Best International LGBTQ+ Friendly Places for VacationAugust 10, 2020 | By Leah Freeman-Haskin
From renowned nightlife scenes to laws that protect LGBTQ+ travelers and citizens, these destinations across the globe are popular safe havens known for uplifting the community. Add these five destinations to your travel bucket list for 2021 and beyond.
1. Tel Aviv, Israel
Israel’s stance on LGBTQ+ issues is considered the most tolerant in the Middle East. According to culturetrip.com, a survey published the day before Tel Aviv’s 2017 Pride parade revealed that 79% of Israelis support same-sex marriage or civil unions, and many travelers vote Tel Aviv as the world’s best gay travel destination, ahead of New York, Toronto, São Paulo, and Madrid.
Tel Aviv Pride in June is an annual event that draws visitors from around the globe. It is one of Israel’s largest celebrations. At Pride 2017, the city’s mayor, Ron Huldai, emphasized Tel Aviv’s liberal position, stating: “Tel Aviv Pride parade is not just a celebration, but also an important declaration of support. Tel Aviv, which has already been acknowledged as the world’s most gay-friendly city will continue to be a lighthouse city – spreading the values of freedom, tolerance, and democracy to the world.”
2. Amsterdam, Netherlands
Amsterdam has a history of supporting the LGBTQ+ community. While the annual pride parade is a huge draw, the city is also known for its abundance of LGBTQ+ friendly bars and nightclubs. Club NYX, Getto, and Taboo on Reguliersdwarsstraat are some of the most popular nighttime destinations across the city.
The city also boasts vibrant and exciting neighborhoods including Zeedijk and Warmoesstraat, known for having many LGBTQ+ friendly shops and bars. Reguliersdwarsstraat is one of the most important streets in Amsterdam lined with businesses for and owned by the LGBTQ+ community. This street is attributed to giving the city its name as the “international gay capital”.
3. Berlin, Germany
“Colorful, cosmopolitan and tolerant,” are the words that visitberlin.com uses to describe the German capital. If you are looking for a celebration, annual Pride Weeks in July feature huge parties and drag festivals that are a highlight of the Berlin events calendar. During this time, Berlin’s famous party scene explodes throughout venues across the city for weeks of celebrations.
Visiting outside of July? The Schwules Museum is a jewel among Berlin’s museums with its exhibitions, library, and archives. It’s one of the world’s biggest institutions for researching, preserving, and communicating the history and culture of queer communities.
4. Madrid, Spain
Boasting a deep history of supporting gay rights, Madrid is often labeled as the most LGBTQ+ tolerant city in the world. Madrid city hall estimates that the city is home to around 500,000 LGBT people, the equivalent of 10 percent of the entire city.
In addition to having one of the world’s largest Pride parties, Madrid hosts many LGBTQ+ themed events throughout the year. There is an annual LGBTQ+ film festival, LesGaiCineMadrid, whose aim is to give visibility to gay filmmakers and gay-themed films, as well as the annual Gay Day Madrid that sees LGBTQ+ singles, couples and families enjoy a day out in the city’s main theme park.
5. Toronto, Canada
Toronto is home to Canada’s largest LGBTQ+ population. In a report by nestpick.com, Toronto was ranked the third-best LGBT city in the world—just after Madrid and Amsterdam. The criteria were based on the vibrancy of the local gay dating scene and alternative nightlife, the open-mindedness of the citizens, and the low level of hate crime against the community. The survey also considered national laws affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, including the right to get married or adopt children.
If you can visit during the Pride Festival in June, you won’t be disappointed. There are also fabulous neighborhoods, such as “The Village”, filled with various gay-owned businesses. According to culturetrip.com, the district has deep historical roots in the city, reaching back to the 1970s when the area emerged as the hub of the city’s gay subculture. Beyond the Village, you should check out the “Queer West” neighborhood, situated along Queen West. Here The Ossington, The Beaver, and El Convento Rico are renowned for their weekend drag shows.