Society is constantly evolving. Sometimes it can be seen as a step backwards but then again, sometimes it’s a significant leap forward!
In 2016, there are many places that have embraced the fairly simple idea that people’s happiness come first. Being in Ireland, we can enjoy the smugness of recently being at the forefront of countrywide acceptance of LBGTQ communities but we’re by no means alone. Here are some of the best holiday destinations for LGBTQ couples in 2017! Thankfully, most have much better sunshine than here too.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
When you think of gay-friendly places in South America you’d probably think of Rio. While you’d be right to think so, it was actually Buenos Aires which was the first South American city to ratify same-sex marriage back in 2003 (it became country-wide in 2010).
Since then, this vibrant, soulful city has emerged has a beacon for LGBTQ communities. There are now boundless bars, restaurants, nightclubs, hotels and even tango dance studios which cater specifically for same-sex couples.
Buenos Aires also has a very European and familiar feel too. It’s a foodie’s paradise, complete with great wine and a temperate climate.
It’s worth mentioning that while Buenos Aires (and Montevideo in neighbouring Uruguay) are extremely gay-friendly, some regional parts of Argentina are staunch Catholic and not necessarily as liberal as their city counterparts.
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What you may not know is that it’s also a favourite destination for LGBTQ communities, aided by being the first country in the world to elect an openly gay Head of State in 2009, Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir.
Same-sex marriage was ratified in 2010 but an acceptance of LBGTQ couples has been widely held for years before that. Reykjavik hosts it’s Gay Pride Festival each August plus there’s also the Bears on Ice and Rainbow Festival, also in Reykjavik which are stand out events on the calendar.
Iceland’s nightlife doesn’t really ‘do’ gay nightclubs as you’ll generally find a mix of heterosexual and homosexual nightclub goers in all of them. Club Kiki is technically a gay club but it’s predominantly popular as being a bloody good night out regardless of who you might have your eye on!
Ready to explore Iceland?
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
If it’s a short break you’re looking for then Amsterdam is one of two in this list that you need to be paying attention to. Anyone who has been to this completely mad and utterly unique city will know that there is absolutely no such thing is normal. That’s the beauty of the place.
The Netherlands became the first country in the world to recognise same-sex marriage way back in 2001 and the LGBT scene in this city has unsurprisingly gone from strength to strength ever since.
Amsterdam’s Gay Pride Festival is an unmissable week long extravaganza in July-August but all year round the city is a great place for LGBT couples.
There’s not just on gay district in Amsterdam, there’s four! Reguliersdwarsstraat, Kerkstraat, Warmoesstraat (Red Light District) and Zeedijk all offer countless of bars, restaurants and hangouts for LGBT singles and couples.
Spend New Year’s in Amsterdam for just €422!
Need something a bit more exotic? That’ll be Phuket then.
With a 94% Buddhist population, Thai culture is one of extreme openness and tolerance. As a result, it has long been a haven for LGBT communities to soak up the immaculate sunshine, party all night and into the morning with like-minded people and be free to be themselves without a hint of judgement, ridicule or negative perception.
Being such a gay-friendly destination, it is rather curious that, while completely legal, LGBTQ relationships do not have any legal protection in Thailand meaning that in the eyes of the law, an LGBTQ couple aren’t legally a couple. It’s something to be aware of (in case something happens, touchwood!), but absolutely not something that should discourage you from exploring the impossible beauty of this part of the world.
As for Thailand itself? Well, we’ll just leave this here.
Tel Aviv, Israel
Geographically speaking, Tel Aviv is probably the last city you’d expect to be crowned ‘Gay Capital Of The World’, but that’s exactly what happened in 2012 (take that New York!) and the place has been most known for it ever since.
Tel Aviv is a bubble of sanity and acceptance in close proximity to some pretty backward and at times, shocking practices in surrounding areas.
It’s Gay Pride Festival, each June attracts over 150,000 people and ends with a massive ‘Full Moon-esque’ party on the Mediterranean beaches.
Tel Aviv doesn’t have a gay district or anything or the sort. It frankly doesn’t need it as the people are liberal, open and friendly citywide. There are obviously gay-themed bars (and even a beach) but the straight and gay communities blend pretty seamlessly in this Middle-eastern city that would often be seen as more welcoming of LGBT people than some of its western counterparts.
Canada was the first country outside of Europe and 4th in the world to recognise same-sex marriage in 2005 and is seen as one of the most progressive countries in the world when it comes to tolerance of others.
Toronto is at the very epicentre of this liberal movement, with Canada’s largest gay community, affectionately known as The Village. Its annual Gay Pride festival takes place in June, turning the city all the colours of the rainbow for 10 days of events and parties.
Other Top LGBTQ Destinations
If, somehow, there’s nothing here that excites there’s still plenty more great holiday options. Some of which are blindingly obvious but still deserving of a mention:
- San Francisco, California
- Rio De Janiero, Brazil
- Barcelona, Spain
- Hawaii, USA
- Mykonos, Greece
- St.Louis, USA
- Stockholm, Sweden
- San Juan, Puerto Rico
- Quepos, Costa Rica
Decided on your next destination? Drop our experts a line email@example.com or on (01) 602 1906 and let us find you the best deals!