12+ Most LGBT Friendly Countries And Cites: LGBT-Welcoming Places Around the World

Finding welcoming and inclusive LGBT-friendly countries is key to having a stress-free and enjoyable trip. Luckily, there are plenty of destinations out there that are known for their open-mindedness and acceptance. Are you ready to pack your rainbow bags and explore the world? Here are the top 14 LGBT-friendly countries and cities that should be on your travel radar:

  1. London, United Kingdom
  2. Bangkok, Thailand
  3. Reykjavik, Iceland
  4. Palm Springs, California
  5. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
  6. Barcelona, Spain
  7. Auckland, New Zealand
  8. Cape Town, South Africa
  9. Taipei, Taiwan
  10. Provincetown, Massachusetts, US
  11. Buenos Aires, Argentina
  12. Montreal, Canada
  13. Amsterdam, Netherlands
  14. Berlin, Germany.
  • London, United Kingdom

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    London has a rich history of LGBTQ+ activism and acceptance dating back over a century. Photo by rodwey2004 - stock.adobe.com

    The United Kingdom, particularly London, is considered one of the most LGBT-friendly destinations in the world. Same-sex marriage has been legalised in 2014 (England, Scotland, and Wales) and 2020 (Northern Ireland).

    The city's history with the gay, lesbian, transgender and cross-dressing community is long, with the first Gay Pride March happening as early as the 1970s.

    If you want to enjoy music and dancing, London’s Soho district is where it’s at. Queer Britain on the King Cross is an excellent museum to look into LGBTQ+ history, the first of its kind in the UK. Many cities have active gay scenes that are worth booking a flight.

    Manchester’s Canal Street is the heart of the city’s LGBT scene, hosting the annual Manchester Pride festival. Brighton, often called the "gay capital" of the UK, is known for its laid-back, accepting vibe and hosts the famous Brighton Pride.

  • Bangkok, Thailand

  • It’s hard to list the most gay-friendly cities without mentioning Bangkok. The city has an ingrained LGBT culture and one of the liveliest gay scenes in the world.

    Districts like Silom, particularly Silom 4 Alley, have a high concentration of gay bars, clubs, and saunas catering to various tastes. The Calypso Cabaret and House of Heals are great places to enjoy some drag shows.

    But why limit yourself to Bangkok when there are many amazing destinations across Thailand? Pai, with its relaxed and laid-back vibe; Krabi, with its breathtaking beaches; and many more. Grab your summer outfits and swimwear to enjoy them to the fullest.

    That said, public displays of affection (PDA) are generally not the norm, regardless of sexual orientation. But on the whole, Thailand is generally safe for LGBT people. Remember to exercise common travel practices to stay safe, and you’ll be fine, just like anywhere else.

  • Reykjavik, Iceland

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    At least two churches showed their support with rainbow steps. Photo by Travelvolo - stock.adobe.com

    This Nordic island nation has consistently ranked as one of the most LGBT-friendly countries in the world. According to the 2024 Rainbow Index Map by ILGA-Europe, Iceland scored the second highest - 83% based on factors such as Asylum, Legal Gender Recognition, etc. - just after Malta.

    If you want to connect with the community, visit Kiki Queer Bar, Reykjavik’s only gay bar. There are also rainbow streets, such as Seyðisfjördur, located in the city's heart. The Nearby Hrísey Island also hosts a pride celebration in July. But the party is not Iceland’s biggest selling point; nature is. So don’t hesitate to pack your gear and start an amazing hike with your partner.

  • Palm Springs, California

  • The annual Palm Sring Pride is one of the largest Pride events in California. If you love hanging by the pool under the warm desert sun, there’s no better place to be. And when the night comes, Arenas Road comes alive with gay bars and nightclubs.

    Another highlight is The Dinah, the largest lesbian/non-binary music festival in the world with 10,000 attendees. Held every spring, this five-day event features pool parties, live performances, and social gatherings. However, the pass can be expensive, about $300 on average, if you sign up for various parties and events.

    The only downside is the summer can be unbearably hot. And there’s not much to do if you don’t enjoy partying and nightlife in the middle of the desert. Our advice? Find an event you want to join and plan your trip around it. San Diego, San Francisco, and West Hollywood are other gay-friendly cities in California if you want some alternatives.

  • Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

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    Certain Mexican cities are surprisingly friendly to LGBTQ+. Photo by Linda Dahrmann - stock.adobe.com

    Dubbed the gay mecca of the world, Puerto Vallarta offers a safe and friendly haven for every gay and lesbian. The best part? You don't need a passport to travel to this LGBT-friendly country if you are an American traveller.

    The Zona Romántica (Romantic Zone), also known as the Gayborhood, is where the action is. Hotels that cater to gay people include Mecurio, Pinata, and Casa Cupula. A night in one of these hotels costs around $200.

    La Noche, Mr. Flamingo, and CC Slaughters are popular spots where visitors can socialise and enjoy spectacular drag shows. During the day, relax on the gay-popular stretches of Los Muertos Beach with iconic beach clubs like Blue Chairs and Sapphire.

    Puerto Vallarta is generally considered a safe destination. However, as with any travel destination, be sure not to flash your cash or go to a dark alley at 3 am. It's wise to be cautious with your belongings, especially in crowded areas and on the beach. Investing in a hip pack to keep your stuff safe and secure is a must.

  • Auckland, New Zealand

  • A unique blend of dynamic neighbourhoods, lively events, and scenic landscapes make New Zealand's largest city a top choice for an unforgettable gay-friendly travel experience.

    New Zealand legalised both same-sex marriage and adoption rights for same-sex couples in 2013. The country’s former prime minister walked in a gay pride parade in February 2018.

    The gay scene and community are small (given the local population), but you will find that it’s comfortable here. Unlike some cities with a concentrated gay district, Auckland offers a welcoming vibe throughout.

    Karangahape Road (affectionately known as "K Road") features numerous gay bars, clubs, and cafes, including the Eagle Bar and Caluzzi Cabaret. Another highlight is the Big Gay Out, an annual outdoor festival in Coyle Park.

  • Barcelona, Spain

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    Sitges is a must-visit if you are looking for a gay-friendly city. Photo by Barcelona - stock.adobe.com

    Barcelona is more than a gay-friendly destination. It is the closest thing to a paradise for everyone. The weather is sunny and warm, and the people are friendly. Better yet, Barcelona is a fantastic base for exploring the surrounding region.

    Take a day trip via a 30-minute train ride to the charming seaside town of Sitges, a renowned gay hotspot, particularly in August. There are beaches to be enjoyed here, some of which are nude (Playa de las Balmins and Platja de l'Home Mort). You can also travel by air to other nearby LGBTQ+-friendly cities, such as Marid.

  • Cape Town, South Africa

  • While the African continent isn’t widely recognised for LGBTQ+ friendliness, South Africa, in general, and Cape Town, stands out as a notable exception. There’s the annual Pride celebration and the Mother City Queer Project (MCQP) - an annual costume party in December.

    No visit to Cape Town would be complete without exploring the De Waterkant neighbourhood. Often referred to as the city's "gay village," The lively atmosphere rivals London's Soho.

    Beyond its LGBTQ+-friendly venues and events, Cape Town offers a wealth of outdoor activities and natural attractions. Don't miss the chance to hike up Table Mountain, one of the most iconic landmarks in South Africa. The pristine beaches of Clifton and Camps Bay are famous for their white sand and clear waters. If you want an equally queer destination in South Africa, we recommend booking a trip to Johannesburg.

  • Taipei, Taiwan

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    The Rainbow Road is located at exit No. 6 of Ximen MRT Station. Photo by  Jo Panuwat D - stock.adobe.com

    Taiwan boasts a progressive attitude compared to other Asian countries - it’s up there with Thailand. “School textbooks extol equality, and gays and lesbians serve openly in the military,” according to the Washington Post. Same-sex marriage has been legalised since 2019, and up to 70% of Taiwanese showed their support in a recent survey.

    The Ximen Red House District is the heart of Taipei’s LGBTQ+ scene. This little outdoor complex hosts numerous gay bars, clubs, and cafes. Coming to Taiwan, missing all the delish street food is a crime. A visit to one or two night markets is a must, we insist.

