If you go to a city like Barcelona and don’t overdo it with shopping, did you even really go on holiday? We sometimes bring an extra suitcase with us just so we can fill it up with all the new clothes, art pieces and *cough* toys we find along the way!
The Barcelona gay shopping scene is fantastic for gay shops, with loads of different options. Whether you want to buy new speedos, harnesses, a few tank tops, or just something for a quick jerk-off(!), there’s always plenty to discover.
Sure, sex shops can seem quite intimidating from the outside, but hey, we’re all human. We all have desires, and these places are committed to helping you fulfil them. So shop til you drop using our guide to the best gay shops in Barcelona.
Gaixample, Heart of the Barcelona Gay Shopping Scene
The gay village of Barcelona is located in the large residential Eixample neighbourhood, bordered by the following streets: Carrer de Balmes, Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, Carrer del Comte d’Urgell and Carrer d’Aragó. This section of Eixample is nicknamed, “Gaixample” (pronounced “gai-sham-ple”). Read more about the gay scene in our comprehensive gay guide to Barcelona.
To get our bearings, we always look for the main Axel Hotel which is right in the heart of Gaixample, then work things out from there. Most of the shops in this guide are located in and around Gaixample. You could also orientate yourself on one of these gay tours of Barcelona!
Barcelona is a cosmopolitan and exciting city, with a vibrant gay scene. We love coming here to party, celebrate Barcelona Pride, relax and stuff our faces! With such a great mix of people and culture, it makes sense that Barcelona also has a thriving foodie scene.
The unique blend of Spanish, Catalan and Meditteranean cuisine, along with Barcelona’s seaside location, make this a wonderful spot for a gastronomic holiday. You will get to try the freshest seafood, the most delicious tapas and many other types of food from all over the world.
The main gay area of Barcelona can be found in Eixample (often nicknamed ‘Gaixample’), with many fabulous gay hangouts to check out. A word of warning, most restaurants in Barcelona are closed on Sunday, but we’ve included the best ones that still serve food on the day of the Lord (a day when we’re usually nursing a heavy hangover and craving a bit fat greasy burger…!)
During our visits to Barcelona, we’ve managed to experience lots of excellent gay owned restaurants, as well as those with a mostly gay clientele, which serve up the most delicious dishes. These are our favourite gay or gay friendly restaurants which we tried and loved in Barcelona.
Restaurante D’Divine has been going strong for around 13 years and is the best place to come to watch a drag show with your meal. Whilst the menu is a bit limited, the cocktails are delicious and the shows, hilarious!
Barcelona is one of the most open and diverse cities we’ve ever been to. Not only is it tolerant towards gay travellers, they practically roll out the red carpet for us! With a booming gay village, loads of excellent hangouts and fantastic festivals, Gay Barcelona is a pumping city begging to be consumed.
We’ve begun to consider the city as a second home – its frivolous nightlife scene, the large LGBTQ community and stunning weather make it impossible to stay away for too long. Here is our detailed guide to Barcelona for gay travellers following our many visits to this fabulous Spanish coastal paradise.
How friendly is gay Barcelona?
In short – very gay friendly!
In our opinion, we think Barcelona is one of the most gay friendly cities in Europe and in the world. Historically, it is the birthplace of the LGBTQ Pride movement of Spain, where activists in the 1970s took to the streets to demand their rights. This ignited a pink wave throughout the rest of the nation and began to increase visibility for the Spanish LGBTQ community. Today, Barcelona continues to be a pioneer across the world for gay rights – a textbook example for other places to follow on its treatment towards queer travellers and citizens. This is one of many reasons why we rate it as one of our top gay destinations in Europe.
With an exquisite gay scene, filled with clubs, bars, eateries, hotels, and bathhouses, the city is a thriving mecca for LGBTQ culture. On every corner, there is some nod to queer identity. Whether this is a statue honouring one of the country’s most beloved queer writers or a rainbow flag flying outside a bakery, Barcelona is a city which appreciates its gay community.
Medellin is Colombia’s second city. What used to be the capital of a billion-dollar cocaine industry has now transformed into an exciting, super modern and buzzing gay friendly metropolis.
The Paisas (the nickname of people from Medellin) often compete with the Rolos (the nickname given to the people from Bogota) as to who is better. A common joke is that Medellin has the best weather (the “City of Eternal Spring”) and unlike Bogota, has managed to build a successful public transport system – honestly, mention that to them and it will spark a whoooole long conversation about it!
In terms of the gay scene, however, Bogota wins for us hands down simply because of the incredible super club, Theatron! The gay scene of Medellin is just as vibrant to explore, of course, particularly around El Poblado, where the majority of the city’s best nightlife can be found.
We spent almost a year living in Medellin and during that period we were fortunate enough to try out various different places to stay. We’ve put together our 6 best gay friendly hotels in Medellin for gay travellers, where you can feel confident you’ll be welcomed as a queer traveller and won’t have any problems getting a double bed.
