We love visiting Barcelona – the architecture, the layout, the people and just about everything in between. Barcelona is the best of all worlds. It’s gothic yet modern, cosmopolitan and bustling yet relaxed and easy.

The works of architect Antoni Gaudí first captured our attention in Catalonia’s capital. All of our Barcelona itineraries have been skewed toward seeing his masterpieces. Last time, in fact, we stayed as close as we could to perhaps his most famous work, La Sagrada Familia, so that we could see it multiple times a day.

As a gay couple, what really keeps us coming back to Barcelona is its openness and warmth. Having legalized same-sex marriage in 2005, Barcelona is seen as a progressive international destination, and is home to a significant LGBT population.

When we’re ready for a coffee, a bite to eat, or maybe just some people watching, we head straight to Barcelona’s Eixample district. In addition to its gay-friendly vibe, the area’s grid design makes it easy to navigate (this is not often the case in European cities).

 

This area also boasts a majority of the city’s art nouveau architecture, which means the building-watching is nearly as fun as the people-watching.

When looking at a map, you’ll see that Passeig de Gràcia is at the core of Eixample, and the border between “Eixample left” and “Eixample right.” as they are known. The right side is better known for its architecture, while the left side is better known for its shopping and café culture.

Another thing we like to do when we visit Barcelona: Get out of Barcelona!

 

A street in Sitges

 

During our last visit, we made the short train trip to Sitges, a seaside town that is known as one of the most gay friendly places in the world. With about 20 beaches, the 23-mile journey is well worth the effort. You easily could make it a day trip or spend a few days.

Viewfinder Tip: Consider exploring the towns just outside of urban destinations.

Sitges certainly has charm. The narrow streets – all of which seem to lead to the waterfront – are incredibly picturesque and help to produce the kinds of photos that you can’t wait to show off to friends and family back home.

Aside from walking along the waterfront and snapping pictures for hours, we broke with Kent-and-Caanan tradition and bought into the local late-night shenanigans a couple of times. You’ve heard the saying about how when you’re in Rome you should do like the Romans do? It turns out the same thing could be said for Spain.

What’s your idea of a good time in and around Barcelona?