LGBTQ travel & gay holidays

Welcome to your go-to LGBTQ travel hub with the latest savings on holidays, flights and more as well as advice on where to go and, crucially, where to avoid.

Recommended LGBTQ travel companies

We know that travel companies still have a long way to go in terms of being fully LGBTQ-friendly but there are those that stand out as leaders of the pack. For example, both Hilton and Virgin Holidays have been shortlisted in the 2019 Diva Awards.

Gay-friendly holiday destinations © Melinda Nagy - Adobe Stock Image
Gay-friendly holiday destinations © Melinda Nagy - Adobe Stock Image

With that in mind, we've curated a collection of travel companies that we believe to be LGBTQ aware, whether it's through specific holidays or acceptable, open policies. Find out more about the brands below.

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Disagree with our selection? Do let us know if you have had a negative experience in relation to LGBTQ issues with any of the travel companies we're championing.

LGBTQ & gay friendly cruises

Cruising is enjoying a massive resurgence in popularity with more people than ever looking to these floating hotels for a memorable break in the sun, taking in more than just one location on their voyage of choice.

Here you'll find the latest deals on itineraries from LGBTQ-friendly cruise companies that offer everything from romantic escapes to wild parties at sea. Whichever way you cruise, you'll find the very latest deals on ocean and river cruises below.

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Latest discounts & all inclusive deals

Looking for the very latest savings, including last minute offers and all inclusive deals for 2020/2021? You've come to the right place. Check out current codes and sales on holidays, flights, hotels and more from LGBTQ-friendly brands below.

  • Check out the most popular LGBT-friendly hotels & resorts
  • Destinations include Canaries, Malta, Cyprus & mainland Spain
  • Plus discover LGBT-friendly destinations across Europe

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Best gay holidays for singles

You've decided to travel solo this year, or maybe you're recovering from a break-up and want to find Mr Right Now. Where's good to go?

Sitges, Spain

Sitges is at the top of the list for many gay travellers. The seaside town, just half an hour from the city of Barcelona, is a lively, yet laid-back destination, which has a very open scene for gay men of all ages.

There's a picturesque old town, with gay shops and welcoming locals, plus many vibrant bars and clubs. The Playa de la Bassa Rodona, one of three gay beaches, is right in the centre of town and, from May to September, the majority of tourists in the town seem to be men.

San Francisco, USA

For an alternative vibe, San Francisco is the place to be. LGBTQ people of all types and genders are welcome in this city which has always attracted those with pioneering and adventurous spirits.

Checking out Castro in colourful San Francisco © Torbakhopper - Flickr Creative Commons
Checking out Castro in colourful San Francisco © Torbakhopper - Flickr Creative Commons

San Francisco has a friendly and laid-back atmosphere, no matter how you identify, what you like, or who you want to meet. That's even before you visit landmarks such as The Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars and the 'Painted Lady' Victorian houses.

The city itself is a collection of diverse areas, with Castro and SoMa (South of Market, and particularly hip) named the world's best 'gayborhoods' in 2016.

Mykonos, Greece

The beautiful Greek island of Mykonos is the destination for you if you want to focus on sun, sea and sand, with a side-order of partying and nightlife.

Mykonos has some of Greece's best beaches, the only decision being whether you want a party beach or a peaceful beach. Super Paradise and Elia beaches both have areas where men or women congregate but neither beach is 100% gay.

From around 4 pm each day, beachside dance clubs ensure the vibe becomes a lively one. Agari Beach, a walk further on from Elia Beach, caters for those who want a more relaxed, peaceful and less crowded time, with the focus on swimming and water-sports.

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Best travel destinations for gay couples

Some couples want to spend their holidays on the beach. Others are searching for that unforgettable adventure. What do the two of you like?

Iceland

If you want an unusual adventure holiday neither of you will ever forget, then why not try Iceland? Iceland is a progressive, friendly country which, in 2009, boasted the world's first openly lesbian head of government.

There is a small and lively LGBTQ club scene in the capital Reykjavik, but the main reason to visit Iceland is its natural beauty. The country's awe-inspiring landscape - its waterfalls, hot springs, lagoons, and volcanic deserts - really is like nowhere else.

In winter, it's also a great place to see the Northern Lights, where strange and unusual colours swirl and streak across the night sky.

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

For some top-notch culture not too far from home, Amsterdam is a great place for a couples' holiday. This was the first city in the world to make same-sex marriage legal, so if a wedding is on your mind, then what better place to take your significant other?

Wander along the canals, visit the galleries, and enjoy a huge variety of cuisines. Public displays of affection between couples are unremarkable in this capital city, meaning that romance is definitely on the agenda.

There are also many queer-friendly bars and clubs - of every sort, for every sort of person - along with LGBT hotels, coffee houses, parks and saunas.

Thailand

Thailand has everything for a long-haul trip you will never forget: culture, beaches, food, and clubbing, at very affordable prices. This tolerant country makes a point of welcoming LGBTQ travellers even though same-sex marriage is not currently legal.

Beautiful Patong Beach, Phuket Island, Thailand © Aleksandar Todorovic - Adobe Stock Image
Beautiful Patong Beach, Phuket Island, Thailand © Aleksandar Todorovic - Adobe Stock Image

Fly into Bangkok, where you can enjoy the karaoke bars, rooftop dining and great shopping. Then head to Phuket for stunning beaches, where you can enjoy some diving, or Pattaya if you want a more lively commercial resort.

