Only a 2 hour flight from the UK, I can honestly say Barcelona, albeit VERY touristy, is one of my favorite cities I’ve ever visited in Europe. From the work of Antoni Gaudi (which is absolutely everywhere, by the way), to the many tapas bars on and off the side streets of Las Ramblas, to the amazing nightlife, I couldn’t help but be sad to leave this amazing city behind. I did actually manage to miss my flight home from BCN because I was out clubbing all night, but that is a story for a different blog post altogether.
Although there was just as many prostitutes, pickpockets, and drug salesmen as any other city in Europe, not once did I feel unsafe. The people are friendly, the food and drink is amazing and reasonably cheap compared to other European cities, and I feel like although I was there for nearly a week, there was still so much of the city that I still hadn’t managed to discover. There is an unmistakable vibe about this city that you can’t find anywhere else. I could never list everything to do in BCN – but here are some of the main things.
Sandemans free walking tour
Anyone that knows me, knows that history isn’t something I really enjoy, but I drunkenly promised one of the guys from the hostel that I would do one of these walking tours with him – with the promise we could spend the rest of the day at the beach. He dragged me out of bed at 10am hungover AF, force fed me croissants and coffee and dragged me half way across the city to the meeting point for the tour. By the time we arrived I was having beer sweats from the heat and I wasn’t impressed.
Once we arrived we were sorted into groups and each one given a different tour guide. Ours was called Joe, who was absolutely hilarious and managed to bring each story to life through audience participation (I kind of just hid at the back and pretended to take photos when he asked for volunteers). The tour lasted nearly 3 hours and took in Barcelona Cathedral, The Gothic Quarter, King Martins Watchtower amongst many other things. I highly recommend this as a perfect way to sober up after a night of enjoying Barcelona’s nightlife. You can book onto the free tour below, it goes 3 times a day from Plaza De L’Angel. (Jaume metro exit)
Las Ramblas is the beating heart of Barcelona. It features many of the high street shops you would find anywhere else (yawn), but also countless bars, restaurants where you can eat outside on the street. There are many street performers that keep you entertained while you eat and drink. It runs about a kilometer from Plaza Catalunya all the way to Port Vell.
Vamos a la playa! I absolutely love any city that has a beach, when your fed up of sightseeing and just wanna relax then take your swimwear and towel with you, veg out on the beach and sizzle. You can take the metro, but I just walked from Plaza Catalunya – it takes about half an hour. Also the view of the W Hotel makes you feel like you are somewhere much more exotic, as it resembles the iconic Burj Al Arab in Dubai!
I only went onto the gay scene for one night, but I took all the straight people from my hostel and they all said they had the best night of their lives! We started off in a bar called Blunit. This was my favourite bar, the drinks were only around 3 euro for a vodka and mixer, and you can drink them outside on the terrace. The music was perfect to get you in the mood for hitting the clubs, and all the guys in there were awesome, nobody was rude and stuck up like you tend to find in some gay bars. You can ask here for free entry into some of the bigger clubs in the area.
After pre drinks we then went to Arena Disco around the corner. Arena is huge and one of the most well known bars in the area. I cant remember what time we left but I’m pretty sure it was nearly daylight, The music was pumping and I just didn’t want to go home! My only memory is someone forcing me to drink tequila at the bar and frantically trying to find the toilet to throw up -accidentally going into the dark room in the process (straight people, if you don’t know what a dark room is then look it up).
For a straight night out – pre drinks on Las Ramblas and then hit up Shoko and Opium beach bars, 2 huge nightclubs that back out onto the beach, but beware of the strict dress code and expensive drinks (also, you WILL wake up with sand in every orifice). Barcelona is one of the few places I can say the gay nightlife is way better than the straight – and I don’t say that very often.
I didn’t actually go here, however you can see Tibidabo high up on the mountain from most places in Barcelona. You can take a bus direct from Plaza Catalunya, or for something a bit different you can take a bus from Av. Tibidabo to the halfway point, and then a funicular tram to the top. At the top there is a church and an amusement park, but the views from Tibidabo viewpoint over Barcelona are said to be breathtaking.
When you’ve seen all there is to see in Barcelona, another must do, is take the train from Sants station or Passeig De Gracia to Sitges. It takes about 40 minutes and is VERY popular with the gay and lesbian crowd for the nightlife and beaches. There are 17 beaches in Sitges, a few of these are gay beaches and it’s perfectly acceptable to be completely naked (I didn’t, I was too shy).
There is a really nice atmosphere to Sitges and this is why I visited twice. Families, locals, couples, gays, lesbians, dogs, cats visit here and everyone is relaxed and gets on together like clockwork. I think it retains its Catalonian charm and doesn’t attract hoards of tourists as there isn’t much to see. It really is the perfect place to party at night and relax all day on the beach with not a care in the world.
Check out http://www.gaysitgesguide.com/ for the ultimate gay guide to Sitges.
Must See sights in Barcelona
Gaudi House Museum
Same Sex Holidays have a wealth of knowledge on all LGBT destinations. If your looking at a break for Barcelona, Sitges or anywhere in the world give us a call.
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All content in the above blog is written by Jonny
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