Travelling the world as a lesbian traveller needs extra preparation. Sadly not every country in the world welcomes us with open arms. But luckily many countries do. And more and more countries are added to that list every year.
In this article, we will tell you all about the most lesbian-friendly destinations in the world. So you only have to pack your bags and don’t have to worry about a thing afterwards. Because we all want to enjoy that holiday without worries if we can hold hands, kiss in public, and share the same bed, right?!
Enjoy travelling the world and these lesbian-friendly destinations!
It feels like Iceland is on everybody’s travel bucket list and we get why. It should be on the travel bucket-list of all lesbians! Iceland is one of the most welcoming countries in the world and LGBT+ rights in Iceland are super progressive. We visited Iceland in August 2020 and fell in love with this beautiful country.
Iceland is especially a great country for the adventure lovers among us. Exploring black sand beaches, walking behind waterfalls, sleeping under the stars (and maybe even the under the Northern Lights), hiking volcanoes: it’s all possible in Iceland. And don’t forget about whale watching and puffin spotting! There are lots of things to do and see in Iceland. And lucky for us, there are also many opportunities to relax in a natural hot spring or man-made lagoons like the Blue Lagoon. You might have seen pictures of the Blue Lagoon on Instagram: it’s a must-visit when travelling to Iceland!
Reykjavik is the place to be in Iceland if you want to visit LGBT+ owned bars, restaurants and shops. Kiki Queer Bar is a perfect spot to move those hips and have a drink. Ida Zimsen is a lesbian-owned café, bookstore, and gift-shop.
Thailand is among our favourite countries in the world to visit. We visited Thailand over 8 times already and we simply can’t get enough of it. The friendly people, beautiful nature, fantastic food, white-sand beaches, stunning temples: Thailand is famous for it all. And while many people visit Thailand, it still has many hidden gems like the islands Koh Mak and Koh Kood.
While the LGBT+ rights in the country aren’t great yet for locals, it’s a very welcoming country for tourists. It might even be a great country to go to for your lesbian honeymoon?!
Canada has some of the most advanced LGBT+ rights in the world and the Americas. The country is known for its liberal, progressive, and open-minded attitude. We probably all still remember the moment when the Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau took part in the Toronto’s gay pride march in 2016. Making him one of the first country leaders in the world to do so!
The country has big gay scenes and Pride events throughout the whole year. And of course, has stunning landscapes and fantastic cities like Toronto and Vancouver.
While we haven’t visited Canada ourselves (it’s on the top of our list), we know that many of our queer friends travelled to Canada. What Wegan Did Next (owners of the Femme Edition) for example.
Spain is perfect for any lesbian vacation. The country has so much to offer! No matter if you want to relax on the beach, go on a city trip, want to explore nature, or go island hopping.
The entire country is great to visit, but some places are extra lesbian-friendly. Madrid and Barcelona for example have big LGBT+ communities. Madrid is even called the gay capital of Europe. Head to the neighbourhood Chueca in Madrid to visit a lesbian bar!
Sitges is also known as a hotspot for the LGBT+ community. Although you find more gay men in Sitges than lesbians, it’s still a wonderful place to visit. Especially if you want to combine the city and beach!
The island Mallorca is a super famous island among lesbians, as Ella festival takes place here. It’s a music, art, culture, and sports festival for lesbians!
Taiwan is the first country in Asia that legalised same-sex marriage! Hopefully more countries in Asia (and the rest of the world) will follow soon. But let’s celebrate Taiwan first!
The island might not be the first country you think of to travel to. But Taiwan is wonderful to go to and great to combine with another country in Asia (Thailand for example?!). Great places in Taiwan to visit are Taipei, Kaohsiung and Hualien.
While walking on the streets in the capital city Taipei we were amazed by how many same-sex couples we saw walking hand in hand. PDA isn’t common in Asia, so you usually don’t even see heterosexual couples do this. But in Taiwan, we saw many!
