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Summer 2007 | EuroPride Madrid: Get the Party Started

Summer 2007 | EuroPride Madrid: Get the Party Started

This is a city where you'll find traffic jams at 3.30 a.m., where the trendiest bar in town is still empty at 11 p.m. After midnight, the closet doors burst open and the city springs to life.

EuroPride (, the premier gay and lesbian Pride event in Europe, has waved its rainbow wand over cities from Rome to Stockholm in its 15 fun years. First held in London in 1992, EuroPride returned to its birthplace last year for a gargantuan gayfest.

This year's celebration is heading for the Spanish capital this year, its first time in the country that legalized same-sex marriage in 2005. EuroPrides feature parties, vigils, parades, cultural and sporting events and a lot of happy homos: EuroPride London attracted 600,000 participants. When this jubilant combination hits the already massive Madrid (June 30-July 2, 2007;, expect one hell of a party.

Why Madrid?
Madrid is a city that knows how to celebrate. Shrug off the jetlag and into your hottest outfit. Those who succumb to early nights will miss Madrid's very best attribute: its late night party scene. One of Europe's most fun capitals, Madrid scintillates with a staggering quantity and diversity of nightlife, including Spain's most active and organized gay scene.

This is a city where you'll find traffic jams at 3.30 a.m., where the trendiest bar in town is still empty at 11 p.m. After midnight, the closet doors burst open and the city springs to life. Have tapas at a raucous bar on a tiny cobblestone alley in Madrid's maze-like medieval heart. Dine in style at one of the many gay-friendly eateries. Then get ready to hit the town.

Insider secrets
Keep in mind that Spaniards are paid monthly and have more money to burn at the beginning of the month. Want to make the best of Madrid's nightlife? Learn the routine -- dinner at 10 or 10:30, followed by a trip to a café for coffee or drinks, then hit the bars at midnight or after, finally ending up at a dance spot about 3 a.m.

Chueca is still very much the sizzling gay hot spot, although gentrification is creeping in and with it, more party-minded (and open-minded) straight folks are to be found mingling on terrazas around Plaza de Chueca. Hip mixed drinking dens include Stars Café and Liquid. The majority of venues close during August, and often Sundays and Mondays year round. Haute tapas can be consumed at Andrés Madrigal's Azul Profundo. Another gayborhood gem is modern mecca Zaranda.

For los afters and current gay goings-on, pick up Shangay magazine, available at bars and bookstores, since nights and venues change more often than an indecisive drag queen.

Trip planning
Barajas Airport is eight miles away. Catch a bus, the high-speed metro or a cab to the city. A plus side to temperatures hitting the 100s during July and August is that prices drop somewhat, and nightlife is at its best, with bars and cafes expanding outdoors.

Hotel Tryp Ambassador (from 265 EUR) is a former mansion recently converted into a modern, four-star hotel. It's near the Palacio Real and the oldest section of Madrid. Try chic Oscar (from 70 EUR) a trendy hotel with minimalist modern design, opening in June 2007. A hostal, generally smaller than a hotel, without restaurant or other hotel services, can be a great money-saver. Hostal La Zona (from 50 EUR) is affordable, gay-friendly and convenient to Chueca.

U.S. tour operators Above and Beyond Tours offers attractive packages to Madrid. Madrid-based Fiesta Tours is a gay-friendly incoming operator that will help you get the most for your gay dollars. Lambda Viajes is an exclusive gay and lesbian travel agency where the friendly, personalized serv will provide you with a nformation you might need to get around town.

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