Barcelona is one of Europe's most popular gay destinations, not just for its urban attractions, but also for the very gay Sitges beaches nearby. The city has become so gay, that there are now arguably just as many straight-friendly spots as there are those labelled gay-friendly. Gay and straight mingle everywhere, and the city's vibrant culture is shared by everyone.
Most of the gay bars are found in Eixample, which, as a result, is often called Gayxample, but that's also where most of the coolest "straight" bars are found as well. You'll have the choice of designer bars, restaurants, and hotels to be enjoyed before escaping to the shores of Sitges, an old fishing village only 30 minutes away by train. It has become a trendy destination thanks to gay travelers, with the summer months and Carnival making it look like an exclusive gay resort with sophisticated restaurants and hotels. But even throughout the year, gay Barcelonans often end up there for the weekend, with the gay beach in the center often turning into a catwalk for swimwear fashion.
There are literally dozens of gay cafés, restaurants, bars, and clubs in Barcelona and Sitges, but these are the gay destinations that should top your list when you're in town:
Mar Bella Beach, Barcelona - ©UCityGuides.com
One of Barcelona’s main attractions is its coastline with sandy Mediterranean beaches. They start at the port in the city center, and stretch for 4km. Mar Bella is the nude beach and also the most popular with gay men. Barceloneta also attracts a mixed crowd.
Keep in mind that beach season starts in May and lasts until late September or even early October.
This large, sleek bar located in "Gayxample" is a lively place with loud Spanish pop music, and regular live shows.
Facebook Page: Atame-Bar-Musical
Said to be inspired by Gaudi, this small bar has a colorful interior where you’re served reasonably-priced drinks. It often offers free admission or discounts at gay clubs.
A bar where boys will be boys -- drinks at special prices, drooling over go-go dancers, and darkroom fun. Plus some dancing to a variety of beats, from house to reggaeton.
Shirtless bar staff welcome gay men of all ages to this popular bar that’s as much a place for drinking as it is for cruising. Gay films may get you in the mood to step into the dark room and private cabins in the back.
This cocktail bar has an attractive interior with a loungy atmosphere. The terrace is the perfect spot for conversation and people-watching.
This is usually the first bar everyone goes to late in the afternoon or early in the evening. Local gays, lesbians, and tourists chill out by the long bar, and admire the occasional art exhibits.
Facebook Page: PuntoBcn
Good chill-out music is the soundtrack as you sip on equally-good cocktails at this bar in the Axel Hotel. Open to non-hotel guests, it hosts a gay party every week.
Bookings: Axel Barcelona
The name explains the décor of this palatial bar. It’s mostly a place for drinking and socializing but it occasionally hosts special events.
Facebook Page: versailles.amposta
There are different "Arenas" in town, an emblematic club group with different incarnations such as "Arena Classic" and "Arena Madre.” They differ in music styles and ambience, but all guarantee some of Barcelona's best gay parties. Check the website for more information about each venue.
Being so close to a number of gay bars means that this ends up being a top clubbing destination in the city. On weekends there are two dancefloors, with one dedicated to Spanish music and the other to electronic sounds. There are also special dance shows on Saturdays.
The Club Mykonos BCN
Named after the famous gay-friendly Greek island, this is one of the largest gay bars in Barcelona. It includes a small dance floor and tends to attract the over-30 crowd.
Facebook Page: The-Club-Mykonos-Bcn
Popular with young guys, this is one of the most crowded saunas in town, including during the day. In addition to the dry sauna, there’s a 6-man jacuzzi, a dark room and private cabins.
Spread over three floors, this sauna stands out for its giant 12-men jacuzzi, dark room with harness and maze.
Founded in 1980, this is one of Barcelona’s oldest saunas, but offers modern facilities. There’s a pool, jacuzzi, steam room, massage services, and a bar serving drinks and snacks. Tends to attract mature men and bears.
This large sauna has a swimming pool, a 12-men jacuzzi, two steam rooms, a maze and a dark room. It’s open 24 hours.
