As a rainbow (LGBTQ+) person, you can travel to the following places in vacation / holiday 99.99% safely (as opposed to the must avoid most dangerous places to queer people). Holding hands with your lover, showing affection in public, being yourself is possible.
Here is a cheat sheet which compiles in one spot all of the cities where the gays have a thriving vibrant community, also called gayborhood (in alphabetical order):
Amsterdam is famous for its coffee shops but its also home to a vibrant gay community. Some of the most popular gay bars in Amsterdam are Prik, and Bar Blend, a lively and stylish venue with drag shows.
There are several gay areas: Reguliersdwarsstraat is mostly popular on weekends, Amstelstraat has several traditional Dutch gay bars. Kerkstraat has a few gay hotels and venues. Warmoesstraat has gay cruise clubs and fetish shops. Locals are mainly Caucasians (this is the blonde guys fans paradise)
The most popular and crowded parties are those which happen monthly or every few months. If you like dancefloors with hundreds of half-naked guys, check for the dates of those irregular parties.
Annual highlights and queer events in Amsterdam are King’s Day on the 27th (or 26th) of April, the Milkshake Festival in July and the Amsterdam Gay Pride with the canal parade in August.
Gay Bars: Bar Blend XL, Soho, Café Montmartre, Exit Cafe, Reality Bar, Prik, The Queen’s Head, Cafe Saarein, Café Mankind.
Gay Dance Clubs and Parties: BACKDOOR, Club NYX, Rapido, FunHouse, BEAR-Necessity, Club YOLO, F*cking Pop Queers (FPQ), Danserette, TRUT, Blue at Club Church.
Gay Sauna: Sauna Nieuwezijds.
Cruising Clubs: Drake´s Cruising, Boysckub 21, The WEB, Dirty Dicks, Eagle Amsterdam, The Cuckoo´s Nest, Club Church.
2. BARCELONA & SITGES
Most of Barcelona’s gay bars & clubs are within Eixample (pronounced Eh-shample) also known as “Gayxample”. It is spread out across a three-block zone north of Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, between the Urgel and Universitat metro stations.
As far as Sitges it is a pittoresque coastal town, 40-minutes from Barcelona by train and a little less by car. Sitges has 3 gay beaches (including 2 nude ones) and plenty of bars which makes for the majority of Sitges center. Sitges is full of gay French guys in quest of Spanish heat and they call it Paris Plage (Paris Beach).
Keep in mind that there is a season to travel to Sitges, pretty much from May to end of September.
Barcelona must see: Eixample, Mar Bella Beach, Matinee Circuit Festival and Parties, Grupo Arena Clubs and Parties, BoysBar BCN (circuit music dancing bar), The Moon (pop and reggaeton music dancing bar), Churros con Chocolate Party, Priscilla Cafe, Versailles (lounge), Sky Bar at Axel Hotel, Believe Club, Punto BCN, Moeem.
Sitges must see: Beaches, Parrots Bar, Prinz, Queenz Music Bar, El Horno, Bears’ Bar, La Villa, Bar Comodin, ´the wall on the beach´ after midnight (just ask around when you are there to understand).
If you’re looking for something extra or fetish, Berlin is the place to be because this city is… wild. Its anything-goes culture is reflected in its gay cruising clubs (the most worldwide), gay saunas, clubs and bars.
Schöneberg is Berlin’s main gayborhood, packed with bars and clubs. You’ll also find a great gay scene in Kreuzberg / Friedrichshain, which is home to the legendary Berghain.
In Schöneberg: Blond, Prinzknecht, HAFEN, Redgold1, Pinocchio, Toyboy Bar, Heile Welt, TABASCO, Dreizehn, Blue Boy Bar, Tramp’s and K6.
In Kreuzberg / Friedrichshain: BarbieBar, CLUB, Möbel-Olfe, Silver Future, Rauschgold and Roses.
