While everyone has heard of the flourishing gay scene in Madrid and Barcelona, it is actually Valencia – Spain’s third largest city – where trendy travel-insiders are heading these days to get their hit of culture, sun, sea …and sex.
Prices are sky-rocketing in Madrid and Barcelona, the streets are packed, and it’s hard to have an authentic moment, but Valencia is still one of the quietest holiday destinations in Spain and not yet a victim of their own success. Sure, you will still find the ubiquitous sun-burnt Brit swearing he alone knows where to find the best Paella on Earth (fake news, clearly making your own is best) – but prices are much lower here, and locals still seem happy to have tourists come to enjoy their very livable city.
Spain is one of the world’s most gay-friendly country in southern Europe, and while the Catholic Church still holds a lot of sways here, LGBT acceptance in Valencia and all other urban centers like Salamanca is very high. Valencia’s LGBT scene is actually growing as word gets out with a nice mix of gay and gay-friendly bars, clubs, and cafes.
Valencia Gay Pride takes place every year in June and is one date to plan your trip around with wild parties and LGBT concerts, a film festival, book presentations and exhibitions in the week leading up to a fabulous evening parade through the streets on the Saturday.
While travelers to Gay Valencia can enjoy remarkably futuristic buildings, a long, golden beach and a happening old quarter by day – at night is when the real fun starts. After a late-afternoon siesta, everyone hits the tapa bars for pre-drinks and nibbles and a healthy dose of people watching while sangria flows freely and new friends are made.
If you want to explore the buzzing nightlife then it’s off to one of the gay bars, then gay clubs, then even gay after-parties in Valencia – It’s hard to say no when prices are this low, the cocktails strong and the boys gorgeously sun-kissed. Whatever you desire, chances are you can find it in Gay Valencia – and there is more than enough here to entertain you for a week, a month or even more.
Gay Valencia Guide: The Essential Guide To LGBT Travel In Valencia Spain
Obviously being gay does not define which attraction most of us will want to see in each city and most queer travelers will simply want to check out the top things to see in Valencia during the day! Valencia is a very safe city, but still, all travelers should take caution crowded areas or at night in bars with valuables.
There is so much to do in this delightful city – but we found our favorite memories were just sitting and drinking wine on a gorgeous, lively square, wandering around the hyper-modern City of Arts and Sciencesor laying at the beach checking out all the boys. If you have the time, you might consider hiring a car to check out the beautiful surrounding small towns and coastline, though the food is so incredible no matter where you go. You can’t throw a stone in this city without hitting something gothic and historic – but still, it helps to have some kind of idea what is going on, so here are our just a few of our favorite things to do in Valencia that you should not miss!
Paella Class & Sunset Cruise – One of the most popular things to do in this city is spending the morning learning to make Paella (And a few other dishes) before spending the afternoon and sunset cruising the Mediterranean Sea aboard a modern catamaran. Don’t ask us how this combination started but it’s insanely popular, and we can see why!
La Llotja de la Seda – This late Valencian Gothic-style civil building was originally used for trading in silk, and has long been a center of commerce in Spain. Today protected by UNESCO World Heritage status and one of the main tourist attractions in town.
City of Arts and Sciences – An entertainment-based cultural and architectural complex that really helped put Valencia on the map and has been named one of the 12 Treasures of Spain. It truly is a city as has so much to explore – set aside a whole day to explore its different components, museums, and architectural treasures.
Valencia Food Tour – Believe it or not, there is more to Valencia gastronomy that Paella. If you’re a real foodie, you must try to organize a food tour here to try different tastings of Spanish produce, authentic local bites and get a bit of history about what makes the food here so unique.
Valencia Cathedral – It wouldn’t be a Spanish holiday without an intense hit of Cathlocism, and the remarkable Valencia Cathedral is sure to deliver an overdose with its imposing gothic style. It’s also said to hold the chalice from the Last Supper, though many contest this.
Central Market – Foodies need to look no further than the famous El Mercat – a mecca for local produce and regional specialties since 1928. With hundreds of different places to try, more than one visit might be required.
L’Oceanogràfic – Normally we don’t recommend aquariums…but Valencia does have the biggest in Europe with a unique open-air design that exhibits covering most of the world’s main ecosystems and a unique under-the-sea dining experience.
Plaza de la Virgen– A picturesque park best experienced by perching in a local cafe with a book at taking in the lively square, or play a casual game of spot the virgin…
Hit The Gay Beach in Valencia – While Playa de la Arenas might be the closest beach to town, it gets crowded, and there is no gay section here. Finding a spot for sunbathing can be impossible, and it’s better for swimming or enjoying the promenade. The Valencia Gay Beach is actually Playa de l’Arbre del Gos in the south where the nude gay beach is about halfway down – look out for the abandoned factory and sand dunes. To get here, you can bike, catch a bus or rent a car.
Flamenco Show – The famous La Bulería tablao in Valencia is the best place to feel the passion and the emotion of this powerful music. Every detail right now to their intense facial expressions is observable in this intimate setting.