Axel Gay Hotel
Located in the “Gayxample,” this gay hotel places you in the heart of the city’s gay life, and the friendly staff will point you in the right directions. In addition to well-designed rooms, it has a large swimming pool, a hot tub on the terrace and a cocktail bar. It often hosts parties and art exhibitions.
Two Hotel Barcelona by Axel
The city’s second gay hotel offers a rooftop with a heated pool, large terrace and bar, gym and massage room. Its location in “Gayxample” is perfect for a big gay night out.
Hotel Arts Barcelona
For the 5-star experience, choose this hotel just a few feet from the gay beach. It has two outdoor pools and a luxurious spa, and features a contemporary art collection. Foodies also enjoy the restaurant distinguished with two Michelin stars.
Hostal Mimi Las Ramblas
If you’re on a budget, consider this gay-friendly hostel which is located in the heart of the city, by the famous Ramblas. Bathrooms are shared, and so is a living room where guests can relax.
Look for the hotel or apartment that best matches your budget, type of trip or personality. You may guarantee your reservation but do NOT pay anything at the time of booking. Payments are only made at the property, and there are no booking fees. Most hotels and apartments allow cancellations with no penalty if done up to 24 or 48 hours in advance. You'll see that information at the time of booking and again in the confirmation email:
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Private Gay Night Tour
Get an insider’s look at gay Barcelona through this tour that takes you to the most popular bars. It’s a great introduction to several spots that you may want to return to later.
Gay Bars in Sitges
Beso de Sitges
This cocktail bar often hosts guest DJs, inviting everyone to its dance area. It’s straight-friendly, so expect a mixed crowd.
Facebook Page: BESOdeSitges
Café, bar, and restaurant, this is a gay-friendly spot with outdoor seating for people-watching. It mostly serves light meals and is open throughout the day.
The Parrots group dedicates itself fully to gay attractions in the city, with a pub, a restaurant, and a sauna (see below). Check the website for everything that's going on.
In business for over two decades, this pub-style bar is where gay locals and tourists meet for reasonably-priced drinks to the sound of pop hits.
Gay Parties in Sitges
GBP - Gay Beach Party
Look out for the Gay Beach Party when you're in town. Held once a week, it’s an open-air party with its own private beach. It lasts until much after the sun has risen, making this a memorable experience you can't miss in Sitges.
Saunas in Sitges
In addition to the expected services, this sauna is known for it foam parties during the summer. You'll know when they take place through the flyers found at the beach.
This small sauna opens in the afternoon and attracts locals and tourists. Services include private cabins, jacuzzi, dry sauna, and steam room. It shares the name and the building of a gay hotel, the Parrots Sitges Hotel.
Gay Hotels in Sitges
This gay-owned hotel is found in a quiet residential area but a short walk from the gay beach. All rooms have a balcony or a terrace, and some overlook the garden while others face the ocean.
Set in Mediterranean gardens and buildings, this charming hotel is close to the beach and nightlife. Every room is different, and there’s a nice outdoor pool and hot tub.
This good-value, gay-owned hotel is within walking distance of the beach. It’s housed in a colorful Cuban-style building with a small garden, and some of the rooms have a balcony or terrace.
Parrots Sitges Hotel
This gay hotel is just a few feet from the beach. It offers comfortable rooms (some with a balcony), a terrace and a reduced rate at the Parrots Gym.
Gay Hostels in Sitges
For budget travelers, there’s this centrally-located hostel, close to gay bars and the beach. Some of the brightly-decorated rooms have a balcony, and there’s a terrace where guests can sunbathe.
Look for the Sitges hotel or apartment that best matches your budget, type of trip or personality. You may guarantee your reservation but do NOT pay anything at the time of booking. Payments are only made at the property, and there are no booking fees. Most hotels and apartments allow cancellations with no penalty if done up to 24 or 48 hours in advance. You'll see that information at the time of booking and again in the confirmation email:
Search for Sitges hotels or Sitges apartments