The best Gay destinations according to travel bloggers

Written by Maria Aardal

June 22, 2020

Being on the LGBT+ spectrum is not always the easiest when traveling. You have a lot of extra concerns that you need to think about. However, there are also a lot of great things about traveling while gay. Hello! Pride-events, parades, and gay clubs to mention some. Keep reading to learn about 15 travel bloggers’ favorite gay destinations and why you should visit them.

London – England

Gay destinations in Europe - London

London is well-known as a safe and popular gay-friendly destination to visit. It is one of many gay destinations in England. In many ways, the diversity of the city makes the tolerance and progressive attitude of Londoners possible. Gay London is full of queer spaces and nightlife that attracts millions of visitors each year. The two main areas for gay exploration in London are Soho and East London.

Soho and East London

In Soho, you’ll find the traditional heart of gay London. It was once the home of a seedy underground scene in an undesirable part of the city, but things have certainly changed. Modern Soho is full of high-end restaurants, the London theatre community, and trendy boutiques. There are gay owned cafes, coffeehouses, and restaurants including popular Balan’s Soho. The area is full of gay pubs like Admiral Duncan and clubs like Village and G.A.Y. In Soho, you can find a good crowd and a fun time any day of the week!

East London is where you’ll find London’s alternative gay scene including drag and cabaret venues spread around the area. There’s less of a continuous flow of gay spaces, unlike Soho, but it’s full of fun bars, pubs and clubs to visit – even if you can’t quickly bar hop from one to the next.

Gay couple in London

It goes without saying that London has other draws besides the gay scene. Attractions like the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, the London Eye and Churchill’s War Rooms will keep you busy all day. Whether you’re touring the city or strolling through the gay neighbourhoods, you will always feel safe and included in London. That’s what keeps gay travellers enchanted with visiting the city.

Derek and Mike are a couple from Philadelphia who moved to Europe in early 2017. They create content on their website Robe Trotting to help other ex-pats, travelers, and LGBTQ travel enthusiasts around the world.

Puerto Vallarta – Mexico

Beach in Mexico

When I first visited Puerto Vallarta I was unaware of its worldwide reputation as one of the most popular Gay destinations in the world. I did not understand very well the meaning of it.

I was wondering why there is a need of such a definition because I believe all destinations should respect each and of everyone’s sexual inclination, but that’s probably very naive of me. 

Discrimination does exist, unfortunately, but not really in Puerto Vallarta. In the past 20 years, a strong community of expatriates has been working incessantly together with locals, to promote a change of culture in the pursuit of equality and respect. One of the results was the organization of the gay pride parade. It has taken place every year in March since 2016. This is a place where the entire community and tourists alike get together and celebrate. 

Puerto Vallarta is a beautiful beach city on the Pacific Coast of Mexico. It is brimming with things to do, outdoor activities, beautiful beaches, bars, and restaurants to keep tourists and locals entertained. 

Gay destinations in Mexico: Puerto Vallarta

Zona Rosa

The Zona Rosa is the iconic Gay-friendly neighborhood. There you can find a variety of attractions including bars, restaurants, stores, nightclubs, and hotels. They have been created with a specific focus in mind, to create a gay-friendly environment where anybody is free to express their own identity. 

In this zone is where you can find the popular beach Playa de Los Muertos. Historically known as a gay-friendly beach although it is open to anybody. 

The nearby gay-friendly beachfront hotels also attract a friendly multicultural ambiance where members are respected without discrimination. It’s heartwarming to see couples of any gender enjoying romantic walks hands in hands with no fear of discrimination or hostility. 

My favorite moment was the early morning when the air was still cool and people take their dogs for the routine beach walk and couples stop for breakfast on the beach enjoying the peaceful atmosphere. 

The number of LGBT+ tourists and residents in Puerto Vallarta has been increasing also thanks to the huge marketing efforts that have been built around its name. 

As a consequence, now three of every 10 hotels in Puerto Vallarta are LGBT-friendly. Gay weddings and events are organized often. There are even tours or drinks such as Gay Tequila and the Gay Energy Drink.

Walking around the quaint Zona Romantica you will notice many plates on the walls proclaiming the gay-friendly zone. 