Street Art – Valencia is famous for paella, oranges and …street art! It’s true, this city is one of the street art capitals of the world – along with Medellin and Bogota – and the entire city feels like an open-air museum, though for the best examples you need to know where to look.
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Spain is a world-leader in LGBT tourism, and nowadays pretty much every hotel and hostel in Valencia can be considered gay-friendly – after all being gay-friendly it not all about upscale luxury, but about providing friendly and open service and welcoming everyone with open arms!
Having said that, everyone likes to be surrounded by people with common interests, and as such a there a few well-known hotels in Valencia that are known hot spots for gay travelers to stay – most are close to all the attractions of Valencia by day and night, and one fabulous beachside retreat!
The following gay-friendly hotels in Valencia are only the most popular with gay travelers, but there are hundreds of other hotels in Valencia – Just make sure you try to stay near the El Carmen gay area in Valencia if you are interested in the nightlife here. 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 wine and surround yourself with fabulous people – Gay Valencia has something for everyone!
Las Arenas Balneario Resort ☆☆☆☆☆ – A luxurious beachfront resort set built on the site of a traditional 19th-century Balneario with classic columns and a grand feel. The first grand hotel in the Valencia region, there is large, airy suites and room – 2 outdoor pools, a bar and refined dining. Sure, it’s a 15-minute cab to the Valencia gay area – but when you can wake up to sea-views and spot gorgeous guys from your room…Who cares!
Caro Hotel ☆☆☆☆☆ – A gay-popular and uniquely luxurious hotel housed in a 19th-century palace in the very center of Valencia. 26 custom rooms whose contemporary design offers a mix of comfort, functionality, and style. A short 15 minute walk to most gay bars and clubs in Valencia.
The Westin Valencia ☆☆☆☆☆ – A real 5-star hotel by an international brand offering all the expected amenities and services. Housed in an impressive Modernist building with Art Deco interiors, we loved the Finnish sauna, Turkish bath, stylish cocktail bar and interior courtyard to giving you an oasis in the central city type feel. Large rooms with beautiful linens, but the design is a bit too tired if you asked us.
Cathedral Suites Hotel ☆☆☆☆ – Centrally located with a chic rooftop pool and dining terrace and Cathedral views. Stylish design and plenty of room to entertain guests. Newly opened and tucked away on a quiet side street, its no wonder the Cathedral Suites Hotel is consistently one of our most booked hotels for gay travelers in Valencia.
Vincci Lys ☆☆☆☆– An elegant hotel with fun and modern design details that leave you feeling relaxed and very much at home. This hotel ticks all the boxes with location, price, and design – and with beautiful terrace rooms to boot!
Ayre Hotel Astoria Palace ☆☆☆☆ – A designer hotel with spacious rooms, terrace, gym and chic lounge bar. The highlight would have to be the expansive views from the breakfast cocina with floor-to-glass windows giving a wrap-around view of the Valencia skyline. Perfection.
Hospes Palau de La Mar ☆☆☆☆ – A ultra-modern fit out of an elegant 19th-century mansion close to everything in Gay Valencia. We loved the contemporary suites featuring sleek dark-wood furnishings and free-standing tubs – but we were living for the upscale spa with pool, Jacuzzi, sauna and more.
Jardín Botánico Hotel Boutique ☆☆☆ – The closest thing to an exclusively gay hotel in Valencia found near the gay Carmen district, they cater mostly to a gay clientele complete with many artworks that the male form. We loved the contemporary feel, design inspired by the city’s Botanical Gardens, parquet floors and luxurious whirlpool tubs. Seems more Scandinavian chic then Spanish to us – but minimalism has now spread across Europe it seems.
One Shot Colón 46 ☆☆☆ – One of our favorite hotels in Valencia in terms of design, and with a surprisingly low price, One Shot Colón 46 is really an all-around winner. Splash out on one of the terrace rooms for sensation views, but all the rooms are beautiful, and we just wish everyone else could learn how to do cheap, chic as well as they have!
MD Design Hotel – Portal del Real ☆☆☆ – An undiscovered gem, trust us – You’re expectations will be exceeded. Compact design, small touches of luxury and a beautiful terrace with intimate views of the city. The staff at this hotel really made it for us; they were able to help with anything and everything it seemed (which was handy as our Spanish failed frequently!).
Valencia Suits You Cityte ☆☆ – The cheapest private rooms we could find in Valencia, but they have great reviews and are clean. Close to the gay district – this is the best hotel in Gay Valencia if you are not planning on spending any time in your room!
Home Youth Hostel by Feetup Hostels ☆ – A fun, trendy hostel close to the gay scene in Valencia. With stellar reviews, helpful staff and plenty of colorful pop-art, we think this is a great option for those on a budget, who don’t mind to share a dorm and are looking to meet other travelers to take on the nightlife of Valencia with. Plenty of cute young guys to meet – and the laws of probability says some will be gay!
