Planning a holiday as an LGBTQ+ traveller can be stressful. You have to research destinations much more intensely to ensure that they are safe, accepting and have enough on offer that will appeal to your interests. Thankfully, there are plenty of progressive places in Europe that are perfect for a gay getaway.
In this guide, we discuss the best destinations to visit in Europe for gay travellers. We provide an overview of each place, with details about the local gay scene and why they are suitable for LGBTQ+ travellers. So buckle up and get excited, because this guide will help you plan your next sensational escape.
Mallorca is the largest of the Balearic islands, with idyllic beaches and serene landscapes. It attracts a variety of visitors from all walks of life and it’s a top destination for gay travellers. It is a very open-minded and inclusive place, making it ideal for LGBTQ+ travellers who want to let their hair down.
The main city in Mallorca is Palma, a vibrant cultural hub that has a growing gay scene. Districts in the city like La Lonja and Santa Catalina have gay-friendly bars and clubs. If you’re looking for a lively evening in Mallorca, be sure to visit venues like Garlands, Bar Flexas and La Demence Palma, which are known for their vibrant atmospheres and welcoming vibe.
Beaches like Es Trenc and Cala Agulla are known for their diverse crowds and inclusive atmosphere. You will also find certain accommodations, including large and luxury Mallorca villas that cater specifically to the LGBTQ+ community, ensuring that you have the best experience during your stay.
In general, Spain is a very safe country for gay travellers, but if you want to experience the LGBTQ+ embrace, then you have to attend Pride in Palma. This sensational event includes colourful parades, parties and cultural showcases that celebrate the LGBTQ+ community. This is a splendid opportunity to experience the local community and connect with other travellers.
Greece has become increasingly accepting of the LGBTQ+ community and has become a sought-after destination for queer travellers. The Greek Islands in particular are some of the best places to visit as a gay traveller and Mykonos stands out above the rest, especially if you are travelling via luxury small ship cruises. This stunning island is renowned for its spirited nightlife and welcoming atmosphere, making it a haven for gay travellers who like to party.
Mykonos Town has a variety of gay-friendly bars and clubs which are perfect for socialising and dancing. At venues like Jackie O’, Babylon and Cavo Paradiso, you can attend spirited parties, drag shows and other events which attract a very diverse crowd.
Mykonos has some of the best beaches in Greece and what’s more, they are very gay-friendly. Paradise and Super Paradise are some of the most famous beaches on Mykonos and attract LGBTQ+ visitors year-round. They are complete with beach bars and restaurants which results in the ultimate coastal escape.
There are also a variety of events in Mykonos that will appeal to gay travellers. The island hosts the annual XLSIOR Mykonos, one of Europe’s largest gay festivals, that attracts international party-goers from a range of backgrounds. The atmosphere of the event is fantastic, with world-class DJs and beach parties that promise to amaze.
Perhaps one of the most popular gay destinations in Europe, Malta is a hub of open-minded culture and has taken great steps to ensure the safety of LGBTQ+ citizens and visitors alike. It was one of the first countries in Europe to ban conversion therapy and has policies that protect individuals from discrimination based on sexuality and gender identity. It is known for having low crime rates and being a very safe country, which is ideal for cautious travellers.
Valletta, the capital city of Malta, has a small but blossoming gay scene with a handful of bars and events that cater to LGBTQ+ travellers. If you’re looking for the best nightlife in Malta, then head to Paceville, a suburb of St Julians that is known for its vibrant evening scene.
Valletta is also famous for hosting a colourful Pride Week annually in September. This fabulous event includes a pride parade and other events that bring together locals and visitors, creating a sense of community and belonging.
The benefit of visiting Valletta is that you can enjoy the cultural highlights of the city. Attractions like St. John’s Co-Cathedral, the Grand Master’s Palace and the Upper Barrakka Gardens showcase the city’s monumental architecture and are great places to explore during the daytime.
Vienna is an extremely accepting city and a popular destination among gay travellers. There is an inclusive vibe which makes the city very attractive alongside its amazing cultural landmarks. Vienna is brimming with beauty which can be seen in its architecture and public parks and adds to the overall experience for gay travellers.
There are a variety of gay bars and clubs in Vienna particularly within the Naschmarkt area. Santo Spirito is a laid back LGBTQ+ wine bar that is perfect for a sophisticated evening. If you’re after a more riotous experience, then Sling Bar is the top choice, known for its vibrant events and diverse clientele.
You can also find LGBTQ+ friendly cafes in Vienna like Café Savoy and Village Café, which are very inclusive and welcoming. They offer a more laid-back atmosphere for gay travellers and will delight with their kitschy vibe.
Vienna also hosts standout LGBTQ+ events which makes it a great European destination for gay travellers. The Regenbogenball, or the Rainbow Ball, is a premier LGBTQ+ event that blends glamour, music and an inviting ambience. It is one of the most significant LGBTQ+ events in Vienna and is a treat for anyone who attends.
Brighton, United Kingdom
Known as the gay capital of the UK, Brighton is a great destination for gay travellers. The city has a long-standing history of being LGBTQ+ friendly and has a welcoming community. On a visit to this beachside town on the south coast, you can wander the pier and explore the lively Brighton Beach.
The Kemptown area is often referred to as Brighton’s gay village and is the local hub for the LGBTQ+ community. There are numerous bars, clubs and other venues which cater specifically to LGBTQ+ visitors. Popular spots include The Marlborough, Legends, and Revenge which host a variety of events from sparkling parties to divine drag shows.
The highlight of Brighton’s gay scene is Brighton Pride, one of the biggest LGBTQ+ events in the UK. This energetic experience features a parade, live music and many parties! It showcases the very best of Brighton’s eclectic atmosphere and attracts visitors from all over the world.
Our final destination is one of the most LGBTQ+ friendly places in Europe, Berlin. The German capital is famous for its LGBTQ+ inclusivity and boasts a legendary gay scene. The progressive nature of the city can be felt in all corners, promising security and acceptance for gay travellers.
Berlin has a long history of LGBTQ+ activism which has led to it having one of the best gay scenes in Europe. Clubs like Berghain are known for their inclusivity and promise a fun-filled night for gay visitors. On the other hand, KitKatClub is a more unique venue known for its alternative vibe and fetish-themed events. No matter your preferences, you are welcome at all venues in Berlin.
As it is very gay-friendly, you can find boutique hotels and guesthouses that cater to the LGBTQ+ community and offer convenient access to areas like Schöneberg, the hub of Berlin’s gay scene. Likewise, the Schwules Museum is a must-visit attraction for gay travellers, with a robust collection of exhibitions and events that showcase the LGBTQ+ experience in Berlin.
Berlin also hosts a range of events that will appeal to LGBTQ+ travellers. Christopher Street Day is one of the largest pride celebrations in Europe and features a spirited parade. Film fanatics will also be delighted to know that the prestigious Berlin Film Festival has an exceptional queer film programme.
In conclusion, there are plenty of gay-friendly destinations in Europe that are extremely welcoming to the LGBTQ+ community. Each city in this guide has its own unique vibe and appeal, from the golden beaches of Mykonos to the legendary nightlife of Berlin. These European cities are major travel destinations in their own right, but they promise to provide acceptance and celebration for gay travellers.