correspondentOnce upon a time, when my cousin was desperately giving up smoking, we were sitting in a summer cafe in Sitges, Catalonia, having a morning coffee. A Spanish early morning is great especially in resort towns, where the scent is a mixture of coffee and sea breeze and the noise is one of calm waves. You see sleepy, happy couples walking along a promenade, or individuals reading The Economist, or El País, still in their working mood.

Other vacationers start their day with Spanish wine accompanied by a good cigar. Now imagine a picture: an unhappy woman, suffering without her best friends, her cigarettes, sees a handsome man with a balmy Cuban cigar.

Dinara, I see he already understood that you are seducing him.

If so, he has no clue what women really think about. I’m seducing his cigar!

The next moment we see a mustached man next to Dinara’s victim, shooting an angry glance at us. Then he gets closer to his friend, hugs and kisses him, giving us a concrete sign: “He’s taken, witches, stop staring!”

He misunderstood you, woman, indeed. The ambiguous situation made me have a look around. We were sitting at a cafe near a gay-friendly hotel in Sitges, where most visitors were LGBT. That’s how I first discovered Spanish gay hospitality.

How Spain Became a LGBT Travel Destination

Spain is among the most gay-friendly destinations in Europe, being the third country to legalize gay marriage in 2005, after Netherlands and Belgium. It’s a place where LGBT couples can find perfect vacations for both the body and soul, and meet others at dozens of LGBT events held annually in the motherland of Picasso and Dali.

Today’s tolerance toward Spanish minorities is partly explained by the country’s utter religiousness in the past, during which same-sex relations were considered sodomy and under Franco’s regime, when being LGBT was illegal. The final “détente” began with the movies of the most famous Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar who includes a leitmotif of both art and gay relations in almost every movie, promoting LGBT-tolerance awareness.

LGBT Events

While staying in Spain you can enjoy LGBT film festivals, the biggest ones being LesGaiCineMad in Madrid and Festival Internacional de Cinema Gai i Lèsbic de Barcelona, in the Catalan capital. Smaller film festivals include Festival del Mar in the Balearic Islands, Festival del Sol in the Canary Islands, Zinegoak in Bilbao, LesGaiFestiVal in Valencia and Zinentiendo in Zaragoza.

Here are some other LGBT events:

– Maspalomas Fetish Week, Gran Canaria
– Maspalomas Winter Pride, Gran Canaria
Sitges Carnaval, Sitges
– Bearcelona, Barcelona
– Gay Pride Maspalomas, Gran Canaria

LGBT Hotels and Bars

Guess what the most popular destination is? Catalonia, no doubt. If you prefer a calm vacation, go for Sitges. It is a gorgeously ancient seaside village, 30 minutes away from Barcelona. Dolce Sitges is the only five-star, gay-friendly hotel there, however, there are also no worse three-star hotels like Platjador and Capolis, which are also seafront.While in Sitges, visit Parrots Pub. El Horno bar is situated on the Joan Tarrida gay street; always busy and extremely friendly.

Barcelona is a dynamic city: very active, noisy, and host to a wide gay community. Eixample is the heart of the gay scene in Barcelona. Not being LGBT-specific, there is a wide number of gay bars, clubs and hotels. Check out Axel hotels; they are focused upon gay hospitality. With bars, the most popular ones in Barça are considered “Ätame, “Botánic” and “Dietrich” – all situated in Eixample.

It’s not just limited to Barcelona, of course. In Ibiza, Gran Canaria or Andalucía, there are LGBT-friendly hotels and restaurants as well there are in every corner of Spain. It is a country where you will always feel yourself and get the perfect relaxation for both your body and spirit.

LGBT Spain Travel: Exploring the Scene


LGBT Spain Travel: Exploring the Scene photos by Unsplash. 

About Alisa Fazleeva

Alisa Fazleeva is an MA in International Relations obtained from the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom in 2013. At the moment she lives and works in Russia. Alisa speaks Russian, English and Spanish and is an active traveler, her favorite destinations being Great Britain, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Greece, France, Belgium, Germany, USA, South Korea, Fiji islands and a number of Russian cities. Follow her on Twitter at @alisafazleeva.

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