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City Guide: Seville

Gay nightlife is vibrant year-round — and the bear hunting is great

Credit: Vintage Club

When it comes to Spain, Barcelona and Madrid are considered the main gay destinations, but don’t tell that to Seville — the artistic, cultural, and financial capital of southern Spain.

Gay nightlife is vibrant year-round: stroll down to La Alameda de Hércules, a square named after the legendary founder, where most of the city’s best gay bars are located.

As for finding your own demigod, you’re on your own, but if it’s big you like, you’re in luck. The city has a large bear population, and every fall the population swells even more for a hirsute festival called GuadalkiBear — a play on the Guadalquivir River that runs alongside town.

There’s also a developing gay presence at the carnival-like Feria, a citywide festival held each year in April or May.

Seville has a compact downtown made for strolling. Traffic in these narrow streets is difficult and signs are confusing, so except for when taking out of town trips, a car is more hassle than it’s worth. Taxis are everywhere, and not expensive. A short trolley line covers a route down the main street.

The Moorish-style Alcázar, the old palace, is a stunning sight. Make sure to take a stroll through the formal gardens in the rear. The Catedral de Sevilla dominates the center of the city — not surprising, as it’s one of the largest cathedrals in the world. The bell tower, called the Giralda, is built in an obviously different style because it was the minaret of the mosque at this site. Don’t miss the neighborhood of Santa Cruz, the old Jewish Quarter until the Jews were expelled from the city in 1483.

For nightlife check out our complete listings of bars, pubs and clubs.  El Bosque Animado is a popular 8pm-3am gay cafe and bar, busiest Fridays and Saturdays, with a large late-night terrace crowd; coffees and pastries, holiday fiestas, mostly gay men but with a women/straight-friendly mix. For a mixed, mostly younger male crowd, shows, go-go dancers and theme parties head to the gay dance club/cocktail lounge Gold Sevilla.

Itaca is a cocktail lounge with disco dancing, go-go dancers, and chill-out and cruise areas. Wednesday and Thursday there’s drag shows. The club also does theme nights and UnderwearPride and Rome special event parties.

Men to Men attracts bears and the men’s cruising crowd DJs, dancing, drag shows, porn videos, dark room and cabins spread over two floors. Sauna Hispalis has dry and steam saunas, Jacuzzi, porn videos, cabins, darkroom and cruise maze; popular Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons.

For more on gay Seville, see our in depth City Guide, and for the most up-to-date travel information check our Listings GuideEvents Guide and Activities Guide.

For a longer road trip vacation, plan a drive from Seville to Barcelona, taking in Madrid en route; ideally you’d have at least two weeks, so you could spend a few days in each city. Madrid is a five hour drive northeast of Seville. From Madrid, head northeast again, driving six hours to Barcelona. With more time, you can work out an alternate route to include Valencia on the coast. If you not up for driving, a multi-city trip is easily done by train or plane.

Explore a selection of Madrid travel articles and Barcelona travel articles.

Are you wondering what time of year is good to visit Spain