Local Euro bears open their dens to their international brothers at these woofy annual gatherings, making them great opportunities not only to see new places but to meet new friends (and, of course, taste plenty of foreign bear sweat) at the same time.
Early September (exact 2015 dates TBA)
Another of the more outdoorsy European bear events is Reykjavik’s Bears on Ice in September. Plenty of the requisite indoor bear fun goes down here, to be sure, but with Iceland’s natural beauty calling all around, there are also unique outdoor activities like a rendezvous in the famous Blue Lagoon geothermal spa. Check out this video for a recap of the 2013 event.
International Bears Week
Friday, Sept 4–Sunday, Sept 13, 2015
One of the biggest European bear events on the annual calendar, September’s International Bears Week takes place in the very gay-friendly resort town of Sitges, Spain, on the Mediterranean coast just south of Barcelona. A multitude of parties and events take place in the town’s many gay bars over the course of the 10-day festival, including the crowning of Mr Bear Sitges. Here’s how it all looked in 2013.
Bear Pride Cologne
Late November (exact 2015 dates TBA)
Another of Europe’s bigger annual bear convergences is Cologne’s Bear Pride, which celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2014. Taking place over five days in late November, the festival includes events at local bars and saunas, a bear bowling session, a bear city tour and the selection of Mr Bear Germany. With numerous Christmas markets also happening across the city at this time of year, it’s a lovely season to visit what’s often called Germany’s gay capital. Have a look at the teaser from Bear Pride Cologne 2009.
Early December (exact 2015 dates TBA)
What better way to close out the year than in the sexy Spanish capital for a week of bearishly good fun. Madrid’s many bear-friendly bars, clubs and saunas get in on the action with parties and events, and everyone’s in a party mood since the week always encompasses two national holidays in Spain. Here’s one attendee’s personal recap from 2013’s MadBear.