Besides the fact that promoting gay-friendly activities and hotels has become a real marketing strategy. Puerto Vallarta truly is a paradise where the LGBT community finds freedom, respect, and love, it is the perfect gay destination.

Beach in Puerto Vallarta

Isabella is a clumsy and restless solo traveler who loves to discover this world on her own and at a slow peace and share her adventures and travel tips on Boundless Roads.

Taipei – Taiwan

Gay district in Taiwan
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Taipei, Taiwan is without a doubt one of the best gay destinations in Asia and the world. The country made global headlines when, on May 24, 2019, it became the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage. The change was many years coming. There have been countless demonstrations seeing hundreds of thousands of people take to the streets in favor of the change. I personally attended several of these demonstrations, as did my two children.

Besides the obvious fact that gay rights are now legally recognized in Taiwan, the vibrant capital, Taipei City, has already been a gay-friendly city for ages. Same-sex partners can be seen holding hands on the MRT or strolling the streets with no fear or shame. Gay bars and night clubs abound, and pride flags adorn countless café, restaurant, and even residential building walls. All in support of the recent adoption of equal marriage rights. This is not to say, however, that there wasn’t a vocal minority of citizens and religious groups who opposed such changes, and that the LGBTQ community has not faced many challenges leading up to this victory.

Ximending

The epicenter of the LGBTQ+ community in Taipei is Ximending. This historical gay destination is a hip pedestrian shopping district with a giant pride rainbow painted across its main intersection. Head to Ximending Red House, a historical theater and marketplace, beside which there are over a dozen LGBTQ+ shops and bars with the best collection of patios for a cocktail in the city. The vibe is super inclusive and welcome to all.

Pride in Taiwan

Last but not least, if you happen to be in Taiwan in late October, the annual Taipei Pride Parade, the largest in Asia, usually takes place on the Saturday nearest to Halloween, as if that weren’t already a great excuse to go out and party in Taipei. The parade usually starts and ends near Taipei City Hall. It has so many participants that it has to be split into more than one route. As of last year, there is also a trans march held one day earlier. As you might expect, these parades feature more outlandish costumes, free love vibes, and overall fabulousness than you can imagine. Taipei is a must on your list of great gay destinations.

Nick Kembel has lived in Taiwan for over 10 years and is the creator of the Taiwan-focused website Spiritual Travels.

Reykjavík – Iceland

Gay destinations: Iceland

Reykjavík is one of the gay-friendliest cities that I have ever known. Gay marriages have been legal here since 2010 which is actually not that long ago. However, Reykjavík is very respectful to minorities and you can see huge Pride celebrations every year during Pride. In fact, there is a lot of things happening during Pride. There are a lot of speakers, politicians attending the parade, fun workshops about equality, and so on.

A lot of people would skip Reykjavík when they visit Iceland because they want to get to nature. That is a mistake. Reykjavík is a great place for at least a day’s visit. You can see the famous Halgrimskirkja, one of the most modern-looking cathedrals in the nordic hemisphere, and the Harpa, the concert hall, that is free to visit. You can even visit a penis museum, which is very much one of its kind. This museum has specimens from around 300 specimens including some from humans.

Cathedral in Reykjavik

I’d recommend Reykjavík mainly for its architecture and cultural nightlife with a lot of live music in every bar almost every evening. People here are really nice and helpful and you can find here a lot of fun even if you traveling alone.

Ginger around the Globe by Albi is a travel blog focused on all kinds of destinations, mainly the European ones. I live in Scandinavia and I like to write about it, currently living in Denmark. I used to live in Iceland and I love it!

Copenhagen – Denmark

Pride flag in Denmark

Copenhagen, Denmark is one of the greatest gay destinations on the globe. It’s a fantastic destination for LGBTQ travelers and a place you should book a trip to if you want a vibrant gay scene in a progressive country that protects your rights. In fact, Copenhagen was the first city in the world to hold a same-sex union. The civil union of 10 gay couples in 1989 marked the beginning of the marriage equality movement around the world. To mark the milestone, Copenhagen City Hall has a rainbow flag raised all year-round.

Centralhjørnet

In Copenhagen, you can also find the oldest continually operating gay bar, a short walk from Copenhagen City Hall, Centralhjørnet. It opened in 1917. The landmark pub is always wildly decorated for the season and is popular with locals. In gay Copenhagen, queer spaces are concentrated in the city hall neighborhood as well as the hip meatpacking neighborhood.

