The Spartacus Gay Travel Index 2018: Spartacus, the German publisher of gay travel guidebooks based in Berlin just released their annual Gay Travel Index giving a detailed ranking of 197 LGBTQ+ friendly countries worldwide. Since 2013, gay and lesbian travelers can find information about how gay-friendly their holiday destination really is. The guys behind the Spartacus Gay Travel Index thereby include the facts of how legal homosexuality actually is and if there are any anti-discrimination laws regarding sexual orientation or HIV travel restrictions.
But also considering how aggressive and hostile locals are against same-sex couples, if adoption is possible for gay and lesbian couples and if gay pride parades (also known as CSD = Christopher Street Days) and any other LGBTQ+ events are allowed to organize and actually to attend to. This year for the first time, Spartacus includes the legal situation of transgender people in their annual travel index for the LGBTQ+ community, referring to the German Online Magazine Spiegel, where we were interviewed about the current Gay Travel Situation. We as gay couple travel blogger will have a closer look at what is behind the ranking in 2018 introducing some of our gay-friendly gaycation hot spots around the world we felt very welcome and safe.
The Gay Travel Index 2018 by Spartacus
Which countries are gay-friendly? Where would you suggest us to go on our next holiday? And, of course, did you ever encounter any (physical) violence, aggression, homophobic behavior during your trips? These are the questions people asking us as gay couple travel blogger frequently. Lucky us, we never experienced anything really bad though we also had to handle some insulting moments like people calling us faggots, sissy or disgusting, even here in Europe. It made us feel sad, intimidated and a bit scared. To minimize the risk of experiencing insults like these, it is a piece of good advice to choose gay-friendly travel destinations for your vacation. The Gay Travel Index by Spartacus is, for example, a good list to check before booking a flight, if the country is considered to be queer-friendly. Of course, that does not give you any guarantee that nothing will happen. But it is an indicator of how wary and careful one should behave, especially in public.
Some pleasant surprises appear on this year’s Gay Travel Index. Germany for instance, made a great jump up the ranking from place 22 to place 3. One major reason was the legalization of same-sex marriage last year. But sometimes, it is a destination that most unexpectedly is not protecting the LGBTQ+ community although you can book a stay at different gay resorts and even Gay Pride events are taking place. Some countries dropped significantly like the USA from place 34 to place 39 or Brasil from place 22 to place 55. What many of you might not know is, that in some of the most popular holiday destinations being gay is actually illegal or a punishable offense and LGBTQ+ people face the death penalty (like in the United Arab Emirates and Katar).
Gay-Friendly Countries traveled by Couple of Men
Rank 1: Canada
One of our favorite gay travel destinations made it all the way to the top, and deservedly so. We traveled to Canada two times now, the first time to Alberta to attend Jasper Pride Gay Ski Week visiting Calgary and the Canadian Rocky Mountains. And we just recently traveled to the North American country again to explore Vancouver for Dine Out Festival 2018 and to attend Whistler Pride Gay Ski Week. But that’s not all since we are already planning our next gay travels to Canada. After ranking on the third place last year, the Canadian government is now fully legally supporting transgender people. Same-sex marriage is already legal since 2005. That’s the way to go in 2018 and 2019 for more countries! We will be back in Canada very soon!
Rank 3: Finland
Already two years ago, we traveled to the Scandinavian country Finland for the EuroGames and Helsinki Pride Festival. The city of Helsinki and Finland, in general, is a very gay-friendly destination which we can unexceptionally recommend to visit for LGBTQ+ travelers. Since March 2017 same-sex marriage is legal and fully excepted. As openly gay travelers, we did not experience any kind of homophobic behavior, inequality or anything like it. Highlights of our trip to Helsinki have been our visit to Löyly Sauna, theme park Linnanmäki and, of course, the beauty of Helsinki in general. Hopefully, we will be back soon to see more of this beautiful country in Scandinavia.
Rank 3: Germany
Germany, the home country of Karl is not just since the legalization of same-sex marriage effective since October 2017 considered to be a gay-friendly destination. Nevertheless, in the countryside in eastern and southern Germany, LGBTQ+ travelers who show their attractions towards each other in public might face homophobia. Cities like Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne, and Frankfurt are popular destinations for gays and lesbians to travel to. And sometimes, exceptions proof a point, like our gay-friendly stay in a Slumber Wine Barrel in Central Germany. Also in 2018, the German LGBT community is organizing 60 Gay Pride and CSD throughout the whole country. Happy Pride Germany!