In Prenzlauer Berg / Berlin Mitte: Bärenhöhle, Betty F*** Bar, FLAX, The Coven, Marienhof, Bar Saint Jean, and PERLE.
Gay Dance Clubs and Parties: B:EAST, Berghain, Revolver Party, Connection Club, PROPAGANDA, GMF at House of Weekend, HUNTERS Party, Gayhane at SO36, SchwuZ, Herrensauna.
Sauna: Der Boiler
Cruising Clubs: Lab-oratory, one of the most famous cruising club in the world. Tom´s Bar, Mutschmann’s, Prinzknecht, Triebwerk, Woof Berlin, Kitkat Club, Ficken 3000, Große Freiheit 114, Greifbar, Scheune, Böse Buben, Qualgeist.
EU Capital Brussels is mainly known for its super massive circuit party La Démence which happens about once a month or every other month.
The gayborhood is located near the Grand Place, scattered in and around Rue Marché au Charbon. Locals are mainly Caucasians, North Africans (Moroccans, Middle Eastern) and Africans (Black).
Gay Bars: Chez Maman, Station BXL, Le Baroque, La Reserve, Le Belgica, Amalgame, Homo Erectus, Le Dolores.
Gay Clubs and Parties: La Demence, Flash at You Club, Revelation, CAVE.
Gay Saunas: Macho, Sauna 3000, Oasis Sauna
Cruising Club: Stammbar
5. MASPALOMAS, GRAN CANARIA, CANARY ISLANDS
Gran Canaria Island has summer temperature all year long and is therefore gay Europeans #1 gay destination, especially Germans. They even call it Berlin Beach.
Maspalomas gay nightlife happens in and around the famous Yumbo, where you’ll find most of the bars. The main gay naked beach is located near the lighthouse, situated from beach bars Kiosks 5 to 7. The island also specializes in men-only resorts.
If you’re looking for a wild gay vacation by the beach at any moment of the year, then head over to Maspalomas. Worth mentioning, it is more affordable than Mykonos.
Gay Bars and Parties: Parrots, Adonis, Junior, Gran Cafe Latino (6 Packs zone), Peppermint (French), Voulez-Vous (French), Barack-afe (French), Mardi Gras, Center Stage, Wunder Bar (Eurovision), Macho Macho (Dutch), Da Und (German), Barenhole (German), Strand-Apo-Theke (German) .
Gay Dancing Bars, Parties & Clubs: Mykonos, Mantrix, Coco Loco, Kiki, Scala Heaven, Wet & White Pool Party, Axel Beach Hotel pool parties, Rituals pool parties, We Party Events.
Drag Queens Bars: Funny Boys, Sparkles, Terry Show and Rickys Cabaret.
Gay Beaches Beach Kiosk 5-7 and Playa de la Loma.
Cruising bars: Strong Construction, Bunker, The Factory, Noxon, Zoo, REDS, Tom´s Bar, Cruise Bar, Time Off .
Outdoor cruising area: Wonderland Bushes Dunes (naked cruising).
Full Maspalomas – Gran Canaria gay guide HERE.
Ibiza is a small island but it’s one of the most popular gay travel destinations in Europe. If you’re looking for a great nightlife and nice beaches, then Ibiza is definitely for you.
This Mediterranean island has indeed a big reputation for a club and party scene like no other.
Ibiza center is where most gay travelers stay on the island. For those looking for peace and quiet, that is not a good reason to go there. Pick another island like Fuerteventura, Canary Islands for example.
Like most cities in Spain, Ibiza’s nightlife starts late. The bars fill up after midnight and stay open until 3-4am. just like for Sitges the season in Ibiza is running from May to the end of September (Many bars in Ibiza are open from April to October only).
Ibiza ’s main gay street is Calle de la Virgen. Almost every business there is for the gays. Note that it can be bit difficult to find it on your first visit, as Google Map uses the street’s official name “Carrer la Mare de Déu”.
