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10 best countries for gay travelers

10 Best countries for gay travelers

As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, you may be planning to do some traveling soon, as many countries around the world are finally legalizing same-sex marriage. On the same token, even countries that have not yet legalized same-sex unions are largely becoming more tolerant of gays and less homophobic. Indeed, it seems that the world, in general, is heading in that direction. Us gays have been traveling the world for a long time, and if you are educated on the dangers abroad, you can stay safe anywhere

Around the world, especially in Africa and the Middle East, homosexuality is still punishable by prison and death. In other places, homosexuality isn’t necessarily illegal, but the cultures and the people who populate them are still largely anti-gay. For example, even in the USA, despite having passed legislation that made same-sex marriage legal, there are still hate crimes against gays all the time! There are certain towns, communities, bars, clubs, and even entire states that are still mostly anti-gay. As an educated and informed traveler, you can protect yourself from winding up in a place where homosexuality is either unaccepted or downright illegal. If, for some reason, you were to end up in one of these countries, you can take the necessary precautions if you are informed -the key is being informed! Don’t be an oblivious traveler. As a gay individual or same-sex couple, not everywhere in the world will accept you!

What are the Most Gay-Friendly Countries?

The good news is that more countries are open and friendly to gays than not. Despite the need for heightened awareness among gay travelers, due to the hatred and hostility that we sometimes encounter, there are plenty of places in this big blue ball where you can travel safely and enjoy yourself. Let us consider the top 10 best countries for gays

10. Switzerland


Switzerland is one of the countries that separates Western Europe (which is usually very tolerant and open) from Eastern Europe (which is often very anti-gay and staunchly conservative). In Switzerland, LGBTQ+ people are usually very comfortable, as the culture and society of Switzerland are largely open and tolerant. However, despite the tolerant and progressive atmosphere that permeates Switzerland, same-sex unions are still not legalized in Switzerland. That’s why Switzerland comes in at 10. place on this list

9. Canada

Canada is mostly a very gay-friendly travel destination. Canada’s larger cities have some of the most famous gay communities in the world, including Toronto’s Church and Wellesley neighborhood. Montreal is known for its Gay Village Commercial District, and Vancouver is known for Davie Village. Meanwhile, Ottawa is famous for its Bank Street Gay Village. Lots of gay-friendly places to check out in Canada in other words

In some rural areas of Canada, you might get a stare and a scowl, as there are still many pockets of conservative leftovers. These people usually have strong religious convictions that condemn homosexuality, so they look at openly gay people as some disease, even though they, themselves, are often closet gays or bisexuals. Still, Canada was the first country outside Europe to legalize same-sex marriage, back in 2005

8. Uruguay

If you are thinking about visiting South America any time soon, you might want to consider Uruguay (often called Ur a Gay because it is so open and tolerant). South America is very hit or miss when it comes to tolerance for gays. The difference between tolerance and acceptance versus disdain and criminality often varies from country to country, city to town, street to street, and person to person

Uruguay has been consistently gay-friendly for more than eight decades! However, since 2004, when Uruguay enacted its current anti-discrimination laws, the culture of even rural Uruguay has become much more tolerant. Overall, you should feel safe and at ease being yourself in Uruguay, which is an amazing, beautiful country with lots to see

7. Luxembourg

Luxembourg comes in at #7 on our top 10 gay-friendly countries list because it is one of the most tolerant countries in all of Europe. If you are planning on a European vacation, consider making Luxembourg your home base. Here, you will certainly be welcomed and feel at ease expressing your gender identity, sexual orientation, and or love for your same-sex partner in public. In Luxembourg, LGBTQ+ people enjoy the same full rights, benefits, and comforts as heterosexuals, making this a good travel choice

Because every LGBTQ+ people are accepted and respected in Luxembourg, we highly recommend this tiny country. If you are married, your union will be recognized here

