With more then 70,000 gay men from all around the world (and we DO mean it when we say ALL around the world), the circuit festival in Mediterranean Barcelona has become the largest gay festival in the world.
Twelve days of sweaty, shirtless, and sun-drenched parties, all packed together with the sexiest guys on earth, make for the ultimate alternate reality. This is a place where everyone is truly gay, happy, and steaming hot.
If it's your first time at the festival, be prepared for some jaw dropping all over the place as you take in all the hot guys. You will also want to make sure your swimsuit is ready, because you're going to use it a LOT.
So, here are the main things you simply MUST know before planning your trip to the Circuit Festival in Barcelona.
With 12 days of non stop parties, some with as many as 3 different events taking place, it might be difficult for one to choose which to go to.
The answer to this question, then, depends on what kind of parties you like (we’ll cover the different varieties here in a moment), but there is one party that must make your list. This is the mother of all parties, the one thing that the circuit festival is renowned for in the first place. I am, of course, referring to the well-known mega party known as the Water Park day party. Do note that there is also talk of a night water park party, so be on the lookout for that eventuality as well.
The circuit festival itself is 12 days long, usually starting on Thursday, and ending the Monday 12 days after that. Although the official "main" party is on Saturday of the second weekend, everyone actually gets to the circuit for the water park day party.
See a preview of this special event here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QWm4CfR-wQg
A full day in a water park, trapped in a cage of godlike men running around in tiny swimsuits is certainly a fantasy come true. If this is your first time there (as it will NOT be your last for sure), it will truly be a day to remember for quite some time to come.
The water part party is always on Tuesday, so if you're not planning to stay for the duration of the 12 day even (if you do come for the whole duration, I want what you're having please), either plan to arrive there on Monday and stay until the end (which is what most people do), or arrive at opening event and leave after the water park party. The latter will certainly be acceptable, but be prepared for some sad moments on the ride to the airport when you come to the realization that you just left behind all those gorgeous men to enjoy the festival without you.
Right after the water park day party, there is a night party. For this particular party, the park itself and its rides will be closed. Partygoers staying for this special event will all be inside a large venue inside the parameters of the water park.
As for the rest of the line up of parties, they are divided into 2 groups. This is reflective of day parties and night parties, so this is where personal taste comes into play.
The day parties are all about pools, water and hot sun (and hot speedos).
If that sounds appealing to you, I'd recommend focusing on those. The night parties are more dark, sexy, and hardcore.
The main party in on Saturday of the second weekend, with the main pool party taking place just prior to that. In other words, if you have to choose only one of them, you might want to choose according to that.
You can find the line up to the parties, as well as but tickets for them in the official Barcelona circuit festival website.
If you plan to go to many parties, it is really recommended to just buy the all pass bracelet. I usually buy it even if "on paper" it looks like I will be "losing" a few euros. This is because the circuit festival is one giant journey where you simply never know who you're going to meet, and what you may end up wanting to do. The bracelet I am talking about here really allows you the freedom to switch parties at the last minute, or to attend a party that you previously planned on skipping. You can also choose to pop in for and hour or two to check out a party and then leave it (probably not alone) without feeling that you just wasted a party ticket.
If you don't mind paying a little more and just want to decide which parties to go to on the spot, the festival opens an information and ticket selling spot at their main hotel for the event, which is usually located at the NH Calderon hotel. The information spot will be stationed at the hotel lobby for the duration of the festival, and is usually manned from late morning until the late afternoon.
The All parties' bracelet passes usually sell out very fast, so make sure you pre order it and do not wait to buy in at the event itself. Bracelets typically include free visits to the gym.
The circuit festival is extremely well organized. Throughout the duration of the parties, there are non-stop bus shuttles going from and to Plaza Catalunya - a very large square in the heart of Barcelona, which costs only 5 Euro for a round trip.
This is most convenient, and the added bonus of the eye candy that you're going to be seeing on queue will make you thank god you were born.
If you're traveling in a large group, it is highly recommended to rent an apartment for the duration of your stay. You will, however, want to make sure you reserve one early, as people reserve them a year in advance.
The best area to find a flat is close to Plaza Catalunya, A big and central square area where bus shuttles go nonstop to and from the parties.
If you're more of a Hotel kind of guy (like I am), then a recommended option is to reserve a room at the official event hotel, the NH Calderon hotel.
This 4 star stylish hotel has great staff who are well aware of the festival you came to attend, and its sexually charged nature, so the atmosphere is perfect. At the hotel, you have the added bonus of having breakfast with all the hot guys staying in the vicinity, so this is a priceless experience. Staying at the hotel can also occasionally lead to nice (and satisfying) encounters with hot guys.
An added benefit is that this hotel, being in the center of the festival action, will make your Grindr literally explode. You may not need this much, however, as the hotel lobby itself often becomes a cruising area. To round things out, the hotel also has complete event information and ticket selling capabilities located directly in the hotel lobby.
Do not be able to reserve a room directly at the hotel for the dates of the festival as it will show as being sold out for the duration. In order to reserve your room, you will want to go through the official Barcelona circuit festival website. The prices, by the way, are lower anyway because reserving the entire hotel allows them to offer great rates.
Another good hotel option is the VERY gay hotel Axel. This location has a steamy sauna and a gym, as expected from a gay hotel. Even if you don't reside there, the hotel holds open roof parties that are worth a visit, so check in to see when those are held.
The best way to pass "non party" time is at the very packed Mar Bella beach. You can easily get there in just a few minutes walk from the tram station. By the way, it is pronounced "Mar beya" if you're trying to interact with the locals.
And yes, the Mojitos at the bar there are just perfection.
Another option, for an all day site seeing affair, would be to take a train to the small (very gay) town called Sitdges.
So, that about sums it up, but don't forget the most important advice of all - wear sun screen.