Looking for a holiday destination for 2017 and not sure where to go? We’ve rounded up some of our favorite gay friendly destinations around the world. From Europe to Asia to North America, these gay hotspots won’t disappoint. So without further ado, here’s Our Top 10 Gay Friendly Picks for 2017 – perfectly designed for the discerning gay traveler, the partier, history buff, the cultural fanatic and the beachgoer – there’s sure to be something for everyone.
Off the west coast of Thailand and surrounded by the pristine waters of the Andaman Sea, the province of Phuket is a slice of tropical paradise. While much of the northern hemisphere freezes over, Phuket enjoys year round temperatures between 25 and 34ºC (77 and 93ºF). Pair the balmy climate with white sandy beaches, gay spas and saunas and a wide range of water sports (not that kind!) to make for an ideal holiday destination. More than just picturesque beaches, head out to the gay bars and clubs at Patong’s Paradise Complex for thrilling nightlife like at Boat Bar or Zag Club. Phuket has been an LGBT destination for a while as it first celebrated Gay Pride in 1999 and it’s now become one of Asia’s most popular pride events each April.
While you could just chill on the beach, why not join an adventure of a lifetime? We recently attended a new gay travel event in Phuket called TropOut. Unlike your average gay party, TropOut aims to create a comfortable, sophisticated and relaxing environment. If you missed the 2016 event, you’re in luck because they’re returning to Thailand in 2017. No doubt, the cocktails will be flowing and international DJ’s taking the party to the next level.
Hands down, one of our favorite gay-friendly destinations has to be Tel Aviv. From the old city of Jaffa to the best bars, clubs, restaurants, beaches and parties – Tel Aviv has something to offer for any LGBT traveler. Israel is on the leading edge of LGBT rights and Tel Aviv is the progressive center where everything happens. In fact, winter is even a great time to visit with the average high temperature around 20˚C (~70˚F). Though it’s not quite beach and swimming weather, it’s a great alternative escape from the cold, grey and gloomy winter months in most other parts of the world. If you’ve never considered a visit to Tel Aviv, you might want to think again.
Download our Gay Travel Guide to Tel Aviv Here for more details!
Topping our list of gay-friendly destinations, Amsterdam is an oasis for travelers who can let loose, showing their true colors in one of the most liberal-minded cities on the map. The Netherlands has a progressive history when it comes to tolerance and rights for minorities. It even set the bar in 2001 as the first country to officially recognize same-sex marriage. The city of canals boasts a compact center that makes almost everything walking distance. Amsterdam is a forward thinking city of firsts and even opened the world’s first gay tourist office in 2010. After a day of cycling around town and hitting up all four of the city’s gay districts (adorned with rainbow flags, of course), rest up for the infamous gay nightlife. From going to Church to Taboo, Amsterdam is packed with gay bars and clubs. If this sounds like your ideal gaycation, we recommend visiting during the Amsterdam Gay Pride weekend in summer. It’s truly one of a kind with the canal parade attracting over 300,000 spectators, street and club parties, and a Drag Queen Olympics. If you just can’t wait, King’s Day on April 27th (in honor of the Dutch King) is followed by a gay-inspired Queen’s Night with many parties across the city.
It’s hip, artistic, international and GAY! Berlin is easily one of the most gay-friendly cities in Europe with a huge offering to LGBT travelers. Popular neighborhoods like Schönenberg (the most well-known gay neighborhood) as well as Neukölln, Kreuzberg, Prenzlauer Berg and Freidrichshain all have a strong LGBT population living in the communities as well as many gay oriented businesses, cafes, bars and clubs. Yes, not only is Berlin gay-friendly, the number of gay businesses in the city is in the hundreds including popular places like the Axel Hotel or Schwuz and Berghain nightclubs. The city has a rocky, yet unique and inspiring history that is one-of-a-kind even for those not so into history. If you haven’t been to Berlin, you’re truly missing out. What are you waiting for?!
Download our Gay Travel Guide to Berlin Here for more details!
Yes, this city has long been a destination for gays and lesbians ever since the early days of Hollywood. Just two hours driving from Los Angeles, Palm Springs served as a getaway for actors to escape the hustle and bustle of the film industry, while still being close enough to return on short notice. But to be clear, Palm Springs is a very small city in the middle of the desert – a region which isn’t particularly packed with natural beauty. But just take the Aerial Tramway up to the top of San Jacinto Peak and you’ll be amazed by the difference in landscape and climate – not to mention the incredible views. After a couple hours hiking and exploring, you can head back down and relax poolside with a cocktail at one of the many pools that Palm Springs is so well known for.
