Gay Spain – The Best Things to See and Do – The Globetrotter Guys

Gay Spain - The Globetrotter Guys

As a gay couple, Spain is our number one country in the world to travel to. We have visited and lived in Gay Spain and the level of comfort has consistently been incredible. We have never felt discriminated against, never felt uncomfortable and never had to second guess ourselves no matter where we have travelled to – for us, this is a priceless feeling.

In 2018 we lived in Madrid, Barcelona was one of our very first holidays together 10 years ago, Sitges is one of the best prides we have been to and we have been to Gran Canaria more than 7 times – this place has a special place in our hearts. There is an inherent feeling of safety, acceptance and normality when it comes to being yourself in this friendly country.

In our ‘Best of Gay Spain Guide’ we want to celebrate all the amazing destinations we have travelled to and share our best recommendations with you. First, let’s take a quick look at gay rights in Spain for some context:

Gay Spain: Rights and Culture

When it comes to gay rights, these are all very positive. Same-sex intercourse has been legal since 1979, unsurprisingly this happened the year after democracy came to Spain and they said good riddance to their dictator Franco.

Spain was also the third country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage in 2005 and discrimination protections run nationwide. The laws here are also reflected in the culture of the people. In most destinations we felt that no one even noticed we were a gay couple – it was simply by the by.

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Gay Spain Travel Resources

Gay Friendly Madrid Hotels – The Globetrotter Guys

Axel Hotel Madrid - The Globetrotter Guys

Madrid is well known for being a beautiful and open city and you will easily find gay friendly Madrid hotels. It’s a bit odd to need to talk about being gay friendly in Madrid and we would use the term quite loosely here.

The city is so open and such a safe haven for gay travellers that we can say with confidence that pretty much all hotels will welcome all types of traveller without batting an eyelid.

It feels like asking the question ‘is your hotel gay friendly‘ is a bit redundant in Madrid and you would probably get some quizzical looks for asking – it feels ingrained in the culture here.

However, there are always hotels that are naturally more popular with the gay community, whether because of their brand or by their proximity to the gay area of Madrid.

We have focused on hotels that are in close proximity to the city centre and Chueca (the gay district). Here is our shortlist of gay friendly and gay hotels in Madrid to book for your next trip:

Axel Hotel Madrid – Adults Only

If you are looking for a hotel that falls in the category of ‘gay hotel’ then look no further. Having stayed at Axel Hotels in Berlin and Gran Canaria this would be our first choice, especially since it is specifically aimed at gay travellers and brands itself as ‘hetero-friendly’. The rooms are stylishly decorated, insta-worthy and come with the very cheeky ‘do disturb’ signs if you want to hang them on your doors!

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Madrid Gay Travel Resources

Gay Madrid – The Globetrotter Guys

Gay madrid - Checa - The Globetrotter Guys

The main gay area in Madrid is called Chueca and is named after Federico Chueca who could be considered Madrid’s first gay icon.

The area spans about 1km north of Gran Via (one of the main streets) and east to west between Calle Hortaleza and Paseo de Recoletos. The main bulk of gay bars in Chueca are found within ten minutes walking distance of Plaza De Chueca – where the metro station is found.

Chueca is walkable from the ‘city centre’ (Plaza Del Sol) or just a couple of metro stops. It is obvious you have arrived in the gay area given that the walls of the metro station in Chueca are painted floor to ceiling in rainbows!

Related: Madrid Gay Bars

What will you find in Chueca?

Being the main gay area in Madrid, Chueca is home to the majority of the gay bars and clubs(20+), many gay oriented shops, coffee shops, cafes, restaurants, gay saunas and cruising clubs. There is plenty to do to keep you busy!

It is also where you will find one of the many main stages and performance areas during Madrid Pride as Chueca becomes the focal point of the city and a vibrant hub of activity during this time.

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Madrid Gay Travel Resources

Madrid Gay Shopping – The Globetrotter Guys

Addicted & ES Madrid

When it comes to gay shops in Madrid, the majority are focused on clothing and apparel showcasing some of the best gay clothing brands around such as Addicted and ES Collection.

Madrid’s gay scene is unapologetically sexualised, so it’s no surprise that these shops reflect that scene. The list gay shops in Madrid below focuses on shops found in the gay area of Madrid, Chueca. This is also where you will find the majority of the gay bars and clubs in Madrid.

It is definitely worth checking out these gay shops and picking up some new gear when visiting Madrid, we don’t have many of these shops on offer at home in the UK!

Gay Shops in Madrid

One of our favourite brands for swimwear, Addicted and ES Collection are both high quality Spanish brands. The shops sells everything from underwear, to swimwear, t-shirts, vests/tanks, shorts, jeans, sports gear and Addicted now also has a fetish collection.

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Madrid Gay Travel Resources

Gay Sitges – The Globetrotter Guys

Gay Sitges - The Globetrotter Guys

When it comes to gay travel, Spain is one of the best and most exciting destinations you can visit.

