10 Reasons Why Madrid is the Best Gay Destination in Europe
Europe is easily the most tolerant and accepting region in the world and there are many cities across the continent where you can let your true colors shine without fear of judgement or harassment. Places like Amsterdam, Berlin or Barcelona are well known for being gay friendly, tolerant and having a large community of LGBT residents. Still, we think Madrid is perhaps the contender for the number one spot on our list of the best gay destinations in Europe. Certainly, there are a handful of cities that compete for this title, but with the mix of its size, gay scene, events and overall vibe, we’d ague to say that Madrid takes the crown. Here are 10 reasons why we think you should visit Madrid and see why we think it’s the best gay destination in Europe.
Gay Madrid: A Gay Travel Guide to Spain’s Capital City
About the Guide
Our readers are constantly asking us for tips and travel advice for popular gay destinations so we’ve decided to create a series of guides to help inspire you and plan your visit. We’ve included just the top recommendations in this post but you can download the full version of the Gay Madrid guide for free. We’ve even included a mobile friendly version to take on the go!
Just provide your email address and we’ll email you a PDF with all the best advice, extra information about the city including best times to go, buying a SIM card, free tours, details on airport transfers, metro maps, more nightlife, restaurant, accommodation and sightseeing options, money saving tips and discounts worth more than 100€.
Madrid Food Tour: 5 Spanish Foods that Surprised Me
I’m not usually a picky eater, but there have been a few Spanish food items that I’ve specifically avoided now having lived a year in Madrid. I enjoy most Spanish foods but I’ll be honest in saying that olives or anchovies aren’t exactly my first choice when I sit down for a meal. But I recently went on the Madrid Food Tour with a friend and was surprised by my reaction to some of these varieties and other foods I tasted on the tour.
I’ve tried Spanish olives plenty of times over the past couple years and I’ve never been fond of them. Along with potato chips, they are probably the most typical free tapas that are served at a bar or restaurant when you order a drink. The most common variety is the green olive and David can eat an entire bowl in one sitting. But even with my distaste for this green Spanish staple, I was happy to discover the more mild, brown variety called campo reales. We tried these at a restaurant called Taberna Real near the Opera metro, which also serves up a number of classic Spanish foods like jamon, almonds or tortilla. So if you’re not normally a fan of olives like me, there’s a good chance this type might be to your liking.
Day Trips from Madrid: Rascafría, Spain is a Fun Alternative
The best places to go skiing or snowboarding in Spain are certainly outside of Madrid, like north to the Pyrenees or south to Sierra Nevada. However, there are a few options for ski resorts in Madrid which, being closer and cheaper, made them a tempting weekend getaways for us. After a bit of research we decided to head to Valdesquí Ski Resort in the north of the autonomous community of Madrid, just an hour away from historic Segovia and about 30 minutes away from a small town which we were delighted to discover, Rascafría.
Gay Madrid Guide: Tips on Finding Gay Hotels in Madrid
Madrid is known across Europe as a gay friendly destination with vibrant nightlife and some of the best gay bars, clubs and events in Spain. Whether you’re looking for a high end gay hotel in Madrid or a budget gay hostal, the city has plenty of gay friendly accommodations to choose from.
Madrid has always been the center for LGBT life in Spain so it’s no surprise that they host the largest gay pride in Europe. Each summer in July, nearly 2 million people attend the festivities and pride parade as people crowd the streets enjoying music, drinks and fun. As an LGBT traveler, it’s important to find accommodations where you feel comfortable being yourself. This is not difficult in Madrid as there are numerous gay-friendly and even gay-owned properties throughout the city.
Running a Half Marathon 5 Years After Cancer
Ten kilometers. The bright yellow marker on the side of the street tells me that I’m almost at the halfway point. I continue on, crowded among the other runners feeling a bit like cattle being herded among the streets of Madrid. There were over 20,000 participants in this year’s Half Marathon and I, along with my friend Luis, decided to partake. As we’re nearing the halfway point of our 21 kilometer run, I felt a tingling sensation in my leg and mentally debated whether giving it a short break or pushing through would be the best option. I wanted to challenge myself, but I most certainly did not want to injure myself.
Gay Madrid: Your Guide to Madrid Gay Bars and Clubs
Spain is one of the best countries in Europe to experience nightlife and Madrid is undoubtedly the gay capital, with some of the best bars and night clubs in Europe. People often think that Barcelona is the gay capital of Spain but a comparison of the two cities’ population and gay pride festival demonstrates the difference. Barcelona’s gay pride week brings a crowd of just over 100,000 people while Madrid’s Gay Pride (called “Madrid Orgullo”) is the largest in Europe bringing 1.5 million people each year. Spain was also the 3rd country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage and you’ll likewise find Madrid to be incredibly gay-friendly. Public affection of same-sex couples is common throughout the entire city center, not just in the gay neighborhood.
Madrid Gay Pride 2013
Toledo: A Day Trip From Madrid
Taking an escalator into a city center may be one of the more unique ways to make an entrance. Located at the top of a steep hill just 70 kilometers south of Madrid, Toledo makes for an easy day trip. It’s well connected to Madrid via a 45 minute bus ride at a cost of 10€ or a 30 minute train ride at 20€ round-trip. If you enter the historic center from Puerta de Alfonso VI, there’s an escalator that allows the steep walk to be avoided. Unfortunately for us, we missed it entirely (tip: when walking from the bus station in Toledo circle to the right when facing the city, not left) but at least we got a bit of uphill cardio upon arriving in the historical district.
Surviving My First Week of Teaching English in Spain
Tossing and turning all night, no position I tried could help me fall into my nightly slumber. Maybe it’s just too hot. This bed is just too uncomfortable. Perhaps I’m just not tired enough. None of these were actually what kept me up, at least not in their entirety. The culprit that was robbing me of my precious shuteye was anxiety. I hadn’t “worked” in the traditional sense in 1 year, 6 months, and 18 days if you want to be exact. Arranging travel plans and working on TwoBadTourists can have its moments of work-type stress, but working in this manner over the past year and a half has always been of my own doing. It’s not like the typical expectation of having to show up to work at a certain time, stay a certain number of hours, and accomplish a certain set of goals.
Will I Meet the Challenge of Teaching?
Learning another language can be a daunting task or an exciting challenge. For me, one of the most daunting ways was simply studying it in school. The exciting challenge aspect however occurs when you really dive into the studies. Namely, by full immersion. There are countless opportunities worldwide such as IELTS courses or small language schools like the one we studied at in Mexico City. You’re fully immersed in the country and being forced to use the language in and out of class.