Read our article here: 10 Cool Things to Do in Palm Springs, California
Nice is only the 5th largest city in France, yet it has become the 2nd most gay-friendly destination, only behind Paris. Nice offers many gay-specific venues and perhaps a more friendly and welcoming atmosphere even compared to other French cities like Montpellier, Lyon and Marseille. With numerous LGBT-oriented events like the Pink Parade, the new Lou Queernaval, LGBT film festivals and more, Nice is one of the best gay hotspots on the Mediterranean. Nice’s beautiful blue waters are a sight to be seen and there are plenty of great beaches in and around Nice to enjoy. A view from the top of Castle Hill is one of the most stunning lookouts and the warm seaside location makes it a destination worthy of a visit almost any time of year. In the old town you’ll find brightly colored façades that reflect the colors and style of the Sardinian architecture. The neighborhood around Rue de Bonaparte is considered the ‘gayborhood’ but you’ll find gay-owned businesses throughout the city including favorites like the local gay hangout ‘Le Bar Bitch & Le Bar Butch’ as well as Le Glam and Le Six – two of Nice’s most popular nighttime hotspots.
Download our Gay Travel Guide to Nice Here for more details!
Barcelona needs little introduction and it’s one of the most popular destinations in all of Europe. With year around mild temperatures, a sea side location and a welcoming atmosphere for LGBT people, it’s no wonder that gay travelers from around the world come here to indulge in the culture, nightlife and vibrant atmosphere. Barcelona is one of those cities that has so much to offer, you can never see it all. However, there are some must see sights that will make you actually want to be a tourist. Don’t forget the lively gay neighborhood called Eixample (its nickname is “Gaixample”) which is centrally located in the city. One of the most famous gay accommodations is the Axel Hotel with their amazing rooftop terrace with a pool and bar. The Sagrada Familia is without a doubt the most famous landmark of the city, designed yet never finished by Antonio Gaudi. Park Güell is another one of Gaudi’s creations and is definitely worth a visit. After a long day of sightseeing, wander the narrow cobblestone streets of the Gothic Quarter and don’t forget the beach – there are even two gay ones!
Oh, the city of light, love and romance! A must on any traveler’s bucket list. No, a visit to Paris isn’t all croissants and strolls along the Seine. “You wanna Party in France? You better work bitch!” Yes even Brittany Spears knows a little research can go a long way when you want to have a good time. To make the most out of your stay in this capital of culture and cuisine, we’ve got you covered with our latest gay city guide. From your first magical glimpse of the Eiffel Tower to the best hangouts touted by gay locals, you will find all the essentials you need for a memorable first time…to Paris, of course! To give you an even better insider’s scoop, we enlisted the expertise of our friends Bryan and Craig from The Gay Locals to give you the best recommendations on where those sexy Parisians enjoy a cocktail, grab a bite and dance the night away. Whether you prefer soaking in iconic art at The Louvre or fancy a glass of wine in the Marais, Paris’ gay neighborhood, you’re sure to enjoy it as much as we do.
Download our Gay Travel Guide to Paris Here for more details!
Many travelers, even those who’ve visited the Iberian Peninsula, seem to overlook or possibly just forget that Portugal makes up a majority of southern Europe’s west coast. That’s too bad because this vibrant country has so much to offer that we find ourselves coming back for more! Lisbon is easily the least expensive capital city in western Europe, offers mild year round weather and has plenty of activities for any LGBT traveler. It’s a good idea to spend at least 3 full days in Lisbon and maybe a few more for some awesome day trips. A few top sights include the Fashion and Design Museum, fabulous “miradouros” (lookout points), Mercado Ribeira (gourmet market) and even the hilltop St. George Castle. Even with so much to do, be sure to make time for a Lisbon Beach Tour. After a long day of exploring, consider resting your head at one of the only gay hotels (and our favorite place to stay), The Late Birds Lisbon. Take a swim in the outdoor pool and relax while sipping a cocktail (or two) in the grassy “backyard” social space.
Download our Gay Travel Guide to Lisbon Here for more details!
West Hollywood, better known as WeHo, is literally a small city within a city. It’s one of the most welcoming cities for anyone, not only the LGBT community. Come out for one of the glam Hollywood parties like Los Angeles Gay Pride, the HBO Emmy Party, Sir Elton John’s Annual Oscar Party and Outfest, the longest running LGBT film festival in the country. Oh, and did we mention the largest Halloween bash in the country? If you’re looking for a swanky home away from home to rest and relax before and after all those great parties, there’s no shortage of excellent accommodation. Feel like a star from the silver screen and book at The Andaz West Hollywood, The Mondrian, The Standard or The Sunset Tower Hotel. Around happy hour, head up to Skybar at The Mondrian or Tower Bar at The Sunset Tower for a cocktail or two. Now all you’re missing are some new threads to look effortlessly ‘on fleek.’ The West Hollywood Design District is full of shops and boutiques of all types. All that’s left is to make your way out to Santa Monica Boulevard where you’ll be in the heart of the LGBT nightlife scene.
Read our article: 7 Things Every Gay Should Know Before Visiting West Hollywood
Which of these 10 gay friendly destinations do you most want to visit? Let us know in the comments below!
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