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Top destinations for LGBT travel

Written by
Tess van der Walt, Emily Opie, Kate Herz, Ruth Jones, Jane Dumble

An important part of travelling, whether solo, as a couple or family is feeling comfortable, relaxed and welcome. Here are some of our top destination picks for same-sex couples and LGBT travellers.

Carnival
Rio de Janeiro
Sea & Sun
The Canary Islands
City Culture
Reykjavik

Australia

Whether you’re all about the nightlife or would prefer to soak up the rays on the beaches at North Bondi and Tamarama, Sydney is the ideal LGBT-friendly destination. Iconic landmarks, a rich history and first-rate restaurants are part of what make the city so popular.

Longitude 131, Uluru and the Outback, Australia

So, whether you are after a more secluded intimate getaway, or you are keen to make new friends beneath bright lights, your visit will be anything but dull.

Hunter valley kangaroos in the vineyard

Argentina

From tropical rainforests, waterfalls and vibrant cities, Argentina is the perfect destination for a memorable holiday, and they were the first in the region to legalize gay marriage. Other great LGBT friendly destinations in Latin America include Chile, Colombia and Uruguay.

Red Wine Andes

Buenos Aires itself is full of world-class restaurants, chic bars and luxury hotels, or head into the Mendoza wine region or Patagonia and enjoy the sights, sounds and tastes of Argentina at a more leisurely pace.

Family Hiking Patagonia

New Zealand

Rugged coastlines, pristine beaches and snow-capped mountains; a visit to New Zealand is something truly special. Add in the dramatic scenery, exquisite cuisine and a welcoming and inclusive attitude towards the LGBT community and it’s the ideal place to escape to.

sea-kayaking-new-zealand

It’s perfect for travellers looking for a rich cultural experience, as well as for adrenaline junkies looking for their next thrill. White water rafting, caving, skydiving and bungee jumping are just a few of the many activities that will help make your stay a wild ride.

Sheep in a green meadow in New Zealand

Brazil

In energetic Rio, anything goes. Although the famous Carnival lasts just five days, the party atmosphere echoes throughout the Brazilian city all year round.

Christ The Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro Brazil

Soak up the rays, catch a wave or play beach volleyball at Ipanema and Leblon, and then when the sun goes down, find your rhythm in the sexy samba hangouts in the city.

Rio Carnival

The Canary Islands

Just off the coast of Morocco, the strikingly beautiful volcanic Canary Islands are a year-round paradise. The Spanish island of Gran Canaria ranks alongside Ibiza, Sitges and Mykonos as one of the most popular LGBT destinations in Europe, with a diverse and energetic scene.

Boats in the port, Gran Canaria, The Canary Islands, Spain

Enjoy dozens of clubs, restaurants, exclusive hotels and a large gay entertainment centre. But it’s not all about the party – rejuvenate as you spend days appreciating the black-and-white sand beaches, lunar landscapes and volcanic peaks.

Desert landscape, Gran Canaria, The Canary Islands, Spain

Iceland

With some of the most dramatic landscapes in Europe, Iceland’s volcanic rock and lava fields contrast with magnificent icebergs and glacial lakes. It’s an inspiring place for an unforgettable holiday, and it’s also the first country to have had an openly gay Prime Minister. Spend time with the locals in the cafes and bars in Reykjavik, or hit the clubs and dance the night away.

Waterfall tumbling into river above cavern mouth Seljalandsfoss Iceland

Reykjavik Gay Pride attracts huge crowds every year and is only one of the numerous international LGBT festivals that happen there annually. The popular events put as much of a focus on Icelandic culture, art and nature as they do on partying.

Reykjavic waterfront and cityscape, Iceland

South Africa

Breathe the fresh air at the top of the iconic Table Mountain, and catch a tan on Camps Bay Beach before hitting the popular clubs in Green Point. The city also has a flourishing theatre and visual arts scene, so you won’t be at a loss for ways to make your trip extra special.

Cape Town South Africa Graffiti

With progressive laws and a thriving gay village, Cape Town is the perfect place to enjoy fine wine, great food, breath-taking scenery and a stellar party atmosphere.

