Eight hot spots for a vacation fling

From Madrid to Brazil, the places where you’re most likely to find romance this summer

A foam party at the Bora Bora club at Playa d'en Bossa in Ibiza.
A foam party at the Bora Bora club at Playa d'en Bossa in Ibiza.James Lange

If you go on vacation with your family, you’ll need to find a hotel with amenities for the children. If you’re going away with you partner, on the other hand, you might want to look for somewhere a little more romantic. But if this summer you’re traveling unattached, with a bunch of single friends, you might be wondering where the best places are in Spain to find a vacation romance or one-night-stand. Because the fact is that not every place is as propitious as everywhere when it comes to finding summer love. Visiting a small town, where everybody knows everybody else, isn’t the same as staying in a large city, where anonymity helps to make people less inhibited. Then there are the questions of how open or not the locals are, or what the place offers. These and other clues can help give an indication as to whether or not you might end up taking home some special memories from your summer break.

The Basque Country is the place you’re least likely to end up in bed with somebody after a few drinks

Spanish condom manufacturer Control asked around 2,000 young people about the Spanish cities they thought were best for a fling. The results pretty much bear out the comments made on chat rooms and the social networks. Broadly speaking, the Basque Country is the place you’re least likely to end up in bed with somebody after a few drinks, with Bilbao topping the list of the least pick-up friendly cities in Spain. So what, then, are the best bets?

01 Madrid

The Spanish capital is highly rated when it comes to summer trysts. According to the Control survey, 39 percent of young people chose the capital as the place in Spain where they were most likely to meet somebody and end up in bed by the end of the night. Perhaps unsurprisingly, around 72 percent of Madrid residents themselves regard their home town as the best place in Spain for casual sex.

02 Barcelona

Spain’s second city was regarded by 29.3 percent of those surveyed as the place to go for a romantic liaison, offering the winning combination of a large population, open-minded people, plenty of bars, and to top it all, sun and sea. Among the best nightclubs cited for picking people up were Nasty Mondays and Razzmatazz.

Bathers at the Sa Trinxa club on Las Salinas beach in Ibiza.
Bathers at the Sa Trinxa club on Las Salinas beach in Ibiza.J. Lange

03 Ibiza

Associated in many people’s minds as the go-to destination for fun in Spain, Ibiza is awash with nightclubs and a magnet for young, unattached people. Tania, aged 28, says: “The first time I came here with some girlfriends, one of them ended up with a boyfriend, and on the second trip I met my current partner.” Once might be dismissed as a coincidence, but twice seems to confirm the theory.

04 Valencia

Valencia, both the city and the region as a whole, is among the most popular destinations for young Spaniards during the summer months. This is partly due to the cheap bus connections there, and the huge number of bars and nightclubs in the area. The resort town of Gandía, about 70 kilometers south of Valencia, has become a popular destination for bachelor and bachelorette parties. As 21-year-old Soraya says: “I have had more summer romances in Gandia than anywhere else, perhaps because it’s the place I go with my friends.”

05 Salamanca

Not the first place that might come to mind for a summer affair, but it’s a great place the rest of the year, particularly for those in their very early twenties. As a university town, it is filled with thousands of foreign students over the winter months, and not all of them are focused on improving their Spanish.

If I go back to Brazil, I will have to spend a bit of time preparing in the gym”

06 Love on the Camino

More appealing to older people, and those who generally have a different idea of a good time, the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route across northern Spain to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia nonetheless produces not only lasting friendships, but plenty of love affairs. It’s no coincidence that recent Spanish romcom Al final del camino (At the end of the way), starring Fernando Tejero and Malena Alterio, chose the route as its setting.

07 The Caribbean

A look at the main websites for single travelers reveals the Caribbean to be one of the most popular destinations. There are any number of package trips for singles to Cuba, Dominican Republic and Mexico’s Caribbean coast. Warm, inviting, and friendly, these are places where it’s easy to get close to somebody.

08 Brazil

And if the Caribbean is a little crowded, the new destination for a vacation mixing adventure, exoticism and the chance to meet new people is Brazil. But be warned, standards are high: “When I went to Brazil I was really aware how attractive the women are, but I should also have realized that my body wasn’t as toned as many of the guys’,” jokes Rubén, aged 32. “If I go back, I will have to spend a bit of time preparing in the gym.”

Recomendaciones EL PAÍS
Recomendaciones EL PAÍS