The first gay bar in Copenhagen - The city had many great gay destinations

Copenhagen Pride is a massive event where people from all over Denmark and Europe flock to the city. It’s a week-long celebration with special events like concerts, drag shows, and political speeches and discussions. There is a huge parade and street party on Saturday where the entire city celebrates together, LGBTQ and ally alike. Couples bring their children and it’s a fun event for everyone in attendance.

With a well-known reputation for being a progressive and tolerant country, it’s no shock that Denmark’s capital is a great gay destination. Still, you won’t be let down whether you’re at a gay club like Nevermind or cruising through the canals on a boat tour. You can visit castles and cozy bars all in the same trip. Make sure to put Copenhagen on your list as a gay destination to explore.

Derek and Mike are a couple from Philadelphia who moved to Copenhagen in 2017. They create content on their website Everything Copenhagen to provide tips on visiting the city from a local perspective of non-Danish residents.

Provincetown – USA

Houses in Provincetown

On Massachusetts’ popular Cape Cod lies the town of Provincetown. Since its founding, the town has always been known as a place where any and everyone is welcome . It has already been a bohemian art community for centuries, but then in the 1960s, gay and lesbian travelers began flocking to the city.

Later, during the AIDS epidemic, Provincetown became a refuge and a place where patients found care and acceptance. In 2004, Massachusetts became the first state in the country to legalize same-sex marriage. This now made Provincetown a wedding destination!

There are multiple LGBTQ+ events all year round as well. The most popular is Carnival in August. It’s a weeklong celebration with parties, art fairs, a costume ball, and a parade. We could feel the love in the air during our visit and as we walked around town we saw many rainbow flags hanging proudly outside of shops and hotels.

There are a lot of things to do in Provincetown, including museums, monuments, and walking by the water. Of course, just walking along Commercial Street is an experience itself. Its Provincetown’s main street and the beating heart of this fun town.

Vicky is a Florida-based blogger traveling around the world with her stuffed monkey Buddy. She is the creator of Buddy the traveling monkey.

Lisbon – Portugal

Pride parade in Lisbon

Lisbon, Portugal, has been on trend for some time now, everyone wants to visit, and for good reason too! Not only is sunny Lisboa gorgeous with its warm weather, stunning architecture, vibrant food & wine scene, beautiful coastline as well as its hospitable people, but the city is also one of the best gay destinations in Europe! In fact, Portugal boasts some of the world’s most progressive LGBTQ laws.

Chiado and Principle Real

When visiting Lisbon, the areas of Chiado and Principle Real are traditionally favored as the best neighborhoods to stay in. With the latter being considered Lisbon’s “gay neighborhood”.

As for entertainment and nightlife, Lisbon also boasts an array of gay clubs and bars. Most are found in either the party district of Bairro Alto or in Principe Real itself. For the best drag show in town, be sure to head out to the Finalmente club (note the drag show only starts at 03:00 am!). Other clubs include Trumps, Bar Cru, Purex, and the smaller 49 da ZDB.

Gay destinations: Lisbon

Each year, Lisbon also hosts the annual Lisbon Gay Pride March. It is usually towards the end of June. As well as a second Pride Festival (usually a week after the march), called Arraial Lisboa. If you’re a film fanatic, then you may also want to check out the annual Queer Lisbon International Film Festival at the end of September.

Last but not least. If you are visiting during the warmer months, you may want to head across the river to Costa da Caparica. There you can find Beach 19, which is considered to be Lisbon’s ‘gay’ beach.

Overall, Lisbon offers any gay traveler a wide variety of gay-friendly tours, entertainment, and experiences to explore in a city that is both gorgeous and extremely safe too!

Marco from Travel-Boo is a travel blogger currently residing in Lisbon, Portugal with his partner. He is an avid traveler and blogger with a penchant for exploring and experiencing all the beautiful destinations Europe has to offer.

Buenos Aires – Argentina

Buenos Aires is a gay-friendly city in South America

When you are looking for a gay destinations Latin America may be one of the last places on the list you may expect to visit. However, with forward-thinking cities like Buenos Aires, your mind may be changed in a split second.

