It’s hard to believe Gay Lisbon has flown under-the-radar for so long, but if nothing else hosting the 2018 Eurovision contest showed the world that Lisbon is here and queer… so why not enjoy it?
By day this capital city offers twisting alleyways, world-class museums, relaxed dining and a understand glamour – generally with an idyllic view due to its seven faithful hillsides – but trust us when we say that at night is when Lisbon really slays!
A profusion of gay bars and clubs dot the streetscape of the gay Lisbon neighborhoods; the old Bairro Alto district and neighboring trendy Principe Real area. Huge all-night club events, trendy cocktail bars, drag shows and go-go boys galore tempt those who are willing to go out and explore, though there is also a gay luxury hotel, plenty of gay saunas, gay cafes and gay beaches in Lisbon. The result? A gay scene in Lisbon matched unmatched in Portugal (though Gay Porto does try it’s best) and one of our favorites in Europe – made even better by the pleasant Mediterranean climate.
LGBT acceptance in Lisbon is pretty high – even by Western European standards – and Portugal has some of the most progressive gay rights with gay marriage, same-sex adoption, a simplified process of legal gender identification and even a ban on discrimination based on sexual orientation enshrined in its Constitution. All this means you will find plenty of gay couples wandering the streets of Lisbon, posing for photos next to colorful doorways, getting cozy in any one of delightful cafés and just generally making the most of life.
Throw into the mix all those gorgeous Portuguese bodies, boutique museums and art galleries, plenty of sunshine and various day-trips to vineyards/beaches and you begin to understand why so many gays are flocking to Lisbon. Watch out Amsterdam, Paris, Berlin, and Barcelona – Gay Lisbon is coming for you!
Gay Lisbon Guide: The Essential Guide To Gay Travel In Lisbon Portugal 2018
In this article we will cover...
Attractions in Gay Lisbon
Naturally being gay does not define which attraction most of us will want to see when traveling and – generally speaking – queer travelers will simply want to check out the top things to see in Lisbon during the day! Lisbon is a very safe city, but still, all travelers should take caution in crowded areas or at night in bars with valuables.
There is so much to do here – but we found our favorite memories were tanning at the beach, drinking wine in a gorgeous street-side cafe or getting lost only to find beauty in the strangest of places. Still – it helps to have some kind of idea what is going on, so here are our must-see attractions in Lisbon that you should not miss!
Top Places To See In Lisbon
- Jeronimos Monastery – An stunning former monastery shoreline of Belém where monks used to pray daily for the King’s soul. Built in the late gothic style, it is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with the nearby Tower of Belém.
- Bairro Alto – Explore this bohemian neighborhood – which along with being home to much of the gay nightlife in Lisbon, is an opulent area with bright color and romantic streets to explore by day.
- Rossio Square – A meeting place in the heart of Lisbon perfect for relaxing and people watching. In the past this was the place for bullfights, uprisings and executions- so thankfully its much more peaceful now!
- Street Art – While it might not be as impressive as that of Medellin, the street art of Lisbon is a great way to explore the city off-the-beaten-track as you hunt down large-scale installations with political and social messages. Ok, some are just hyper-instagrammable.
- Live Fado Show – Listed as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO be entranced by the true musical soul of Lisbon.
- Surfing – Hire a car or take a tour to surf the waves of the Atlantic Ocean. If you know what your doing there are some great brakes for advanced surf fanatics or there are some sweet spots for beginners. Nothing is hotter than a hunky surfer right?
- Gourmet Walking Tour – There is no better way to discover a city than through its soul. Eat your way through the flavors of Portuguese food while finding the best of Lisbon’s traditional eateries.
- Lisbon Card – A flexible card to save you money and time in Lisbon with free access to 23 city museums and free public transport.
Gay Things to Do In Lisbon
- Beach 19 – If you are looking for the best Lisbon gay beach – and one of the largest in Europe, then you need to come here. In the afternoon it gets very cruisy but thankfully its a large beach with dunes and forest nearby. The majority of people here, however, are just looking to tan every inch of their body without the problem of unsightly tan lines. If you hire a car in Lisbon, you could also try the Coast de Caparica gay beach with a more party, less birthday suits kind of vibe.
