If you’re looking for a gay-friendly holiday, be it in Europe or further afield, our rundown of the best destinations will make sure you can expect the perfect blend of nightlife, culture and relaxation when it comes to booking your next holiday.
Miami, or Fort Lauderdale, United States
These Florida sunspots are becoming the premier gay resorts in America. There are several hundred gay-owned establishments, including the second-largest Metropolitan Community Church in the US.
The variety of hotels, bars, clubs and clothing-optional gay beaches makes Fort Lauderdale the perfect gay resort. In Miami’s South Beach you can feel out of place if you’re not gay, especially along Ocean Drive.
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Puerto Vallarta is Mexico’s number one gay destination and has one of the best gay discos in North America – Christine. You’ll find everything you want in Puerto Vallarta, including an outstanding gay beach, interesting shops, specialised gay tours and a variety of nightclubs.
It is a beautiful resort right in the middle of a thriving town. There are all types of holiday on offer, including all-inclusive packages. This destination can offer one of the most thrilling gay holidays.
Sydney’s gay and lesbian Mardi Gras is an amazing and extravagant blend of sexuality, noise and colour that is held in late February. It includes a film festival, art exhibitions, a thousand types of show and events and, most importantly, non-stop clubbing.
Gay life in Sydney centres on two areas – Oxford Street from the city up to Paddington, and King Street in Newtown, offering great restaurants, great shopping and plenty of cruising.
San Francisco, United States
San Francisco is arguably the gay capital of the US and it’s a fine-looking city to boot. Check out the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf for unrivalled bay views, China Town for fantastic food, and then head out of the city to sample the California’s famed vineyards.
Among the city’s top gay venues are The Midnight Sun, Moby Dick and Detour. It’s also worth checking out San Francisco Pride, one of the highlights in the calender year.
Mainland Spain’s number one gay destination, Sitges is celebrated for its laid-back attitude and liberal approach to life. This town just south of Barcelona is the choice of many Spanish people for their holidays. Sitges has been a favourite gay holiday destination for years and it has attracted a regular crowd who return year after year.
The town offers all that any gay holidaymaker could ever want – a vibrant scene, great beaches and a pleasant cool, sophisticated ambience. Its proximity to cultural and exciting Barcelona is one of its main attractions.
Tangier was perhaps the world’s first gay resort. Oscar Wilde visited in the 1890s and was followed in the 20th century by William Burroughs, Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote and Joe Orton, who brought the sexual scene there to international attention.
Today Marrakesh is the most popular gay destination in Morocco. One of the best meeting places is the Djem El Fna, the massive open square in the middle of the city. At night there are food stalls, storytellers, snake charmers, orange sellers and transvestite dancers to entertain you.
Mykonos is one of the most stylish gay holiday destinations anywhere in the world. The gay scene is concentrated in beautiful Mykonos Town – famous for its little whitewashed buildings and narrow alleyways. Mykonos attracts a cosmopolitan and liberal following and the locals are extremely friendly.
Little Venice at the harbour is a chilled-out spot with many gay bars and clubs, and there are a lot of mixed venues as well. There are masses of restaurants and cafes that cater to all budgets and a plethora of good shops. The beaches are magnificent – the best are Paradise Beach, Elia and Agrari, and nude sunbathing is accepted.
Gran Canaria, Canary Islands
Gran Canaria is an exciting gay holiday destination mainly because of the Yumbo Centre – the commercial centre in Playa del Ingles. Here you’ll find nearly 50 gay bars. There are also lots of gay clubs, restaurants, saunas and even a sex shop. Every venue is different and whatever you’re into you will find it here.
The beaches are spectacular and the gay beach at Maspalomas with its famous sand dunes is probably the world’s largest cruising area.
Ibiza, Balearic Islands
Ibiza’s Old Town is where you’ll find the island’s well-established gay scene. The most popular bars are in and around Calle de la Virgen. For hardened clubbers there are all-day venues on the seafront in Figueretas. The mainstream club scene is thriving.
The island is also an excellent place to eat out and many restaurants are gay-owned. The beach at Figueretas has recently been extended but it is mixed and many gay holidaymakers will probably prefer the gay beach at Es Cavallet where it is fine to sunbathe nude. There is also a great beach bar there called Chiringay.
Cape Town, South Africa
South Africa was the first country in the world to enshrine the protection of homosexual rights in its constitution – and its party capital Cape Town is the place to be. Its city boasts a gay community of around 100,000 and is set to host the Gay Olympics in 2010.
Combine this with a fabulous climate and attractions including stunning Atlantic beaches, the imposing Table Mountain, nearby winelands, insane nightlife and Africa’s biggest shopping complex, and you’ll wonder why you didn’t visit sooner.