The reality is that most countries in Latin America are Catholic with a socially conservative background. Countries like Argentina and Uruguay have invited LGBTQ+ communities with open arms.

So, what is there to do in Buenos Aires being a member of the LGBTQ community, I hear you ask. Head over to LGBTQ specific bars like Glam or the Contramano bear club in Recoleta. Here you can meet with tons of like-minded people. If you’re interested in coming to Buenos Aires to dance the tango like thousands of others who visit the city every day, you can get involved with the “Tango Queer” or “La Marshall”. Both cater to the LGBTQ and have dance lessons available for people at all levels; even beginners.

Also, no need to worry too much about your safety in Buenos Aires as you can travel around the city using one of the many modes of transport available. You’ll encounter many other like-minded people along with your travel in the city. When Buenos Aires legalized gay marriage back in 2010; many of the LGBTQ crowd from other countries in Latin America and around the world have flocked there already; so what are you waiting for? So whether you’re coming for the Gay Pride festival or just looking to meet like-minded people Buenos Aires has something for you.

Daniel from Layer Culture is a cultural traveler based in Colombia. He dedicates his time to learning Spanish whilst exploring life in both Central and South America.

Paris – France

Pride flags in Paris

Paris is always a good idea. This also goes for travelers looking for gay destinations. It is perfect for those who want to combine sightseeing and fun in a gay-friendly environment.

Paris decriminalized homosexuality in 1971. Since then the city quickly attracted people from the LGBT+ spectrum looking for a place that accepts them. There is no problem for them to live fully and openly in Paris.

Le Marais in Paris 4, is the gays’ headquarters. It is easily recognizable by the rainbow flags everywhere, even on some street plaques. This does not mean that gays have to consider this part of Paris as their “ghetto” while visiting the city, but it’s a vibrant and lively area that everybody loves regardless of sexual orientation.

We strongly recommend stopping by the LGBT+ Center, located at 63 Rue Beaubourg in Paris 3. Not only they are very welcoming and friendly people, but they also have tons of information on current events, gay shows and best bars, restaurants, and night clubs in the city. They will also provide you with tips to get the most out of the Paris gay scene during your stay. We especially like their proposals for self-guided tours about gay history in Paris. It’s a way of learning more about the gay community in Paris whilst having fun!

Quirky Parisian explorers with a preference for the less known sights. We are continuously looking for new ideas and tips to bring you the best of the City of Light. Elisa is the creator of World in Paris.

New York – USA

Gay destinations: New York

Over 50 years ago, in New York City, the origins of the modern LGBTQIA movement began. It was a result of the Stonewall riots. June 28, 1969 members of the gay community decided to fight back, during a police raid, after enduring repeated harassment. Thus, gay political activism was born in response to this incident. On the list of gay destinations, New York is really the OG.

Thankfully, as such, New York has one of the highest gay populations and is home to hundreds of gay bars. A veritable haven for gay people who visit and/or live in NYC. The best neighborhoods in NYC are gay friendly and there are so many fun things to do.

Many are found in Manhattan, most predominantly in the neighborhoods of West Village, Chelsea, East Village, SoHo and Hell’s Kitchen. In Brooklyn, the neighborhoods of Park Slope and Jackson Heights are also popular for bars and clubs.

There are just too many to mention but some of the trendier gay bars are The Rosemont and The Vault. Both are located in Williamsburg. There are however many other options in these neighborhoods if you are looking for a thriving nightlife and dancing. In the West Village, Pieces is a great place to start your night out with friends while the Playhouse is the place to let loose on the dance floor.

The Stonewall Inn

The Stonewall Inn is another notable place to mention in NYC, known as the “Birthplace of Pride”. The Monster, across the street, is a wonderful piano bar with sing-alongs upstairs and dancing downstairs. When shopping for anything related to gay pride and neutral gender accessories, The Phluid Project is the place to go to. Tip: Make sure to pick up a free copy of Get Out! Magazine for tons of additional information.

Remember that many of these establishments cater to everyone, so don’t be surprised if you see many “heteros” hanging out there too. Who can blame them since they want to have fun with the best crowd available!

Still, nothing beats the old way of exploring these neighborhoods in New York. Walking around and bar hopping is the best way to find places that will suit you. New York has lots to choose from, exploring is only half the fun!