- Boys Just Want To Have Fun – An inclusive LGBT sports club in Lisbon with teams like Dark Horses Rugby, Lisbon Crows Volleyball, Lisboa Poolboys Swim Team and Lisbon Foxes – Football Team. If you’re in Lisbon for a while, consider joining one of their teams, or just go along as a supporter!
- GPS Café – A small gay owned and bear popular cafe that is an excellent place for a snack during the day with friendly owners. You never know who you will bump into but its pretty social!
- Gayola Steakhouse & Bar – A delicious place frequently by the Lisbon gay community before a night out. Friendly staff, perfect tenderloin steak and an excellent selection of wine.
- Lisbon Bech – A fantastic gay tour company offering trips around Lisbon, to the gay beaches and a fun LGBT nightlife tour. The perfect way to connect with other gay tourists before a night out and to learn more about gay life in Lisbon.
- Lisbon Gay Tours – Another popular gay tour in Lisbon, seriously how gay is this city? We have only ever found a handful of gay tours around the world before and now two in one city? Go Gay Lisbon!
Annual Gay Events In Lisbon
- Lisbon Pride – The biggest Gay Pride in Portugal, attracting attendees from all over the world. This week-long party celebrates the role of the LGBT community in making Portugal what it is today, and is entirely worth planning a trip around. Held annually in June, the highlights are the massive street festival, a vibrant parade, and all the club parties – but there are plenty of other more cultural events too! Today it is mostly about celebrating everything queer and fabulous but of course still much needs to be done to achieve total equality and there is a strong focus on the political roots of Lison Pride.
- Lisbon Bear Pride – A popular annual event at the end of May with an international appeal. For all otters, bears, admirers + friends with club nights, uniform and fetish parties, bear strip shows and the all-important crowning of Mr. Lisbon Bear Pride. We love the week-long celebration and how welcoming the bear community in Lisbon always is!
- Queer Lisboa / International Queer Film Festival Portugal – An annual event in September dedicated exclusively to screening gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer films. Queer Lisboa is one of the most critical European forums of international LGBT film/video and if your dates coincide if a way to experience a more sophisticated level of gay life in Portugal.
Day Trips From Lisbon
- Snorkel the Arrábida National Reserve Park – Escape the city and Spend the day in one of the ten most beautiful bays in the world. You’ll hardly believe your not in Mykonos or Phuket with this shimmering crystal waters full of protected marine life.
- Sintra, Cabo da Roca, and Cascais – Go on a tour (or hire a car) to see some of the most prominent tourist sites in Portugal. Cover the medieval UNESCO site of Sintra, the mystical Quinta da Regaleira and reach Roca Cape, the westernmost point in Europe.
- Setúbal Wine Tasting Tour – Explore the wine cellar and vineyards of idyllic Azeitão, a region famed for its cheese and wine.
- Knights Templar Day Tour – History buffs won’t want to miss embarking on the path of this holy order of warrior monks. Filed with castles, convents, and more information than we could handle!
A city the size of Lisbon has plenty more to explore!
We recommend getting a full guidebook if you are staying for more than a night or two. It probably won’t have any information on Gay Lisbon – that’s what we are here for – but it will have useful tips and an exhaustive list of the best attractions across Portugal to assist you on your fabulous adventure!
Gay-friendly and Gay Hotels in Lisbon Portugal
As a world leader in LGBT tourism, pretty much every hotel and hostel in Lisbon can be considered gay-friendly – after all being gay-friendly is not all about upscale luxury, but about providing friendly service and welcoming guests without prejudice! However, everybody likes to be surrounded by people with common interests and as such a there a few hotels in Lisbon favored by the gay jet-set. Most are located around the Bairro Alto / Príncipe Real Lisbon gay area – close to all the attractions by day and night – and each offers something unique and unforgettable. There are also two exclusively male/gay hotels in Lisbon that we urge you to seriously consider.
The following gay-friendly and gay hotels in Lisbon are only the most popular with gay, but there are hundreds of other hotels in Lisbon if you don’t find quite what you are looking for. Whether you want a fun and social hostel, a cheap place to crash after a night of partying or a chic designer option to sip cocktails and surround yourself with fabulous people – Gay Lisbon has something for everyone!
