From Paris to Palm Springs, there are plenty of wonderfully laid back, cool and gay friendly holiday destinations for LGBT travellers wanting to feel comfortable and party with like-minded holiday-makers and locals. Generally, cities are a good choice for gay travellers, especially American cities, with places such as Philadelphia in Pennsylvania, Fort Lauderdale in Florida and New York, paving the way for LGBT equality.
Likewise, the leader of the gay-friendly pack, San Francisco has all the necessary requisites for gay travellers – a liberal, west-coast attitude, an aesthetic edge, a thriving art scene and a gay pride festival to beat all festivals. With over 200 parade contingents, 300 exhibitors, and more than 20 stages and venues, the 43rd annual San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration and Parade will be held from 29-30 June and the theme for 2013 is ‘Embrace, Encourage, Empower’.
While the US unsurprisingly rates well as a gay-friendly destination, there are lots of other, more exotic countries that offer gay travellers a fabulous holiday experience. While many African countries don’t fair well for gay travellers, Cape Town in South Africa is an ideal romantic hotspot for LGBT couples. Not forgetting the region’s stunning beaches, dramatic mountains, excellent local wines, vibrant dining and nightlife scenes, there is a large, openly gay population, same-sex marriage is legal in South Africa (since 2006) and the constitution safeguards LGBT rights.
Other gay-friendly destinations worth considering for fun in guaranteed sun include Sydney, Australia and Bangkok, Thailand.
Closer to home, the general rule of thumb is that northern Europe is more accepting of gay travellers than southern or eastern Europe, although some surprising, up and coming gay travel hotspots include Budapest in Hungary, nicknamed 'the Paris of the East' for its openness compared to other eastern-European cities, and the beguiling, bohemian city of Prague in the Czech Republic, which stages a gay and lesbian film festival annually in November. In addition, while you wouldn't expect the ‘Holy Land’ to lay claim to a thriving gay scene, the seaside city of Tel Aviv in Israel has in recent years evolved into a unique oasis of hedonistic progression!