Where to base yourself in Medellin
The majority of the best gay bars and clubs of Medellin can be found in and around El Poblado. This was definitely one of our favourite parts of Medellin as you’re close to the main gay bars as well as to the city’s best restaurants. The majority of the best luxury hotel brands are in Poblado, but the downside is that it is not cheap: this is one of the most expensive parts of the city!
“Funny Boy” is a Sri Lankan book by Shyam Selvadurai, which we recommend every LGBTQ traveller visiting Sri Lanka reads. It tells the story of a young Tamil gay boy called Arjy, growing up in 1980s Sri Lanka during the civil war era, struggling to come to grips with his homosexuality in a very religious and traditional family and society.
Fast forward 30 years when we visited Sri Lanka, at a time when the country is thriving; the Civil War long ended and tourism flourishing more than ever, we wondered if much has changed for the country’s LGBTQ community. Be sure to check out our comprehensive gay Sri Lanka travel guide for our perspective as foreigners visiting. But what’s it like for local gay guys?
We met a Sinhalese author in Colombo who has published various books and poetry, some with an LGBTQ theme. He has asked to remain anonymous in this interview for fear of reprisal from family and his work, so we will instead refer to him by his nickname, “Kaluu”:
Hi Kaluu, please introduce yourself:
Good afternoon Stefan and Seby. I am Sri Lankan born, 39 years old, living in Colombo. I’m also a son, a friend, a gay, a Buddhist, a writer, and a poet. Above all, I am a human!
My friends call me “Kaluu”. It means “black” in Sinhalese and has become my nickname because I have darker skin compared to the average Sri Lankan.
“Stefan your crotch is completely showing under your kilt – be careful!”
Oh crap! Well, you try squatting down trying to position the tripod camera correctly, clad in a Scottish kilt worn “authentically”…!
The Scottish Highlands are the stereotypical image of Scotland you imagine, with rolling hills, mountains towering over large glittering lochs and lots of thick lush green woodland. This is the place where the Scottish kilt originated from, haggis is a local speciality and, of course, a famous monster is rumoured to reside down in the deep dark waters of Loch Ness.
We did a road trip to Inverness and the Scottish Highlands surrounding the city. It’s utter bliss. Whether it’s the (sexy!) heavy thick Scottish accent or the lush rolling hills of the Highlands, we guarantee you’ll love gay Inverness as much as we did.
Where exactly are the Scottish Highlands?
The main regions of Scotland are usually referred to as the Highlands and the lowlands. The exact boundaries between the two are not clearly defined, but generally, if you’re heading north of Edinburgh and Glasgow or west from Aberdeen, then you’re going to the Highlands. This is also a very scenic part of Scotland, with lots of tall mountains, deep glens, waterfalls and beautiful forests.
Inverness is the main big city in the Highlands, generally considered to be the capital of the region. It’s also a major transport hub with the main international airport for the area, receiving flights from within the UK as well as from other parts of Europe. There are bus and rail connections to other parts of Scotland too, so it’s a great spot to base yourself for further exploration.
From the industrial warehouses in Berlin to the babbling of water stroking the canals of Amsterdam, European gay life spans across the entire spectrum. And we can’t get enough.
We’ve been around the European block quite a few times, and can safely say, it boasts some of the most progressive places in the world. Yet, each gay scene manages to be different from the others. Some are smaller, some are wilder and some have become so intertwined within city life, that the straight community is left feeling like they’re intruding into our special world!
For this list of the top 10 gayest European cities, we look at the gay scene, what gay life is like, what’s it like to live there for a member of the LGBTQ community and from our own first-hand experience travelling there as a gay couple. For more inspiration, be sure to check out our more comprehensive guide to the gayest cities in the world and our top gay destinations in Europe.
It’s a big, queer world we live in, and the LGBTQ+ community, like most ski enthusiasts, wants to ski in places where they feel safe and comfortable. If you are eyeing USA as the destination for your next ski trip, then the list of LGBTQ-friendly resorts you could explore is endless.
To make your work easier, we have compiled the best ski resorts in US for gay snow hobbyists.
These spots offer a great deal of winter activities, vibrant après ski, flavorful cuisine, and cozy accommodation for you and your partner. So, pack your ski boots, call in sick, and explore as many as you can!
Gore Mountain, New York
New York is something of a LGBT mecca, which makes it an excellent destination for couples looking for tickling gay experiences. It also happens to host Gore Mountain, one of the spots that offer the best skiing in the US.
With a vertical drop of 2430 feet, the resort spans four mountains – the Gore, Little Gore Mountain, Burnt Ridge Mountain, and Bear Mountain.
There are over 120 trails, which include 108 alpine trails, 7 freestyle areas, and 10 snowshoe and cross-country trails. 14 lifts transport guests to the winter sports area located between an elevation of 302 and 1095 meters.
If you an expert, there are about 20 gladed trails you can ski on. In the East of Gore hides The Rumor, the steepest trail in the resort. Its craggy double black diamond runs, in particular, will give you the adrenaline rush you seek.
Intermediates can explore the magnificent, long blue trails in the Northwoods area. There are limited options for beginners but they too can find something to do at Pete Gay (the North Side).
