Live Your Best Queer Life in These Cities

It’s no secret that members of the LGBTQ+ community enjoy spending their disposable income on travel. But due to country-specific legislation that may jeopardize a vacation mindset and even general safety, it’s more important than ever to seek destinations where minority visitors feel comfortable and, most importantly, protected. 

Here are seven cities where it’s a-OK to be gay, bi, trans, or any part of the diverse gender and sexuality spectrum. And since everyone isn’t hard-wired to partake in stereotypical “gay events” like circuit parties and booze cruises, we’ve broken down the type of LGBTQ+ traveler who would benefit most from each locale.

For the adventurer: Buenos Aires, Argentina

Pride Parade: Sunday, November 24

As the first country in its continent to legalize same-sex marriage, Argentina makes a wonderful choice for the visitor who wants to venture South. It’s also a fantastic stop for anyone who puts too many activities on their must-see list. From award-winning steakhouses like Don Julio to underground tango parties, there is no shortage of things to experience and explore in the Queen of El Plata. Be sure to wander into Palermo, one of Buenos Aires’ 48 unique neighborhoods, which is home to iconic gay bars like Peuteo — arguably the best place to catch an over-the-top drag show. 

For the single person: Sitges, Spain

Often considered the number one gay-friendly beach destination in the world (which includes the ever-so-popular and clothing-optional Playa Balmins), Sitges attracts nearly a million visitors a year who take full advantage of the bars, restaurants, clubs, and concert halls that the oceanside city has to offer. It is at these lively venues, with appropriate names such as Man Bar and Boys Bar, where you can mingle with queer people from all over the globe, one of whom may end up as a potential love interest for a night or forever. 

For the city seeker: Taipei, Taiwan

Pride Parade: Saturday, October 26

Taiwan was the first Asian country to legalize same-sex marriage and its capital of Taipei is a hub of cultural and entertainment activity for any city dweller. From iconic boutique hotels like the arTree to one of Asia’s most sought-after malls, 101, this bustling metropolis (and childhood home to RuPauls’ Drag Race Winner Nymphia Wind) is a must-stop for anyone who wants to feel like they’re in the center of all the action. It is also host to Ximending — an active gayborhood which includes the area of Shida Night Market, catering specifically to lesbians with clubs like Taboo

For the road tripper: Montreal, Canada

Pride Parade: Sunday, August 11

If you consider air travel a luxury (or a pain, honestly) and prefer to stick to road trips, you can find solace in our northern neighbor Canada’s city of Montreal. The majority of its residents speak fluent French and its Gothic Revival buildings (such as the awe-inspiring Notre-Dame Basilica) reflect a nod and preservation to its European history and influence. What also makes Montreal worthy of any travel bucket list is its beloved Gay Village, chock-full of the country’s best strip bars such as Campus

For the history buff: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Pride Parade: Saturday, August 3

There is so much more than Amsterdam’s world-renowned Rijksmuseum. In fact, there are over 100 museums to choose from in the canal-lined “Venice of the North,” including the Van Gogh Museum, Anne Frank House, and the National Maritime Museum. If you’re a certified history buff and are hoping to scratch an itch to learn, marvel, and explore, look no further than the Dutch capital that, quite literally, has it all (including a hopping gayborhood named Reguliersdwarsstraat and its trendy late-night spot, Club NYX.)

For the party person: Berlin, Germany

Pride Parade: Saturday, July 27

There are gays who do want to travel with partying as a top priority and no city does it better than Berlin: home to a whopping 4,500 bars and clubs (such as the largest LGBTQ+ venue in the area, SchwuZ) that put Las Vegas’s nightlife scene to shame. You can, of course, take in Berlin’s other noteworthy attractions like the Reichstag Building (seat of the German parliament) and Brandenburg Gate (18th century neoclassical monument). But if you want to stay out until the sun rises and partake in questionable activities, consider Germany’s capital (and Schöneberg gayborhood) for a walk—err—drunken stumble on the wild side. 

For the water lover: Sliema, Malta

Pride Parade: Saturday, September 14

Malta has quietly emerged as the most progressive island in Europe, thanks to its outlawing of conversion therapy and the legal recognition of LGBTQ+ equality on a constitutional level. But the country really shines with breathtaking neoclassical architecture and beach towns like Sliema (its certified gayborhood) that boast turquoise water and exceptional diving. It’s also a quick and easy flight from Spain or Italy, so you can easily tack it onto any big Eurotrip for a little R&R. And while practically every business skews a little bit queer, don’t miss Michelangelo Club — the only lounge that “technically” caters to an exclusively LGBTQ+ clientele. 

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