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Top LGBTQ+ friendly destinations

Published by Holiday Extras on
Edited on

Whether you want to celebrate pride, explore LGBTQ+ heritage culture and art, or just know you'll be safe on your travels, here's our list of the best countries in the world for queer travellers









8. Thailand

Thai market

We've had our eyes on Thailand for a while now, even more so since they announced plans to pass a new law to legalise same-sex marriage by the end of 2024.

This would make it *officially* the most LGBTQI+ friendly country in South East Asia – which it pretty much is already thanks to the very tolerant and liberal population, as well as laws that protect the community against discrimination over gender identity and sexual orientation. It's a rarity in this part of the world, and if the bill passes it will make Thailand only the third Asian country to legalise same-sex marriage (after Nepal and Taiwan) and the first in South East Asia.

Who knows, maybe next year Thailand will be topping our list…

Our guide to Thailand

Do you want to experience the chaos of Bangkok or the blissful beaches of Phuket? Either way we've got it all in our guide.

Thailand Travel Guide

7. Australia

Sydney Opera House

LGBTQ+ rights have really shot ahead in Australia since the turn of the century, making it one of the most accepting countries in the world. I mean obviously, otherwise it wouldn't be on our list. Homosexuality was decriminalised in 1973 and same-sex marriage became legal in 2017 after the public voted 'yes, actually' in a national survey a few months prior. Not surprising for the country that gave us Kylie. Plus they love Eurovision as much as we do.

Sydney is the place to go, with the renowned Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras taking place every year in February/March time. It's the biggest pride event in Oceania, attracting tens of thousands of visitors every year, and has been host to plenty of iconic performers over the years – Boy George, the sisters Minogue, Loreen, Kim Petras, Dua Lipa, Courtney Act…

6. Germany

Berlin Wall

Willkommen, bienvenue, welcome!

Berlin has historically been a hub for everything counterculture, alternative, bohemian, and the LGBTQ+ community has often fallen into those categories throughout history. Only in Berlin it was able to thrive into something diverse and beautiful. It was known as a gay hotspot as early as the 1920s! Not hard to believe, given this was the setting of Christopher Isherwood's semi-autobiographical Goodbye to Berlin, which details his time in the city. It would later become a broadway musical that would be adapted into the 1972 film Cabaret, starring Liza Minnelli.

You can still hit the cabaret scene or visit the many clubs and bars. If that's not your scene, hit up one of the queer-themed exhibitions, lectures and concerts that dot the city. These are more frequent around pride, which happens towards the end of July in Berlin.

Our guide to Berlin

Make the most of your next trip with our hassle-free guide - including where to go, what to eat and where to party in Berlin.

Berlin Travel Guide

5. UK


It's taken a while for the community to recover from the dark times of Section 28, when 'promoting homosexuality' was banned. But now that we're freely able to push the gay agenda, everyone's become a bit more open, educated and accepting of our community. We even have our own Drag Race on the BBC! Same-sex marriage has been legal in England, Wales and Scotland since 2014, though it took Northern Ireland a little while to catch up in 2020. We still can't tie the knot within the Church of England. *raises eyebrows*

Pride is becoming more of a thing here in the UK these days, and we don't mean the big ones like London, Brighton or Manchester. Smaller, local prides are becoming a bigger deal, so you won't have to venture far to find one. These smaller prides are often excellent places to bring the kids. Entry tends to be free, there's plenty of food and drink, live entertainment and a colourful parade.

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4. Spain


Spain is one of the most liberal and accepting countries in the world, particularly in regards to LGBTQ+ rights. They legalised same-sex marriage in 2005, making it the third country in the world to do so, after the Netherlands and Belgium. Spain has contributed to literature, TV and more significantly cinema in terms of telling LGBTQ+ stories. Pedro Almodovar rose to fame by reinventing Spanish cinema with his films depicting themes of sexual and political freedom in the wake of Francisco Franco's fascist regime.

It's no surprise as well that Spain has some of the most gay-friendly cities in the world, inlcuding Barcelona and Madrid both of which host a variety of prides each year. But if that's not enough then take a whole island instead. Gran Canaria is famous all around the world for it's long stretches of sand, buzzing gay venues, LGBTQ+ resorts and its two annual prides, one in summer and one in winter.

Our guide to Spain

From the cultural hotspots on the mainland, to the volcanic Canary Islands and the stunning beaches of the Balearics - Spain has everything you need for every kind of holiday.

Spain Travel Guide

3. Canada


Canada also legalised same-sex marriage in 2005, and has made great strides since then in terms of LGBTQ+ rights, up to the point that the Canadian now recognise a third gender on passports and has made conversion therapy a crime. It's now right at the top of the of the Gay Travel Index and one of the safest countries in the world for LGBTQ+ travellers and citizens. We can just taste the equality.

On top of all this, in 1993 Canada became one of the first countries in the world to recognise and offer safe haven to those facing persecution for their sexuality or gender identity.

You can really visit Canada any time of year but if you want your trip to be pride-themed you've got plenty of options to choose from. A lot of them even coincide with ski season, so if you want to combine a ski trip with your pride plans, it won't be hard to arrange. A lot of ski resorts even have their very own pride weekends.

2. Switzerland


Switzerland have upped their progressive game in the past few years, legalising same-sex marriage, adoption and IVF in July 2022. Fair enough it may have taken them a while to get there, but they've historically been ahead of the curve with this stuff – they legalised sexual acts as early as 1942 and equalised the age of consent in 1992.

Zurich has been celebrating what has historically been called Christopher Street Day since 1994. A celebration of LGBTQI+ rights and a fight against discrimination that has evolved into what's now Zurich Pride. Christopher Street is the street in New York City where the Stonewall Inn is located. Now every June the streets of Zurich are clad in rainbow colours with plenty of parties for everyone to enjoy.

If parties aren't your scene, Switzerland is high up in the Alps so the scenery is famously awe-inspiring, with many of the cities set against the backdrop of mountain peaks on the shores of pristine glacial lakes. Also think of the chocolate. Imagine being that close to Swiss chocolate all the time.

Our guide to Switzerland

Whether you're here for Alpine peaks, culturally diverse cities or to indulge in world-beating chocolate, Switzerland guarantees a good trip.

Switzerland Travel Guide

1. Malta


Congratulations to Malta which got the highest score for LGBTQI+ rights in our Good Trip Index for the second year running! We love to see it. We also love to see the gorgeous, rugged coastline, fascinating historic monuments and mysterious ancient ruins that make the island so special. Malta was the first country in Europe to criminalise conversion 'therapy', which sets them apart from many other countries that are dragging their heels on that particular issue.

In addition to all that, Valletta is an ideal spot for a city break. It was founded in 1566 by the Knights of St John, who relocated to the island to defend it from pirates and the Ottoman Empire. It was built after the Great Siege of 1565 in which the 700 knights as well 8,000 soldiers managed to defend the island from an Ottoman invasion force of 40,000. There's a bit of history for you.

If that's whet your travel appetite have a look at our guide, it's got everything you could ever need to know about this fabulous island.

Our guide to Malta

Rich with UNESCO World Heritage sites, beaches and moreish pastizzis, Malta is a great place to visit this June.

Malta Travel Guide