Despite being a primarily Catholic country, Spain enjoys a flourishing gay community which boasts many of the most lively and popular gay districts in Europe. Following the death of fascist dictator Franco in 1975, the country experienced a surge of liberalism, and the civil rights of many regional and minority groups were returned to them. Nowadays, Spain has some of the most forward-thinking and enlightened laws in Europe regarding the freedoms and rights of homosexuals, and the country saw its first gay marriage in July 2005.

Why stay in a B&B?

B&Bs are as individual as the guests who stay in them. Personalised service, home cooked breakfasts and a friendly, family atmosphere are just a few of the reasons why more and more holidaymakers are choosing this type of accommodation. B&Bs rely on repeat business and word-of-mouth to survive, meaning that hosts will go out of their way to ensure you have a memorable stay, and the fact that B&Bs usually have just a handful of guests allows for more individual attention and a higher level of service. The intimate setting creates a sociable atmosphere where guests can share restaurant recommendations and make new friends over breakfast.

Here is a selection of some of BedandBreakfastworld.com's favourite gay friendly bed and breakfasts in Spain.

Hostal Pizarro in Madrid

Book gay B&B Hostal Pizarro in MadridHidden behind an elegant, neo-gothic façade at the heart of Madrid is gay bed and breakfast Hostal Pizarro. This modernist building, which was once the head office of Spanish newspaper El Correo, has 17 recently refurbished rooms, all equipped with en-suite bathrooms, satellite TV, WiFi and minibars.

The capital of Spain is known for its all-night partying, and the gay scene is just as wild - the annual pride parade, Orgullo Gay, is the largest in Europe. Hostal Pizarro enjoys an ideal location, just a stone's throw away from Chueca, where the hottest venues on Madrid's gay scene can be found. Also nearby are the popular areas of Sol, Gran Vía and Malasaña, and all of the city's best attractions are within walking distance.

Hostal Pizarro aims to promote an atmosphere of mutual respect and harmony. It has two comfortable lounges where guests can relax with a drink and get to know their fellow travelers, and staff are always on hand to provide information about Madrid's latest gay and lesbian events or discounts to some of the best clubs in town.

Book gay B&B Hostal Pizarro in Madrid

Vrabac in Barcelona

Book gay friendly B&B Vrabac in BarcelonaBarcelona has a stylish gay scene centred around the area of L'Eixample to the North West of the city centre, an easy walk or metro ride from the Ramblas. Just like in the rest of Spain, things really don't get going until well after midnight, with many clubs not even opening until 3am.

Located in the city's lively Gothic Quarter, just moments away from the famous Ramblas and within easy reach of the beach, is gay friendly boutique B&B Vrabac. Set in a modernist building on Calle Portaferissa, the B&B has 10 individually styled guestrooms.

The friendly owners aim to offer guests a home from home, while still providing the luxury holiday experience. Guests are greeted with a welcome drink before being shown to their cosy rooms where they can relax and recharge for a night out in buzzing Barcelona.

Book gay friendly B&B Vrabac in Barcelona

Turisgayvalencia Centro in Valencia

Book gay bed and breakfast Turisgayvalencia Centro in ValenciaValencia has a vibrant gay scene which is more authentically Spanish than that of other cities around Spain, and is known for being more liberal than even Madrid or Barcelona.

Located within walking distance of trendy Barrio del Carmen and Carrer Quart, Valencia's main gay district, Turisgayvalencia Centro is a luxury gay B&B. Set in a modern apartment which accommodates up to 7 guests, you have the feel of a private home with the freedom of a hotel.

Each guestroom is dedicated to a classic Hollywood actress; Hepburn, Garbo, Dietrich and Kelly are all honoured in style in rooms featuring WiFi, air conditioning and flat-screen TVs, as well as luxurious beds fitted with aloe vera-infused memory-foam mattresses. Some rooms have en-suite bathrooms and others have private balconies overlooking the street.

Book gay bed and breakfast Turisgayvalencia Centro in Valencia

Antonio's Guesthouse in Sitges

Book gay friendly B&B Antonio's Guesthouse in SitgesThe small coastal city of Sitges is the undeniable gay capital of Spain. Its nightlife is lively but more laidback than that of larger cities such as Madrid. With the bright lights of Barcelona just half an hour away, Sitges provides the perfect location for a relaxing beach holiday that still has plenty of action.

Stepping into gay friendly bed and breakfast Antonio's Guesthouse is like coming home to the holiday house you wish you owned. The six elegantly decorated rooms are light and airy, and each is named after a different gay capital of the world: Mykonos, Amsterdam, Brighton, Ibiza, Key West, Amsterdam and Berlin. All rooms boast their own private terrace, perfect for enjoying a morning mimosa or an evening sundowner, and the ground-floor rooms open up on to the large, manicured garden.

Guests can also make use of a cosy living room, tastefully furnished with antiques, and a sunny conservatory, and the whole property can be booked for families or groups of friends holidaying together.

Book gay friendly B&B Antonio's Guesthouse in Sitges

Hostal Los Geranios in Torremolinos

Book gay friendly B&B Hostal Los Geranios in TorremolinosOnce a favourite with British holidaymakers, Torremolinos has undergone a facelift to emerge one of Spain's top gay destinations. Buzzing with stylish bars and new clubs, the old favourites of sun, sea and sand are still guaranteed.

A beautiful Andalusian villa surrounded by fruit trees is home to gay friendly bed and breakfast Hostal Los Geranios, a friendly guesthouse located in a quiet, residential area of Torremolinos. The property has 15 air-conditioned guestrooms, all well appointed with en-suite bathrooms and direct access to the garden.

Despite its picturesque setting, Hostal Los Geranios is only a few minutes from the centre of Torremolinos and just a short, 3-minute drive from the fabulous Bajondillo Beach.The property is also within easy reach of all the best restaurants, bars and clubs that Torremolinos has to offer.

Book gay friendly B&B Hostal Los Geranios in Torremolinos

For more information about travel in Spain visit www.spain.info.

Do you own a B&B in any of the areas mentioned in this feature? List your property for free on BedandBreakfastworld.com.

By Eleanor Brown

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