Celebrating Pride in Spain

barcelonaPride season is upon us, and cities and countries around the world are preparing to welcome LGBT travelers with festivals and events. In Spain, however, the parties will continue into July and beyond. Here are a few picks:

A true art lover’s paradise, Madrid is home to the Museo Nacional del Prado, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía and the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza—all within 10 minutes away from one another. And from June 22 to July 1, Madrid hosts its annual Gay Pride week, Europe’s largest pride celebration with nearly 2 million attendees. A part of that is Madrid’s Infinita Gay Week from June 27 to July 1, a series of parties with music, DJs, and costumes. And later in the year, film buffs can check out one of the largest LGBT film events worldwide: Madrid LGBT Film Festival runs from November 1 through November 11, and showcases works by gay and lesbian filmmakers, as well as films dedicated to LGBT subjects.

The country’s most popular destination for gays and lesbians, Barcelona’s art legacy boasts connections to Dalí, Gaudí, and Picasso. Running from June 22 to July 1, Barcelona Pride is arguably the best known LGBT pride festival in the Mediterranean. And 20 miles outside of Barcelona, the Sitges Pride from July 5 through 9. This  beach town is one of Europe’s most popular LGBT resort destinations. From August 2 to 12, the fifth annual Barcelona Circuit Festival will take place in the city.

Gran Canaria
The second largest of the Canary Islands (pictured) is home to dozens of gay bars, restaurants, shops, and clubs situated side-by-side in two large commercial centers in Playa del Inglés, as well as in the town of Maspalomas. From June 28 to July 2, Gay Pride will kick off in Las Palmas, promising a vibrant array of parties and celebrations. Later in the summer, from August 14 through 19, Gran Canaria welcomes its annual Dunas Festival – a gay socio-cultural festival complete with a week of celebrations, theme nights, pool parties, shows, boat cruises, exhibitions, and excursions.

The birthplace of flamenco, tapas, and sherry, Andalusia is perfect for outdoor parties. A 10-minute train ride from Málaga Airport will take visitors to Torremolinos, one of the most popular LGBT resorts in Spain, with easy access from Seville, Cordoba, and Granada. In October, Torremolinos will host Expo Gays 2012, a LGBT travel and tourism trade show. In December, the International LGBT Tourism Meeting will take place in Granada.