Gay Bars: MAD Bar, DADO Bar, Sunrise Ibiza, JJ Bar, Bar 22, Lady D, Bar MonaLisa, Angelo, Cenit Pool Bar, and Chiringay.
Gay Dancing Clubs and Gay Parties: La TROYA at Heart Ibiza, Glitterbox at Hi Ibiza,
Gay Beach: Playa Es Cavallet.
Soho is the main gayborhood in London and it has long been its pleasure district. It encompasses a good chunk part of central London between Covent Garden and Mayfair. It is packed with many gay bars and clubs, as well as shops and marvelous restaurants.
While most of London’s best gay bars can be found in Soho, there are countless other venues spread throughout the city in popular queer areas like Dalston, Shoreditch, and Clapham. The bar scene in London is hugely diverse, and you will find great venues regardless of your tastes; from bear bars to gay super clubs, the city has it all. London’s gay nightlife scene attracts all sorts, and you’ll find a mix of locals and travelers in the UK capital. Locals are mainly Caucasians, Indians and Africans.
There’s also an edgier gay scene in East London. You’ll see some of the best drag artists, discover uber-trendy gay bars, like The Glory.
Vauxhall is another gay area. You find some of London’s most high octane gay club nights. It is also home to the Royal Vauxhall Tavern (RVT), London’s oldest gay bar.
In Soho: Rupert Street, G-A-Y Bar, Zodiac, The Yard, Village Soho, Friendly Society, Comptons of Soho, Little KU, Admiral Duncan, Circa Soho, The Duke of Wellington, The Light Lounge, Freedom Bar Soho, The Kings Arms Soho, Halfway to Heaven, City of Quebec.
In East London: Dalston, BJ White Swan, The Glory, The Old Ship, The Queen Adelaide, Central Station.
In Vauxhall: RVT, The Cock Tavern, Bar Wotever, Eagle London.
In South London: The Bridge Clapham, Neptune Bar, The Two Brewers.
In West London: West 5 and in Wimbledon: CMYK Bar.
Gay Dancing Clubs and Parties: CIRCA The Club, G-A-Y at Heaven, BEYOND at Fire, Feel it at Omeara, BRÜT London, Lightbox, A:M afterhours at Protocol, HEAT London at Fire, Horse Meat Disco at Eagle London, Pink Glove, Bootylicious at Union, BEEFMINCE, WE Party UK, Lady Olé.
Saunas: Pleasuredrome, Sweatbox Sauna, The Locker Room, Sailors Sauna, E15 Club, Covent Garden Health Spa, Legs 800 Club.
Cruising Clubs: Vault 139, Hard On at UNION, SBN & NBN at UNION, TROUGH London, The Underground Club, Teds Place,
8. LAS VEGAS
Las Vegas is dedicated to pleasure and fun. This party city is one of America’s top tourist destinations.
You’ll find many big shiny hotels in Las Vegas, not to mention a good selection of gay bars. and some superstars residencies.
Gay Bars: The Phoenix Bar, Freezone, Charlie´s Las Vegas, The Garden Las Vegas, Spotlight Lounge, Quadz Video Bar, The Garage, Las Vegas Eagle, Jimmy´s at Madison.
Gay Dancing Clubs: Piranha, The Backdoor.
Cruising Club: Fun Hog Ranch.
Lisbon has been on the rise with its ever growing gay scene. It attracts around 3 million visitors each year. Lisbon has a rich history and is beautiful with its colorful buildings. You can eat a big meal while paying a very good price.
The gay venues are scattered around Bairro Alto and Principe Real. The gay beach Praia 19 is located in Costa de Caparica accross the big red bridge (San Francisco´s twin brother bridge built by the same architect). Locals are mainly Caucasians (latino looking) and Latinos (Brazilians).
Gay Bars: TR3S Lisboa, Bar 106, Shelter Bar, Espaço 40e1, Rendezvous More Than Wine, Side Bar, Clube da Esquina.
Gay Dancing Clubs: Trumps, Construction Club, Filnamente, Friends Bairro Alto.
