Europe is a vast continent, home to gorgeous historic cities and countless islands, with many offerings for LGBTQIA+ travellers. These places promote open-mindedness and tolerance towards the LGBTQIA+ community and have annual events and festivals to celebrate gay pride. If you’re wondering what these places are, refer below for the best destinations for LGBTQIA+ travel in Europe.
Feature image by Michelle Raponi
Malta is one of the world’s most LGBT-progressive countries and one of the first European nations to make queer rights equal at the constitutional level. It’s home to gorgeous beaches, where you can frolic and enjoy some water activities. Some of these beaches serve as a gathering for the LGBT+ and nudist communities, such as the rocky Pembroke Beach, north of St Julian’s.
If you’re into history, you’ll find plenty to discover in Malta, especially in its capital, Valletta. The city is UNESCO-listed and is home to incredible historic architecture, such as the National Museum of Architecture, a Baroque building with exhibits from the Neolithic Period.
Greece is home to over 2,000 islands, and many of these islands are popular amongst LGBTQ+ travellers, especially Mykonos, the country’s party capital. Aside from Mykonos, many other islands in Greece are worth exploring, as they all have something unique to offer.
The best way to see multiple islands in Greece is on an island-hopping tour. Starting in Mykonos, you can hop to nearby islands like Paros, Naxos, and Santorini, another ideal choice for LGBTQ+ travellers, especially honeymooners.
Belgium is one of those European countries consistently ranked the most welcoming to LGBTQ+ travellers. Kickstart your Belgian holiday with a drink or two at one of the bars lining Rue du Marché au Charbon, the gay district of Brussels.
When you’re ready to explore, check out Brussels’ top attractions, which include the magnificent Grand Palace, Atomium sculpture, and Parc du Cinquantenaire. When night-time comes, head back to Rue du Marché au Charbon and party with other members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Croatia may not top the list of the most gay-friendly European countries, but its main cities of Zagreb, Dubrovnik, and Hvar welcome LGBTQ+ travellers with open arms and have many gay-friendly spots where you can hang out and party with other LGBTQ+ members.
If you only have time to visit one place in Croatia, make it Hvar. It’s famous for its vibrant nightlife, with many gay-friendly bars and beach clubs. Or even hop on a cruise around Croatia. This way, you get to visit multiple places in one trip!
Denmark is one of the first countries in Europe to recognize same-sex couples, making it a popular choice for LGBTQ+ travel, especially its capital, Copenhagen.
Copenhagen has a thriving gay scene, especially in the Latin Quarter and the meatpacking district, where there are numerous gay bars and clubs, ranging from low-key beer joints to cool disco bars. In fact, Copenhagen is home to the oldest gay bar in Europe and hosts one of the biggest Pride celebrations on the continent.