Madrid and Barcelona might get more attention, but Seville — Spain’s fourth largest city — has a thriving LGBTQ+ community all its own. Take a stroll around the Alameda de Hércules, the center of the action, and you’ll spot groups of queer students hanging out in the squares or same-sex couples enjoying a meal at one of small eateries with tables spilling out onto the street. The city has a relaxed vibe that makes it easy to explore.
Are you Seville-bound and LGBTQ+? Here’s everything you need to know about what the city is like, where to find like-minded people, and the year’s biggest and best LGBTQ+ cultural events.
What Attitudes Towards LGBTQ+ People are Like
If you’re an LGBTQ+ person, you’re likely to feel at home in Seville. Although it doesn’t have the bustling gay neighborhoods you’d find in larger cities, the capital of Andalusia is generally warm and welcoming.
Spain is considered to be one of the most LGBTQ+ friendly countries in the world. Polls by the Pew Research Center reveal that nearly 9 out of 10 people are accepting of queer people. Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation has been banned nationwide since 1995.
When it comes to trans people, 87% of those polled say they should be protected from discrimination. Not all parts of the country have banned discrimination against trans people, but Andalusia has.
Alameda de Hércules
The Alameda de Hércules — which locals refer to simply as La Alameda — is a long, narrow plaza first built in 1574. Running through the historic district, it’s easy to find because of the towering columns topped by statues of Hercules and Julius Caesar. The surrounding streets have many LGBTQ+ establishments, many of them flying a rainbow flag.
La Alameda is filled with people day and night, so it always feels safe for a stroll. You won’t have any trouble finding sidewalk cafes where you can stop for a cappuccino, or a tapas bar where you can fortify yourself before a night out on the town.
Credit: Turismo de Sevilla
Where To Go First
The official name is the Metropol Parasol, but everyone refers to this as Las Setas, or “The Mushrooms.” Called the world’s largest wooden structure, it’s a series of six undulating peaks inspired by the trees in nearby Plaza de Cristo de Burgos. Take a stroll along the top and you’ll get a view of one of the city’s most historic neighborhoods. It was designed by Jürgen Hermann Mayer, a gay architect known for his imaginative structures.
Photo credit: Turismo de Sevilla
Parque de Maria Luisa
Head to Parque de Maria Luisa, where you’re likely to spot other LGBTQ+ folks ambling among the groves of manicured orange trees and clusters of leafy palms. There is a half mile of walkways leading past gushing fountains, the most impressive of which is the handsome Fuente de los Leones. At one corner is Plaza España, where mosaic tiled bridges cross a sweeping canal. It’s the location for the festival that caps off Andalusia Pride.
Photo credit: Sevilla Congress & Convention Bureau
A 2½-hour drive from Seville, the beachfront community of Torremolinos has one of the most welcoming LGBTQ+ scenes in Andalusia. Located on the Costa del Sol — the Sun Coast — Torremolinos has a two extremely popular gay beaches, Eden and El Gato. It’s a great weekend destination in late spring or early fall, when the temperatures aren’t too bad. It’s sweltering in summer.
Photo credit: Turismo Andalucia
It has a smaller LGBTQ+ scene than nearby Torremolinos, but beautiful Marbella is an extremely popular beach getaway on the Costa del Sol. It’s also a 2½-hour drive from Seville.
Orgullo de Andalucía
Andalusia Pride is a weeklong celebration including a nighttime parade through the streets of Seville and a festival that fills Plaza de España with music and dancing. It’s not just a party, however. There’s a strong political focus, especially when it comes to fighting homophobia in more rural parts of Andalusia.
Credit: Ayuntamiento de Sevilla
Usually held in March and April, this LGBTQ+ film festival screens documentaries, shorts, and features from around the world. Although the name refers to lesbians and gay men, the festival doesn’t shy away from depicting a wide range of queer experiences. The opening and closing parties are great places to meet LGBTQ+ filmmakers.
Photo credit: Andalesgai
The name is a little confusing if you don’t speak Spanish, since it’s a pun on the name of the Guadalquivir River. The “Bear” part of the name refers to brawny or beefy guys. Usually held in October, GuadalkiBear takes place over four days and attracts gay and bi men of all shapes and sizes from around the country. It culminates with a boat party through the center of Seville.
Photo credit: Guadalkibear
Feria de Abril
A colorful cultural festival, La Feria de Abril has been lighting up the city since 1846. The region’s biggest annual event, it includes a week of food and drink, carriage rides, and dancing in the streets. Every year there’s more and more of an LGBTQ+ presence at this celebration of Andalusian life.
Credit: Sevilla Congress & Convention Bureau
Because of its history and culture, Seville is one of the best cities in Europe when you’re studying abroad. And its LGBTQ+ friendly vibe makes it a good choice whether you’re just coming out or have been out, loud, and proud for years.
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