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Which countries are best for LGBTQ+ travellers?

Strasbourg Pride march, France
Strasbourg Pride march, France   -   Copyright  Margaux Bellott
By Tim Gallagher

While attitudes to LGBTQ+ people have changed dramatically over the last twenty years, public opinion on acceptance still varies around the world. That can make navigating travel options difficult for LGBTQ+ people.

A new study from My Dating Adviser has ranked the best countries for LGBTQ+ travel. It compared 34 countries around the world looking at eight different factors: society acceptance, sexual activity rights, civil union rights, marriage rights, adoption rights, military service, rights anti-discrimination laws and gender identity laws.

Depending on how a country performed in these categories, it was assigned a point score out of 100. So which country came out on top as the most LGBTQ+ friendly place for travellers to visit?

Argentina, Brazil, Australia, Canada and Germany all came out in the top 10 but here are the top five destinations:

5 United Kingdom

Score: 95.7

At number five on the LGBTQ+ friendly travel destinations list is the UK. Cities like Manchester, Blackpool and Brighton all have vibrant queer scenes and the capital city of London boasts some of the oldest gay watering holes in the world.

Although different parts of the UK legalised same-sex marriage at different times societal acceptance is high at 86 per cent, making it the perfect place for a holiday despite the weather.

4 France

Score: 95.8

With same-sex sexual activity legal as early as 1791, and military service and adoption rights that include transgender people, France places highly as the fourth-best destination for LGBTQ+ travel.

Many of France’s most romantic spots have become cliched over the years, so why not freshen them up by adding some rainbow spice to an Eiffel Tower proposal.

3 Spain

San Fermin/Unsplash
Pamplona, SpainSan Fermin/Unsplash

Score: 96.7

Spain has become one of the most LGBTQ+ friendly countries in southern Europe. Societal acceptance in the country is high at 89 per cent which makes it one of the most gay-friendly destinations to visit.

Madrid also hosts the Les Gai Cine Mad festival, an annual celebration of Spanish speaking LGBTQ+ film.

2 Netherlands

Anna Biasoli
Pride in Amsterdam, NetherlandsAnna Biasoli

Score: 97.6

The Netherlands is one of the most culturally liberal countries in the world. Recent polls indicate that more than 90 per cent of people in the country support same-sex marriage.

Amsterdam has frequently been named as one of the most LGBTQ+ friendly cities in the world. It has well over 100 gay and lesbian bars, clubs, saunas, shops and hotels. The most popular locations in the capital city can be found along the Reguliersdwarsstraat, Amstel and Kerkstraat.

1 Sweden

Norman Tsui
Stockholm metro, SwedenNorman Tsui

Score: 98.2

It isn’t surprising that Sweden tops the list. LGBTQ+ rights in this country are regarded as some of the most progressive in Europe and it has been recognised as one of the most socially liberal countries in the world. All anti-gay discrimination is banned, and societal acceptance of LGBTQ+ people in Sweden is high too at 94 per cent.

Every year the capital city, Stockholm, holds a Pride event that is thought to be one of Sweden's biggest annual events.

My Dating Adviser also has some advice for LGBTQ+ people looking to travel:

  • Research laws and social attitudes towards homosexuality and gender identity in the country or area you are planning to visit.
  • If the country you are planning to go to has low levels of tolerance towards homosexuality or it is illegal then it is a good idea to avoid any public displays of affection.
  • Follow the same precautions that you would at home.
  • Take precautions if you meet other LGBTQ+ people. In some countries, police and right-wing groups have been known to carry out entrapment campaigns.
  • Ignore any unwanted attention and move to a safe place. Depending on the country you are in, you may want to report it to the police.