After passing a marriage equality law in 2005, Spain is becoming a popular destination for gay-friendly tourism. In fact, the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association just held their 2014 convention in Madrid, cementing the country’s stance on progress and equality.
After the regime of Francisco Franco came to an end, right-wing Catholic conservatism took a backseat to an embrace of liberal values that started in Madrid and moved to Barcelona. The heart of the LGBT scene lies in the Eixample District that’s packed with clubs, restaurants and boutique shops. There are plenty of gay-operated establishments in the neighborhood, earning it the nickname “Gay-Xample.”
There are a number of LGBT hotels in the area, most famous of which is the world’s first gay hotel chain, Axel Hotels, the self-titled “hetero-friendly hotel.” Located on the edge of Eixample, the hotel features a rooftop terrace, bar and wellness center. Hotel Cram and the Casanova are also popular places to stay in the gay district, and there is also Hotel California, located in the stylish Gothic Quarter.
If you are looking to soak up some sun, Mar Bella and Nova Mar Bella are popular with the LGBT scene, as they are more secluded and not quite as chaotic as Barceloneta. Once the sun sets, Gay-Xample comes alive with a whole district of gay nightlife. Deitrich, Lust and Ambiente del Sur are popular spots, but if you want to venture out of Eixample, head over to El Cangrejo in El Raval, a famous drag club known for its raucous parties. Metro is a popular men-only club spot that specializes in disco and house music. Ladies might want to head to Aire, sister club to Arena Disco, which is an enormous club venue with a mixed crowd.
You can learn more about LGBT tourism in Barcelona here.
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