Tourist girl looking into the sunset

Spain

Spain has long been an LGBT favourite, thanks to the vibrant gay villages in most of the major cities. If you love food, music and art – this is the perfect destination for you. If you’d prefer to take a break from cultural exploration, switch the galleries and museums out for the bright lights and thumping beats of MadridBarcelona, Sitges and Ibiza’s lively party scenes.

Cityscape of Malaga, Spain

Tap into the passion of the country with fiery flamenco and soulful music in the sun-soaked south, and breath the fresh air among the rugged hills and vineyards of the Basque Country.

Aerial view of San Sebastian, Spain

Thailand

Thailand has long been known as an accepting, friendly and open country for travellers of all kinds. It’s the perfect destination for lazy beach days along with pulse-racing adventure. Go island hopping in the south, trek across the highlands of Chiang Mai and explore the bustling city of Bangkok.

Canals in Bangkok, Thailand

Make the most of the city’s electric club scene, or head out into the breath-taking countryside to discover temples and palaces – whatever your interests, Thailand is ready to welcome you.

Phi Phi Island Thailand

Our top example trips to these destinations

From
 
Essential New Zealand

A wonderful introduction to New Zealand, this 15-day luxury trip takes in both New Zealand’s North and South Islands, passing through epic landscapes, friendly cities, combed vineyards and endless coastline.

Begin in Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city and, with its mix of culture, cuisine, music and art, one of the world’s the most liveable urban centres. Receive a warm welcome and be introduced the region’s history and wonderful beaches.

Next up is the geothermal landscapes of Rotorua and Taupo, a place of verdant forests, clear lakes and billowing geysers. During your time here, board a helicopter and fly out to White Island, New Zealand’s only permanently active volcano, circling the steaming crater before landing on volatile landmass for an unforgettable hike.

Continue on to the gently rolling hills and golden plains of Hawke’s Bay for vineyard tours and wine tasting while based at a peaceful rural lodge, then fly across the Cook Strait to South Island for two nights on the rugged coastline around Tasman Bay, discovering its secluded beaches and forested interior.

Venturing ever southward, your next stop is the seaside town of Kaikoura, a haven for marine wildlife, where you’ll get the chance to spot whales from the air, dolphins from a boat and swim with seals. End in vibrant Queenstown for three days exploring this particularly handsome corner of the country. Take a scenic helicopter flight to the iconic Milford Sound and cruise on its waters under Mitre Peak, and tour colonial towns and famous vineyards for a fitting finale to your time in New Zealand.

Explore New Zealand
From
 
Grand Discovery of Spain

You’ll really get an insight into Spanish culture with this epic tour that takes in the beautiful southern cities as well as the northern Basque region.

Start in the capital and explore its history through the brilliant architecture, and discover its artistic side with a private tour of the Prado Museum. You’ll also spend a day in the historic walled city of Toledo, before heading south to Andalusía via handsome Cordoba.

Soak up the culture in Seville, a city that is not short of magnificent sites such as The Royal Alcazar with its pretty gardens and Moorish design. Music and dance is at the heart of Andalusian life and you’ll get to experience the age-old traditional of flamenco dancing.

Your exploration of Spain continues in Granada, home to the magnificent Alhambra and the hammam baths. Take some time to relax in the glittering Balearic island of Mallorca and enjoy wandering the streets of its atmospheric capital, Palma, before heading into the mighty Serra de Tramuntana mountain range.

Barcelona is known for its beautiful and often eccentric architecture which you’ll experience by walking the cobbled streets of the Gothic quarter and visiting Gaudi’s iconic landmarks, including La Sagrada Familia. Your tour of the modernist movement continues with the Dali museum in Figueres via the pretty city of Girona.

Spain’s Basque country has its own culture and its people their own sense of identity. San Sebastian is a beautiful coastal city famous for its culinary traditions and you’ll dine like a local as you dip in and out of the city’s many pintxos bars. Continue on to Bilbao, home to Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum, before hopping across the border into the French countryside and the towns of Bayonne and Biarritz.

Your trip ends in the heart of Spain’s winemaking region with a tour of the wineries in Rioja and time in the beautiful Duero Valley.

Explore this trip

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