7 Countries with Gay Marriage You Should Visit

Within the past decade, same-sex marriage has gained momentum around the world and the decision to promote marriage equality in a country is one step towards global LGBT acceptance. There are now 17 countries with full marriage equality and this alone might just be reason enough to visit. Surely each place has its own characteristics and unique sites of interest but the seven countries listed here are some of the best destinations for travelers and well worth a visit.

The Netherlands

In April of 2001, The Netherlands became the first country to legalize same-sex marriage and many of its cities are great travel destinations – and for more than just space cakes and red light districts! Legalization has helped to create as sense of openness and the country’s pro-active legislation has been a worldwide model for progress. The mayor of Amsterdam even personally married four couples, two women and six men, the moment the law went into effect.

Sweden

Sweden has a very accepting and liberal culture and both gay and lesbian communities have found comfort within the country's borders within the past couple decades. Stockholm in particular offers its annual gay pride festival with more than 500,000 participants attending. It’s an international destination where most everyone speaks a high level of English, and it’s one of the world's most culturally tolerant and modern places to visit in Europe.

Same Sex Marriage in Sweden

Spain

On June 30, 2005, same-sex marriage was legalized in Spain – 3rd in line after The Netherlands and Belgium. If you're planning a visit, destinations like Barcelona and Madrid have fantastic nightlife scenes. For a more beachy atmosphere, The Canary Islands provides an array of activities, travel resorts, unique events and an incredibly accepting culture. Events like Maspalomas Gay Pride in May or the Rainbow Fuerteventura Festival in December has attracted many gay and lesbian tourists, and the islands' LGBT support has created a lucrative, accommodating culture for both single and couple travelers. Year-round, subtropical climates are a Canary Island cornerstone, and the charming towns exemplify the area's comfortable and relaxing atmosphere.

Same Sex Marriage in Spain

Iceland

It may be cold, but Iceland has some of the world's most liberal and inclusive laws regarding same-sex marriage and LGBT rights. During the winter, the Rainbow Reykjavik festival hosted by Pink Iceland, promotes LGBT tourism to this tiny island nation. It's a must-attend event complete with parties, viewing of the northern lights and a visit to the famous Blue Lagoon. Similar events happen throughout the year in Iceland like the country's summer Gay Pride Festival in Reykjavik, which attracts over 100,000 individuals—both locals and travelers alike.

Reykjavik Gay Pride - Gay Marriage Iceland

Belgium

Renowned for its beauty and architecture, Belgium has been an LGBT hotspot since its gay marriage legalization in June of 2003. Belgium has an accepting culture making it a popular destination for LGBT travelers seeking security and respect during their visit. Specifically, the Belgian Lesbian and Gay Pride Festival has prospered since 1996, offering a ‘straight-friendly’ event while accommodating the country's Rainbow Week. Similar events are common in Belgium, making it a great LGBT travel destination.

Gay Marriage Belgium

France

In 2013, France legalized gay marriage, further boosting European support of LGBT rights. Though the legalization faced strong opposition, equality prevailed and it became the 15th country recognizing same-sex marriage. LGBT oriented events like European Gay Ski Week or European Snow Pride are longtime favorites hosted in the French Alps. Events like these are an excellent winter option for sporty singles and couples seeking a fun and unique week of activities. Of course, France is a quintessential travel destination regardless, but this is just one more reason to consider a visit.

New Zealand

If you're having trouble finding sunshine during the winter, New Zealand may be a great travel choice. Auckland’s annual LGBT pride festival and popular event LYC Big Gay Out Auckland—has inspired travelers for years with thousands of people attending. February is summer in New Zealand, making it an excellent venue for outdoor events. The country's long standing cultural support of gays is expressed throughout the LGBT events and ever evolving atmosphere.

Have you visited any of these countries during your travels? Let us know your experience in the comments below!

22 Comments on “7 Countries with Gay Marriage You Should Visit”

  1. Ed says:

    What about the UK?

    1. Nancy (Auston's mom) says:

      they did say 17 countries guys, got to save some of those 17 for other blogs! How else are they going to find something to write about???? :o)

      1. Ed Rex says:

        That’s true, Nancy.

        By the way, can I just say that you’re amazing!

    2. Auston Matta says:

      I excluded the UK purposely so you would you comment on this blog post.

  2. Any reason for missing out the UK Dona Matta? And what about South Africa?

    (You must be thinking ‘…oh FFS I knew there’d be a bunch of comments like this criticising me for missing out some…’! he he he)

    Have you boys been to NZ? We hoping to get there towards the end of this year if we manage to keep our budget under control (I lost camera Seb has now lost the equivalent of around $50 in cash….)

    1. Auston Matta says:

      Nope haven’t done the south pacific yet. Well obvi the UK is an option, but you know, I picked these 7 out of a gay hat.

      1. Post selfie with magic hat please :)

        1. Auston Matta says:

          wait…what?! what hat?

    2. Ed Rex says:

      I’ve been to New Zealand, guys. Ping me a message if you need any tips :)

  3. Sean says:

    Great post! I have been to NZ, and thanks to my host’s invitation, I got to ride a tandem bike with him for the Green Party almost leading the parade in Feb 2014. That’s the first parade I have ever joined/seen, and it totally impressed me, with the love and support of everyone there!!!
    And I volunteered for a week during Sweden pride week in 2014, wonderful experience too!!! And I walked with “Marching for those who can’t”!!!

    1. Auston Matta says:

      Oh that’s awesome about NZ! We volunteered for Stockholm pride as well but it was in 2013. Actually an amazing experience and it allowed us to make a lot of Swedish friends who we saw again last year when we returned.

  4. Sam says:

    Sean – I saw you (probably)! The group who were “marching for those who can’t” really stuck with me at Stockholm Pride. Hoping to be there again this year :-)

  5. I love this article. I live in Thailand right now. Very gay friendly..but far away from gay marriage. Hey…can’t win it all smh

    1. Auston Matta says:

      Thanks for reading! Ya Thailand is one of those gay-friendly-ish places but really behind with LGBT rights. Still a nice place though :-)

  6. Hey guys. Love your blog, it’s brilliant. Been to Madrid, Spain. Loved it, it’s a beautiful place. Unfortunately I did everything but head out to the “gay” side of the city. At least now I have something to look forward to when I go back there. And maybe make it a longer trip and get to see Barcelona and Ibiza.

    Any great 2015 summer destinations you’d recommend for a semi romantic getaway or little group travel Or even just a one man escape vacation?

    Regards to the both of you. :)

    P.s. Saw you on BBC the other day. Travel show or something. Great stuff.

    1. Auston Matta says:

      Hey there! thanks for the compliments. We actually haven’t even seen the full BBC episode ourselves yet :-) If you get back to Spain definitely hit up Sitges or Maspalomas. They are great gay friendly destinations with wonderful beach culture. Stockholm is another favorite of ours in the summer time.

  7. Flor says:

    Argentina has gay marriage aswell!

    1. Auston Matta says:

      Yes it does! And we’re visiting Argentina next month :-) Next article needs to be “18 countries with gay marriage” so we can include them all! LOL

  8. Dean says:

    What about Canada? 🇨🇦 Celebrating our 11th year of marriage equality, the Nation’s 150th birthday and Montreal’s 375th anniversay! #freetobeme #lovewins

    1. Auston Matta says:

      The good news is that there are way more than 7 countries with marriage equality these days. Plenty of options for new articles! :-)

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