Gay Saunas: Trombeta Bath, Olissipo Bath.
Cruising Clubs: Drako Club, Woof X and Bar Cru.
10. LOS ANGELES & PALM SPRINGS
The population of West Hollywood is around 40% LGBTQ+. That means, many great gay bars and clubs. Los Angeles (referred mostly as L.A.) is a very large city and is quite spread out, so it’s best to explore specific areas at a time. Los Angeles locals are mainly Caucasians, Latinos (Mexicans) and African Americans.
As far as Palm Springs, ts proximity to LA made it a favorite vacation spot for the stars of Golden Age Hollywood. (It is a 3 hours and a half drive from LA) The population is around 48,000. It’s estimated that over half the population is LGBT+, making it the gayest city in America. Locals are mainly mature men.
In LA: The Abbey, Hi Tops, GYM Sportsbar, TRUNKS, Beaches WeHo, The Bayou, AKBAR, Revolver, Fiesta Cantina, Hamburger´s Mary WeHo, St Felix Hollywood, The New Jalisco Bar, Redline, The Bullet Bar, Roosterfish, Birdcage Venice Beach, The Boulevard Bar Pasadena.
In Palm Springs: QUADZ, Streetbar, Chill Bar, RetroRoom Lounge, OneEleven Bar, Toucans Tiki Lounge, Eagle 501, Blackbook.
Gay Dancing Clubs
In LA: The Chappel at The Abbey, Micky´s West Hollywood, Club Tempo, Precinct, The LASH, Club Cobra.
In Palm Springs: Hunters Nightclub, and Bart Lounge.
Flex LA and North Hollywood Spa.
in LA: Slammer and Eagle LA.
In Palm Springs: The Barracks, Tool Shed, All Worlds Resort.
Madrid is incredibly “open”. You are likely to see guys holding hands, occasionally kissing and generally living a life you could only dream of in some other cities.
The gayborhood of Madrid is called Chueca. It is right in the city center near Gran Via. This very popular district has a high concentration of gay bars, clubs and shops.
The nightlife start very late in Spain in general, and Madrid is no exception. The bars don’t get busy until after midnight and people move on to a night club around 4am. Many gay bars have dark rooms in the back. More hardcore venues with dress codes for cruising and fetish fans are also common. Locals are mainly Caucasians (Spaniards, latino looking)
By the way, every summer, Madrid hosts one of the largest Gay Pride events on Earth. It attracts, literally, hundreds of thousands of participants.
Gay Bars: DLRO Live, El Bulldog Madrid, laKama, Barnanarama, D´Mystic, ZARPA, Studio 54 Madrid, Bears Bar, Rick´s, Baranoa, Why Not?, Thick, LL Bar, GRIS, Club 33, El Perla.
Gay Dancing Clubs and Parties: WE Party Madrid, You&Me, YASS! Party, Into the Tank Madrid, Delirio, SuperMartXé, MACHO Party, STRONG Club, Bearbie, Kluster at Chango, Baila Cariño!, Boite, ODARKO, Enfrente Club.
Gay Saunas: Paraiso, CenterBeach, Octopus Sauna, Sauna Lavapiés, Sauna Center.
Cruising Clubs: Shower & Bar, Firewood Madrid, Erotic Palace Madrid, NAKED Bar Madrid, The Meat Rack, ATTACK, The Ring Private, Organic Mens Club, The CAGE.
12. NEW YORK CITY & FIRE ISLAND
New York City has long been attracting LGBT+ people with its big gay scene. Most of the gay bars and clubs are centered around The Village, Chelsea, and Brooklyn. New York is a cosmolitan city, expect to meet people from all over the world. Locals are mainly Caucasians, Latinos (Puerto Ricans and Dominicans), and African Americans.