Contributed by Olga Maria from Dreams in heels.

Amsterdam – The Netherlands

Amsterdam is perfect for LGBT+ travellers

Amsterdam is one of the most gay friendly destinations in Europe. The Netherlands has long since had a tradition for tolerance and a reputation for refuge among minority groups. ‘Pragmatic’ tolerance is practiced in Holland.

Throughout history, the Netherlands has been a sanctuary for people of diverse faiths. The Netherlands gained a reputation for its tolerance of Jewish immigrants as early as the 16th and 17th Centuries. Even in the 17th Century, when Catholicism was outlawed, Catholic churches flourished in secrecy and many officers turned a blind eye.

Dutch society was built on the premise that ‘we need to get along to survive.’

The characteristic houses of Amsterdam

Modern day Amsterdam is also known for tolerance towards “taboo” aspects of human culture including sex and softdrugs (like marijuana). Prostitution is legal in Amsterdam, and you can buy marijuana from “coffee shops”. Holland was also the first country in the world to legalize euthanasia.

Gay rights in the Netherlands

Amsterdam is sometimes referred to as the birthplace for LGBTQ+ rights. Homosexuality was decriminalized in Amsterdam in 1811. Wow! The first gay bar opened in Amsterdam in 1927, and then one of the world’s first gay rights organizations was formed in the 1940s. Amsterdams’ great LGBT+ history makes it a must for those looking for gay destinations.

Amsterdam was also the first country in the whole world to legalize same-sex marriage! In 2008, people voted the Amsterdam Pride Parade as the Best Gay Pride of Europe.

There are so many fun things to do in Amsterdam! Some of the top attractions include the Red Light District, the Anne Frank Museum and the gorgeous canals. Amsterdam is home to dozens of world-class museums, exciting shopping opportunities and delicious Dutch (and global) cuisines to explore.

Amsterdam is one of the romantic cities in Europe, and it is a perfect gay destination for same-sex couples.💓

Gay destinations - Amsterdam

Written by Valentina, from Valentina’s Destinations. Valentina’s Destinations helps busy professionals plan memorable itineraries.

Antwerp – Belgium

Beautiful architecture in Antwerp

Antwerp is of the best gay destinations in Belgium – and no I am not just saying that because it used to be my home-town. In fact, Antwerp was voted one of the best gay-friendly cities in Belgium. It hosts the Antwerp Pride Festival and has even hosted the World Out Games. We even have several LGBTQ+ student clubs.

Antwerp is incredibly tolerant with some of the city’s biggest and best-known clubs being predominantly gay bars and clubs. Students often party at Red and Blue. Napoleon on the Grote Markt (the Market Place) often organizes Drag Queen nights and Love Boat themed evenings.

Literally nobody would blink an eye if you walk hand in hand with your SO or decide to go for a snog in the middle of the street.

Just like Ghent, Antwerp is a medieval city, with a market place that could rival the one in Brussels. With many cute little romantic streets, loads and loads of vintage and antique shops, and even a world-class fashion district. (Bikkembergs, Dries van Noten… they all studied at the Antwerp fashion school). You can find anything from budding designers to Louis Vuitton, Antwerp is the perfect place for a city trip.

Foodies can try some local chocolate and cookies or even spend the evening trying all kinds of craft beers. Antwerp boasts a large number of great restaurants such as The Jane which is housed in an old church!

Don’t miss out on The Rubens House – the house where this world-famous Antwerp painter lived, and go for a walk in the city park which is filled with hundreds of bunnies!

Gay bars in Antwerp

If you are looking for a great gay bar in the evening you can try Napoleon (look at their calendar for themed nights), Oink Oink (great place for otters and bears), Red and Blue (dance club), Que Pasa (if you love Latin Music) and Sauna ‘t Herenhuis for one of the best gay saunas in the city.

 Trust me when I say Antwerp is one of the most underrated cities in Belgium. There are hardly any tourists and the prices are very reasonable but most importantly: Antwerp people are very open-minded, very friendly, and they mind their own business.

Lieze is an ex-pat travel blogger, traveling the world with her husband who is an International teacher. She has lived in Belgium, London, Dubai, and Nepal. She is the creator of Glitterrebel.

