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Subcultures in Barcelona

Posted in Culture & Tourism

Barcelona is a very living city which is really open-minded. Therefore, you may encounter several cultures throughout the Catalan capital city, including gays, skaters, punks and others. Some of these subcultures have a deep history which interestingly comes from the Franco dictatorship. Others arouse due to the Spanish open-mindness. In any case, it makes the city more vibrant and enriches the Catalan culture. Here are some subcultures you can discover in Barcelona.

Gay culture

Barcelona is a large gay scene with several clubs, bars and even districts dedicated to the gay sub-culture. Indeed, Barcelona is on the top 5 of the most gay-friendly cities in the world.

There, gay people, tourists or locals, are largely accepted by citizens which have shown an increasing open-mindedness through the years that has made the city one of the best destination for gays. As a symbol, same-sex marriage was legalized in July 2005, as well as adoption, making Spain the third country to legalize it worldwide. According to a poll, 66% of the Spanish population agreed with this new law. During the first year, 4500 gay marriages were declared.

Nowadays, you can easily find gay people walking hand-in-hand on the streets of Barcelona or rainbow flags displayed on balconies, gay clubs and bars and gay districts as well as the famous gay parade, the Barcelona Pride which livens up the city! In brief, unlike many European cities, gay people do not need to hide in Barcelona. The best district for gay people is probably the Eixample; located at the North-West of the city centre, the Eixample is a lively district with many gay bars and clubs and offers the best gay scene of the Catalan capital city.

If you want to know more about gay bars, gay events and the gay culture in Barcelona, please feel free to read the following blog articles
Gay clubs in Barcelona
Gay events
Gay guide of Barcelona


Barcelona is one of the best cities to do your passion! The skater sub-culture is wide in the Catalan capital city and you may come across a lot of skaters at every street corner. Amongst the most famous places to practice are the MACBA, the Poblenou district (especially across the Ronda Litoral) and the Barceloneta district. The skateboarding sub-culture comes from the spread of extreme and water sports in Barcelona, which have made the city the host of the X-Games Barcelona and The Extreme Barcelona, two major events in extreme and sliding/gliding sports. A lot of skate shops can be found all around the city as well as skate-parks. Skaters are very numerous in Barcelona and gather during week-ends to show their best skills. If you want to be immersed in this culture, the MACBA museum is one of the best places to enjoy a skateboarding show. Other skate parks of interest are the Mar Bella skate park and the Forum skate park.

Punk subculture

In Barcelona, you may  see that may people wear tattoos or piercings, this is part of the Spanish culture. But you may also see some punk-style people all around the city. Some meetings are even organized, such as at the Marina metro station on Friday night where punk people meet to enjoy a night together.

The punk subculture in Spain emerged in 1978 after the Franco’s dictatorship during a volatile political period after the dictator died in 1975.  The punk movement arised as a criticism against the Spanish society which collaborated with the Franquismo’s fascism. At the beginning, the punk culture gathered marginalized people and a large portion of repressed youth. In Catalunya, one of the centers of opposition against Franco, the punk movement came from the suppression of the Catalan language and flag during the dictatorship  and the exclusion of Catalan people, who felt excluded from the rest of the Spanish society and discriminated against.

Consequently, young people formed the punk movement as a retaliation against the whole dictatorship and to follow the rebel spirit  that Catalunya showed during the Franquismo. Nowadays, you can still feel the heritage of this movement with a punk sub-culture present in Barcelona and which conserves its own identity.           

Erasmus and foreigners 

Barcelona is to such an extent an attractive city for foreign students that they have formed a complete sub-culture within the Catalan capital city. Indeed, you may feel impressed by the huge amount of foreigners who work or study in Barcelona, including a large part of Erasmus students.

The movie “l’Auberge Espagnole” (The Pot Luck or The Spanish Apartment in english) directed by Cédric Klapisch in 2002, clearly shows the real way-of-life of the Erasmus culture in Barcelona. Nowadays, the Catalan city forms part of the top 3 destinations for students worldwide.

The main foreign nationalities you might encounter in Barcelona are British, American, French and German. Apart from students, there are also a lot of foreigners who come to Barcelona in order to find a job and to benefit from the incredible atmosphere of the city. Many come for the pleasant whether, the beaches, the nightlife, the open-mindedness of citizens of simply the relaxed working conditions.

FC Barcelona aficionados

This is a major sub-culture in Barcelona. The community of FC Barcelona fans is wide and very private. Indeed, membership of FCB is no longer open to the public. Only close relatives of FC Barcelona members can join the club.

Nevertheless, the fan community represents more than 250,000 members in Barcelona. In 2013, the FCB fan community represents about 340 million people worldwide, which makes FC Barcelone the most supported club in the world. You might find it impressive the number of people wearing the FC Barcelona jersey throughout the city, but it is part of the culture, Catalan cherish their team and form part of a complete sub-culture.