Best travel destinations for LGBTQ vacations
LGBTQ travel is one of the most important travel topics in recent years, as more and more destinations are becoming gay-friendly travel destinations. We give you an overview of LGBTQ travel and the most beautiful places.
Gay travel is travel for gays and lesbians, although the term can stand for the LGBTQ community as a whole. About the next holiday, many people ask themselves which countries are particularly gay-friendly and tolerant. Religious and social norms can determine how freely homosexuals can behave at the travel destination. There is also the aspect that some travelers would like to spend their holidays with like-minded people and therefore prefer gay hotels. This applies equally to couples and singles.
The Gay Travel Index of the International Gay Guide Spartacus indicates how well gay travel is possible at a destination. Using a wide range of criteria, countries are examined according to their gay-friendliness. In general, the rule of thumb applies: the more tolerant and progressive a country positions itself towards homosexuality, the more comfortable gays and lesbians can feel there on vacation.
What is special about LGBTQ Travel?
Just as straight vacationers don’t have the same vacation preferences, all gay travelers don’t have the same ideas about the perfect vacation. And yet tour operators offer targeted destinations and hotels that are particularly gay-friendly. LGBTQ travelers do not have to research in advance which holiday destination they are particularly welcome at.
Within Gay Travel, the types of travel can be very different: while some love culture and sightseeing, others prefer sun and partying on the beach. There are also providers for active holidays or wellness, individual travel, or gay cruises, which are cruises with a focus on gays and lesbians. Gay vacations for singles are also possible if you want to get to know more than just the country while traveling.
With offers from the Gay Travel section, you can be sure that a relaxing holiday among like-minded people is possible. Conversely, it is of course not an exclusion criterion to book a holiday that is not marked as gay-friendly. However, there are some countries where you have to expect hostilities, especially in public, if you are openly gay or lesbian.
Cosmopolitan travel destinations in Europe
Europe is home to many travel countries that are particularly open to LGBTQ. This not only includes a basic tolerance, the cultural offer, and possible activities among like-minded people are also more diverse.
Greece’s islands are among the classics, especially for gay trips. For example, Mykonos is the top destination for gay men looking for beaches, sun, and varied nightlife. The island is a hotspot for gay travelers who want to see and be seen. There is plenty of opportunity on the beautiful beaches, first-class bars, and clubs.
The island of Lesvos is very popular with homosexual women simply because of its historical significance. Regular events and lesbian-friendly hotels make it easy to meet like-minded people. The coastal town of Skala Eressos in particular has become a magnet for lesbian vacations. The poetess Sappho is said to have gathered women around her here in the 6th century BC. Today many expatriate lesbians live in the town and the people are generally considered gay friendly.
Those who want to mix even more with other holidaymakers are also in good hands-on Crete. From beaches to sights to activities, the popular Greek island offers a whole range of possibilities to make your vacation interesting.
Among the islands of Spain, Gran Canaria is arguably the one that ranks as the friendliest among the LGBTQ community. It was recognized early on Canary Island that a focus on gay and lesbian travelers is worthwhile. Gran Canaria may be decried by some as the “gay Ballermann”, but you can also have a good holiday here if you don’t want to party around the clock. A hotspot for gay holidays is Playa Inglés, where countless localities not only attract the rainbow community to the carnival on Gran Canaria. Otherwise, you will also find many quiet corners and fascinating nature on the island, as you can see from the famous dunes alone.
Similar to Mykonos, Ibiza is a party destination for those who prefer to party in upscale clubs and bars. Summer is the high season when international DJs are also on-site and turn night into day. Ibiza Gay Pride takes place regularly in mid-June – a whole week of festivals with shows, concerts, and of course lots of club events. Come to Ibiza during this time if you love it particularly colorful and unusual, or avoid the travel time around Pride Week if you like it less turbulent.
European city tips for gay travel
Some European cities deliberately advertise their open culture towards homosexual people and thus appeal to a diverse audience. These include Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and Barcelona.
