The best LGBT+ friendly destinations in Europe
Over the past number of years, LGBT+ rights have become more protected in various parts of the world. But despite how liberal certain countries may have become, LGBT+ travelers still face concerns others don’t necessarily have to consider. Sexuality can (and often does) have an influence on which places individuals choose to visit. So if you’re looking for some inspiration for your Eurail trip, here are 4 of our favourite destinations in Europe loved by the LGBT+ travel community.
4 LGBT+ friendly European cities to visit in 2019
Portugal has some of the most progressive rights concerning the LGBT+ community, boasting not only same-sex marriage and adoption between same-sex couples, but also placing emphasis on legal gender identification. Portugal prohibits discrimination towards any individual’s sexual orientation and has many areas that are LGBT+ friendly. Lisbon is a city that is particularly accepting of the LGBT+ community and the warm weather for much of the year makes it that much more enjoyable.
Where to go in Lisbon
Beach 19 is one of the largest beaches in Europe and is said to be the best gay and nude beach in all of Lisbon. It’s located within a nature reserve and visitors can enjoy cruises, drinks from the bar or bolas de Berlim, a doughnut-like pastry often sold by vendors on the beach.
Art and culture enthusiasts will appreciate Queer Lisboa, an international queer film festival held in Lisbon every September. The capital also offers multiple (gay) tours, making it easier to get acquainted with all of the hotspots and hidden gems in the city, as well as its trendy LGBT+ nightlife. Aside from flamboyant performances by talented drag queens, amazing cocktail bars and a number of aesthetically pleasing gay saunas, Lisbon has a large go-go boy community at many nightclubs.
Like many other European countries, Portugal celebrates Pride, and the Arraial Lisboa Pride will take place in June, with the exact dates to be announced.
As the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage, the Netherlands is filled with LGBT+ friendly areas. The charming city of Amsterdam in particular has a proud history of supporting LGBT+ rights and include numerous pubs, attractions and curio shops worth exploring.
Where to go in Amsterdam
For those who love shopping, Gays and Gadgets on Spuisstraat is a unique gift store with a ton of accessories and trinkets that range from erotic candy to rainbow-themed ornaments. Bookworms will love leafing through the pages of comics, travel guides and magazines at Vrolijk Gay and Lesbian Bookshop, a bookstore which covers topics that vary from being queer in a religious household and homosexual parenthood to showcasing the best of queer cinema.
For entertainment, Café Lellebel on Utrechtsestraat is loved by both locals and visitors. Although it’s a small pub, Lellebel features drag performances and activities 7 days a week, the whole year round. And of course, no visit to Amsterdam would be complete without a trip to Reguliersdwarsstraat, famous for its gay hospitality. This area is filled with stores, art and pub crawls for every member of the community.
This year Amsterdam Pride is celebrated from 27 July to 4 August. Also in July is the Milkshake Festival, a queer dance festival, and on December 1 the annual Love Dance raises money and awareness for the Aids Fund with artists, live shows, and DJs.
One of the most vibrant and accepting places for LGBT+ individuals, Brighton should be on every traveler’s list. A quirky seaside town located an hour away from London by train, Brighton offers everything from trendy cafés, drag burlesque performances and astonishing art galleries. It is often referred to as the Gay Capital of the UK, where there is much to do and even more to explore.
Where to go in Brighton
For history fanatics, the LGBTQ History Walking Tour is a must. It takes about an hour and a half, and is a great way to discover iconic nightlife, themed pub crawls and listen to stories of drag queens as well as learn more about the iconic beachfront.
Brighton also has a bunch of popular clubs and bars: Club Revenge is a large, popular nightclub with two dance floors and three floors total; Poison Ivy is the perfect place to belt out your favourite tunes with karaoke sessions and cabaret performances.
Last but not least, Brighton Pride is one of the biggest pride events in the UK. It is celebrated annually in Preston Park, drawing in more than 160, 000 individuals from all over the world, and will take place this year from the 2nd to the 4th of August.
Spain has a long history of advocating for gay rights and in 2005, it became the third country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage. Madrid is one of Spain’s most open and accepting cities when it comes to the LGBT+ community and has a variety of LGBT-friendly areas.
Where to go in Madrid
Chueca is a popular district to visit as there’s so much to do, eat and see. It’s also known for its many gay clubs and bars, making Chueca a prime hotspot for gay nightlife, as well as shopping, bar hopping and dining.
Foodies will love exploring the San Antón food market, an indoor market featuring fresh produce, traditional Spanish tapas and a ton of artisan shops. Madrid boasts a bunch LGBT+ friendly restaurants and bars, including Mama Ines and LL Bar, which is very popular with the gay community thanks to its drag shows.
Madrid is the proud host of the biggest Pride event in Europe. Every year, this inclusive celebration attracts more than a million LGBT+ individuals and their allies to come and party in the lively city. Aside from a parade, there is concerts, parties, races and various activities to enjoy. This year, Madrid Pride takes place from 28 June to 7 July 2019.