Last updated: 01:30 PM ET, Thu September 15 2016

5 Most LGBT-Friendly Destinations in the World

Destination & Tourism | International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association | Kristina Rundquist | September 15, 2016

5 Most LGBT-Friendly Destinations in the World

PHOTO: Brazil, which recently hosted the Olympics, is one of the most gay-friendly places in the world. (Photo courtesy Thinkstock)

It’s not just here at home that LGBT travelers are finding a warm reception. Overseas destinations, as well, are rolling out the red carpet for LGBT travelers, facilitated by the great work of the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association.

Here are five of the world’s most gay-friendly spots:

Brazil: Now that the Olympics are over and prices are returning to normal, why not take advantage of the great exchange rate? In addition to scoring some bargains, in between the 2014 World Cup and this year’s Summer Games, Rio has undergone a facelift so there’s more eye-candy than just the fabulous people-watching on Copacabana’s and Ipanema’s beaches. Rio, while one of Brazil’s best-known destinations for gay travelers, is by far not the only one. Salvador, Bahia, is worthy of mention if not for its stunning beaches and its Old World charm.

Ireland: This summer the five-star luxury train Belmond Grand Hibernian Ireland made its debut. A journey aboard this train, whether the two-night Taste of Ireland or the six-night Grand Tour of Ireland, is reason enough to go. Each voyage begins and ends in Dublin, meaning that travelers have more than enough time to experience the very best the Emerald Isle has to offer, plus time enough to take in Dublin’s sights. Bonus point: Ireland voted in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage in 2015.

READ MORE: IGLTA To Hold 2019 Convention In NYC

Stockholm: What’s not to love? With its striking architecture, even more striking people and unique Scandinavian style and design flair, Stockholm is one of those cities that should be on everyone’s bucket list. Be sure to check out the medieval city center, the Gamla Stan, where you’ll find charming cafes, wine bars and boutiques mixed in with ancient churches and winding cobblestone streets. If the weather is nice, take a ferry out to the Archipelago and spend a day strolling one of the rocky islands, having lunch and enjoying a few drinks, before catching the last ferry home. Families (and fans of Pippi Longstocking) will want to make a special trip to the Junibacken children’s museum and play space, which pays homage to Astrid Lindgren’s famous characters.

Thailand: A beach-lover’s paradise thanks to Phuket, Thailand, is also breaking the mold on gay rights in Southeast Asia with its passage of the Gender Equality Act, which prohibits “unfair” gender-based discrimination. Long considered a gay-friendly bastion, Bangkok offers visitors a wealth of activities from cabarets to gay bars and clubs and culture galore. What’s more, the iconic Oriental hotel turns 140 this year and is undergoing a major renovation to celebrate.

California: There’s a lot to love about the Golden State from SoCal to NorCal and everything in between. Start in LA and you may never want to leave.  When not enjoying the laid-back vibe of hotels such as the Standard or Ace, you can revel in the downtown Arts District before taking a drive out to Malibu Café for an afternoon of lunch and cocktails under the trees. No trip to California would be complete without a visit to San Francisco, possibly one of, if not the, most gay-friendly destinations in the world. Need we say more?


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