- The Late Birds Lisbon ☆☆☆☆ – A gay urban resort that is our first choice when looking for a gay hotel in Lisbon. In the heart of Gay Lisbon this completely restored, late-18th century building offers boutique rooms, stylish design, lush gardens and a tempting outdoor swimming pool. Providing the best of contemporary Portuguese design in an all-male environment, this is a far cry from the generally horrid gay hotels that we are used to. With rave reviews, friendly owners and fun vibes we can’t imagine a better place to stay gay in Lisbon. We look forward to Late Birds Porto Hotel opening soon…
- Altis Belem Hotel & Spa ☆☆☆☆☆ – This contemporary 5-star spa hotel is one of the most luxurious in all of Portugal. A thoroughly enchanting space with a rooftop pool overlooking the ocean, everything here softly whispers relax and unwind. The spacious rooms offer Nespresso machines, plush beds, and upgraded suites have whirlpool tubs and balconies. All guests have access to indoor + outdoor pools, sauna, and gym, plus there is a fun bar, cafe and renown restaurant on site. Trust us; you will never want to leave!
- InterContinental Lisbon ☆☆☆☆☆ – Stylish and chic international hotel in downtown Lisbon. Refined cosmopolitan elegance with soft rooms and a very posh cocktail bar onsite. This gay-popular hotel overlooks the Tagus River which many of the suites enjoy views over. There is also a gym and luxe restaurant.
- Pousada de Lisboa ☆☆☆☆☆ – One of the small luxury hotels of the world, staying here is an utterly unforgettable experience. Found in a stately building facing the Praça do Comércio plaza, we loved the vaulted brick viewings found in the restraint, indoor pool, sauna, and balconies in the suites. A refined stay with a prigged location and staff who go over and above to make sure your time in Lisbon is absolutely perfect.
- Raw Culture Art & Lofts Bairro Alto ☆☆☆☆ – New York lot style apartment suites with a sophisticated design palate and a well-curated selection of private art are displayed throughout. If you value your privacy or want space to host this is the ideal option- and with a location in the heart of the Lisbon Gay scene.
- H10 Duque de Loule ☆☆☆☆ – Bright, bold, blue and beautiful. This gay-popular hotel is effortlessly stylish with warm interior and well-appointed rooms. Breakfast on their sun terrace overlooking the city has to be a highlight, and the perfect way to start any day!
- EVOLUTION Lisboa Hotel ☆☆☆☆ – Innovative and futuristic this new addition to the Lisbon hotel pool hs bright rooms, funky colors and modern rooms with city views. We loved the rain show, sauna, fitness center and indoor heated pool available for use 24/ 7. Feels more like something we would find in Taipei, but we are not complaining!
- Hotel Ibis Lisboa Liberdade ☆☆☆ – A international hotel specializing in budget rooms at the best price. This location is closest to the gay scene and perfect for LGBT travelers who want simple rooms with no surprises.
- My Rainbow Rooms Gay Men’s Guest House ☆☆☆ – Newly opened and proving there is a growing market for high-quality accommodation exclusively for gay men. Large walk-in showers, beautiful design, and its super-clean. The downside is this gay hotel in Lisbon is located in a quiet neighborhood around 25 minutes from the center city with public transport.
- Dom João Residencial ☆☆☆ – One of the cheapest private rooms in the central city with fun little B&B offers basic rooms, a relaxing summer terrace, and daily breakfast. Nothing to write home about but the staff are friendly and its a great option if you don’t plan on sleeping much!
- Goodmorning Hostel ☆☆ – A top-rated hostel in Lisbon close to all the gay nightlife. Clean and airy dorms with wooden floors are fitted into this renovated 1930s historic building, but we recommend staying for the social atmosphere. If you’re traveling alone what better way to gather a crew to explore the gay nightlife than through a fun hostel, Goodmorning Hostel even organizes regular events, so you have no excuse not to meet other (young, international) travelers.
We are not even sure where to start as the gay nightlife in Lison is amongst the best in the world. There is almost too much to count! If you are as overwhelmed as we are, the only thing you need to know is the Bairro Alto, and Príncipe Real districts are the hub of gay life in Lisbon and where most of the nightlife is located.
