Its said that during the years of the repressive Franco regime, the attitude towards homosexuality in Barcelona was generally more accepting than in other major Spanish citiesperhaps demonstrating, even back then, the independent spirit and character for which the autonomous region of Catalonia is famous. No wonder an estimated 150,000 gay travelers from all over the world flock to this Mediterranean port each year.
Today Barcelona gay life revolves around the LEixample district, also known as Gaixample thanks to the growing number of queer folks whove settled there over the past three decades. The gayborhood is bordered by Carrer de Balmes and Gran Via de los Cortes Catalanes, and much of its gay-friendly shopping, dining and nightlife lies along Carrer de Diputaci. LExample also counts as one of the citys most bustling commercial and touristic zones. Attractions like Gauds Casa Mil and the trendy shopping promenade Passeig de Gracia draw heavy daytime foot traffic, making it a prime area for beautiful people watching. And with so many restaurants, bars and nightclubs to choose from, LEixamples remains abuzz with activity through the evening and well into morning.
Boyberry – Definitely not a Pinkberry
Laid back sex club where you can chill, have a drink and wander the many play areas.
Sauna Condal – Gay sauna
Sauna Condal is a gay sauna with one of the largest jacuzzis in Barcelona, with room for over 12 people. Dry sauna, Showers, Video room, TV room, Cruising area Labyrinth, Cabins and large Dark room.
Thermas – Everything you want
Thermas offers all the amenities of a quality European bathhouse–pool, gym, spa, hot tub, and like-minded men of course.
Sauna Casanova – More than just another sauna
6 person jacuzzis, wet and dry saunas, open showers and private cabanas, make this more than just another sauna. This place doesn’t close which means it’s never too early or too late for some jacuzzi time.
Spain’s road to recovery from nearly four decades under fascist dictatorship has resulted in more than a swing to the political left. Perhaps most noticeable is the growing celebration of its huge lesbian and gay community. This is particularly true of capital city of Madrid, where Spanish queers have not only come out of the closet, they ripped off its doors in the process.
In 2004, gay madrileños led the charge for a victorious campaign to lift a ban on same-sex marriage, making Spain the third European nation to do so. Ever since, Madrid’s annual June gay pride has become a vast international celebration of gay freedom, drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the globe and making the city a prime, international destination.
While Madrid offers an endless selection of good-time spots in many of its neighborhoods such as La Latina, Lavapies and La Puerta del Sol, its gay life centers around its famed queer ghetto, Chueca. Once a haven for the sex and drug trades, Chueca today shines as a glittery hub for trendy shops, restaurants and nightlife, a tribute to the rescue efforts of the city’s growing and increasingly affluent gays & lesbians.
From bear bars to drag shows, multi-level discos and girl clubs, Chueca is a veritable queer smorgasbord. The vibe here is loud and boisterous at night when the droves of bar hopping Spaniards pour onto the cobblestone streets. While it’s safe to say that in this pocket of Madrid the gays reign supreme, Chueca welcomes everyone and offers a slew of non-gay locales that are just as lively and varied (and mixed) as the gay ones.
Principle Sauna – Sauna for older men and their admirers
Principe Sauna offers guests a steam room, movie room, a bar and a maze with lots of cabins. The typical clientele here are older gents and there’s lots of group activity.
Sauna Adan – Well established sauna with latin flavor
Cruise around at Sauna Adan or invite one of the many South American rent boys to keep you company. Lots of space for meeting and greeting local clientele.
Sauna Men – Mixed crowd of locals and visitors
This popular gay sauna is located in the middle of Chueca and draws a mixed crowd of locals and visitors, younger and more seasoned.
Sauna Octopus – Scope out the jacuzzi from the bar above
This Malasaña sauna is popular among the younger crowd and offers a bird’s eye view of the jacuzzi from the bar. Large swimming pool for lounging or to engage in other aquatic activities.
Sauna Paraiso – One of the oldest gay saunas in Madrid
Although one of the oldest saunas, it’s still a popular choice. There’s an underground pool, and a large space with two hot tubs and a sauna and steam room. This sauna’s complete with a small bar with drinks and a television, and a dungeon room with a sling in case you get bored with the TV.
Sauna Puerto de Toledo – Sauna time after work
Clean, but small gay sauna without bar. Clientele is mainly 40+, and mainly come for some cruising after work.
If we missed anything be sure to bring it up in the comments section below. As well as recommendations for the next city we dive deep into.