The world is full of lesbian-friendly countries and cities. If you are considering a trip or planning on exploring some of them, we’ve done some of the work for you and picked out the eight most lesbian-friendly countries in the world.
From Toronto in Canada to Sydney in Australia, and from Rio de Janiero in Brazil to London, the capital of the United Kingdom, there are cities and countries waiting to be discovered and that should be added to the bucket list of the LGBT community.
If you are a lesbian on the move in a travel sense and wants to meet friends you have met online at a lesbian chat site or via friends across the globe, think about planning a trip to these countries:
1. United States
From San Francisco in the west to New York in the northeast, some of the United States most cosmopolitan cities are extremely welcome to lesbians. San Fran is the mecca, hosting the San Francisco Celebration and Parade in June each year, while New York stages its own pride events in the same month and has an impressive array of gay clubs and discos in Manhattan, Chelsea, The Villages, Queens and Brooklyn. Seattle is a definite destination to explore, being second only to San Francisco when it comes to the number of LGBT residents, with Capitol Hill the home of the lesbian scene. Palm Springs, meanwhile, has the highest percentage of gay residents anywhere in the country, and Boston’s second-biggest Festival – behind only Independence Day – is the annual pride parade through the city. Miami and its White Party and Orlando’s Gay Dates which visits Walt Disney should be on the must-visit list too. Ft Lauderdale, Milwaukee, West Hollywood and New Orleans are other lesbian-friendly cities in the United States. Northampton in Massachusetts, meanwhile, is regarded as the lesbian capital of the entire nation with an eclectic mix of students and lovers of the art scene.
Perhaps even more lesbian-friendly than the neighbouring United States, a visit to Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City, Vancouver and the small town of St John’s is a must if you’re planning on heading to Canada. Toronto Pride Week, staged during June and July each year, attracts more than one million visitors, making it one of the biggest pride events in the world. It is no surprise when you consider that Toronto has one of the largest LGBT populations in North and South America. Montreal’s Gay Village area is the centre point for the LGBT community in the city with the metro station coloured in rainbow colours. The city hosts the Divers/Cite arts and music festival, while Quebec City is also home to the Quebec Pride Festival on Labour Day weekend each year. Vancouver is a very open and cosmopolitan city, as is Halifax, the so-called LGBT capital of Novo Scotia, while St John’s offers an excellent holiday spot.
3. United Kingdom
London may have the largest number of LGBT residents, but the highest percentage of concentration is in Brighton, a city regarded as the gay capital of the UK. London is as cosmopolitan a city as you’d ever come across and a trip to the capital is not complete without visiting Soho and its gay-friendly bars and clubs, or to the annual pride festival. Brighton has an equally vibrant nightlife worth exploring or visit the coastal city for the increasingly popular pride festival. Manchester is a party city, including in the bars and clubs in the central gay village, as are Northern Ireland’s capital Belfast, Scotland’s capital Edinburgh, the Welsh capital Cardiff, all of which host pride events, Birmingham, Newcastle and Glasgow. A quirk of England is the fact the small town of Hebden Bridge in Yorkshire actually has the highest proportion of lesbians in the entire country, making it a must visit if only to discover why.
Think gay pride carnivals, think Brazil. Rio de Janeiro may have staged the Olympic Games in 2016 but it also attracts more than one million people each year to the iconic Copacabana beach for the Rio Gay Pride each October. The city is regarded as the gay capital of the entire continent of South America. Sao Paulo, meanwhile, hosts the world’s largest gay event and it is simply a must to be one of the three million-plus who descend on the city for the GLBT Pride Parade every June. With the sheer number of visitors, it is little surprise that you find an extremely vibrant gay scene in Sao Paulo with Vieira de Carvalho Avenue, Paulista Avenue and Ibirapuera Park among the areas to explore.
Germany is a country worthy of a trip with so many lesbian-friendly cities. From Berlin to Hamburg, you will be surprised with just how tolerant of the LGBT community that Germany has become. Schoneberg is regarded as the gay centre of Berlin, while NeuKolln is an area that has developed a cool and hip vibe and where lesbians can enjoy spending time in the city. Kufurstendamm, meanwhile, is home to a variety of gay bars and clubs if you’re planning on a lively night out. Hamburg has two streets dubbed as “gay streets” in the area of St George – Lange Reihe and Talstrasse – with the two filled with bars, while the Pulverfass is a popular place for lesbians to hang out. A trip to Lubeck is a must with a large number of LGBT people descending on the little-known town.
For a country yet to come on board with legalising gay marriage, Australia is a very friendly and open country for lesbians. Sydney and Melbourne, as you might expect, are the two cities with the biggest attractions. Sydney hosts the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in February or March, and it is the biggest tourist event the country actually stages with more than one millions visitors heading to the harbour city. Melbourne’s Midsumma Festival is popular too, happening in January and February over a three-week period each year. A short hop over the Tasman to New Zealand should include a trip to Auckland and the bars, restaurants and live music pubs on K Road, while Manawatu hosts a gay and lesbian camp during the Christmas and New Year period at Vinegar Hill.
The major cities in Spain are a must for any tourist, but Madrid and Barcelona are equally friendly for lesbian visitors too. The capital Madrid hosts Madrid Pride Week in July each year, and also has a famous gay quarter known as Chueca which is littered with bars, restaurants, pubs and clubs. Barcelona is an incredibly multi-cultural city and one that should be on the must-visit list too. For island hoppers, Ibiza, Gran Canaria and Majorca all have vibrant gay scenes.
Amsterdam doesn’t get the moniker of the gay capital of Europe for nothing. It isn’t the biggest city in the world when it comes to the offerings for lesbians, but the Reguliersdwarsstraat is the place to centre yourself with a collection of cafés and bars. The famous Amsterdam Gay Pride Canal Parade winds through the city centre in August each year when more than half-a-million hit the Netherlands.