When it comes to Fire Island, it is a small stretch of land just off the coast of Long Island. It has a population of around 490 people, however, it sees an influx of visitors in the spring and summer months. It is very popular with LGBT travelers coming from all over America, but mainly Manhattan and is referred to as ‘Chelsea with Sand’. It is a 2 hour to 2.5 hours drive from Manhattan.
Gay Bars: BOXERS Chelsea, REBAR Chelsea, Townhouse Bar, Industry, Hardware Bar, Barraduda Lounge, Lucky Cheng, POSH Bar, Ritz Bar & Lounge, The Phoenix, Nowhere Bar, Club Cumming, NO Bar, The Stonewall Inn, Hangar Bar, Julius, Marie´s Crisis, Pieces Bar, Lips, Wu Lou Lounge (Brooklyn), 3 Dollar Bill (BK), Good Judy (BK), Metropolitan (Williamsburg), The Rosemont, Macri Park, Friend´s Tavern (Queens), Hombres Lounge (Jackson Heights), True Colors (Jackson Heights), Albatros Bar (Astoria), Cherry´s (Fire Island), The Blue Whale (Fire Island).
Gay Dancing Clubs and Parties: The Q NYC, Icon (Astoria), Hot Rabbit NYC, Xstasy Bar & Lounge (Brooklyn), House of YES (Brooklyn), PAT (Williamsburg), Club Evolution (Queens), Ice Palace (Fire Island), Pavilion Nightclub (Fire Island), Sip N Twirl (Fire Island)
Gay Sauna: East Side Club
Cruising Club: The Eagle NYC
Gay Beach: The Pines Beach (Fire Island), and Cherry Grove (Fire Island)
Le Marais is Paris´ gayborhood, it is one of the most glamorous ones in the world. You’ll find some of the world’s best-dressed people in its streets, and many fantastic boutique shops and restaurants. Most of the gay bars in Le Marais can be found on Rue des Archives.
The food, the art and of course the nightlife attract huge numbers of tourists coming from all around the globe. Locals are mainly Caucasians, North-Africans (middle eastern) and black guys (Africa and French Islands).
Gay Bars: RAIDD Bar, COX, Quetzal, freedj, Ze Baar, One Way, Banana Café, Duplex, Les Souffleurs, La Boite, El Hombre, Bears Den, The Labo, Le Velvet,
Gay Dancing Clubs and Parties: Gibus, Black Blanc Beur (BBB) Matinée Paris (Scream), La Nuit des Follivores/Crazyvores, Beardrop at Yoyo, Big Wolf, Doctor Love at Club Haussmann, Love is Mylène (LIM), John Dixon/Under, CUD, La Boîte à Frissons at Tango, Bizarre Love Triangle at Maxim, Trou Aux Biches at La Java, VendrediX, Au Mange-Disque.
Gay Saunas: Sun City, IDM Sauna, Gym Louvre Paris, Key West Sauna, Les Bains d´Ódessa, Euro Men´s Club, Le Riad, Atlantide Sauna, Les Bains Thai.
Cruising Clubs: L´Impact, Krash, Le Keller, Secteur X, E20 Entre 2 Eaux, Le Next, Mec Zone, Full Metal, Le Mensch.
14. PUERTO VALLARTA
While LGBT+ travelers in Europe tend to flight to Gran Canaria Island, Mykonos and Sitges. Gays who live in America´s West Coast, mostly go to small coastal city Puerto Vallarta (also known as PV) due to its proximity.
It’s a major gay tourism destination with plenty of great hotels to choose from.
Whether you’re looking for a party vacation or relaxing romantic times, Puerto Vallarta is one of the best places to choose if you live in America. Locals are mainly Latinos (Mexicans).
Puerto Vallarta has Mexico’s (not to say, the whole Latin America) biggest gayborhood: Zona Romantica. It’s full of gay bars and clubs.
