Being located in Spain and a part of the EU, the small city of Stiges would necessarily register as a very LGBT-friendly destination. However, it is an exceptional gay paradise that is quickly finding its feet and challenging some of the more established and renowned vacation spots in the region.
Visitors are sometimes amazed when they visit Stiges for the first time (and even subsequent times) as the town of less than 30,000 residents can feel like an entire gay district on its own. Just to be clear, ‘gay’ here means ‘gay male’ – summertime in Stiges transforms it into an almost exclusive haven for men.
Stiges is just south of Barcelona, in the Catalan region of Spain. As with all the best gay vacation spots, there are ample stretches of beach – 17 of them to be exact – on which to indulge in sunning, swimming and people-watching.
The Platja d’Aiguadolç is commonly accepted as the main gay beach but there are a couple of nude beaches further south. The amazing expanse of open air and endless sea are best enjoyed with a cocktail from the chain of bars that line the coast.
There is a huge gay pride event in June which attracts upwards of 50,000 people. Besides the highlight of the parade itself, there are a variety of parties, outdoor concerts and events that pepper the calendar in the lead-up and the aftermath of the celebration.
There is a Gay Spring Break event that is still in its infancy but gaining steam. with minor gay European celebrities making an appearance, drag queen and best bum contests, and a carnival to rival Carnival, watch out as it gets bigger with every year.
The nightlife scene, while obviously smaller than major cities in the region, makes up with density of quality. The evenings start early and carry on well into the early hours of the evening. There is no real weekend vibe because the majority of the gay party animals are on vacation looking for a 24/7 excuse to let their hair down. In times of major gay events like Gay Pride Parade, there is literally no end to the revelry.
What really puts Stiges apart is its natural charm amidst such gorgeous natural surrounds. The residents are very welcoming to the LGBT community, a trait common to the Catalan region. You could always go for Barcelona and other cities for a gay holiday, but with Stiges in the picture, why would you?