Open and cosmopolitan Madrid is one of Europe's leading cities when it comes to gay lifestyle. There's a vibrant LGBT scene to be found here, and as a result Spain's capital attracts a mass of gay travelers every year. In terms of attractions, Madrid offers everything, from gay clubs to restaurants, bars and even hostels. What's more, the city's Gay Pride event is one of the biggest in the world.
The Madrid Gay Pride festival takes place every year on the 4th of July; every year it proves a massive success, mixing just the right elements of fun, political awareness, and communal camaraderie. Travelers head to Madrid solely to take in the festival (although that's not to say Madrid doesn't boast of other attractions as well!), and are well catered for by the city's extensive tourist provisions.
If you're thinking of heading to Madrid for the 4th of July this year, take a look over the information below to see how you can really make the most of your stay in the capital.
Madrid Gay Hostels
Madrid boasts of two hostels that identify themselves with the gay scene.
The first is Gay Hostel Puerta del Sol Madrid, which combines hostel prices and a hostel atmosphere with hotel facilities: rooms are all private, and most come with television, air-con, and en-suite bathroom. Widely considered an excellent Madrid gay hostel, its impressive facilities are matched by the friendly and fun atmosphere that permeates the whole place.
The second Madrid gay hostel is the Gay Pizarro Hostal. Located in the Chueca neighborhood (Madrid's version of San Fran's Castro), it's a small and swanky affair that boasts of trendy minimalist décor, extremely helpful staff, and organized nights out at the various gay bars and clubs in the surrounding streets.
The main event at the Madrid Pride (as with other Prides around the world), is the parade, which is basically a huge party-procession that follows an organized route through the city. This route tends to start at Plaza de la Independencia, before making its way through Calle Alcala and Calle Gran Via. Its final destination is the iconic Plaza de Espana, where festivities are brought to climax with a live music show.
Aside from the parade itself, there's a wealth of activities during the week leading up to the event which comprise the Madrid Gay Pride festival. These range from gay rights speeches to late-night parties. There's normally a theme that holds everything together; in 2008 it was 'acknowledging the rights of lesbian women'.
Madrid is, of course, on of Europe's top travel destinations, and you don't need the Gay Pride to make it appealing to backpackers from across the globe. This thrusting, bustling city is awash with things to do for the traveler, which means you can easily extend your stay either side of the Pride itself and enjoy Madrid as it basks in the summer sun that blesses central Spain at this time of year.