LGBT+ travel: Top (and bottom) destinations in Europe for 2022
The results are in and Europe’s best destinations for LGBT+ people have been revealed just in time for International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia.
For the sixth year in a row, Malta has topped the charts, with the island Mediterranean nation scoring 92 per cent. Malta is known for its friendly locals, beautiful beaches and vibrant gay scene after a concerted effort to shift attitudes in a country dominated by Roman Catholic views.
How were the best LGBT+ destinations decided?
The annual report by ILGA-Europe rates European countries by their commitments to LGBT+ rights, showing the best hotspots for queer holiday makers.
The report ranks European nations based on criteria including constitution, LGBT+ health, marriage and adoption equality, legal gender recognition, and hate crime laws.
Which are the top five countries LGBT+ travellers?
After Malta, the top five is rounded out by Denmark, Belgium, Norway and Luxembourg.
Denmark was the first nation in the world to provide legal recognition for same-sex partnerships in 1989, while Scandinavian neighbour Norway brought in some of the world’s earliest anti-discrimination laws in 1981. Both nations are known for their cosmopolitan city breaks and beautiful scenery which can be enjoyed in any season provided you pack the right garments.
Meanwhile central European small nations Belgium and Luxembourg are known for their progressive policies and favourable public attitudes to equality. Belgium was the second country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage and elected their first openly gay Prime Minister, Elio Di Rupo, in 2011. Luxembourg meanwhile has the highest public approval for LGBT equal rights in Europe at 87 per cent.
Earlier this year France passed a law banning so-called gay conversion therapy, and is widely regarded as progressive on LGBT+ rights. Meanwhile, Portugal and Spain, both of which boast popular LGBT+ destinations like Gran Canaria, Barcelona, and Porto, have fought to secure their place among the progressive nations since ditching their dictators in the 1960s and 1970s.
Montenegro, an outlier amongst the Balkan nations, places highly on the list thanks to its anti-discrimination laws and pro civil union government stance. However, public attitudes lag behind legislation with 84 per cent of the public telling the World Values Survey they didn’t think homosexuality was justifiable between 2017 – 2020.
The remaining Nordic countries, already famous for their high happiness rankings, are also high-ranked for their progressive politics.
Finland, Iceland and Sweden all made the top 12, with other northern European countries the Netherlands, UK and Germany all coming 13, 14 and 15 respectively.
What are the worst places for LGBT+ travellers?
Hungary, whose ruling Fidesz government has been warned previously by the EU over anti-LGBT+ legislation, came 30.
Poland, whose local administrations previously established so-called ‘LGBT free zones’ unsurprisingly scores lowly at 44. The bottom of the list is rounded out by Belarus, Russia, Armenia, Turkey and Azerbaijan.
Russia and Belarus are unlikely to attract many tourists in the wake of international sanctions and condemnation after Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. However, the Russian government has already drawn international ire for its ‘Gay Propaganda law’ which, similarly to now-repealed Section 28 in the UK, bans discussing homosexuality in schools.
Gay pride parades are banned in Russia’s major cities and there are also reports of ‘gay-hunters’ attacking gay men in the street.
Meanwhile in Turkey, President Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development party have been accused of using a constitutional clause on causing offence to stifle free speech on LGBT+ issues.
It has also been claimed that the Turkish government told Netflix to remove a gay character from one of their scripts or risk losing their license for filming in the country.
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