Spain

by Ucman Scher
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Solo Gay Trip Guide to Spain

España oh dear España!! I have never been to a country that is so different from one region to another and so enchanting and warm! Each region is a must-visit which is why you will see most cities under Spain in my blog. They all happened at different times and different stages in my life and I’m ever so grateful for the gifts that my solo trip to Spain bestowed upon my relatively insignificant life (my ego just threw a major fit when I wrote that, narcissism!).

You will get everything in Spain from beaches to mountains to glaciers to rivers and streams, jungles and plains to fields full of fresh tomatoes to olive groves, bullfight rings to modern food markets, crazy parties, happy people, winter sun and fresh fruits all year round.

Fun Fact: Outside Kashmir, Spain is the only place that produces good quality Saffron, an association I’m very proud of, such a beautiful bond between my homeland and this home away from home.

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My first solo trip to Spain was to Gran Canaria during Christmas and New Years Holidays. Next year I chose Tenerife to get some sun when Europe was plunged in grey clouds and rain. That summer I went to visit Barcelona with one of my best friends and last year I popped into Madrid before going to Brazil. The last trip was this year when I went to see Alhambra in Granada along with Mezquita Cathedral in Córdoba and Alcazaba in Malaga. From Catalonia to Andalusia, Spain is a sheer treat no matter what you fancy doing, the country offers it all with a smile.

Tenerife

Spain is one of the biggest countries in Europe and with its glorious past, amazing beaches, partying culture, scrumptious food. It is a unique blend and the culture is quite similar in terms of its warmth with all the differences in the culture across regions.

Want to plan your perfect trip? Read this.

Granada

Is Spain Racist?

Pfffff! Spaniards would be the last people I’d associate with racism. People from small shops to those on streets and everyone above and below is really nice. The country is very used to tourists of all colours and shapes and the majority is not racist at all. I haven’t had a whiff of racism in all 6 of my trips and have yet to meet a racist Spaniard…

Is Spain Safe For LGBT Travellers?

Spanish guys are the hottest, most amazing and super friendly guys on the planet along with Brazilians. I made so many friends all around the country and I love them to death for being so amazing and loving. One day, hopefully, I’ll marry one of the Spaniards or Brazilians if my dream came true?

During my solo trip to Spain, I did not feel threatened or judged for being gay because people are very sweet when it comes to sexuality. Despite its catholic past, Spain is very liberal when it comes to integration of gay culture in modern society. Madrid Pride is one of the biggest in the world and people just love getting drunk and partying instead of being judgemental and hateful.

Grindr, scruff and hornet are all teeming with guys one hotter than last but the thing that sets Spain apart is the attitude of guys; extremely friendly. This is a bit of a change from other European gay scenes where the culture is great but people are reserved.

Another reason I loved this country and its gay culture is lack of drug use. While some guys are addicted and you do see some chem sex invites in Madrid and mostly in Barcelona, the smaller cities are almost drug-free, absolutely love it!!

Read about staying safe during solo travelling.

Cordoba

Is Spain Expensive?

Spain is relatively quite an economical place even in bigger cities like Barcelona. Food and accommodation, as well as public transport, is cheap. The Canary Islands are expensive if you stay too close to the tourist areas but local stuff is cheap.

Spain uses Euro as its currency and card payments are generally quite widely accepted in the cities. It also includes contactless payments even though it is a little less common in the Canary Islands.

Cash machines and money exchange are also available quite easily. I suggest keeping some money around because I  remember some bars and places which were not too keen on card payments.

Check out the guide to finding the best accommodation in a new city.

How to Find Accommodation In Spain?

I would highly recommend Airbnb for mainland and hotels for the Canary Islands for accommodation in Spain. Please check the individual posts for the cities here to find recommendations on where to stay.

During my solo trip to Spain, I found that the best area to stay in Gran Canaria is Las Palmas. You can divide your time between the gay Maspalomas and the capital in the north; Las Palmas. Staying at one place here will be an utter loss because you need to party in Maspalomas and enjoy the island in Las Palmas.

Similarly, you can divide your time between Santa Cruz and Las Americas in Tenerife although Tenerife doesn’t have a very established gay scene.

For Madrid, I would definitely recommend Chueca which is the gay area. It is also very central and has a lot of good options for food including 2 food markets and everything is close by.

The gay area for Barcelona is called Eixample (Giaxample in Catalan). The central area is around La Rambla which I’d recommend over the gay area but they are not very far from each other.

Andalusia is generally quite chilled. Since the cities are small, staying in the city centre is quite convenient for Granada, Cordoba and Malaga.

In Granada, you also have the option to stay in Albyzin which is the old Moorish districts. You do need to be able to climb stairs but the views from the top, especially of Alhambra at night, are totally worth it.

What Is Food Like In Spain?

Everyone has heard of tapas and paella, these are the signature dishes of Spanish food. But, Spain has so much variety in each region and city that you will never get bored.

During my solo trip, I found that the best part of Spain is the food markets. Every city on the mainland has modern food markets in the city centre that bring about the best the city has to offer. Apart from Lisbon, I’ve never seen markets so nicely organised with such a great collection. Seafood, paella, tapas (Pintxos in Catalonia), Rabo de toro in Andalusia, fresh grilled fish and calamari in the Canary Islands. The options are endless…

Fun Fact: During the Spanish Inquisition years people lived in fear of being blamed to be Jewish or Muslim. The easiest way to disprove that was through pork and Spanish food is full of pork meat in one form or another even till today.

Tip: In Catalonia, tapas means a full portion of food. You should instead order Pintxos which are smaller bite-size portions like tapas in the rest of the country.

Fun Fact: In Andalusia and most of the south, the tapas comes free with the drink. This tradition started from the olden times when people died of alcohol poisoning. This happened because they couldn’t afford either to drink or to eat and you know what they chose. It was established that small portions of bread be given to peasants with a drink to keep them fit for working in the fields.

Which Sim Card To Buy For Spain? Is Internet Good In Spain?

During my solo trip, the phone service was generally quite good and cheap throughout the country. Internet is the same and the reception is very reliable. I always used my roaming but if you wish to buy the prepaid SIM card click here.

Though it is a little less common in the Canary Islands, but Wifi is readily available throughout all the cities. But even in the Canary Islands, I am sure it has gotten better with time.

Practical Travel Tips For Spain

  • You will need a lot of sunscreen in this country especially in the south. It is warm with a lot of sun shining throughout the year.
  • I’d recommend buying some beach towels and hats. There are a lot of really cool places to relax and chill out without any sunbeds and umbrellas.
  • There’s a lot of options to try Water sports (not that kind..) with beaches in almost every seaside town. I’d highly recommend trying scuba, especially in the Canary Islands.
  • The partying scene is quite big is Spain. Timings are different with people getting to dinner around 10pm and clubs opening at 1am till sunrise, pace yourself accordingly.
  • Siesta is quite an important part of Spanish culture and you should try it as well, it does wonders. Also, nothing happens during the sun blazing down so don’t go out looking for things to do at that time.
  • During the summer, Spain can go as hot at 40-45 degrees. You should always check the temperatures before heading out, sunburn is a nasty bitch.

Read more tips and tools you can use during travelling.

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