Rank 3: Iceland
Definitely, Iceland is a gay-friendly destination LGBTQ+ traveler should put very high on their bucket list, and not only because of the Icelandic gay-friendliness in Reykjavik and the legal gay-marriage since 2010. During our 21-days road trip around the island, we encountered stunning nature, friendly locals and delicious Nordic cuisine. Join a hike on a glacier, wander along the black beaches around Vík in the south, go on a Northern Lights hunt and Whale watching trip in Iceland’s north. It doesn’t matter if you are on a camping trip like we did, or you decide to chose accommodations, Iceland will accommodate you in a very gay-friendly way.
Rank 3: Netherlands
We are happy and proud, that our home country The Netherlands, or as you might know it Holland, is among the top 10 queer-friendly places in the world. Already in 2001, on April 1st to be precise, the European country legalized same-sex marriage by law and was thereby the first country in the world. Although Holland is very openminded and gay-friendly, there is still much work to do to reduce prejudices among the people and keep on being an example of an LGBTQ+ friendly society. If you get the chance to put a trip to Amsterdam on your bucket list, come and join us for the pride walk 2018 and one week later for the unique canal pride parade. Definitely an annual highlight for us!
Rank 3: Spain
The Spanish government legalized same-sex marriage already in 2005 and made the south European country Spain to one of the leading LGBTQ+ friendly places in the world. Lucky us, we were able to travel already several times starting with our City Weekend to Barcelona and our first Gay Cruise with La Demence. In the meanwhile, we managed to visit Malaga, Ibiza, Cadiz, and during our second The Cruise Adventure we were able to explore all of the big Canary islands including La Palma, Lanzarote, and Gran Canaria. But there is still a lot to discover like Madrid and the North of Spain. Looking forward to meeting you there!
Rank 15: Austria
Last summer, we spent a wonderful week in the South of Austria attending the Pink Lake Festival at Lake Wörth. After flying to Klagenfurt, we took a rental car to Velden using our the resort town as a base to explore the countryside of Carinthia. Additional to that, we found a great place to buy traditional Austrian garments and great places to hike and enjoy the view of the Alps. During the festival, the town feels very openminded and friendly, but still, we experienced some prying eyes and glimpses of people not expecting two bearded men holding hands and kissing each fleetingly. But a little education never hurts. New on our Blog: The gay travel guides for Vienna and Salzburg! Good to know: the Austrian government will legalize same-sex marriage latest in 2019. Congrats!
Don’t go there – Homosexuality is illegal here!
Unbelievable but true, there are still 72 countries around the world with anti LGBTQ+ legislation, prohibitions of organizing Gay Pride Events and even penalize being gay, lesbian, trans or simply different from the norm, mostly influenced by religion, even in 2018. Among them are Iran, Saudi-Arabia, and parts of Nigeria. Very close to Europe and our hometown Amsterdam, but the worst country to travel to for LGBT and gay couples is the autonomous republic Chechen in Russia, where persecution, the death penalty and punishment of LGBTQ+ people have been reported. Among the un-friendliest countries (but no death threat) are popular holiday destinations like Malaysia, Jamaica, Egypt Marocco, Russia as well as the Maldives and Haiti. Gay, lesbian, transsexual and queer travelers should exercise extra caution when traveling to these parts of the world and you might wanna consider if you want to spend your tourist money in a country that doesn’t agree on your way of living.
Tips & Reviews: Gay Travel Know How
- Photos & Video & Stories: Gay Pride Parades Worldwide >
- LGBTQ+ Winter Events: Top 13 Gay Ski Weeks Worldwide >
- Traveling as a Couple with our Couple of Men Blog Articles >
- Reviews of Hotels around the world: Gay-friendly tested Hotels >
- News Legislation, Events, and any LGBTQ+ related Travel News >
Spartacus Gay Travel Index 2018
- Website Spartacus Gay Guide
- Facebook of Spartacus Travel
- Website ILGA – LGBTI Association
- Website IGLTA – Gay Lesbian Travel Association
About Spartacus International Gay Guide
You all might have heard already of the International Gay Travel Guides from the German publisher Spartacus. If not, you might wanna have a closer look the next time you are traveling as they are providing helpful information for your next gay travels about Bars, Sauna, Events, Going Out, and Hotels. And, of course, check their annual Spartacus Gay Travel Index 2018.