A beginner’s guide to Spain
Not only is Spain a large country in terms of size, there’s also a huge wealth of destinations waiting to be explored and discovered by the eager traveller.
Each region has its own character and traditions, and whatever your interests - food, culture, beach, history, nightlife - then you’ll find what you’re looking for somewhere in Spain.
Here’s some of the highlights to consider adding to your itinerary.
- This beach-side party city ticks pretty much all the boxes for a summer break.
- The huge stretch of beach sets the pace and rhythm for the city. The whole beach is pretty queer-friendly, but if you want to hang out and meet the locals then the official gay and clothing optional section is called Mar Bella.
- Barcelona’s nightlife is mainly found in the Eixample neighbourhood. Everything starts late and finishes late, so make sure you’ve had a siesta before heading out.
- Gaudi’s extraordinary cathedral is well worth a visit - make sure you book in advance. For food-lovers, the massive Boqueria food market is the perfect spot to grab some lunch.
- If you fancy a day-trip, then beach resort Sitges is an easy train-ride away.
- Denia is a small, sleepy beach-side town, on the coast between Alicante and Valencia.
- This is where families from Madrid come for their vacation. The beach is good, and it’s a slow pace of life that revolves around food and family.
- There are numerous festivals held throughout the year - one of the best is the Fallas festival which involves huge bonfires being lit throughout the old town.
- Great weather and great beaches, this is a classic European party-island destination.
- It is all fairly basic - nothing wrong with that, it is what it is - don’t arrive thinking it’s going to be all Ibiza-style-glamour. Gran Canaria is more Benidorm than Marbella.
- Gran Canaria is an incredibly queer and queer-friendly kind of place. A bit like Sitges, but a bit more gay and a lot more naked. Pretty much all the beaches are clothing optional.
- Granada is an interesting city - there’s lots of history, good restaurants, and it’s a great place to see some flamenco dancing. But the main reason to visit Granada is to see the Alhambra.
- Perfectly situated on top of a hill, overlooking the city, the Alhambra is a royal residence that was built by the ruling Moors in the 13th century.
- A complex series of buildings and gardens - much of which is still intact - the Alhambra is an astonishing example of Moorish architecture.
- The iconic Belearic party island has been setting the standard for decades.
- Still delivering an unbeatable combination of great weather, stunning beaches, and big nights out, for many people Summer doesn’t feel complete unless it has included a wild week in Ibiza.
- During the day, you’ll find that most people head to Playa Es Cavallet - the queer-friendly nudist beach with a big stretch of golden sand and gentle waves perfect for swimming. This beach gets busy around midday, with a party atmosphere kicking in as the afternoon unwinds - Chiringay beach bar provides the music, food, and refreshments.
- Regardless of your plans for the evening, most likely you’ll start the night off in the old town of Ibiza - there’s plenty of restaurants for dinner, and lots of small bars where you can meet up with friends and make plans.
- Part of the Canary Island group that sits to the south of mainland Spain, Lanzarote offers fantastic weather and an extraordinary landscape.
- If you’re into kite surfing, then this is an ideal destination as the wind is reliably good. Otherwise, you can marvel at the volcanic plains that give this island an otherworldly feel.
- Spain’s capital city is rich in history and culture, but also has a fairly hard-core nightlife if that’s what you’re looking for.
- The LGBTQ district of the city is Chueca - right in the heart of the action, just off Gran Via which is the imposing avenue that is a useful reference point when trying to find your bearings.
- For years, the island of Mallorca has been one of the preferred options for British tourists looking for some sun.
- Palma is the main city on the island. It’s family-friendly, and a bit upmarket.
- Magaluf is the town that has attracted a younger crowd looking for inexpensive package deals and some wild nights.
- Just a short distance from Barcelona is the beach-side resort town of Sitges.
- Hugely popular with families and young people, this also a big destination for queer guys.
- One of Spain’s ancient port cities, Valencia has a wealth of history that is worth discovering.
- Stop for lunch in the city’s food market - a big space with a great range of fresh produce and cafes where you can grab a bite to eat.
- Explore the city’s many churches, and its walled fortifications - some of which are still standing today.