Use our Gay Lisbon Map at the end of this guide if you’re lost, but know there plenty of plenty of bars, cocktail lounges, drag shows and bear dens littered across Lisbon to satisfy even the most discerning of gay travelers. Anyone who knows anything about the Portuguese knows they love a good festa, and while the party might not start till late you can guarantee it keeps going til sunrise – or even later!
New gay bars and club events are popping up consistently, so it pays to ask around when you arrive, but at the moment these are the most popular nightlife spots, gay bars, and gay clubs in Lisbon. Things will get crazy – but just go with it!
Gay Bars in Lisbon
- Bar 106 – Gay life in Lisbon wouldn’t be the same without this famous bar that is one of the oldest gay bars in the city. Fun events weekly in the heart of the Principe Real district, although drink prices are a bit up there compared to everywhere, else we visited.
- Side Bar – Small, no-frills gay bar in the heart of Gay Lisbon. A local favorite, Side Bar feels more like something we would find in Bogota with space for only a few people – but its worth a stop in to see whats happening!
- Viking Bar -A gay-friendly/popular bar in the old red light district of Lisbon with a crowded dance floor, no-attitude clients and fun burlesque/strips shows.
- TR3S Lisboa – Our favorite place in the Lisbon gay scene. Their delicious Passion Fruit Caipirinha, strong Long Island Iced Teas and Daily Happy Hour are big drawcards. TR3S seems to be the place everyone knows and if your at a total loss for what to do you should always head here.
- Woof LX Bar – The main bear clubhouse in Lisbon providing a friendly social environment for their tribe and friends who are welcomed along. This place is so small more people are generally outside than in, but that’s just part of the whole experience!
- Rendezvous – More Than Wine – For those who enjoy day drinking this popular gay wine bar in Lisbon has a great selection of tapas, food, and wine. The perfect place to arrange a meet-up or for a relaxed meal before a big night out.
- Espaço 40e1 – A simple neighborhood gay bar with no gimmicks that attracts a loyal following of gay customers in the Bairro Alto. Mainly locals who come to socialize where the gathering frequently spills out onto the street.
- Portas Largas – A Portuguese tavern that has now be converted into a local gay waterhole.
- Shelter Bar – Most gay bars in Lisbon don’t open till late, so if you’re an early starter you can head here from 6 pm every night of the week. Bear-popular but welcoming to everyone this new gay hang-out has Happy Hour’s Monday to Friday and regular themed parties in the weekends.
- Pride Burlesque – A chic Parisian-themed bar mixed with plenty of Portuguese fun. It gets pretty crowded in here with cute, younger guys thanks to its fun Happy Hour and skilled DJ sets. Their cocktails are worth arriving early for, but later on, there are fun impromptu drag performances or shirtless hunks dancing on the bar.
Gay Clubs in Lisbon
- Construction – Finally a bear gay nightclub for all you otters, fetish lovers and bear admirers. A sizeable three-story club with dark cruise space at the top. Everyone is, of course, welcome since its bear rule here!
- Trumps – No relation to the Cheeto-in-chief across the Atlantic, this club is one of the busiest in town with two rooms offering mainstream Top 40 Po / funk hits in one and deep house in the other. Open Thursday to Saturday with busy dance floors, plenty of events and a summertime foam party that is expectedly popular. Mostly younger crowd who are ready to go all night long.
- LuxFrágil – An upscale mixed/gay club with a strict door policy, boys – you’re going to need a shirt to get in here! Inside is a vast, stylish nightclub that would not be out-of-place in Las Vegas with an equally impressive line-up of international and local DJ talent. A chilled cocktail zone with house music is upstairs if you want to chat and relax with a pumping electrons dance floor taking up the downstairs.
- Purex Club – A gay and lesbian popular cocktail club with extremely hipster vibes. It’s not for everyone, and you’re not going to hear Gaga blaring here .. We understand some people actually think that’s a good thing?
- Disco Club Mister Gay – A famous gay club that has been around for the better part of two decades. Located out of the center but near the Caparica Lisbon gay beach, it’s worth heading out here on the weekend for fun drag events, sexy go-go dancers and a popping dance floor under a shining disco ball.