We have experienced many of Spain’s popular gay destinations such as Barcelona , Madrid , Torremolinos and Gran Canaria, but we have to say, Sitges is our favourite gay hotspot in Spain!

Sitges is well-known for its Mediterranean beaches, pretty narrow streets, stunning marina and especially for its gay scene. The gay scene is so prominent here in Sitges, it takes centre stage in the main part of town. In fact, if you Google ‘Sitges’, it specifically mentions that it is filled with gay bars. This is not just a town or city with a gay scene; in our opinion it is a gay town!

What a lot of people do not realise is that they can easily visit from Barcelona (which is very popular). Sitges is just 30 minutes southwest from Barcelona by train – see below for instructions.

Let’s take a look at all that gay Sitges has to offer in our ‘Sitges Gay Guide’ and find out why we can’t wait to return!

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Catalunya Gay Travel Resources

 

A Day in Salamanca – Keep Calm and Wander

Salamanca Spain - Keep Calm and Wander

One day in Salamanca may not be enough to explore this medieval town. Up to this day, the community is still known as a university town. The town’s premier university – University of Salamanca – is Spain’s oldest university and the world’s 3rd oldest that’s still operating until today.

Salamanca is definitely one of the most beautiful places I’ve been to in Spain. Because of its place in the historical culture and art of Spain, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988.

This city is loaded with attractions and seeing all of them in a day can be too overwhelming, but the following popular attractions can be visited in a day.

The Old and the New Cathedral are built side by side, one in the 4th and the other one in the 15th century, respectively. The former shows a Romanesque architecture and the latter has touches of Renaissance, but they collectively make a spectacle to be amazed at.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Spain Gay Travel Resources

The Monasterio San Juan de los Reyes in Toledo – Keep Calm and Wander

Monasterio San Juan de los Reyes

If you’re visiting in summer, Monasterio San Juan de los Reyes is a heavenly refuge in Toledo from the searing heat outside. After walking for a long time, I finally found this monastery in the middle of a neighbourhood that used to be predominantly Jewish.

And as soon as I entered the premises, I felt better.

Monasterio San Juan de los Reyes (Monastery of Saint John of the Monarchs) was built by the monarchs, Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand II. They built it to honour the birth of their son, Prince John and to celebrate their triumphant success of the Battle of Toro.

Perhaps, to show dominance over the Jewish, the monarchs intended to build the monastery here. In fact, few steps from here, you’ll find the Sinagoga del Transito – which you must visit, too.

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Castille La Mancia Gay Travel Resources

Barcelona’s Palau Guell Mansion – Keep Calm and Wander

Barcelona's Palau Guell Mansion - Keep Calm and Wander

The Palau Guell in Barcelona may look ordinary outside but wait until you step on inside. It’s splendid! Truly magnifique!

Barcelona is love not because of its 24/7 party scenes, but also because it has some of the most architecturally and artistically revered ancient buildings such as the Paul Guell Mansion.

I was in the city only for a few days and boy, there’s so much art around. And there’s no doubt that Gaudi rules above all other artists. In fact, Barcelona is also called “The City of Gaudi.” That’s how famous he is Catalan. His works are visible everywhere. Art was merely an excuse, I wanted to see Palau Guell – I wanted to see how how the wealthy aristocrats of the past resided in their designer mansions and how those very designers managed to create the residence of their dreams.

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Barcelona Gay Travel Resources

A Day in Toledo, Spain – Keep Calm and Wander

Toledo - Keep Calm and Wander

Just like the rest of the cities of Spain, Toledo also presents a conundrum of Roman, Jewish, Christian, and Muslim architecture, which actually tells the stories of the confluence of these cultures resulting from the respective conquests. The entire day I spent in the city had me gawking at the magnificence of the ancient structures standing tall in the myriads of small buildings along cobblestoned alleys.

Here’s where I managed to take my art-thirsty self.

1. The Alcazar

Alcazar means a fortress. Like other Alcazars in nearly every city of the country, this one, too, speaks (rather cry) of its mixed history. This is the highest point of the city; and therefore, it provides a view that simply stays in the eyes forever.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Castille La Mancia Gay Travel Resources

A Day in Segovia – Keep Calm and Wander

Segovia - Keep Calm and Wander

Spain has served as the crux of the Muslim-Christian-Roman skirmishes in the past. It is because of these that nearly every city in the country has Gothic Cathedrals perched on some hill, Romanesque churches built on the remains of a former building, and the usual medieval architecture that dots around the city in the form of numerous buildings.

Segovia is no exception.

How to get there: Take an early train (8:00 AM) from Madrid and you”ll arrive 28 minutes later. It would cost you 16 euros. Once you arrive at Segovia Station, take a bus and ask the driver to drop you off at the intersection that goes to the Aqueduct.

Here are some of the things to do and see when you’re in Segovia.

1. Stand and admire the giant Segovia Aqueduct

Built in approximately 50 AD, the Segovia Aqueduct was a delight to watch. Its arches still stand tall and what intrigued me was the way the whole Roman structure still stands without any cement to hold the granite blocks. It’s really incredible!

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Castile and León Gay Travel Resources