Unexpected LGBTQ+ Friendly Destinations

When it comes to LGBTQ+ travel, it’s all too easy to think about obvious destinations such as New York, Mykonos and Barcelona. These destinations are all incredible in their own right and popular with LGBTQ+ travellers for good reason. However, there are many other destinations that might surprise you for how welcoming they are for the LGBTQ+ community.
Prepared By:

The Globetrotter Guys

Writer, Creator & Sustainable Travel Expert

Whether you’re in search of a romantic getaway, lively nightlife or epic outdoor adventures, here are a few unexpected LGBTQ+ friendly destinations to consider for your next trip.

Cape Town, South Africa

The first question we were asked when we planned a trip to South Africa was “is it safe? Especially since you are gay?”

Given a number of countries in North Africa have anti LGBTQ+ laws and attitudes, it’s perhaps not a huge surprise that people may be confused about what to expect when it comes to travelling to South Africa as an LGBTQ+ person.

Allow us to set the tone in one sentence: South Africa was the fifth country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage, it has anti-discrimination protections in place for LGBTQ+ people, and Cape Town specifically is host to a huge pride celebration that takes over the city each year.

Cape Town is one of Africa's most LGBTQ+ Friendly cities

Cape Town not only dispelled our preconceptions and worries about visiting as a gay couple, it blew us away with all that it has to offer every traveller. The city has so many incredible experiences. From ascending the spectacular Table Mountain, visiting penguins in nearby Boulders Beach, to beautiful beaches, forests, and one of the best culinary (and wine) scenes we have ever experienced. 

Cape Town is one of our favourite destinations for all these reasons and more. We suggest timing a visit around Cape Town Pride, spending a few days exploring the city, then heading along the Garden Route.

Reykjavik, Iceland

Iceland may be cold, but the people here are warm-hearted, open, and fully embrace the LGBTQ+ community. 

This was particularly evident during Reykjavik Pride. Unlike other pride events that may be full with tourists (and quite often a majority of gay men), the people that showed up to celebrate Reykjavik Pride were locals, families, LGBTQ+ people, and allies. This was not just an event for tourists. It’s clearly an integral part of the community, and that was heartwarming to see.

Reykjavik, Iceland is an LGBTQ+ Friendly destination

Again, like South Africa, Iceland is not necessarily synonymous with LGBTQ+ travel so it might surprise you to learn how much activity goes on year-round. The island is home to Pink Iceland, who specialise in running trips for LGBTQ+ travellers, and a number of businesses here are part of the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA). Knowing that all this exists immediately tells us all we need to know about how comfortable we can feel here.

If that wasn’t enough, in the centre of Reykjavik you will find the Rainbow Road, originally painted temporarily for Pride, but now a permanent fixture which sets the route for the Pride parade each year. It’s a clear mark of acceptance and love for all to see.


Travelling as an LGBTQ+ person in the Caribbean can be tricky to say the least. It’s not a destination that often comes to mind for LGBTQ+ travel, which is why we were thrilled to visit and learn all about Curaçao.

Possibly the most LGBTQ+ friendly island in the Caribbean, Curaçao is full of culture, character, and colour. It may be a little behind countries in Europe when it comes to LGBTQ+ laws and rights. There is some distinction between the treatment and attitudes towards being an LGBTQ+ local versus a tourist, but laws and attitudes are gradually improving with local activists, businesses and the tourism board leading the way.

The LGBTQ+ community is growing in the Caribbean island of Curacao

The LGBTQ+ scene here is small and as a result has a great local community feel to it. We highly encourage people to visit and connect with the locals to learn about their experiences. We met some awesome drag queens at the one gay bar, Gaze.

We were lucky enough to visit during Curaçao Pride and similar to Cape Town, we loved that this was really a Pride for the people that lived here that allowed them to celebrate and be themselves.

Beyond the LGBTQ+ scene, Curaçao is ideal for those that enjoy exploring beautiful beach coves, scuba diving, or snorkelling the local reef and enjoying some incredible food (try the Lionfish Café!).

Stockholm, Sweden

If you were to ask someone in Stockholm what their thoughts are on the LGBTQ+ community, they would probably look puzzled but for good reason.

In Stockholm we did not feel that there was a distinction between being LGBTQ+ or not. The community is simply a natural part of everyday society and so the question becomes moot – and that’s a good thing.

Stockholm prides itself as “the Open City,” and that holds true. Gender neutral toilets aren’t political, they are just standard in most places you visit. The same can be said for a number of clothing stores. Clothes are just clothes, they aren’t gendered. 

Stockholm, also known as

All these signals immediately tell us as LGBTQ+ travellers that we are welcome, safe, and that we could relax and enjoy this beautiful city. We had no idea that Stockholm is leading the way in that respect.

The city itself has a lot to offer. It’s made up of 14 islands and you can expect traditional gabled buildings lined by cobblestone streets, stunning green landscapes, incredible architecture, gastronomy, cultural landmarks, and of course, the ABBA museum.

If you want a local experience whilst you are here, make sure you do fika! This means taking your time with family and friends to spend a couple of hours enjoying coffee and treats in one of Stockholm’s cafes. Ideally, to be true fika, you need seven types of cakes or buns so make sure you have a big appetite!

We hope you have found some inspiration in these LGBTQ+ friendly destinations and that perhaps any preconceptions you might have had have been changed. Let us know where you have travelled to and experienced the unexpected!

For more LGBTQ+ travel tips & inspiration, check out more from the Globetrotter Guys.

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