When not skiing, take a walk to the North Creek village. This place has a rich history as a ski and snowboarding town, an abundance of eateries, and lively nightlife.
The Catamount Ski Area lies southeast of Albany, on the Massachusetts and New York boarder. Both Massachusetts and New York are known for their acceptance of the gay community, which is why Catamount should a safe destination for LGBTQ couples.
The ski area boasts a vertical drop of 1100 feet and 120 acres of skiable terrain. There are 35 runs for both beginner and intermediate skiers, serviced by 7 sophisticated lifts. For expert skiers, there is a separate terrain park with 3 km of ski slope, offering a mix of rails, jibs, jumps, and bumps.
Though family owned, Catamount ski area is one of the largest in the Taconic/Berkshire Mountains. It is has less crowds, hence, it provides the best skiing in the US for couples looking to have a quiet, romantic getaway.
There are fine dining and lodging areas and fun activities to indulge in. In the evening, grab a beer at the Tavern or a cup of coffee at the Café Line.
Blue Mountain, Pennsylvania
In the northern section of Lehigh Valley sits Blue Mountain Resort, a spot that provides an exhilarating skiing and snowboarding experience for snow fans in Pennsylvania. PA hosts plenty of Pride events and that means there is a thriving queer community in the region. That said, a place like Blue Mountain Resort should be on top of the list of any LGBTQ traveller planning a ski trip to the US.
Located 89 miles from Philly, Blue Mountain ski area offers 40 groomed trails, perfect for skiers and snowboarders of all experience levels. There are 14 lifts to service the area, with a capacity of about 13500 skiers/riders per hour. The resort also houses 5 terrain parks and 35 snow-tubing lanes.
But winter sports are not the only activities you will enjoy here. Blue Mountain hosts a number of summer events and activities too including mountain biking, archery, disc golf, scenic lift rides, and more. Equipment rental is available ranging from ski helmets and all mountain skis to mountain bikes and hiking poles.
After a long day on the slopes, relax at Slopeside Pub & Grill or in one of the hotels or vacation homes available in the area.
Mad River Mountain, Ohio
Ohio may not be the largest state in the US, but this deficiency in size is truly compensated in pride. Ohio’s community centers, restaurants, and bars host gay events like Pride festivals, fundraisers and dance competitions throughout the year. So if you are looking for the best ski resorts in US where you can show off your sexual orientation without being judged, those in Ohio should be in your bucket list.
Mad River Mountain, in particular, would be a great place to start. Located in Valley Hi, the ski area has an elevation of 1455 feet and offers 23 remarkable trails for skiers of different ability levels, 3 terrain parks, and an avalanche tubing park. There are 12 lifts comprising of 1 fixed quad lift, 6 chair lifts, and 5 surface lifts.
Enjoy some après ski at The Loft and flavorful meals at The Eatery or relax in one of the many hotels, holiday apartments, or guesthouses and order out.
We can’t wrap up without mentioning Telluride, another great destination for rainbow couples. The fact that this spot sits in Colorado, one of the states with a vibrant gay community says it all – it is a safe haven for queer individuals.
Telluride ranks among the top ski areas in North America, with a base elevation of 8750 feet. Located in the magnificent San Juan Mountains, Telluride offers something for everyone – exciting steeps, cliffs, moguls, glades, chutes – name it and you will get it!
Though the mountains are quite steep, the ski resort has done a pretty good job in maintaining groomed, wide trails even at the highest points so that beginners and intermediates can also enjoy the picturesque views.
Expert skiers looking for something more exhilarating can head over to the Spiral Stairs or Plunge trails and enjoy the thrilling vertical drops.
There are plenty of slopeside hotels, townhomes, condos, and private vacation homes in the Mountain Village to lodge, and numerous options for fine dining. To enjoy some nightlife scene, head to Downtown Telluride.
Note: This post was provided to Purple Roofs by Globo Surf, but is not a paid post.
Oh, Asia. A vibrant, diverse, and energetic place to travel. But is Asia a gay-friendly travel destination? It’s one of the most commonly asked questions we receive, and one we are super happy to finally be addressing. In this LGBT Travel Guide, we will delve into the LGBT rights in Asia, as well as how to prepare as an LGBT traveller.
After spending 18 months travelling throughout this colourful continent, we can tell you that it hasn’t always been fun and rainbows. Coming from the UK where, for the most part, we can be completely open about our sexuality; it was peculiar to suddenly visit countries where homosexuality was a taboo; or worse, against the law.
Many ask us how we deal with this. Why would we want to travel to these countries if we can’t be ourselves? We look at it this way. ALL cultures have beliefs and traditions. Do we agree with all of them? Of course not. That doesn’t mean that we boycott those countries completely. At the end of the day, we travel to open our minds, and appreciating that there are other ways of life is the first step.
With this in mind, we have now spent almost two consecutive years in Asia. In that time, we have visited gay-friendly cities; travelled off the beaten path; and spent time in countries where homosexuality is criminalised. Guess what? We had a great time in all of them.