Video: TV report on Circuit Festival Barcelona in 2011 (10 min)
For gay travellers Barcelona has been one of the favourite destinations in Europe for the last twenty years. The city has this perfect combination of a warm Mediterranean climate, beaches within and close to the city, mountains in the hinterland and the culture, nightlife, sights and infrastructure of an European metropolis.
Among the things that make Barcelona unique are the many fine examples of Catalan Art Nouveau architecture (Modernisme Català). Some of them are shown on our Tips and Photos pages. Barcelona is also a good place to enjoy the modern design that had bloomed after the death of dictator Franco.
As Barcelona is the capital of the autonomous region Catalonia you will notice signs of the efforts of Catalonia towards more and more autonomy from Spain. For example, while your older travel book might still use the Spanish (Castilian) street names, they disappear step by step in Barcelona. On this website we use the now common Catalan names.
As you can see on our gay maps, the center of Barcelona's gay scene is in the Eixample district (sometimes called the ›Gayxample‹ neighborhood) with most of the gay bars, clubs, hotels, restaurants and shops in Barcelona.
Annual gay events and highlights are New Year's Eve, the BEARcelona week in April, Barcelona Gay Pride in June, the Circuit Festival party week in August and the international gay & lesbian film festival in October.
For a day at the beach you can go by car or train from Barcelona to the nearby town of Sitges which is quite popular with gay men, especially in August.
But there are also some beaches within Barcelona: Platja de Sant Sebastià at the end of the Barceloneta quarter with a popular, mixed and clothing-optional beach at its right side and a bit further north Platja de la Mar Bella with a clothing-optional section that is also quite popular with gays.
Barcelona is Europe's capital of pickpockets. Some of them have specialized in gay tourists on the streets of the Eixample quarter and in the gay clubs in Barcelona. A healthy dose of caution can save you a lot of hassle. For instance, it should never be visible to others where you put your wallet or money. Studying maps in public identifies you as a tourist and can draw the attention of thieves.
The trick of many thieves is to distract their victim by some kind of body contact with one hand (slapping shoulders, shaking hands or arms, crotch grabbing etc.) while checking the pockets with the other hand. If a pure stranger touches you in any way, you can be pretty sure he is a thief. People in Barcelona are usually not that flirty that they would start physical contact on a street right away.