    On a side note, you may notice how Taiwanese stare at you when you hold hands, share food, or put your head on another’s shoulder. Do not worry; it mostly just stares out of curiosity. This is more so in rural areas and central Taiwan (people may take out their phone to record or even ask to touch your skin and hair - it may be their first time seeing a foreigner).

  • Provincetown, Massachusetts, US

  • What is the most LGBT-friendly place in the US, you ask? The answer is none other than Provincetown (although New York is also a strong contender). The only downside is that you have to really prepare your wallet to visit the LGBT-friendly state.

    Ptown's signature event is Bear Week, a massive celebration held in July that attracts tens of thousands of visitors. Other highlights include Family Week in August, a celebration of LGBTQ+ families.

    It’s a town of contrast. You will find music, dance, and drinks on Commercial Street and D*ck Dock (underneath the Boatslip Resort, where people do tea dances). But if all those are not your cup of tea, you can also find plenty of quiet places to be. For instance, you can go to Cape Cod National Seashore and enjoy the beach there. Or, you can simply walk around with your significant other and feel like you belong.

  •  Buenos Aires, Argentina

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    You are free to be yourself in Buenos Aires. Photo by Diego - stock.adobe.com

    Argentina has a gay scene that is as vibrant as its neighbour in South America, Brazil. In 2010, Argentina became the first country in Latin America to legalise same-sex marriage.

    Buenos Aires' gay scene is centred around the lively neighbourhoods of Palermo, Recoleta, and San Telmo. Buenos Aires caters to every taste, whether you're looking for a relaxed afternoon drink, a night of dancing under the stars, or a drag show extravaganza.

    For a truly unique experience, don't miss the opportunity to try queer tango. Several LGBTQ+ tango halls, like La Marshall, Tango Queer, and Maldita Milonga, offer classes and milongas (tango dances) specifically designed for the LGBTQ+ community.

  • Montreal, Canada

  • In the 1960s, the city became a haven for gay artists and activists fleeing persecution in the United States. Since then, Montreal has continued to be a champion for LGBTQ+ rights.

    Some say that you should start your exploration from the Berri-Uqam metro and make your way towards the Village (located along Sainte-Catherine Street East). Drop by anywhere that catches your interest along the way. Le Stud will be the last stop, the perfect place to make new friends and conclude a long night.

  • Amsterdam, Netherlands

  • The gay-friendly country that blazed a trail in marriage equality as it was the first to allow same-sex marriage in 2001, the Netherlands is also home to the world’s most culturally liberal city - Amsterdam.

    As early as the 1800s, gays went to Amsterdam to exercise their freedom. Now, it is widely known for its long list of LGBT-friendly accommodations alongside bathhouses, gay bars, and a centre for LGBT information and souvenirs called the Pink Point.

    In 1987, the Homomonument was completed and was the first memorial in the world commemorating the gays and lesbians who were persecuted and killed by the Nazis.

  • Berlin, Germany

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    Berlin is another European country that is LGBT-friendly. Photo by ummert-und-Ibold - stock.adobe.com

    When you hear the word Berlin, crazy comes to mind - raves, non-stop parties, hedonism, fetishes of all shapes and sizes. It is eclectic, diverse and thought-provoking. It holds the throne of being the gay capital of Europe.

    Berlin was already advanced in gay culture on the continent as early as the 1920s. The district of Schöneberg has become home to Gay Pride and the venue for the Lesbian and Gay City Festival, held every June. It is the largest street party in Europe.

    In Berlin, norms are relaxed, diversity is embraced, and sensualities are celebrated. In every corner are underground clubs, concept cafes, darkrooms, spas and saunas, and restaurants where only one rule is allowed - be you.

    Travel with Pride - LGBTQ+ Friendly Destinations Await!

    So, whether you're looking to explore the canals of Amsterdam or dance the night away in Barcelona, these top 14 LGBT-friendly countries are sure to offer you a warm welcome and a memorable experience.

    Ready to pack your bags and hit the road? Ditch the boring backpack – you deserve something with as much personality as you! Gear up with a rainbow travel backpack that lets you carry your essentials in style, and that'll be the envy of every airport. After all, when you travel with pride, every detail counts!

    Bao Tieu

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