Barcelona has become on of Europe's favourite destinations for the lesbian, gay, transsexual, bisexual and intersexual community. As an open-minded and cosmopolitan metropolis, the city offers its visitors a whole host of attractions associated with diversity, freedom and open to everyone. The LGTBI district, with its year-round offer of services, is a good example of this.
The centre of the district is in the Eixample and is known locally as the Gaixample. Bounded by Carrer Balmes, Gran Via, Carrer Urgell and Carrer Aragó, it doesn't cater solely to the LGTBI community but is home to a wide variety of gay-friendly bars, shops and restaurants. The best way to soak up the atmosphere of Barcelona's gay scene is to take a stroll through the streets of this district and see the rainbow flags displayed with pride from balconies and in shop and bar windows. Visitors will find gay- and lesbian-friendly travel agents and hotels, as well as hairdressers, fashion boutiques, restaurants and clubs.
The Gaixample is a great starting point for some of the city's traditional sightseeing routes, such as the Modernisme trail and the Gothic Quarter. It is also conveniently located for the city's main shopping districts, such as the Barcelona Shopping Line which connects the Diagonal with the old harbour, the Port Vell. The LGTBI route also extends to other districts, including the Raval, Poble-sec and Poblenou, where a number of clubs host parties for the LGTBI community.
The most diverse Mediterranean
Barcelona is the LGTBI capital of the Mediterranean and its beaches provide ample proof of this. The beachfront snack bars, or xiringuitos, on the Mar Bella and Sant Sebastià beaches, which both have areas for nude bathing, are lively, gay-friendly places. A few kilometres south, you'll find Sitges, a charming seaside town with a wide variety of gay-friendly bars and restaurants.
In summer in Barcelona, in addition to enjoying the sun and sea, you can take part in a wide variety of LGTBI festivals, including Pride, which is renowned for its colourful parade along the Avinguda Paral·lel, and the Circuit Festival, which has more of a party atmosphere. In March, the city also hosts Bear Pride, another important date to remember.
Barcelona's LGTBI route also offers a whole host of cultural events and attractions. The city hosts two gay and lesbian film festivals from July to October (FIRE, organised by Casal Lambda, and the Festival, organised by the Filmoteca de Catalunya). Another of the most popular events is the sporting championship Panteresports which is held every September.
You'll also find two bookshops specialising in gay and lesbian literature which play an important role in bringing the LGTBI narrative to a wider audience: Antinous which opened more than 15 years ago, and Cómplices, which also runs the publishing house Egales and was the first to specialise in LGTBI literature in Spain.
However, Barcelona wouldn't be the LGTBI enclave it is today without the endeavours of countless associations that work daily to become an openminded city, against the discrimination and have made the city a pioneer in the promotion of equal rights. They define the daily listings of LGTBI activities in the city.
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