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LGBT friendly Europe: top gay destinations

LGBT friendly Europe: top gay destinations


When you decide you want to visit Europe, there is a number of things you want to know in order to be safe. The safest LGBT friendly European countries should be at the top of your list so that you can allow your pride flag to fly wild without feeling as though you’re being judged in any way. Plenty of gay cities in Europe will allow you to have some fun.

It all comes down to doing a bit of research before you travel anywhere. We’ve identified the gayest countries in Europe and those to avoid (more than ten in total) so that you may be sure to enjoy yourself to the fullest.

Republic of Ireland: the very first place of equality on the map

Ireland is one of the best countries for gays and trans because it was the first to vote on same-sex marriage, which happened in 2015. It was a milestone not only for Ireland but for the whole world. You could spend time here as a single gay man or travel with a gay companion without feeling as though you have to hide who you are.

Gay bar in Ireland

While there are plenty of things to do all throughout Ireland, including a visit to the Blarney Castle to kiss the stone, Dublin is where the excitement is at. When you wanna pick the best places to be gay, Dublin offers so much.

Dublin is  LGBT friendly city where there is an International Gay Theatre Festival hosted every May. Additionally, there are plenty of gay bars and clubs  to take advantage of. Sip your Guinness, pay tribute to Oscar Wilde, and have a merry time in the Irish gay city.

United Kingdom: (almost everywhere) flourishing LGBT scene

England is another one of the best countries for gay men and trans in Europe. Gay marriage was legalized in 2013 (in both England and Wales), while Scotland followed up a year later in 2014. Embrace yourself in plenty of gay friendly cities, including Brighton, Manchester, and London.

Many happy gay people with rainbow flags celebrating pride on Trafalgar Square in UK

London is perhaps where you could have the most fun as there are many pubs, clubs, and bars that are gay-focused. You will find the most excitement in the Soho district. Anther gay friendly nightlife spot is Vauxhall. However, you may also choose to travel all over the city as a LGBT tourist to see Big Ben, Parliament, and all that the capital has to offer without worrying about people giving you a hard time.

Germany: wealth and variety of experiences

Germany is one of the gayest countries in Europe and is heavily visited by the LGBT community. It is one of the most progressive countries in the world and is where the annual gay pride holiday parade, Christopher Street Day, is celebrated. Half a million people from around the world visit the parade in Berlin, creating parties in the streets up to two weeks.

Berlin has a lot of history revolving around WWII to explore. It’s also where you have a chance to try some amazing food, especially going into Alexanderplatz. What’s unique is that Berlin takes its history and puts an LGBT spin on some of it, including a monument to the LGBT victims of the Holocaust.

Laissez faire or let people do as they choose

Rainbow double decker in LGBTQ friendly Paris

Paris is definitely a place of joy. It is one of the gayest cities in Europe, though France as a whole could be a bit turbulent. There have been a number of attacks regarding the legalization of gay marriage and adoption rights. At large, the country is very LGBT friendly, especially in Paris.

When you decide on  LGBT vacation, Paris should definitely be high on your list. The neighborhood of Le Marais is where you will find plenty of gay or trans nightlight. There are also various tour operators that offer city tours specifically for the LGBT community.

You may also want to make your way down to Mont Rose Beach in Marseille if you’re visiting during the summer. When it comes to party places in Europe, it’s one of the oldest gay beaches in France. It’s popular among the LGBT locals, making it easy to meet some people along your travels.

Spain: home of LGBT icons

Spain is one of the top destinations in Europe in July and the rest of the year. Summer is always best because it’s warm, there’s dancing in the streets (with both local top charts hits), and the cruises along the Mediterranean are in full operation. 

There’s much to see and do around Spain from Madrid to Valencia. The country is extremely LGBT friendly, so you won’t run into much homophobia. Just outside of Ibiza is where you’ll find Llevant Beach. It’s a popular place for nude sunbathing and has a reputation of being one of the best gay beaches in Europe.

