Get your passports ready because the following destinations will become your next adventure. Whether you are looking for a warm climate and some sun or a city with heart and exciting new culture, these destinations will have you packing your bags in no time.
1. Bali, Indonesia
This tropical paradise is located in Southeast Asia, and while Indonesia is primarily a conservative Muslim country, Bali is known to be generally LGBTQ friendly. An affordable destination. Experience beautiful beaches, rich, dense forests, and welcoming people when you arrive.
The cultural center of Bali, the city of Ubud, is a must-visit and was one of the locations in the book, “Eat, Pray, Love.” Take time to explore local markets, go to the famous Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary or unplug and explore the Campuhan Ridge Trail.
2. Reykjavik, Iceland
Breathtaking landscapes and days that never end await you. A progressive country, Iceland is welcoming to queer and lesbian travelers. Explore black sand beaches, catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights or even climb a glacier! If you are looking for R&R, head to the Blue Lagoon or one of the many therapeutic hot springs to soak in the healing mineral waters.
A tourist hotspot for the past decade, Reykjavik is also a city with an active nightlife that doesn’t stop, especially since the sun doesn’t go down during certain times of the year!
3. San Francisco, USA
A tried and true destination for the LGBTQ community, the city of San Francisco, is a must on this list! As a gay destination, San Fran is also a welcome spot for lesbians and those in the queer community to visit. Take a cable car, explore The Castro neighborhood, or snap a photo of the bright and colorful houses known as the Painted Ladies. Explore the stalls at the Navy Pier, and take in the sights of the Golden Gate Bridge. For a day trip, escape to Napa Valley, wine country, and sample some of America’s best wines.
4. Lesbos, Greece
Just off the coast of Turkey, the small Greek island of Lesbos (or Mitilini) is the third largest island in the Aegean Sea. The word lesbian has origins in the island’s name. The birthplace of the poet Sappho, who wrote about her love for women, Lesbos is a friendly and welcoming destination for LGBTQ travelers.
Relax on sandy beaches, or explore villages covered in olive groves and enjoy a slower pace of life. The small fishing village of Skala Eressos boasts the best beaches on the island and has been a hotspot for lesbians since the 1970s.
5. Paris, France
Head to the “City of Lights!” The city of Paris has long been a romantic destination. Same-sex marriage (and same-sex adoption) became legal in 2013, with Parisians overwhelmingly supporting the initiative. Climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower, spend an afternoon at a café, or take in the art at the Louvre.
Walk along the Seine or dance the night away at one of many bars or discotheques. Take a day trip to Versailles, the summer home of King Louis XIV, and tour the epic palace and gardens fit for a king (or queen).
6. Provincetown, Massachusetts
Located on the outermost point of Massachusetts, Provincetown has been a gay destination for decades and is a lovely summer getaway for lesbians and the queer community. Relax on many low-key beaches, go off-road on a dune tour and spend nights at clubs and drag shows.
“P-town” offers a New England getaway with a little more style than you would get on the rest of the Cape Cod region. Go on a whale watch or stay on solid ground with a stroll down Commercial Street and explore the shops, antiques, and restaurants that Provincetown offers.
7. Copenhagen, Denmark
Recently earning the top spot on Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Cities to Visit for 2019, Copenhagen has been a long-standing destination for the LGBTQ community. Denmark was the first to recognize same-sex partnerships and is also the host country of World Pride in 2021.
In addition, this Scandinavian city with European flair is home to the New Nordic Cuisine movement, prolific architecture (from Medieval to Modern), and the oldest amusement park in the world. Wander the 17th-century Nyhaven harbor, experience the atmospheric embrace of hygge in one of the city’s cafes, or visit Centralhjørnet, the oldest LGBT bar in Denmark, which has been operating since 1917.
8. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The home of Carnaval, Rio de Janeiro, is an LGBTQ-friendly spot, with the Brazilian government continuing to pass LGBTQ-friendly legislation. Sip on a caipirinha and relax on world-famous white sand beaches (Copacabana or Ipanema), take a cable car to the top of Pão de Açúcar for some spectacular views or dance the night away at a samba club in the Lapa neighborhood. If you are into nature, take a hike in the Tijuca National Park, one of the most extensive urban forests in the world.
9. Cape Town, South Africa
Located on the southernmost tip of Africa, South Africa’s capital Cape Town has become a welcome spot for lesbian travelers. The first in Africa to approve same-sex marriage and outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation in its constitution. This cosmopolitan city, full of history and nightlife, is also situated between mountains and bays, with many options to get out in nature.
Explore the Cape of Good Hope, ride on a cable car and get the best views from Table Mountain, or take a selfie with penguins at Boulders Beach. If you have the opportunity, take a day trip out to the Winelands, where you can roam the vineyards and some of the best wine South Africa offers.
10. Lisbon, Portugal
Lisbon’s year-round mild climate has attracted travelers for the past decade. Portugal’s spot as the eighth country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage has aided the “City of Seven Hills” in becoming a burgeoning hotspot for LGBTQ travelers. Explore the winding streets of the historic Alfama district, listen to the beautiful sounds of a Fado performance or sip on some port wine.
Lisbon comes to life at night, with clubs and bars in the Barrio Alto and the Principe Real. Foodies will be pleased with the Time Out Market Lisboa, where you can sample cuisine from over 20 restaurants. If you can, take a day trip to Sintra and get lost in the magical gardens and palaces.
Before you set out on your next trip, update yourself on the LGBTQ laws and travel advisories where ever you decide to go! For more travel resources for the queer and lesbian community, check out the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) at www.iglta.org.