Spain is more than Madrid (world famous for its annual Gay Pride each July), Barcelona (with its magnificent Catalan culture and architectural heritage), and Gran Canaria Islands (beautiful beaches). Located along Spain’s southernmost coastline is the fabled Costa Del Sol where the cities of Sevilla, Granada, and Malaga offer tourists a blend of all that and more with its own Pride, historic architecture, and gay friendly beaches.
In the heart of this Andalusian trifecta of destinations is the charming seaside town of Torremolinos. Since the age of the ancient Phoenicians, Greeks, and Carthaginians, this slice of paradise has attracted men drawn by its perpetual sunshine and tranquil waters. Easily accessible from the international airport fifteen minutes away in neighboring Malaga, Torremolinos has become a hub for gay travelers. It co-hosted World Gay Pride with Madrid in 2017, and now has one of the best, and biggest, gay prides each June.
Besides boasting one of the biggest gay beaches on the Mediterranean, with countless bars and cafes lining the busy pedestrian esplanade that curves along the bay, the town also has an impressive number of gay restaurants, bars, clubs, and boutiques. Meeting other gay tourists is easy, especially since so many come from Britain and Scandinavia and with the locals the common language is English.
Perhaps the best place to stay while exploring Andalusia, or just lounging poolside, is the famous Ritual Hotel in the heart of Torremolinos. This hotel has a magnificent view overlooking the bay and is right on the gay beach. It is THE gay resort for the discriminating gay tourist, with boutique style rooms, a professionally equipped gym, a full breakfast buffet (not the usual continental breakfast!), charming, attentive staff, and two pools to choose from (the rooftop one is clothing optional, and gets “busy” by early afternoon so get your chaise lounge early!). Oh, and it is pet friendly! When my husband and I stayed there recently, our slightly spoiled dog was pampered almost as much as us.
In the past the hotel has also hosted a contest to crown “Señor Ritual” which, like my milkshakes, “brings all of the boys to the yard.” For a full immersion into the Andalusian experience, there is no place I would rather be.
This year’s gay pride is XXL for all you size queens, and to make up for the lost year of 2020, the celebration stretches from May 30th through June 6th.