Torremolinos: Where Spain’s gay rights movement began

Torremolinos: Where Spain’s gay rights movement began

Today, those pioneers would likely be thrilled to know that this 68,000-person community is home to dozens of thriving queer bars, clubs and businesses. Marco America, founder of, explained that in the 13 years since he moved here, he’s seen Torremolinos change significantly, in large part thanks to its Pride festival that attracts 50,000 people, as well as eight or nine annual other annual LGBTQ+ festivals, such as Infinity, Mad Bear Beach and Matrix.

Gill Douglas, owner of the gay bar Boomerang, swapped Scotland for Torremolinos two decades ago. “Over the years, there have been multiple venues for women, but the scene now is thankfully integrated,” she said. “You’ll find everyone sitting comfortably together in Torremolinos the way it should be. There are still a couple of monthly girls’ nights, and Boomerang has customers from across the spectrum and of every nationality… exactly the way I wanted it.”

After finishing my beer on our first night in town, my boyfriend and I left the drag bar and explored the scene, from La Nogalera’s lively wine bar El Armario Bodega to the capacious club Aqua and long-established Men’s Bar, home to an older crowd . Meanwhile, down on the seafront, there were LGBTQ+-friendly beach clubs like Eden and El Gato, where Pride flags flew high on breezy Playa del Bajondillo. Nearby was the LGBTQ+ hub, Hotel Ritual.

Torremolinos has had quite the cultural journey, and its story is still evolving. But according to Pérez, the one thing sure to resonate with visitors today is how “all can fully live their sexual orientation or identity without feeling discriminated or violated – in absolute freedom”.

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