Like Thailand, Mexico is a country we can’t get enough of! We’ve travelled all around Mexico for over half a year and love it. Our favourite spots in Mexico are Guadalajara, Mexico City and the Yucatán Peninsula. And Puerto Vallarta, which is popular for LGBT+ travellers, is a place we still really want to visit.
Especially the bigger cities and tourist areas in Mexico are lesbian-friendly.
Religion is very important in Mexico which is why it’s not always easy to be gay for locals, especially not in the countryside. But luckily, there are many safe spaces in the bigger cities. Zona Rosa in Mexico City is a great area for queer people to go to.
We often get the question if we felt safe in Mexico. And the answer to that is yes. We always feel super welcome in Mexico. In both touristic and non-touristic areas Mexicans have welcomed us with open arms, people invited us to their homes, they cooked for us, and we saw the most beautiful things.
Always while travelling it’s important to use common sense and be smart. Know which areas to avoid, keep your stuff safe, don’t walk at unfamiliar places at night and don’t get involved with drugs.
Okay, we Dutchies are biased with this one! We always welcome people with open arms in the Netherlands. The Netherlands was the first country to legalise same-sex marriage in 2001 and has some of the most progressive LGBT+ rights in the world.
Besides Amsterdam, and visiting the tulip fields, we dare you to see more of the Netherlands. Often tourists just visit Amsterdam, but we have more beautiful places in the Netherlands. For example, Utrecht, Giethoorn, Rotterdam, Alkmaar, and Leiden.
And make sure to visit Amsterdam Pride one day! It’s truly one of the most amazing Pride celebrations in the world. It’s on boats on the canals of Amsterdam. Yes, the floats are boats! You don’t see anything like that anywhere else in the world.
Being gay in Muslim-dominated Indonesia is not great, but being gay in Bali is a completely different story. Bali feels like a different country within Indonesia. The main religion of Balinese people is Hindu, while the rest of the country has a large Muslim population. And Hinduism is a lot more tolerant of LGBT+ people.
Bali is a very touristic island and many people from abroad live on the island. Tourism is the main economic sector of the island. As a result, Bali has quite a large gay scene! Balinese people will respect your sexual identity, which doesn’t always mean they accept it, but they will respect you.
There’s a reason Bali is such a popular island. Before visiting we were quite sceptical (cause it’s so popular), but after a 2-week stay, we only wanted to stay longer. Waterfalls, volcanos, beaches, luxurious resorts, hipster bars, and so much more. And all that without spending too much!
In 2020, Costa Rica became the first country in Central America to legalise same-sex marriage. The countries’ LGBT+ rights have evolved significantly in the past years. Therefore, the country is becoming more and more popular among gay travellers!
Costa Rica’s beaches, rainforests, wildlife, national parks and river valleys are just a few reasons to visit Costa Rica. And especially for adventure lovers, Costa Rica is heaven. Canyoning zip-lining, rafting, scuba diving, and surfing, it’s all possible in Costa Rica. You might even see sloths, macaws, or sea turtles on the way!
We are ending this list with lesbian-friendly travel destinations with Sweden. Sweden is one of our favourite countries in Europe to visit as it’s such an easy country to travel in. And Swedish people are very welcoming and friendly.
Stockholm, the capital city of Sweden, is one of the most liberal, open-minded, and hip cities we have ever visited. People call Stockholm the lesbian capital of Scandinavia and we love that nickname.
Not only Stockholm is a great city to visit, think about Malmö, Gothenburg, and exploring Swedish nature too!
Who are we? We are Roxanne & Maartje, a Dutch lesbian couple that runs travel & lifestyle blog Once Upon A Journey. For three years, we were fully nomadic and travelled all around the world. Right now, we are based in Amsterdam again.
We don’t shy away from countries that aren’t LGBT+ friendly, but we also celebrate the places that are. Visibility matters and we hope our travels can help LGBT+ people globally to have hope, to inspire them to think bigger! It’s our biggest belief that travel is for everyone and we’re determined to show how beautiful the world can be.