- Finalmente Club – A fun gay club centrally located with a focus on their fabulous drag shows that left us gagging! Don’t both coming here until the early AM however when things really kick off.
- Posh Lisbon – the newest gay club in Lisbon which is quickly becoming the ‘it’ place for a night of partying. Chic set-up with some of the hottest go-go dancers we have ever seen, a no-attitude crowd and plenty of fun.
- Together – The biggest gay party in Lisbon with incredible production values, the hottest dances and an extremely fun environment. Held in various venues around Lisbon, though more recently focussed on Latin America and Europe tours. If Together Party is on while you are in Gay Portugal, you will not want to miss it!
Gay Saunas in Lisbon
Had enough of gay cruising in Lisbon – either in the bars or elsewhere? If you desire a bit more guaranteed action, the gay saunas in Lisbon will not disappoint you (unlikely all those faceless Grinder accounts…). In such a foreign-friendly city you should have no issues visiting any Lisbon gay sauna, though a few words in Portuguese never hurt.
Gay sauna or not, in any sexual encounter, please take adequate precautions. No matter what your intentions are in Gay Lisbon, you should bring your own condoms and lube to play it safe. Take home a hot guy or a hot memory, not an STD.
Besides, you never know what other fun surprises your trip might have in store for you…
- Trombeta Bath – A clean and modern sauna with everything you could possibly want ..and then some. Jazzuci, showers, steam + dry sauna, XXX film area, cruising space, glory holes, dark-rooms and some of the best male massages in Lisbon. There is also a fetish and underwear shop onsite and frequent DJ’d events. 24 hours on the weekend and till 6 am during the week. High standards with maximum entertainment and fun, this is how we wise every gay sauna worldwide could be!
- Olissipo Bath – A small and invite spa that is more like a hotel spa than your typical dark & dirty sex club environment. There is a jacuzzi, sauna, Turkish bath and large bar – and of course private cabins. Located in Lisbon’s popular Avenida da Liberdade, with friendly staff and a mostly mature clientele.
- Oasis Sauna – Another small sauna with gym, dark room, steam and dry sauna. Mature popular, but somewhat run-down and easily the worst gay sauna in Lisbon.
- SaunApolo 56 – A modern LGBTQI+ sauna/sex club where everyone is welcome but in reality its mostly gay/bisexual men. More expensive than the exclusively gay sauna’s in Lisbon and with many lurkers who are more interested in watching than participating. Different events throughout the month like strip-tease and fetish parties with a steam room, sauna, collective showers, bar, private cabins and dark places.
Gay Cruising and Fetish Clubs in Lisbon
If the bars, saunas or gay parties in Lisbon are too vanilla for you, perhaps these fetish clubs and cruise lounges are a better fit? We have to warn you; however, some of these places are not for the faint-of-heart (although still nothing compared to the intense gay fetish scene in Paris).
Most of these cruising bars in Lisbon are located a short walk from the Príncipe Rea Lisbon Gay area, but you can use our Gay Lisbon map at the end to find the closest to you.
- Bar CRU – Open daily with a set themed every night of the week from kinky fetish to naked and underwear parties. Small, but this helps the action get started either in the backroom or occasionally right at the bar. A fun mixture of most young or middle age guys with beautiful bodies from Europe, USA or Brazil. They also run a popular online gay men’s sex store with pick-up at over the counter at Bar Cru.
- Drako Club – A large private fetish and cruise lounge with multiple zones including open showers, BDSM play area, sling, drag rooms, XXX movies …all run by sexy, naked staff. They take their themes seriously, most of which involve being naked, but if you were a prude, you wouldn’t be here. The most popular cruising in Lisbon and always busy. Prices are low, but it’s BYO lube unless you want to pay the entrance price again for their smallest bottle.
- Woof X – A small but fun bar for all bears, otters, leather daddies, fetish men and their admirers. The least ‘extreme’ of the Lisbon gay sex clubs, Woof X, is open daily and has a fun dark room out the back. Honestly, this is also just a sound bar to hang out in either way and to meet other people in the Lisbon gay community – but it’s nice to know the darkroom is there if needed!