Gay Bars: Wet Dreams, Anthropology, Mr Flamingo, Apaches Martini Bar, Anonimo, Los Amigos, Kooky Karaoke, Blondies, Garbo´s Piano Bar, Encore Piano Bar, La Cantina Margarita, Reinas, Divas, Crow´s Nest Bar, La Cueva,
Gay Dancing Clubs: Industry, Paco´s Ranch, La Noche, CC Slaughters.
Gay Sauna: Spartacus.
15. SAN FRANCISCO
San Francisco is perhaps one of the most famous on the planet for being a gay city than the others because of its history. The Castro became America’s first and most iconic gayborhood.
Following the Stonewall uprising in New York and the very first Pride, the Castro was the headquarters of the gay liberation movement.
Today The Castro still has a fair amount of gay venues. Locals are mainly Caucasians and Asians.
Gay Bars: Twin Peaks Tavern, Beaux, The Edge, 440 Castro, MIX, Midnight Sun, The Cafe, Lookout Bar, Jolene´s Bar, The Lone Star Saloon, SF Eagle, Aunt Charlie´s Lounge.
Gay Dancing Clubs: Club OMG and Oasis.
16. TEL AVIV
Tel Aviv is known as the “Manhattan of the Middle East.” It’s the most gay-friendly city in the Middle East. Tel Aviv Pride is the only Pride event in the region and one of the most exciting one worldwide.
You’ll find superb beaches in Tel Aviv, buzzing nightlife, delicious gastronomy and some of the most beautiful people (Middle Eastern).
Gay Bars: Shpagat, La Boheme, Alphabet Club, Melody Hotel.
Gay Dancing Clubs and Parties: Forever Tel Aviv, BEEF, PAPA Party, Lima Day at Lima Lima Bar, DRECK at Jimmy Who, Haoman 17, The BLOCK, Bootleg, Breakfast Club,
Saunas: Sauna Tel Aviv, Paradise, Saraya Sauna.
Cruising Club: Independence Park.
Mykonos is one of the most popular gay destination in the world. It’s where the international gay jet-set gathers every year in the summer months.
Mykonos is supremely stylish. It offers the perfect combination of chic hotels, buzzing gay nightlife and glamorous people.
The gayborhood with gay bars and restaurants can be found in Mykonos city center. You’ll also find many boutique hotels and also popular gay hotels. Elia Beach and Jackie O’ are the places to be. Nammos Beach has become something of a stomping ground for the wealthy – you’ll see many yachts docked.
Gay Bars: Babylon, Jackie O, Gay Sunset Bar at Elysium, LOLA, Cosma, Porta Bar.
Gay Dancing Club and Festival: @54 and XLSior Mykonos.
Gay Beaches: Elia Beach and Super Paradise.
Hundred years ago, Torremolinos was still a small pittoresque fishing village, but today it is one of the best-known holiday resort beach town on the south coast of Spain, the Costa del Sol.
With its Mediterranean climate and kilometers of wide beaches, Torremolinos is a popular destination for sun-seeking beach travelers.
Spain’s first gay bar, Tony’s Bar, opened in 1962 in Torremolinos, Andalusia, and not in Madrid or Barcelona, as one might expect.
The gay scene has been growing bigger and bigger since 2010. Every year a big Gay Pride takes place, new bars are opening,.
Most of the gay bars in Torremolinos today are located in the La Nogalera complex, in a small maze of bars and clubs, some a bit worn and aging, others ultra-modern and chic.
Gay Bars: El Gato Lounge, Lights Bar, Chessa Bar, Eden Beach Club, Bar de Copas Babel, Boomerang, Vanilla Cafe, Renes Bar La Esquina, VIDA Bar, Egio Copas, Eden Copas,
Gay Dance Clubs: El Centuryon, Aqua Club and Parthenon.
Gay Sauna: Apolo Sauna Cabaret.
Cruising Club: Querell’s Cruising Club, MEN’s Bar, Exxxtreme Cruising Club.
FYI, if you live in a country where you are prosecuted and/or suppressed for being LGBTQ+, you have the human right to move to one of the cities above where you can be accepted and appreciated (request asylum).