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Best Cities For Gay And Lesbian Travel

Updated on June 25, 2012

According to the Out Traveler magazine survey, Amsterdam, Barcelona, London and New York are most popular destinations among gay and lesbian travelers. Amsterdam has been ranked number one for a quite long time, however Barcelona just recently became popular gay and lesbian travel destination. Barcelona has been a center of gay culture in Spain for years. But, the popularity of the city tremendously increased after the legalization of same sex marriages in Spain in 2005, what brought the city to the second position, even ahead of well-established gay travel destinations as London and New York. Let's have a closer look, what makes these cities are best and hottest gay and lesbian places in the world.

Amsterdam, well-known for its wide-ranging and diverse gay and lesbian scene, also has a rich homosexual past. The oldest gay rights organization in the world (the COC) was founded in Amsterdam in 1946. The Gay Games that were held here in 1998 were a great success. The first gay and lesbian marriages in the world were conducted in Amsterdam in 2001. Amsterdam offers about 100 gay bars and clubs, special gay parties and museums, performances and even the gay beach in nearby. All of these combines with the unique spirit of tolerance and freedom of the Netherlands, and that's why the former mayor of Amsterdam Schelto Patijn proudly called Amsterdam "the gay way to Europe".

Barcelona, thanks to Antoni Gaudi architecture and Mediterranean beach culture, always was a top destination in Spain and Europe in general. But, in 2005 the city put itself on the gay map as well. That year strictly Catholic Spain legalized same sex marriages, which of course attracted a lot of gay travel to the number one country destination. Barcelona has its own gay community so big that it claims its own district Eixample (Gaixample), which of course offers LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual) travelers every possible form of comfort and entertainment from plenty of gay bars and eateries to gay hostels and variety of small clubs. Plus, 35 km south of Barcelona, just a half-hour train ride away, there is another hot gay travel destination - Sitges. Once been an artist's colony, Sitges is a small charming coastal town. Vibrant nightlife, beautiful beaches (famous gay beach Platja de la Bossa Rodona is one of them) made Sitges a very popular gay beach resort, with gay population accounting for almost 30% of summer tourism.

London, being a capital of the country with the largest gay and lesbian population in Europe, has probably the most eye-opening gay nightlife in the world. With 200 gay bars and clubs, the annual London Pride Festival, London's Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, the city attracts gay and lesbian tourists from around the world. By the way, London is a top destination for American gay and lesbian tourists. The UK has extensive gay history with a lot of famous GLB people (King James VI, Elton John, Virginia Woolf) and the first-ever gay rights demonstration in Britain on the 27th November, 1970, in Highbury Fields, north London.

New York City, with a reputation of open-minded and liberal city on one hand and being the center of cultural, business and night life in the USA on the other, attracts a lot of gay and lesbian travelers not only from the USA but from around the world. Greenwich Village, West Village, East Village, Hell's Kitchen, Chelsea are lively gay-friendly neighborhoods in town with lot of modern lounges, romantic restaurants and trendy bars. Plus, there are plenty of galleries around these neighborhoods to satisfy your artistic side. And, of course, New York has much more to offer to gay and lesbian travelers. Attractions catering to the LGBT community can be found throughout the city.


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