Sydney – Australia

Sydney pride parade - one of many great gay destinations

One of the world’s most fabled gay destinations, Sydney, has it all. Breathtaking beaches, scorching sunshine, gorgeous men, and a gay nightlife scene to keep you out till dawn. Not to mention the gay icons it has produced: Ian Thorpe, Matthew Mitcham, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Speedos, and Aussiebums. Need we go on?  

A cultured harbourside metropolis stuffed full of curious neighborhoods, elegant cocktail bars, laid-back cafes, underground dance events, and inspiring views at every turn. Sydney may be many things, but boring is certainly not one of them.

Australia as a whole was slow on the uptake on gay marriage. However, progressive Sydney has always been fabulously gay-friendly and home to the most significant queer subculture in the nation.  
The western section of Oxford Steet in Darlinghurst is the main gaybourhood of Sydney. It is filled with queer cafes, bars, late night clubs, speedo shops, and rainbows galore, but gay folk can be spotted lovingly holding hands throughout the city. This, in addition to its abundant history of LGBT activism, makes Sydney is one of the most gay-friendly cities in the world.

There is never a wrong time to visit – but possibly the best time to visit is in March during its annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival. It’s a colorful collision of creativity and queer culture. Over half a million people flock to celebrate and be proud at one of the largest LGBT festivals in the world. Its something everyone should try to attend at least once in their life. 

Written by Jordan for Queer in The World, an online resource for gay and lesbian travelers who want to connect with their global queer family.

Hawaii – USA

Explore Honolulu

If you are looking gay destinations that are friendly and fun, check out visiting any of the islands of Hawaii. A very open and tolerant state with real aloha. Hawaii is a great gay destination all throughout the different islands.

A great start is to fly to Oahu and checking out all the top things to do in Honolulu and the surrounding areas. You will find that this is very friendly. It also has great food, adventures galore, and it is easy to drive around. You can check out all the cool little towns, fun beaches, and scenic driving spots. As well as other wonderful activities you can do around the island.

Flying to all the neighboring islands is also a fantastic way to enjoying the stunning landscapes and different attractions. You can find all this on Maui, Lanai, Molokai, and the Big Island. To get to the main islands you can easily take inter-island flights that are on average a 1-hour flight distance from Honolulu airport. Whichever island you visit, you’ll find that the aloha spirit is alive, friendly, and easy to get into a groove. Just relax and enjoy some amazing sunsets and sunrises all around Hawaii. You’ll find that Hawaii is very gay friendly and accepting of all lifestyles, nationalities, and differences.

Noel Morata is a photographer and editor with This Hawaii Life. He is sharing the best of travel, food, and lifestyle on the islands with Aloha.

Grand Canaria – Spain

Sand dunes in Grand Canaria

Spain is one of the most LGBT friendly countries in the world. Pride parades, gay events, marches and festivals have been celebrated in Spain for many years and can be found in every corner of the country. But if you are looking for something special, head out to Gran Canaria – one of the most beautiful Canary Islands.

The history of LGBT tourism in Gran Canaria officially began in 1978. When the first – no longer existing – gay club “Jeans” opened. Today, one of the most visited places in Europe, especially during winter months, is also one of the most popular destinations amongst the gay community.

Maspalomas Gay Pride takes place in a European gay paradise in Gran Canaria. Nearly 10,000 participants will fill the streets of Maspalomas during ten days of performances, parades, pool parties, and boat cruises.

The island is not only a gay-friendly destination but also an amazing holiday destination in Europe. Climate diversity, as well as the multitude of species of flora and fauna, meant that the island is referred to as “the miniature continent”. From the amazing Maspalomas dunes and stunning volcanic rock Roque Nublo to Playa de Amadores and Las Palmas, the capital of Gran Canaria. There are so many places to visit on this beautiful island.

So, would you add Gran Canaria island to your list of gay-friendly destinations in Europe? We think you should!

Full time working couple exploring the world in free time https://www.darekandgosia.com/

What are your favorite gay destinations? Have you visited any on this list?

Welcome!

I am Maria, a 20 year old student. I am here to show you that traveling is possible for everyone, including you. I belive that traveling can be done in a lot of different ways and that you never have to limit.

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