The tree-lined streets and modernist architecture of Eixample look like any other area of Barcelona. However, Eixample is, in fact, the Catalonian city’s most prominent and concentrated gay district. In addition to being the heart of gay culture in Barcelona, Eixample is also a hub of shopping, entertainment, and nightlife, drawing countless gay travellers from across the globe every year.
In the summer months, the streets of Eixample are alive and bustling with people spilling out of the cafes and bars that line them. The area is now host to the majority of the city’s nightlife, with many of Barcelona’s best gay bars and Barcelona’s best gay clubs all within walking distance of one another.
Eixample developed at the end of the 19th century in line with the idea of radical urbanisation that was popular in Spain at the time. With influences from Gaudi and several French and Spanish architects of the time, Eixample has some of the best examples of the modernist and gothic architectural styles that epitomise the aesthetic of Barcelona.
Acevi Villaroel is a popular choice for many gay travellers because of its central location in Eixample but its not just the positioning of this hotel that makes it so sought after. Acevi Villaroel also features elegant and classically designed rooms that give guests access to the plentiful facilities on offer, including the wellness centre, rooftop pool, and complimentary breakfast buffet.
The stylish H10 Casanova Hotel is one of Barcelona’s most conveniently located accommodations for gay travellers keen to explore the city centre and Eixample region. The great value hotel is decorated in a modern style that guarantees guests a comfortable and convenient style in the heart of Eixample. The H10 Casanova is housed in a beautifully refurbished 18th-century building that now features a rooftop terrace and pool area.
For guests seeking the peak luxury experience near Barcelona’s gay district, the Alma Barcelona is a perfect choice. The stunning 20th-century building has been completely renovated to reflect a seamless meeting of classical and contemporary design. The Alma is an oasis of calm, partly due to its large and tranquil inner garden- an original feature of the property. A range of rooms and suites are available, all of which are furnished to world-class standards.
Eixample is home to the most popular gay bars and clubs in Barcelona and the areas diverse mix of venues means that there is a nightlife experience perfect for every gay traveler. The majority of gay venues within the area are within walking distance of one another and visitors can mainly stay within Eixample whilst still enjoying a plethora of opportunity.
NightBarcelona is a lively and busy gay cruise bar in the heart of the Eixample district. With screens playing suitably steamy video and shirtless bar staff NightBarcelona is the ideal venue for gay travellers seeking late night fun during their trip. The bar gets busier after midnight so consider going for a drink at one of the area’s other bars before arriving.
A more mainstream gay clubbing experience is on offer at Metro Disco, a gay dance club popular with Eixample’sm mixed LGBT crowd. The club boasts two impressive dance floors as well as a dark room and each night has its own theme, so be sure to check what’s on before attending.
The Moon is a relatively new addition to Eixample’s gay nightlife scene but has quickly garnered popularity among locals and travelers alike. The interior of the bar is decorated in a Caribbean style and is unique by its gogo dancers who perform on The Moons bar. The bar tends to be more popular with the area’s younger population but is still attended by a widely mixed group.
The architecture in and around the Eixample is unique to Barcelona for a variety of reasons but none more significant than the prominence of the unique style of the 19th-century architect Antonio Gaudi.
Gaudi drew huge inspiration from the gothic style and the architecture of the buildings he observed whilst travelling Asia and was ultimately defined as a Catalan Modernist. Examples of his work can be observed throughout Barcelona and many of his creations are within walking distance of central Eixample.
Located in the heart of Eixample is Casa Batllo, a modernist Gaudi masterpiece and one of his most popular designs. Characterised by its irregular oval windows and impressive sculptural work, the facade of Casa Batllo is a mesmerising mosaic of broken glass and tiles, which in the evening casts a stunning and colourful glow.
All of Gaudi’s architecture can be seen and appreciated for free and should be on the itinerary of any gay traveller. However, be cautioned that during the day, the most prominent examples of Gaudi’s work can get extremely busy, so to avoid the crowds try visiting in the morning or later evening.
Gay rights in Eixample
Residents and travellers in gay Eixample can enjoy the rights and protections afforded to LGBT people across the rest of Spain. Gay marriage has been legal in the country since 2005 and there are a number of laws that protect LGBT people from discrimination and danger.
Despite Spain being a largely Catholic country with 69% of the population identifying as such, the majority of the public has an open and accepting attitude towards LGBT people, meaning gay travellers can expect to feel safe and comfortable when exploring Eixample.
by George Pizani | On: Gay Barcelona