6. The Netherlands

Back in 2001, the Netherlands became the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage. Amsterdam has frequently been dubbed “The most gay-friendly city in the world.” In the Netherlands, gay people and couples are welcome. Public displays of affection will not offend anyone, and you will be free to be your perfectly gay self. The Netherlands is a very safe and highly recommended gay tourist destination with lots to see and do. If you want a European vacation, this country would make a great choice

5. Israel


When considering how open and friendly Israel is to gays, it’s no wonder the Tel-Aviv is one of the ultimate LGBTQ+ travel destinations! Considering that Israel is alone in supporting gay rights and equality in the region, we really have to give Israel special credit and recognition for its strides to achieve equality for all of its citizens and visitors. The Middle East is the single-most anti-gay region in the world, along with Africa, and Israel is just a tiny piece of gay-friendly real estate within a huge anti-gay region. Kudos and thumbs up to Israel for taking a stand for equality, hopefully more will follow

4. Sweden

Sweden was named the 2019 best LGBTQ+-friendly travel destination. During its annual Stockholm Pride week, gay couples and individuals openly celebrate and have fun in the streets. Overall, Sweden is a very progressive and tolerant country, and gays are viewed as welcomed and equal members of its society. They has a ‘no room for discrimination’ attitude, generally speaking, and same-sex marriage is allowed in this country

3. Denmark

Although the Netherlands technically wins the title of ‘First country to recognize same-sex marriage,’ Denmark has been doing so since 1989. Way back when, in the generation of Madonna and Princess Dianna, Denmark recognized same-sex unions in the form of registered partnerships. In 2012, this law was replaced when Denmark embraced and legalized legal marriages for same-sex couples. Denmark has a long history of being tolerant and conscious of the rights of gays. For many decades now, Denmark has been a favorite travel destination of gays. Here, you will be safe being yourself, that is why they made #3 on our list. Cross the border and you end up on the country holding the 2. place

2. Norway

Like the rest of Scandinavia, Norway is a very liberal and tolerant place. Norway has been standing up for the rights of gays and same-sex couples for a very long time – even longer than Denmark! For example, back in 1981, Norway became one of the first countries to enact laws that prevented discrimination against people based on their sexual orientation, which USA has based many of its anti-discrimination policies on

Norway is home to some of the most rugged, pristine, and beautiful landscapes on earth. Norway is also home to the Saltstraumen, a natural phenomenon of tidal eddies and whirlpools, that only occurs in Norway! We are certain that you will feel welcome and free to do as you please in this truly wonderful open-minded country in the north

1. Iceland


It just so happens that one of the rarest and most pristine countries on earth has consistently been voted ‘the most gay-friendly place in the world.’ What makes Iceland such a great travel destination for LGBTQ+ members is that we have equal rights both legally and culturally here. It’s perfectly fine to be yourself in Iceland. Icelanders are very non-judgmental people. They are hospitable and welcoming folks who really don’t care how you choose to live your life. Icelanders are welcoming of people from every race, background, and every walk of life with open minds and open arms

Same-sex marriage has been legal in Iceland since June 2010, and same-sex Iceland couples have equal access to adoption and IVF. Further, Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir became the first openly gay head of government in modern times when she took office in 2009

As you can see, despite the heightened risks and dangers that many traveling gays have to deal with, there are many, many travel destinations on every continent where you will feel safe and welcomed. Remember, the key is to do your research. Before traveling, you should also research all of the places inside and surrounding the countries that you are traveling to, along with any countries that you intend to fly over, pass through, or pass by. The more informed you are, the better you can protect yourself and the more fun you will have while you are traveling. These were countries you safely can travel to as openly gay, for countries you should avoid, check out the post 10 Most Dangerous Countries For Gays

Content writer for the fabulous WillieWhang gay blog. Writing and sharing newsworthy stories from the LGBT world. Questions and comments can be sent to Willie Whang by email or the Twitter account

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