Gay-Friendly / Gay Bars in Valencia
Valencia is one of our favorite under-the-radar gay destinations in Europe – in part due to comparatively low prices and vibrant gay nightlife scene here! Anyone who knows anything about the Spanish knows they love a good party, and while Valencia might be relaxed by day, the nightlife here is anything but!
New bars and club events are taking place consistently here, so it pays to ask around when you arrive (hotel staff are a good bet) but historic El Carme district in the Old Town plays host to most gay bars here. Things will get crazy – but just go with it!
The Muse – A spacious gay bar filled of cute guys with an even cuter smile. Mixed ages but pretty much everyone here is gay and just out to have fun. Muse is the place to start your night with a few pre-party drinks before heading out to Deseo54, and Pub Dakota are both about 5 minutes walking distance away.
Cafe de las Horas – Ohhh hunting, this is what we came for! An adorable Parisian style parlor with tea, cakes and fab, fab, fabulous cabaret shows that will leave you gagging! Message ahead on their Facebook page to find out event details. Otherwise, the decor is so chic – and the bar well-stocked- you should pop in here anyway for its old world vibes. Can you tell we are in love???
Cross – A late-night gay dive bar which has very…mixed / polar-opposite reviews but the drag shows look fun here. We didn’t have the chance to go so can’t say, either way, just watch your gear as hustlers will take any opportunities and you should have a great time.
Pub BUBU – Calling all bear, otters, panda, fetish-lovers and their admirers – BUB is the bar for you. Friendly, cheap drinks and 80s / 90s throwback music for the older clientele. Pub BUBU is always a good time, just check their opening time and dates before heading out as it always seems to be changing.
Trapezzio Gay-Friendly Cafe – Nice chilled out place in the heart of the Valencia gay area, the El Carme district. The large terrace and efficient bartender are a big draw, as are the relaxed vibes as you watch the world go by.
Pub Dakota – A gay pub popular with the bear and leather crowd with raunchy shows, themed nights and plenty of manly vibes.
Desero 54 – Our favourer gay club in Valencia to party the night away with queer family. Gorgeously toned Spanish torsos, world-class sound system and plenty of international DJ events. There is one main large dance floor and a VIP area upstairs if your feeling like a high-roller. If you cheap like us, you can often get entry with a free flyer by hanging out at the Muse gay bar.
Piccadilly Downtown Club – Popular mixed venue but hey if you want to forget you’re in Spain and instead wait forever in a line to get into a Londen-esque venue, be our guests. Expect hipster-posh vibes with plenty of indie, techno and 90’s punk rock music.
Barberbirborbur – Mixed / gay-friendly venue open late at night. We loved the crowded dance floor, DJ who actually knew what he was doing and ‘post-gay’ atmosphere.
Bowie Show Discoteca – A mixed ‘anything can happen’ hipster club with great costumes, fun events and really, you can never be sure what to expect. Just take a look at their upcoming events and see for yourself!
Club Fetish – For those who can never get enough, this after, after party, Gay club event takes place every Saturday and Sunday starting at 6.30am. Our momma told us nothing good will come of this and boy – should we have listened to her!
Gay Cruising & Gay Saunas in Valencia
Had enough of gay cruising in Valencia – either in the bars or elsewhere? For those who want a bit more guaranteed action, the gay saunas in Valencia will not disappoint you (unlikely all those faceless accounts on Grindr or the other hook up apps…). In such a foreign-friendly city you should have no issues visiting any Valencia gay sauna, but you could also consider the gay cruising bars in Valencia If you’re shy, or new to this experience – check out our first-time gay sauna guide before you go!
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Sauna Olympic – The best gay sauna in Valencia with 24 hours ‘non-stop’ fun on the weekend. We don’t love that you can smoke inside, but it is very popular – especially after 4 pm on the weekends. Large double jacuzzi, cinema, sauna and very clean. Its pretty dark though – hopefully, they add a few more lights soon.
Thermas Romeo – A small and dirty sauna close to Sauna Olympic with male massages in Valencia and plenty of rent-boys. We don’t love it – but they have a dry and steam sauna, dark room, porn room and private cabins.
Magnus Sauna – Closed as of 2017 for renovations, we are not sure if this gay sauna in Valencia is ever opening again. Magnus was a large cruising pool in a Greek spa setting perfect for relaxing, and we would love to see it back. Please contact us if it re-opens.
Hòmens – A gay cruising club in Valencia with a particular focus on fetishes. They have all the normal amenities: dark room, maze, porn room, sling, a fully-stocked bar and private cabins. Free entrance with a variety of themed events – but the most popular is their Naked Sunday Funday events.
NuncaDigoNO – Mostly older, less-fit guys and be aware some younger gay-for-pay hang around here too. More conservative ‘cruise bar’ though still with slings, maze, dark room and cabins. Most guys here seem to only take their shirt off and be shy but were pretty good looking. A good daily happy hour and is busiest on their Underwear party on Thursdays.
Moratin 7 – Listed as some of the best gay cruising Valencia has to offer, but in reality, there is nothing her besides an overpriced bar and hustlers offering gay-for-pay. Best avoided.