Now we have been to Barcelona a few times before. This gorgeous Catalan city is one of my favourite places in the world: the shopping, the food, the incredible architecture of Antoni Gaudi not to mention the sexy Catalonian men are just a few of the reasons why I love the city.
Located just north-west of the city-centre, Barcelona's gay area is called L'Eixample. The husband and I stay like to stay at the Axel Hotel, a gorgeous old Catalan building in L'Eixample with modern sexy rooms and a spa. The Axel Hotel, which is a gay hotel but calls itself “heterofriendly”, also has one of the best restaurants in the city and is also only a kilometer away from sights such as Plaza Catalunya and Paseo de Gracia. The pool and hot tub on the roof of the Axel Hotel are worth a try too!
Some of the sights you will not want to miss in Barcelona are Arc de Triomf (quite different from the one in Paris), Gaudi’s La Sagrada Familia (still not finished after almost a century), Las Ramblas (ourdoor market) and Park Guell (more Gaudi). But Barcelona really is one of those cities where you should just get lost in the streets. Spend the morning walking and when you get tired, stop for some coffee and enjoy your surroundings. Barcelona has an incredible subway system (yes, even better than Toronto’s) so it’s easy to find your way back to your hotel.
If you are looking for something a tad more gay than Gaudi (as if!), L'Eixample has tons of gay bars and discos catering to all tastes for you to choose from. Try the smaller bars during the early evening and move to the larger dance clubs at night. A little Catalan goes a long way so learn a few words before you leave home.
Just go exploring! We simply picked up a Barcelona gay guide and went strolling around town. In a few days you will have your own list of favourite bars and clubs. Catalan people are quite friendly and willing to point you in the right direction.
The L'Eixample also has (so I am told) a few bathhouses. Alas, being married I only gleaned information from others but (so I am told) Sauna Casanova is the best place in the area for that sort of thing. However saunas are expensive in Barcelona (so I am told) and will cost you between 15 .00 to 20.00 €.
Another thing I love about Barcelona is that it is so close to Sitges.
Sitges is a beach resort about 35-kilometers south of Barcelona. And trust me, super-gay Sitges is worth the short train ride from Barcelona. Imagine, if you will, hundreds of near-naked gay men on the sand, eating coconuts sold by sexy attendants and splashing in the sea. Late at night, in the dark, the wooden boardwalk along the wall separating the beach from the road becomes full of men walking back and forth or coupling (or tripling) off into shady areas against the old stone wall.
Sitges also has a couple of nude gay beaches a bit of a walk from the main gay beach for anyone who wants to avoid those pesky tanlines. As well (so I am told) Sitges has a couple of bathhouses (you will be given advertising postcards if you are lying on the beach). The daily foam party (I am told) can get hundreds of men wanting to get clean.
If you plan to stay in Sitges, find a hotel closer to the gay beach. We stayed at Hotel Calipolis right on the beach - a lovely place. Though there is some smaller gay guesthouse in the town as well. And try the paella while you are there. The best paella I had ever had was in Sitges.
So will it be Barcelona or Gran Canaria for us?
Well I’m leaning toward Gran Canaria while the husband is partial to Barcelona and Sitges. We have to decide soon…
Jeffrey Luscombe is a Toronto-based freelance writer and author of the award-winning novel, Shirts and Skins. He is also the creator and author of The Gay Groom blog