I have just returned from a hella awesome and hella gay trip with the #mygaypride crew in Barcelona. The largest city in Catalonia and the second largest city in Spain has huge amounts to offer for every gay traveller, but it is always good to have a heads up about the best gay happenings in any place before you visit. If you’re a gay boy headed to this beautiful city, here are eleven things that will help you have a gay ol’ time.


1. Get to know the gay zone. The gay neighbourhood (gaybourhood) is called Eixample, but obvo, The Gays have renamed it Gaixample. The neighbourhood is very central and staying here would mean that you’re in walking distance to all of the gay bars, clubs, and saunas, but also to all of the main attractions of the city, such as the main pedestrian street, Rambla, and popular museums like the Picasso Museum. The best Metros for the Gaixample area are Universitat and Urgell.


2. Stay at TOC Hostel & Suites. If you do decide to stay in Gaixample and you are a backpacker or a flashpacker, I highly recommend a stay at TOC Hostel & Suites. Both the dorms and private rooms are well designed and well priced to match. They lay on a killer breakfast in the morning. It has a pool, a terrace, and just a really cool, young vibe without being a party hostel. My Grindr was also poppin’ like crazy inside the building. Pop pop.

3. Head to Arena for a night out. As I was in Barcelona with the #mygaypride gang for Pride, there were no shortage of festivites and parties. But the club that everybody seemed to go to was Arena. Actually, I should say clubs. There are four variants of Arena. One that plays pop, one that has dance music, one with an 80s vibe, and another one for luck. So there is a club for everyone, and there is a mixed clientele of gays that made me really like these places. If you’re a twink, a Gaysian, a lesbian, or any other variety of homo, you won’t look or feel out of place.

4. Apple store cruising? If you think that cruising is a thing of the past, or something only for the older gay, Barcelona might surprise you. In fact, the Apple store in the city is a cruising ground for young twinks who hook up in the toilets. If you can’t resist a babyface and want to upgrade your iPad at the same time, ker-ching. And FYI, it is at #1 Passeig de Gracia.

5. Yet more cruisiness. And the cruisiness doesn’t end there. Opposite Universitat Metro station there is the University of Barcelona, and the toilets inside (on all floors!) are said to be very cruisy indeed. You don’t need any kind of pass to enter the building, but you might leave as a Professor of Toilet Love.

6. Saunas are plentiful. There are around six gay saunas in Barcelona, and most of them are located in the Gaixample area as well. I was reliably informed that the most popular of the bunch is Sauna Casanova. But if you are into Daddies, you should head to Sauna BRUC, and if you like to play a bit harder, Sauna Condal is your port of call. They tend to cost from €8 to €18 to enter depending on the day you visit and your age.

7. Be affectionate. Barcelona is a very gay friendly place. They’ve had gay marriage for aeons, and a law has just been passed that means somebody who perpetrates a homophobic hate crime has to prove they didn’t do so to get off the hook. In most other places, it is the other way around, i.e. the victim has to prove that the perpetrator was homophobic. This gay friendly culture means that you can hold hands and have a smooch on the street and nobody will bat a false eyelash.

8. Gay parties and festivals. Barcelona is a gaymazing destination for homo travellers the whole year round, but there are certain times of the year when it seriously outdoes itself. There are the Barcelona Pride celebrations at the end of June, and there is Circuit Festival in August. Speaking from my experience of visiting Barcelona Pride, it’s well worth a visit. Thousands of people turn up for the parade, we partied until the early hours at an outdoor foam party, and all the clubs are full of gay folks out for a good time.

9. Tour with Rainbow Barcelona. There is nothing better than exploring a city through the eyes of a gay local, and fortunately, there is an incredible gay tour company in the city – Rainbow Barcelona. Eloi and Albert will show you around the gay scene, take you on a trip to nearby Sitges, and even take you on a tapas tour if the club thing isn’t up your alley. And if you are travelling by yourself like I mostly do, this is a great way of avoiding the awkardness of hanging around a bar alone because you will be hanging out with Eloi and Albert (who are super friendly), as well as the other people on the tour.

10. Party late, party hard. Barcelona has a late party culture that is very different to the nightlife culture that I am used to as a Londoner. If you head to a gay bar at 7pm (like I would do in London, and it would be heaving with people), it will be empty. People start meeting at midnight and party until the sun comes up. If you struggle with those kinds of hours like me, make sure that you allocate some time for power napping in the early evening so that you don’t miss out on all the fun. And while there will be some parties during the week, you will also find that the bars and clubs are far livelier on Friday and Saturday nights.

11. Axel Hotel is everything. If you want a more luxurious stay, Axel Hotel is the place for you. It is a gay, hetero-friendly establishment in the gay district, and the best thing about it is its rooftop terrace bar, which is open to the public. The perfect spot to enjoy a cocktail with cute guys while looking out on to the Barcelona streets. If you book a stay there, be sure to use the Please Do Disturb sign on your door for some homo-bumpin’ action with, well, complete strangers.

Image source

Now that you’re armed with a tankful of GAY, you can enjoy Barcelona to the max.

Big shout out to the #mygaypride organisers, Two Bad Tourists, to Rainbow Barcelona for showing me the very best of Gay Barcelona, to TOC Hostel & Suites for an awesome stay, and to Barcelona Tourism. 

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