10 Gay Friendly Spanish Destinations – Two Bad Tourists

gay friendly Spanish destinations - Canary Islands - Deposit Photos

10 Places You Should Visit in Spain Beyond Madrid & Barcelona

Spain has so many famous landmarks and there are so many parts of the country that are worth going to. Barcelona and Madrid are undoubtedly at the top of many people’s wish list. Both cities are known for incredible history, warm weather and welcoming and open-minded locals. In fact, the country as a whole is considered one of the most progressive countries in Europe and Spain is well known for being very gay-friendly. But once you’ve checked them off, where to next? Here are some other gay friendly Spanish destinations – the best places you should visit in Spain after seeing its two biggest cities.

The Canary Islands

This might seem to be a very traditional destination for many people and indeed it appears that there are plenty of places that are overrun by tourism in the Canary Islands, but there is an equal number of places untouched by it. The islands of La Gomera and El Hierro in particular are good contenders in this regard. The other islands are also extremely diverse. From Gran Canaria with its old walled capital, beautiful beaches and natural diversity, giving it the nickname of ‘the mini continent’ to the lunar landscapes of Lanzarote and the endless, desert-like sand dunes of Fuerteventura. This group of islands off the coast of Morocco, but which are very much culturally and politically part of Spain, has a lot to offer including a year-round temperate climate. Gran Canaria in particular is a gay haven and Maspalomas is famous for its gay nightlight, clothing optional guest houses and popular drag culture. 

Galicia

Spain is not all arid farmland and olive groves, but also lush, green forests and harsh, pebbly beaches that make you think more of Scotland than Spain. Galicia may be one of the wettest and coldest parts of Spain due to two Atlantic coasts, but the rich verdant landscapes that result are what pull you in to experience more of this region in the extreme north-west of the country.

Valencia

If you’re a city person, Valencia is a great option after Madrid and Barcelona. This Mediterranean city offers quirky and unique architecture, café culture, and a creative spirit. Being right on the Mediterranean coast and having some excellent street art doesn’t hurt either. Valencia is 3rd largest city in Spain so there is quite a decent gay scene including bars, clubs and a gay sauna. Although a bit farther out from the city center, Valencia does have long stretches of beaches which are nice for relaxing during the summer months or strolling the boardwalk during the cooler months. 

Tenerife

Tenerife, one of the Canary Islands, is the largest of the seven as well as the most visited by tourists and therefore deserves its own spot on the list. It’s the most populated of all Spain’s islands as well. One of the things you can look forward to doing is visiting Parque Nacional Las Canadas del Teide. The spectacular views and strange volcanic rock formations are the attractions here. For a beach day, you can head to Playa de las Vistas. This popular beach is kept clean, has plenty of space and soft sand, and there’s no shortage of restaurants and cafes for a tasty treat.

Córdoba

There are many reasons to visit this beautiful city in southern Spain. The gardens at Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos (Palace of the Christian Monarchs), a 14th century castle, are a great place to start especially if you enjoy gardens. There’s also the Light of Cultures, a water, light and sound show within the gardens during the evening. Then there’s the Mezquita, a sort of religious crossbreed between a mosque and a cathedral. It was constructed in 785 AD as mosque, but when the Spanish reconquered Córdoba it became a Christian Cathedral. 

Granada

Granada is one of the first destinations people visit in Andalucia. Though there are palaces and cathedrals that are certainly worth the visit in Granada, you should also experience the different neighborhoods that make up the city. Albayzín is the old Moorish quarter with historic buildings and winding cobblestone paths that create an atmosphere in which you know that just being there is the activity for the day. Views of the Sierra Nevada and Alhambra (a palace) can be enjoyed from the Mirador San Nicolás. Sacromonte is somewhat of a gypsy (gitano) quarter in Granada. The cave homes, flamenco shows, and views of the Sierra Nevada are what make it worth a visit.

Costa Brava

Many parts of Costa Brava have been specifically developed to promote tourism so this is generally a more packaged vacation destination, but that doesn’t mean it should be overlooked. From a rough coastline to sandy beaches, Costa Brava has quite a few options for experiencing its shorelines. The Camí de Ronda is a footpath with marvelous views that connect some of the coves and tourist beaches along the coast. One of the recommended beaches from this path is Platja Sa Conca, a gorgeous and quiet spot. It’s perfect for a daytime stroll or hike and hopefully just the beach you’re looking for. Perhaps you’ll have to just see where the Camí de Ronda takes you. 

La Rioja

You should not miss a vineyard opportunity while in Spain and La Rioja is one of the most popular wine regions in Spain. In addition to touring the vineyards and museums, check out a couple of their annual events, like La Batalla del Vino and La Fiesta de San Mateo. La Batalla del Vino occurs June 29th of every year in the town of Haro. People throw and squirt wine at one another in a tradition that originates from a land dispute with Miranda De Ebro. La Fiesta de San Mateo is a week long harvest festival in Logroño that begins the Saturday before September 21st.

Eastern Andalucia

Most travellers to Andalucia visit Seville, Granada as well as Córdoba and Cádiz on the coast, but never get any further east. It’s worth seeing what gay friendly Spanish destinations this part of Spain’s largest region has to offer, like Jaén or the natural beauty of the Sierra Nevada National Park, which boasts a large variety of unique flora and fauna. Also, because much of the park is at high altitude, it is often covered in snow, giving it a remarkably different appearance to the rest of this region of Spain. Beachside resorts like Fuengirola near Malaga and small costal towns like Almuñécar in Costa Tropical make for great stops on a road trip of Spain’s southern coast.

Toledo

Taking an escalator into a city center may be one of the more unique ways to make an entrance. Located at the top of a steep hill just 70 kilometers south of Madrid, Toledo makes for an easy day trip from the capital. It’s well connected to Madrid via a 45 minute bus ride or a 30 minute train ride. If you enter the historic center from Puerta de Alfonso VI, there’s an escalator that allows the steep walk to be avoided. It was once the capital of Spain until the 16th century when this status was moved to its current city of Madrid. Toledo is a perfect representation of the many religions that have influenced Spanish history over the years of power shifting between cultures. At its height, the city maintained a relatively amicable cohabitation of Catholics, Jews, and Muslims. Though this was short lived when the reconquest of Spain turned on the Jews and Muslims. Today the remaining mosques, synagogues, and cathedrals echo what was once a diverse multi-religious, thriving capital.

Have you been to any of these places? What other gay friendly Spanish destinations would you recommend visiting in Spain? 

Best of Gay Spain – 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 as a same-sex couple 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 country has a special place in our hearts. There is an inherent feeling of safety, acceptance and normality when it comes to being gay here.

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 for some context:

Gay Spain: Rights and Culture

When it comes to LGBTQ rights in Spain, these are all very positive. Same-sex intercourse has been legal here since 1979, unsurprisingly this happened the year after democracy came to this country and they said good riddance to their dictator Franco. It was also the third country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage in 2005 and discrimination protections run nationwide.

Full Story at The Globetrotter Guys

Gay Spain Travel Resources

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.

Full Story at The Globetrotter Guys

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!

Full Story at The Globetrotter Guys

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.

Full Story at The Globetrotter Guys

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.

Full Story at The Globetrotter Guys

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!

Full Story at The Globetrotter Guys

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.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

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.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Barcelona Gay Travel Resources