Ready for a gay Barcelona tour?
Here’s the interview of Javier, a local from the city.
Hello Javi, can you tell us a bit about you?
I am a Cuban guy living in Barcelona since 1998, almost 19 years already. Time goes by so quickly….
I came to study Chemistry, and I decided to stay because I fell in love with this City at first sight. I use to work as a salesman in the chemical industry, but in my free time, I love to work as a tourist guide.
Mostly during weekends. Actually, it is not a work, is my real passion, Art History, and History in general. The guilty was Rome. Before Barcelona, I lived there, and my life changed forever.
Why do you love Barcelona that much?
Barcelona is perfect for me, and I think for many people as well. This city is in the right equilibrium between the “hot latin and vibrant Spain” and the chill and developed North Europe.
Barcelona has the best of both sides, lovely 300 sunny days per year, is beside the sea, close to the mountains, excellent food, more than 2000 years of History and sexy, handsome men everywhere… 😉
My 4 favorite places
Basílica Santa Maria del Mar
The Magic Fountain in Montjuic
My home 😉
My favorite restaurants
Arros I Peix. This a nice restaurant settled as a market where you can buy the fish and the seafood like in a typical market, then they prepare it at the moment. Different kinds of Mediterranean rice are indeed worthy. Say you are a friend of mine ha ha ha.
La Flauta. For me, this is the best place in town to taste authentic TAPAS. Not only frequented by tourists but locals too.
El Nacional. Lovely and posh multi gastronomic space in Passeig de Gracia. “It’s a must” now in Barcelona.
Which are the main spots you like to show to gay travelers in Barcelona?
In my opinion, if you want to know about this fantastic city, you need 3-4 days minimum. I love to show the town chronologically, and I would say the main spots are:
First of all, the Gothic Quarter to understand the Roman origins and the medieval times
Then, Eixample District to enjoy the Art Nouveau buildings and to fell in love with Gaudí
Barcelona of the Olympic Games, beaches, and Montjuic Park
The cultural offer, the excellent gastronomy, and the night out gay.
All this, well combined is what I call a perfect day in Barcelona.
What about gay local life in Barcelona?
In here we have all the options, you can choose, nice quiet bars to meet someone and chat, modern clubs for dancing full of beautiful sweating bodies, saunas, cruising areas, etc.
And more important, we have all the tribes (queers, otters, bears, gym bunnies, average) All living in harmony. In different places actually…
Gay Barcelona bars, and more gay venues
Axel Hotel Terrace. Full of handsome guys every night. The best place for starting the night out.
Night and Boyberry. Quiet bar to enjoy a gin and tonic but if you want action, there is a cruising área behind.
Pervert Club. The best club with the best Djs and party.
Mar Bella gay beach Bar. Fancy a day at the beach? So the bar at Mar Bella is the perfect place, food, drinks, music and men in swimming dress.
A bit of history: LGBT Spain, from Franco to Madrid World Pride
From the ban of homosexuality under Franco’s dictatorship to Madrid hosting Europe’s most significant Pride: how did the gay scene emerge in Spain?
Homosexuality was declared illegal in Spain by the 1954 reform of the “Ley de vagos y maleantes” (“Law on Vagrancy”) of 1933. The text of the law states that the measures it contains “are not appropriate sanctions, but simple security measures, with a dual preventive purpose, with the aim of collective guarantee and the aspiration to correct subjects who have fallen to the lowest level of morality. It is clear that these laws were a mean of legitimizing homophobic violence in Spain.
Consequently, the police often used Vagrancy laws against alleged political dissidents because denouncing their homosexuality allowed them to avoid judicial guarantees.
Gays were sent to prisons called “gallerías de invertidos” (“galleries of deviants”).
Until the fall of the Franco regime in 1975, this practice remained common. However, by the early 1970s, political activism had shifted its focus to real political dissidents.
But the homosexual community obviously did not shy away under Franco. In the 1960s, clandestine homosexual scenes began to appear in Spain. Especially in Barcelona, Ibiza, and Sitges.
Finally, the spirits opened after Franco’s death, following a movement called La movida. This movement and the growth of struggles for gay rights has made Spain one of the most socially tolerant country in Europe.
As early as 1979, Spain decriminalized homosexuality as part of several reforms and the Madrid Pride Parade, known as the “Gay Orgullo”,
took place for the first time in June. And in 1999, Miquel Iceta of PSC became the first openly LGBT member of a regional parliament in Spain (that of Catalonia).
These battles continued until 2005 when same-sex marriage was legalized with joint adoption. Spain’s highest court upheld the law on same-sex marriage on 6 November 2012, dismissing the appeal filed by the ruling Popular Party seven years ago and upholding the legality of same-sex unions
Gay Bars in Barcelona
Gay Clubs in Barcelona
Cruising bars in Barcelona
Gay Saunas in Barcelona
To know a bit more about Spain, you can have a look as well on our Gay guides for Girona, Sitges, Bilbao, Valencia, Zaragoza and Madrid. Or even Malaga, or Maspalomas in Canarias when winter is too cold.