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TOP GAY FRIENDLY TRAVEL DESTINATIONS
Tell me who you are, and I will tell you where to go. After exploring almost 1/3 of the world, I was able to start piling up some great places for LGBT tourists, to enjoy life as free individuals with the same gene as I. Amongst cities and beaches, forests and mountains, I was able to gather glimpses of what each has to offer, and able to share it with the world according to each one’s preferences. So, tell me who you are, and I will tell you where to go.
Either bathing under the Caribbean sun, or digging in the soft snow on the Alpes… the world is too big for me to stay in just one place. My philosophy? No time to visit the same place time twice, so I intend to make the most of it every single time. Give me a few Dollars, a couple of Tonic Gin’s and a Passport… and you won’t see me for the next 10 years ☺
- Aris, a Porto based traveler
Travel Writer and Portugal Travel Designer for TDO
#1 FOR ALL KINDS OF TASTES!
Since I am aware of my own existence, I always had a huge rainbow coming out of my forehead and shining all the way through. Yep, that much gay… I used to match the colors of my belts with my sunglasses, and my watches. Red, red, red. Blue, blue, blue. No question… 200% gay. Not even I could try to deny to myself the fact that I was not like the rest of the boys I knew.
And as a gay man, I always had the urge to run away. Do you know the “fight or flee” theory? I was the “flee” kind of guy. I know, it’s not ideal. But it was due to the way that society embraced me from day one. And maybe that’s why, seven years ago at the age of 23, I turned my life upside down. I came out after a whole gap year in Spain – and then it hit me… I was far away from everyone I knew; from everything I knew… and I was truly happy and free like I’ve never felt before. I realized that not coming out before, was just an excuse for someone who never felt free at all. And I understood, right away, that my impulse for “running away”, was not linked to the fact that I was gay, but to the fact that I have a huge wanderlust gene. Some scientists assign this “defect” to the gene DRD4-7R – they say it’s linked to huge levels of dopamine on the brain, causing a great deal of curiosity and a constant thirst for new things. Maybe that explains why my bank account is empty and my passport full.
#2 WHERE TO?
After exploring almost 1/3 of the world, I was able to start piling up some great places for LGBT tourists, to enjoy life as free individuals with the same gene as I. Amongst cities and beaches, forests and mountains, I was able to gather glimpses of what each has to offer, and able to share it with the world according to each one’s preferences. So, tell me who you are, and I will tell you where to go.
#3 SUNNY PARADISES, NATURE & BEACHES
Grab your swimming trunks and your rainbow beach towel: 2020 will be your year. Some good destinations for gay people, like Maspalomas (Gran Canaria), or Paris (France), or even Rio de Janeiro (Brasil), are things of the past.
Even though this destination is known amongst gay people, it’s still one of the best ones that keeps surprising: Malta. Even now, in 2020, this country keeps the record of being the most progressive country in Europe in terms of LGBT rights. And well… do I really need to remind you of the famous beaches there? If Paradise exists, Malta is probably it. You’ll be able to enjoy an spa on a rooftop, with an infinity pool… or an awesome cocktail served inside a pineapple, while you bathe in Comino’s beach. Just try to not get bitten by a jellyfish like I was. But hey, it was totally worth it. In Malta you’ll be able to see gay couples on the street, holding hands or sharing a kiss, without a single concern in life. You’ll find gay massages, gay bars, gay discos, gay hotels, gay everything. I would dare to say that Malta is more gayfriendly, than I was when I was a teenager. Inclusivity and acceptance rule the place.
Another great spot for your vacations, with a hugeeee LGBT environment, is the unforgettable Tel Aviv (Israel). You may think that “Israel” sounds a bit tricky, but well, you’re wrong: it’s one of the biggest and most friendly countries for our community. There is political freedom like in no other Middle East country. One of the most appealing aspects about Tel Aviv (besides plenty of gorgeous men), are the beaches: this city has some of the most beautiful beaches in the Mediterranean. June is the best choice in case you are wondering (they host a huge gay pride festival that is worth every moment, with tons of music, drinks and fun). So, get your tickets and go learn some Hebraic, because you’ll have the time of your life in the gayest city in the world!
From the tallest mountain to the deepest of valleys, if your heart is in the nature take a deep breath, put your snickers on and fill your lungs with O2. Bangkok (Thailand) is the place to go. It’s an explosion of color and good vibes. Utterly breathtaking, this city is starting to build its reputation as a great gayfriendly destination - they even invested in marketing campaigns for the gay audience. Even though they are only starting to walk this path,
Bangkok has proven to have one of the greatest combinations for any gay traveler with a strong passion for nature: all the LGBT flag colors are there, from the dense green vegetation to the purple sunset. From the incredible street food, to the rooftop parties, to the karaoke and gay massages, Bangkok is the perfect ticketing list.
Special mention: Algarve, Lisbon and Porto (all in Portugal), are becoming amazing places for the LGBT community. This sunny country is growing fast in every gay travel’s itinerary, with some of the friendliest of people, some of the best gastronomy, and amazing parties for gay people. In some rankings, Portugal was consistently placed on the first place, as the most gay-friendly country in Europe. Definitely worth paying a visit!
Buenos Aires for Night Travelers
I totally get you… you got the bat gene: sleep during the day, party hard at night. And 2020 has a lot to give you. There is not way around it: Buenos Aires (Argentina), is the city that conquers the gold medal for the gay night fever. Either visit San Telmo or Palermo, and you’ll find the craziest nights you’ve ever experienced. Oh… and the guys there are H-O-T.
Berlin for Night Travelers
Though, if you’re more of a hipster kind of person… Europe will suit you well. Berlin (Germany), has some incredible and epic underground parties that are getting upgraded for 2020. It’s always good to make a few connections with locals, to help you find and enter some of these clubs… and don’t be scared if they ask you to dress up properly (leather kind of clothes, just so you know). These clubs are hardcore, with some joints in between. Let’s just say that straight guys might find it hard to find a straight party in this city, because Berlin is 200% gay-friendly.
San Francisco for City Lovers
Sunglasses on, jungle of concrete around you, dressed with an awesome city outfit, and going on a shopping spree. One or two epic selfies along the way. That’s you, right? Well… this next city is meant for you. It’s considered THE friendliest of gay cities, in the entire world. San Francisco, California (USA). It’s impossible to talk about gay destinations without mentioning San Francisco. Imagine an entire neighborhood (Castro) where every-single-bar and store is meant for this audience.
Imagine a parade with half a million people wearing the rainbow flag. Imagine the same flag… in thousands of windows around the city. Even the crosswalks are painted with the LGBT flag. San Francisco is known for being a symbol for the fight for gay rights; a symbol of freedom and equality. And to make the experience even better, you should plan a trip starting at San Francisco all the way until Los Angeles (another great city for the LGBT community).
Another city that is a must for the gay community, with almost 30% of its population being LGBT, it’s Amsterdam (Netherlands). The city of sin, where anything can happen. The one and only gay parade on water, is theirs. The canals are covered in glitter and confetti, small boats and glamour. Plus, this city hosts the Queen’s Day on the 30th of April, dedicated to all of those who lost their lives for the Nazis because of their sexual orientation. No need to mention the Red-Light District or those funny little things that you can ingest or smoke.
To sum it all up, it will all depend on your preferences and budget. Either way, you’ll have fun anywhere: acceptance is in the air. Pack your things, catch the first flight, and enjoy these amazing destinations that are bursting with rainbow flags. Maybe we’ll cross paths in between flights.
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