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LGBTQ+ Travel: The best countries to visit

Why not take a trip to these LGBTQ+ travel-friendly holiday destinations?

All countries should be safe for LGBTQ+ travel. But, unfortunately, attitudes towards lesbian, gay, bisexual, non-binary and transgender travellers around Europe differ from country to country. That’s why, it’s so important to know which areas are considered safe for LGBTQ+ travellers to visit, and which might be best to avoid. 

2021 saw heightened tensions and public outrage caused by anti-gay laws and policies that were implemented in eastern Europe. From physical attacks to online abuse and legislative setbacks, the LBGT and Gay community in Central and Eastern Europe had little to cheer about.

Politicians and even church leaders in some European countries exploited the global frustration concomitant to COVID-19 to propagate more hate. As a result, these places have made it difficult for LGBTQ+ people to have a seamless and less discriminate travel experiences.

According to Evelyne Paradis, executive director of the European branch of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA-Europe); there is an anti-LGBTI trend emerging which includes attacks on the LGBT community, banning information in schools in the Bulgarian capital being led by Far-right political leaders. “Poland and Hungary are not anomalies. In the past year, we’ve seen increased political repression against LGBT people, a stark rise in socioeconomic hardship, and the spreading of LGBT-phobic hatred on the streets and online across the region,” she said.

LGBTQ+ Travel Stock Image

LGBTQ+ Travel Stock Image

The EU and LGBTQI Equality

Despite a concerning recent increase in LGBTQ+ negative politics in some countries, the European Union has pledged its commitment to ensuring the equality of all persons in Europe regardless of gender identification. Some examples of this commitment include announcing new legislation and anti-discrimination laws and launching help lines and quick-response centres.

In a survey held by Open Europa in 2019, 76 % of Europeans agreed that gay, lesbian or bisexual people should have the same rights as heterosexual people, up from 71 % in 2015. In light of new development, all of these gains seem to be withering away in some European countries as more countries double down on their anti-gay legislation.

The Netherlands was the first European nation to legalise same-sex marriage, briefly followed by the UK and others. Now, 18 countries in Europe legally accommodate gay marriage.

However, despite these efforts, the commission has also cautioned people on possibility gender discrimination while travelling.


Malta © Bengt Nyman

The top 15 Best Countries In Europe To Visit as an LGBTQ+ Person

Research collected by ILGA’s European Rainbow map found that Malta, Denmark and Belgium are the most LGBTI-friendly nations on the continent. Its annual review of 49 European countries ranked them on a scale between 0%  (gross violations of human rights and discrimination) and 100% (respect for human rights and full equality). And, Malta scored an impressive 92%. 

Other countries that ranked highly include Sweden, Norway and France.

The top 15 countries and their scores:

  1. Malta – 92%
  2. Denmark – 74%
  3. Belgium – 72%
  4. Sweden – 68%
  5. Norway – 68%
  6. Luxembourg – 68%
  7. France – 64%
  8. Montenegro – 63%
  9. Iceland – 63%
  10. Portugal – 62%
  11. Spain – 62%
  12. The Netherlands – 56%
  13. Germany – 53%
  14. Ireland – 53%
  15. The UK – 53%

Azerbaijan, Turkey, Armenia and Russia had the lowest scores on the report.

You can view the full Rainbow Map here.


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