For history and culture amidst the beautiful mountains of northern Thailand, a visit to Chiang Mai is a must.

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LGBTQ & gay-friendly destinations

Looking for a trip to a resort that welcomes LGBTQ people? Or are you looking for a holiday your straight friends will enjoy as much as you do? These destinations are worth considering.

Gran Canaria, Canary Islands

For a sunny break year-round, there's lots to enjoy in Gran Canaria. This island is always warm and sunny, so even in January, it's enjoyable being outdoors. There are plenty of beaches, plus top-class hiking, nature, and adventure sports on offer.

The capital, Las Palmas, is packed with culture and history, and this encompasses a lively gay scene, with queer-friendly bars, clubs and saunas. February is carnival month: events include a drag queen gala and other quirky happenings such as the canine carnival and the 'burial of the sardine' that brings the season to a close.

Berlin, Germany

Berlin is well-known for being a tolerant city that welcomes all kinds of LGBTQ people, whatever their gender or sexual identity. While the city is best-known as a destination for alternative arty types, there is something to interest everyone.

Berlin - tolerant and open to all sexualities © Michael Spring - Adobe Stock Image
Berlin - tolerant and open to all sexualities © Michael Spring - Adobe Stock Image

Start your trip at the top of the TV Tower in Alexanderplatz, where you can see the city's many attractions 230m below you. The museums and monuments provide plenty of food for thought about the city's past, as well as hope for its future. Friendly Berliners will be happy to offer a welcome to the city at the many bars, cafes and often huge dance clubs.

Mexico

If you want a gay-friendly holiday in Mexico, you will be spoilt for choice, so consider what else you want from your holiday. Many beach destinations, such as Cancun, have all-inclusive resorts that are popular with couples, regardless of sexuality.

Puerto Vallarta, on the Pacific coast, is a very lively city with lots of nightlife - and tourists. Its Zona Romántica is quaint and historic, and the location for many LGBT venues.

Culture-vultures will love Mexico City, where the artist and bisexual icon Frida Kahlo lived in the bohemian Coyoacán district; her house and studio is now the world-famous Museo Casa Azul.

Places LGBTQ travellers should avoid

Whatever else you are looking for on holiday, you want to have a fun, enjoyable and relaxing time. But in some places, that is not something that LGBTQ people can expect.

Same-sex relationships between men are currently illegal in 72 countries. In 42 of them, relationships between women are illegal too, and women unaccompanied by men - regardless of their sexuality - may be subject to high levels of harassment.

Many other destinations are unsafe for LGBTQ people, no matter what the law says. While many of those places are not normally holiday destinations, the five countries below - often visited by heterosexual couples and families - are worth avoiding.

Jamaica

Jamaica is high on the list of potential holiday destinations where LGBTQ people - especially men - are at risk of violence. Behaviour, rather than identity, is criminalised and sex between men is illegal using laws introduced by the British in the 19th century.

Mainstream, and other, political parties have stressed their opposition to same-sex marriage and there is little or no support for gay rights. High rates of violence have resulted; while attitudes may be changing, in 2013 half of all LGBTQ people surveyed said they had experienced homophobic violence.

Russia

In Russia, same-sex activity between adults was decriminalised in 1993, but the daily realities of LGBTQ people indicate that prejudice is still widespread. In 2019, 87% of those polled considered same-sex marriage should not be allowed in Russia.

While President Putin says that sexual minorities have the same rights and freedoms as anyone else, the current law banning the distribution of materials promoting "non-traditional sexual relationships" to minors means that any kind of gay culture remains very much underground. LGBTQ activists face violence and protestors at Pride marches are often arrested.

UAE

The UAE's desert playground of Dubai is often presented as a fun, party city, offering year-round heat and unparalleled luxury. However, LGBTQ holidaymakers need to be aware of the differences between Dubai and their home countries.

Being openly gay is very risky. In Dubai - and everywhere in the United Arab Emirates - any sex outside heterosexual marriage is a crime; this obviously includes same-sex activity.

Gay dating apps and other LGBTQ websites are blocked or illegal in Dubai. Although men walk hand in hand, this is a sign of friendship, not an indicator of sexuality, and while there may be underground gay clubs, they are often subject to police raids.

Egypt

While homosexuality is not explicitly illegal in Egypt, there are periodic crackdowns on people who are - or who are associated with - the LGBTQ community. Laws to combat "debauchery" have been used to imprison LGBT people.

The gay community has grown over the past 10 years, and there is an underground scene, but this has been stifled by widespread arrests. There are also reports of the police - and homophobes - using dating apps to target and attack men seeking sex.

Indonesia

Indonesia is officially a secular country, but in practice it is deeply conservative. Although Bali - a lively gay hub in this region - is part of Indonesia, the rest of this extensive, spread-out country is not so welcoming to LGBTQ people.

Anti-porn laws mean that any depictions of same-sex relationships can be banned. While men can meet using Grindr and similar apps, there have been public floggings of gay men in parts of the country. Pride and other LGBTQ events, when organised, are often cancelled at the last minute, and reports are increasing of attacks on trans people.

Ready to book your next escape? Head back up to our collection of LGBTQ-recommended holiday providers for the latest deals, discounts and savings online.

Sue George

Sue George

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