Ready for a gay Valencia tour?
Here’s the interview of Juan, a local from the city.
Hello Juan, tell us a bit more about you
I am Basque, born in San Sebastián, and I have been Living here in Valencia for 17 years already. As it was important for me, I have been involved in the LGBT community over the last 15 years.
Consequently, as an activist, I support the gay pride here in Valencia but also working in many other issues.
Nowadays, I am as well a member of the Couchsurfing community, and I was an ambassador a few years ago. As a result, I have hosted people from all around the world. That means participating in social events, showing the city to many visitors, as well as cooking at essential events. I made paella for 50 couch surfers during the “Tomatina” in Bunyol.
Finally, as a sociologist, I really like to meet new friends and help them to have the better known as possible.
Why do you love Valencia so much?
Valencia is an exceptional place. Not only its fantastic weather, its light, colors, and friendly locals. Also has an exciting social life, culture, and of course, the famous “paella” that was created here, and many other local foods that will be a delight to any visitor.
My favorite moments
Sunset in the Albufera National Park. A walk in the night around Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias. A beer or cava with oyster at a modernist market rebuilt as a commercial area. Traditional paella dish, (and cheap), while watching historicals buildings in a small square with all the local touch.
Visit to an exciting local bar near the beach, where they give you a traditional “tapa” with your drink in the middle of an extraordinary ambiance, (the drinks here have a ridiculous price).
My favorite restaurants
As I mentioned before, a traditional paella restaurant, (they make the paella outside in a wood oven, and bring it to 2:00pm for customers.
A little downtown restaurant specialized in tapas, and other local specialties, with more than 50 different class of Vermouth, (local drink very famous in Spain, similar to Martini).
Rice restaurant in the Albufera area, where you can have very good paellas: fish rice, black rice, oven rice…
An incredible restaurant with a very affordable menu, full of tasty and different dishes, near the Malvarrosa beach.
A fantastic place to taste all flavors of Spanish and Valencian cuisine is to make a stop at Mercado Central (Central Market). The Mercado is an impressive masterpiece of Art Nouveau architecture, and one of the biggest and oldest markets in Europe.
You will find almost 1000 stalls to buy local food and delicacies., and many restaurants which use the products from the market…
You could have lunch at “Central Bar” owned by the Valencian Michelin chef Richard Camarena. Try their tapas, sandwiches of the day and light food, which taste incredible, using products from the market. Another good option is Super Gourmet. The market is open from 7h30 to 15h from Monday to Saturday.
Which are the main spots you like to show to gay travelers in Valencia?
Impossible to choose just a few spots to show to our new friends. But if I need to select a few of them, I think is mandatory to pay a visit to the downtown area. We have something that locals call the “golden mile”.
That means a selected group of buildings with a rich history behind them, all together in a small area. Most of these places can be visited in just a few hours, by foot. The gastronomical offer in this area is vast and spectacular, and not necessarily expensive if you know where to go.
As a second option, it’s a good idea to follow the path of Santiago Calatrava in this city.
Despite the critics about Calatrava’s work, he has left a significant number of examples on his exceptional vision of engineering. Many people don´t know he was born in Valencia, and he is not an architect but engineer.
From the university where he was studied to “Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias”, he has left a personal touch here.
This tour can be complemented with a visit to one of the most “trendy” and gay-friendly areas of the city. The only one that keeps an Arab name in its origin. Full of new bars and places to have an excellent gastronomical experience too.
Nobody can visit this city without approaching the “Albufera National Park”. Not only because there are very entertaining cruising areas within the zone, including gay beaches, but because the mix between Mediterranean forest, rice fields, and the coastline give us a unique place of beautiful sunsets, as well as rice specialties and others, in small and family restaurants.
The area near the port and Malvarrosa beach have suffered significant changes from the American’s cup event, (celebrated in Valencia city in 2007/2010). The actions and events realized by the past local government on that area, like F1 city circuit, leisure areas, gentrification of the traditional activities, have created a lot of controversies across the last years but is always a fascinating zone to explore.
What about gay local life in Valencia?
The character of locals is really different from other places of the Spanish State. That means we have a great variety of gay-friendly businesses but also a big offer from local institutions to support sexual diversity and LGBTQ activities. The gay scene here will fit any “taste” from vanilla to more personal preferences.
My favorite gay Valencia bars and more LGBT places
An exciting cafe where you can taste the best “Agua de Valencia”, (Valencian water is the name of a local drink made with oranges, cava, and liquor). An old pharmacy transformed many years ago in one of the referenced places.
New baroque cafe with fantastic cocktails and teas, near the Cathedral.
Gay bear bar with a friendly crew, not far from the old wall of the city.
Drink in an eclectic gay club on the other side of the river.
More gay bars, parties and clubs in Valencia
Gay saunas in Valencia and cruising bars
And as you are in Spain,