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Spartacus Gay Travel Index 2023: How gay-friendly is the World?

Spartacus Gay Travel Index 2023: How gay-friendly is the World?

Every year, the German publisher of gay travel information and guides publishes the annual Gay Travel Index, with a detailed ranking of 202 countries worldwide and their LGBTQ+ friendliness. In the 11th edition, the Berlin-based publishing house Blu Media and the magazine Spartacus want to inform lesbian, gay, and queer travelers about how gay-friendly a holiday destination is according to several ranking factors and criteria. The aim is to collect enough information about LGBTQ+ friendliness, laws protecting queer people, and the livability of the locals. Gay travelers can use the Gay Travel Index 2023 to prepare for their gaycation and as a guide when choosing a holiday destination. But which country ranks first and made the most significant leap forward? Where is it safe to travel to as a gay and LGBTQ+ traveler?

>> Gay Travel Index 2024 <<

Spartacus Gay Travel Index 2023 Karl wants to know: Where to go on holiday in 2023?
Karl wants to know: Where to go on a gay-friendly holiday in 2023?

What’s behind the Gay Travel Index 2023

Spartacus has been publishing the Gay Travel Index since 2012. Every year since then, the German publisher has closely examined 202 countries and regions on various criteria: anti-discrimination legislation, the possibility of equal marriage or civil partnership, if adoption is allowed, the actual situation of transgender rights, HIV travel restrictions as well as the current situation about how hostile locals are against LGBTQ+. This includes the rights of intersex people or the option of a third gender on legal documents, as well as the welcome fact that more and more countries are banning reassignment procedures.

A gay couple of men with leather mickey ears on in front of Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom Park
Couple of Men in front of Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom Park

Gay marketing, indicating how and if gay travel is promoted per country, is a new category for queer travelers. It can also be seen as a measure of the social acceptance of queer people in a country. The Gay Travel Index is based on diverse sources such as Human Rights Watch, and the UN campaign Free & Equal and collected information about human rights violations of members of the LGBTQ+ community throughout the past year.

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The Full Spartacus Gay Travel Index 2023

You can see this year’s ranking below by clicking through the four pages:

  • Gay Travel Index 2023 by Spartacus 1
  • Gay Travel Index 2023 by Spartacus 2
  • Gay Travel Index 2023 by Spartacus 3
  • Gay Travel Index 2023 by Spartacus 4

> Complete Spartacus Gay Travel Index 2023 as PDF <

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Why is the GTI such an important travel source?

Background: There are still many places where LGBTQ+ travelers and queer locals must fear for their safety, health, and happiness. Because of the sometimes vast differences in the world, travelers can put themselves at risk simply by behaving unwisely. To support the safety of gay travelers worldwide, the Gay Travel Index is published at the beginning of each year’s travel season. The GTI is an initial guide – you can find more detailed information about your destinations on our website and blog.

Gay Train Trip around Europe to LGBTQ+ friendly destinations ©
Gay Train Trip around Europe to LGBTQ+ friendly destinations ©

Gay-Friendly Countries traveled by Couple of Men

Rank 1: Malta

Many people asked us in the past why Malta wasn’t listed as one of the most gay-friendly countries in the Gay Travel Index. Correctly so. But sometimes, changes need more time to be reflected in guides, like the GTI. But Malta made some giant steps forward, pushing the tiny Mediterranean island county to the top. Good to know: Malta was the first country in the European Union to prohibit conversion therapy and introduced laws protecting LGBTQ+ rights and equal marriage and adoption rights. We traveled to Malta in November 2018 for the first time, hoping to be back this summer for Euro Pride 2023!

Visiting Malta's capital, Valetta during our trip to Malta ©
Visiting Malta’s capital, Valetta, during our trip to Malta ©

Rank 2: Switzerland & Canada

Switzerland, one of our favorite travel destinations of 2022, made the biggest leap this year. The Alpine country jumped from seven to twelve points to second place, thanks in part to same-sex marriage legislation and a progressive self-determination law. And once again, also Canada made rank 2. In the past years, we traveled to Canada five times, starting with our Winter road trip through Alberta to attend Jasper Pride Gay Ski Week and visiting the Canadian Rocky Mountains. We also attended Edmonton Pride and made an adventurous road trip around Alberta’s northeastern lakes, just after we visited Toronto and the Canadian Niagara Falls close to the US border.

Gay Couple Travel Blog Couple of Men ©
Traveling to Whistler Pride in Canada ©

Rank 9: Germany, Iceland & Spain

Another three European countries we love(d) traveling to are Iceland, Spain, and, of course, Karl’s home country, Germany. In this year’s Gay Travel Index, the three all-time LGBTQ+ traveler favorites are ranking in the fourth category with an equal number of points pushing them to rank 9. After visiting Berlin all ready for the world’s biggest travel show ITB, where we received the ITB LGBTQ+ Pioneer Award for our work and book, we cannot wait to explore more of Germany in 2023.

Gay Travel Tips for Stockholm | Spartacus Gay Travel Index 2023 ©
Gay Travel Tips for Stockholm | Spartacus Gay Travel Index 2019 ©

Tips & Reviews: Gay Travel Planning

The ILGA World map on sexual orientation laws © ILGA.ORG

Gay Travel Index by Spartacus for 2023

Official Websites:

About Spartacus International Gay Guide

You may have heard of the International Gay Travel Guides from German publisher Spartacus. If you haven’t, you might want to look next time you’re traveling, as they provide helpful information on bars, saunas, events, going out, and hotels for your next gay trip.

But be warned: this year’s Spartacus Gay Travel Index is intended to guide the gay friendliness of holiday destinations in Europe and around the world.

Even if a country’s ranking is high or low, please check the current official status with the country’s tourist board, read some of the best travel blogs, or contact the nearest representative of the country you are planning to visit for advice.

Karl & Daan.

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