The Netherlands is considered a pioneer in terms of accepting same-sex love, as same-sex marriage was legalized here for the first time in the world in 2001. The best conditions to fall in love with Amsterdam – be it with your travel companion or with the exciting metropolis. In Holland, it is more than usual to walk hand in hand as a gay couple through the streets and gay-friendly bars and eateries are marked. Amsterdam is, therefore, suitable for everyone who wants to combine gay life with culture and nightlife.
Barcelona is a great place for all gay travelers who love pleasure and architecture. Numerous tapas bars and breathtaking buildings, such as those by Antoni Gaudí, await you in the Catalan capital. At the same time, Barcelona has a city beach – the Mar Bella section is considered to be particularly gay-friendly.
In Portugal, too, the gay scene is becoming increasingly emancipated, which you can experience for yourself with a trip to Lisbon. Discovering the most beautiful sights during the day and hitting the bars in the Bairro Alto in the evening, does that sound like a perfect day in the city on the Tejo? Head to Rua da Barroca if you want to find exciting LGBTQ venues.
In Germany, you usually don’t have to go far if you are inclined towards gay travel. In addition to trendy clubs, many cultural and historical highlights such as the Gay Museum await you in Berlin. An advantage of the capital: it is so colorful that even the most colorful birds do not attract attention. Come to Berlin for the greatest amount of partying during Christopher Street Day.
Things are a bit more dignified in Munich, but the Bavarian metropolis is also considered to be very gay-friendly. The English Garden, Marienplatz, and the almost Italian flair invite you to relax. And you can also shop very well in Munich if your travel budget is sufficiently filled.
The classic for gay travel in Germany is of course Cologne, where the typical Cologne warmth lives. In addition to Cologne Cathedral, the streets of the old town and the banks of the Rhine are also of interest to travelers. In the evening, a dense network of pubs awaits you, but also a wide variety of theater and music performances aimed at a gay and lesbian audience.
Colorful travel destinations worldwide
Do you have a little more time and want to spend your gay holiday on another continent? Great, because the LGBTQ community is not only welcome in Portugal, Denmark, and Co.
Tel Aviv is considered the “most gay-friendly city” in the Middle East. If you want to enjoy the unique flair of this region and a great mix of beach and nightlife, this is the place for you. The Hilton Beach near the hotel of the same name is the most famous, unofficial gay beach in the city. It gets particularly hot and crowded at the annual Gay Pride, which is also one of the best gay events in Tel Aviv.
If you want miles of beaches and bath-tub-warm water, you’ve come to the right place in Southeast Asia. From the dream islands of Thailand to green Krabi and the exciting metropolis of Bangkok, there is a lot to discover. LGBTQ, ladyboys, and transsexuals are more than open in Thailand and accepted in society. Koh Samui and Koh Chang are great destinations if you also want to visit bars and venues that cater to a queer crowd.
Gay life in Africa tends to be more private in most countries. An exception is the southernmost travel destination on the continent. Especially in Cape Town, but also in Johannesburg, the LGBTQ community has become increasingly visible in recent years. Gay and lesbian travelers are welcome, not only to the respective gay pride in February and October. As part of a longer trip to South Africa, you should stop by these metropolises and get to know the fascinating nature of the country as well as the colorful culture of the cities.
Even more safe destinations for gay travel:
- New Zealand
No-Go: Unsuitable countries for LGBTQ vacations
The aforementioned Gay Travel Index provides information about where non-heterosexual people have few rights or are even severely restricted. Religious influences, but also cultural influences can be seen in legal regulations and the social attitude towards gays and lesbians.
If you want to go on vacation in such countries, you should be aware of the prevailing framework conditions. Last but not least, it is also about your mental and physical integrity, for example, if you are a gay or lesbian couple in public.
These countries are considered rather unsuitable or even dangerous for gay travel:
- Dominican Republic
What was your experience on vacation? Do you like to be among like-minded people or do you prefer to take a private break? Share your thoughts and stories in the comments!