10 GAY-FRIENDLY GO-TO'S: EUROPE & BEYOND
Wondering where to head for gay-friendly holidays? Whether you fancy a whirlwind weekend in short haul city favourite or want to explore beyond Europe, our run-down of the best LGBT destinations serve up the best of the bunch - we're talking exciting nightlife, local culture, sun-kissed coastines and ultimate relaxation. So get ready to book your next summer holiday, today...
If you're looking for a little more information, we've got a guide and travel advice with everything you need to know for LGBT holidays, too.
MIAMI OR FORT LAUDERDALE, UNITED STATES
If you're all about flying further afield, these sun-soaked resorts are quickly becoming the premier gay spots in America. With a wide variety of hotels, boutique bars, famous clubs and clothing-optional beaches, Fort Lauderdale makes for the perfect resort if you want a cool couples holiday with your partner. Equally, Miami’s South Beach is world-famous thanks to its electric LGBT scene, with a calendar of prestigious events including the White Party, Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, and the fast-growing Miami Gay Pride Festival - attended by over 100,000 people.
This vibrant city is boasts sun-dappled canals, lively cobbled streets and dozens of cafes and bars - the first gay venue opened in 1927 and remains today as Cafe t' Mandje! Amsterdam's gay culture is booming and the edgy nightlife scene makes it the perfect choice for couples that like to hit the clubs, with Church, Club NYX, Getto and Cafe t' Mandje among the best. Better still, if you're visiting between the months of July and August you'll want to be part of the world-famous Pride Parade hosted in the city's winding waterways. Float along the canals and soak up the Dutch sun as you party to DJs, pass famous landmarks and catch on-board entertainment. Take a look at our top European day trip destinations for more vibrant city breaks.
Crowned as Mainland Spain’s number one gay destination, Sitges is celebrated for its laid-back attitude and liberal approach to life. This town is just south of buzzing Barcelona and has made it's name as a hot spot for many Spanish holidaymakers. Sitges has been a popular holiday destination for years and has attracted a regular crowd who return year after year. The town offers a vibrant scene, great beaches and a pleasant cool, sophisticated ambience. Its proximity to cultural and exciting Barcelona is one of its main attractions.
PUERTO VALLARTA, MEXICO
Puerto Vallarta is Mexico’s number one gay destination and has one of the best gay discos in North America – Christine. You’ll find everything you want in Puerto Vallarta, including an outstanding gay beach, interesting shops, specialised gay tours and a variety of nightclubs. This beautiful resort is set right in the middle of a thriving town, so you'll be spoilt for choice when it comes to activities too. There are all types of holiday on offer here, from luxury all-inclusive to last-minute bliss.
Mykonos is renowned for being one of the most stylish locations in the world. The gay scene here is concentrated in vibrant Mykonos Town – famous for its little whitewashed buildings and narrow alleyways. The resort attracts a cosmopolitan and liberal following and the locals are extremely friendly, too. Little Venice at the harbour is a chilled-out spot with plenty of gay bars and clubs. There is also a fine selection of restaurants and cafes that cater to all budgets, alongside some brilliant boutique shops. Better still, the beaches are magnificent here with Paradise Beach, Elia and Agrari, among the best. If you want to discover more blissful beach holidays in Greece and beyond, take a look at our top 7 destinations for ultimate rest and relaxation.
Gran Canaria holidays are a major draw for the LGBT crowd thanks to the Yumbo Centre – the commercial centre in party-central Playa del Ingles. Here you’ll find nearly 50 gay bars and there's also a wide variety of clubs, restaurants, spas and shops. Every venue is different and whatever you’re into you're sure to find it here. The expansive golden beaches are spectacular - but the best of them all has to be the iconic stretch at Maspalomas - famous for its sweeping sand dunes. Find out more about Gran Canaria's neighbouring resorts with our round up of the best Canary Island resorts.
Ibiza’s old town is where you’ll find the island’s well-established gay scene. The most popular bars are in and around Calle de la Virgen, or for hardened clubbers, there are all-day venues on the seafront in Figueretas. The island is also an excellent variety of places to eat out and many of the restaurants are gay-owned. The beach at Figueretas has recently been extended but many gay holidaymakers will probably prefer the gay beach at Es Cavallet, where it is fine to sunbathe in the nude. Be sure to grab a table in the great beach bar, Chiringay.
Want to find out which Balearic island is for you? We have the ultimate guide to the Balearics... so why not do a little island hopping!
Sydney’s gay and lesbian Mardi Gras festival is an extravagant blend of music, comedy, exhibitions, parties, events and more - and it's not to be missed! You'll find all kinds of celebrations here from film festivals and art exhibitions to live shows and non-stop clubbing. The scene in Sydney is mainly centred around two areas – Oxford Street from the city up to Paddington and King Street in Newtown, both offering great restaurants, shopping and plenty of cruising.
SAN FRANCISCO, UNITED STATES
San Francisco is arguably the gay capital of the US and it’s a fine-looking city to boot. Check out the Golden Gate Bridge and Fisherman’s Wharf for unrivalled views, China Town for fantastic food and head out of the city to sample California’s famed vineyards. Among the city’s top venues are The Midnight Sun, Moby Dick and Detour. It’s also worth checking out San Francisco Pride, one of the highlights in the calender year.
CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA
South Africa was the first country in the world to enshrine the protection of homosexual rights in its constitution – and its party capital Cape Town is the place to be. Its city boasts a gay community of around 100,000 and is set to host the Gay Olympics in 2010. Combine this with a fabulous climate and attractions including stunning Atlantic beaches, the imposing Table Mountain, nearby winelands, insane nightlife and Africa’s biggest shopping complex, and you’ll wonder why you didn’t visit sooner.