Barcelona is where the real excitement is because it’s one of the best party places in Europe. There are tapas and wine everywhere you go. Plus, the LGBT community is firmly established. Here you find all sorts of festivals to attend, ranging from the Bear Pride in March to the International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival in October.

Sweden: beautiful and sophisticated LGBT destination

Of all the safest LGBT states (both in Europe and worldwide), Sweden has made its way to the top of the list. It’s not only a gay friendly country to live but also visit. While you may choose traveling all over the country, you’ll probably want to spend most of your time in the capital city of Stockholm.

Stockholm has a very active LGBT community. Pride House is a location where there are seminars and conferences held leading up to the annual pride celebration and parade. There are also a number of clubs and bars that are dedicated to the lifestyle, allowing you to be who you are without feeling as though you have to hide it.

Belgium: progressive gem of Europe

Belgium is home to chocolate, countless medieval towns, and more. When you are planning  gay travel in Europe, Belgium should make it to your list because it’s LGBT friendly and ranges high in safety, too.

There are active LGBT communities all throughout the country, including Antwerp and Brussels. You are free to explore the sights, view the Renaissance architecture, and also participate in rightsuch events as the Belgium Pride march that happens in May every year.

Denmark: LGBT friendly and the happiest country in the world

Flag of gay friendly Denmark combined with a rainbow flag forming a heart

There’s a lot of history with gay rights in Denmark. They’re actually the first place in the world to legally recognize same-sex couples with civil partnerships. They were decades ahead of everyone else with recognizing it in 1989 but it took until 2012 to legalize gay marriage.

With the country being so open, you are welcome to enjoy it so much without having to hide your orientation. Travel to the Tivoli Gardens, check out the bronze sculpture of the Little Mermaid, and even take a cruise down the Nyhavn harbor. 

With a trip into Copenhagen, you may appear in one of the gay cities in Europe. Centralhjornet is the oldest official gay bar you can’t miss. Plus, the square that adjoins the City Hall Tower has been identified as Rainbow Square in support of the LGBT community. Additionally, Bellevue Beach in the city is a popular beach destination that is just a short stroll from a charming little fishing village. The north end of the beach is clothing optional, too.

Italy: not that rainbow destination

When you are looking for the countries in Europe for gay or trans vacation, Italy should be considered. However, only certain cities are friendly to the homosexual lifestyle. When it comes to looking at the LGBT rating of Italy as a whole on the ILGA Rainbow map, it scored a 22 percent in 2019.

Two gays hugging in front of Coloseum in gay friendly Rome

It’s best to stick to Rome, where you will find a number of LGBT friendly bars and clubs. There are plenty of holiday destinations in Turin, too, where you might want to spend your winters. Naples and Milan are also gay friendly. However, you may come across some areas that aren’t as friendly, especially as you start to roam out of the major cities. If you’re traveling during the months of June or July, you might also want to visit Mako Beach. It’s located in Gallipoli and ends up being where most of the locals flock in the summer.

Be sure that you do a bit of research in Italy. MisterBNB can be a great tool to find gay friendly accommodations and hosts, too. 

Destinations for gays or trans to Avoid

Throughout most of Europe, you’re relatively safe to travel to different countries without fear of letting your sexual orientation be known. However, there are some homophobic cities (according to Rainbow index) and countries in the world, and it’s best to know about them so that you should either avoid them or take extra precautions.

Rainbow map showing most homophobic places gay people should avoid and gay friendly ones they should consider

The ILGA Rainbow Map was created as a way of benchmarking 49 countries on how open they are to LGBT rights and more. This can be a useful guide so that you know what to expect. As you travel further to the east in Europe, it can be more homophobic. There are a few countries you might want to avoid:

Ultimately, it comes down to finding out about the best places to be gay in Europe. You want to have fun while being safe at the same time. Incidents get reported around the world, so it’s best to do a bit of preparation to pick LGBT friendly places so that you could have fun, check out the sights, be who you are and avoid homophobic outrages.