Welcome once again to Pride month, celebrated in increasing numbers of destinations around the world - although also under pressure in some of them, sadly even including part of the United States, the very country where the celebration of Pride originated. Of course, depending on where you go, travelling while LGBT+ can be a challenge, particularly if you're with a same-sex partner and/or if you are visibly queer. Sadly, there are still many countries where being gay is still considered a crime, and even in some areas where it's legal there is always the risk of being harassed or even attacked simply for your sexual orientation or gender. Nobody wants to feel threatened, especially on a holiday where you are simply trying to have a good time, enjoy yourself, and be yourself.

That's why Europe - particularyl Western Europe - is an excellent choice of destination for LGBT+ travellers, being the most gay-friendly continent in the world with a long history of sexual liberation backed up by legal rights to marriage and other individual liberties. In many European countries there's also an abundance of gay and gay-friendly clubs, making it easy to go out for the night and have fun in a safe environment with like-minded people.

These days gays, lesbians, and other queer travellers will find welcomes in all sorts of European cities, including Barcelona, Brussels, Copenhagen, Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London, Paris, Prague, Stockholm, and Vienna, to name just a few. But the following are perhaps the top three of the most LGBT+ friendly cities on the Continent, complete with numerous clubs, bars, restaurants, and other places where being queer is not only accepted, but positively embraced.


The Netherlands was one of the first countries in Europe to decriminalise homosexuality (way back in 1811), as well as the first to legalise same-sex marraige (in 2001), and the Dutch have long held liberal values with regard to sexuality and personal freedoms. And its largest city has famously been a magnet for visitors seeking both (although of late it has been scaling that back a bit, with a new public weed-smoking ban in the red-light district - which however doesn't affect its notorious "coffee shops" - and plans to move the district's also notorious "window brothels" to the city's outskirts).

But anyway, if you’re a clubber, you can knock yourself out at the many gay bars and clubs across the city, or by visiting Milkshake, the enormous summer music festival at the end of July, featuring a wide variety of live bands, drag acts, and DJs. Other blockbuster events include a huge Pride celebration ( this year August 4-6), including a boat parade on the Amstel River starting at the Scheepvart museum on the east side of the city out to Westerdok canal.

If you're into lower-key pursuits, there are plenty of other ways to enjoy yourself here, starting with A' dam's abundance of picturesque canals (top) and tulips, which are shipped around the world, making it a romantic destination for couples of any gender or sexuality. Check out the Homomonument on the Prinsengracht canal, and the main public library's IHLIA LGBTI Heritage, one of the world's largest archives queer literature and history; many of Amsterdam’s art galleries also feature a wide range of queer exhibitions for LGBT art connoisseurs.



In the 1920s and 30s, Berlin was a major destination for homo-inclined visitors, as one of the world's first cities to become socially accepting of gays and lesbians. Several LGBTQ social movements and institutions were founded in Berlin, including the Institute Of Sexology and the Scientific-Humanitarian Committee, which campaigned for the equal rights of gay people in Germany in the early 20th century. Tragically, of course, all that came to an end with.the rise of the Nazis, but after the war, Berlin resumed its tolerant ways, and in the 1950s became one of the first cities in Europe to open public gay bars, and the city’s popularity among artists and writers fostered a liberated approach to sexuality, producing some of the first LGBTQ  media in popular culture.

These days Germany's capital is home to more than 170 gay bars and numerous monuments in the memory of queer activists around the city. The nightlife in Berlin is famously popular due to its thriving music scene, and many gay bars and drag nights alike can be found within easy walking distance. Plus in late June through much of July, Christopher Street Day (this year beginning July 22, the cultimation of Pride month starting une 28) is one of the world's largest gay pride parades in the world, featuring brightly coloured floats, music, and outrageous costumes.

This fun-loving city - and also one of the world's safest - is a friendly and vibrant destination for LGBT+ travellers. The premier gay neighbourhood is Schöneberg, a thriving community of gay clubs and bars (such as 24-year-old Prinzknecht considered one of Berlin's best gay pubs), and the 38-year-old Schwules (Gay) Museum. others include Prenzlauer .Berg, Friedrichshain, and Kreuzberg/Neuköln.




These days, Spain is one of the world's most socially progressive countries - for example, it was the third to legalise same-sex marriage, back in 2005 - and has legal safeguards in place for marriage equality, same-sex adoption rights, and anti-discrimination laws. And its capital, despite being ruled by the rightwing Partido Popular, is in turn is one of the its most progressive, and is home to a community of a vigorous LGBTQ community estimatated at around a half million. The atmosphere is fun, friendly, and relaxed, with a high level of acceptance among the local population. In fact, as far as ten years ago, poll cited 88 percent of Madrideños agreed that homosexuality should be accepted by society (in contrast to just 60 percent in the U.S.).

The central-city Chueca neighbourhood with its two main squares Plaza de Chueca and Plaza Zerolo, is gay ground zero, with a variety of bars, clubs, and gay-friendly restaurants and cafés (you can also take a guided walking tour); next-door Malasaña is a bit straighter but is also home to a number of queer venues including the city's most popular gay men's sauna, Paraíso. Madrid Orgullo (Pride) is held in late June/early July (this year the dates are June 23-July 2) includes one of the Europe's biggest Pride parades along of course with plenty of partying.



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  • Love all 3!

  • I live in Madrid, love Amsterdam and Berlin, and couldn't agree more with these choices!

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