When wanderlust hits, the first question on everyone’s minds tends to be, “When can I get out of here?” The second is usually, “Where can I go?” National and international travel has never been easier – there are discount airlines, last-minute deals and, of course, our own cars. But with so many affordable options, the choice of where to go has become even more challenging. To help you sort through the many LGBT-friendly destinations around the world, we rounded up some of this year’s hottest locations and broken them down into seven different categories to help you make your selection. Bon voyage!
Kids and Kids At Heart – Monterey, California
There’s no shortage of kid-friendly entertainment (plus a few diversions for parents) in this charming town just a short drive from San Francisco. Monterey and Carmel boast a world-renowned aquarium, historic downtown, whale watching and a seal-filled beach. Bring your jackets – even the summers stay pleasantly cool.
Honorable Mentions: Washington, DC; Chattanooga, Tennessee
Artsy Fartsy – Madrid, Spain
Madrid has been welcoming LGBT travelers to its famous art museums and royal palaces for years. Spend your days wandering through the city’s small neighborhoods and plazas or browsing the Mercado San Miguel before spending your nights enjoying tapas in the La Latina neighborhood and heading out to the bars. And don’t miss Madrid Pride in early July!
Honorable Mentions: Mexico City, Mexico; Cape Town, South Africa
Thrill Seekers – San Juan, Puerto Rico
Zipline to the base of a rushing waterfall, hike through the rainforest, kayak in the famous bio-luminescent bay at twilight and visit a centuries-old rum distillery without ever leaving the country. Slow down your pace with a horse ride on the beach or by snorkeling in the bay.
Honorable Mentions: Vancouver, British Columbia; Queenstown, New Zealand
History Buffs – Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Massive stone carvings, ancient temples and a breathtaking archaeological park are just some of Cambodia’s incredible draws. Stop by a Buddhist prayer service before visiting memorials to the region’s war-torn past, and the town of Phnom Penh, just a few hours away, is the center of Cambodia’s LGBT community.
Honorable Mentions: Budapest, Hungary; Tikal, Guatemala
You Love The Nightlife – Berlin, Germany
Berlin’s nightlife earned it legendary status with good reason – there’s even a musical about it (“Cabaret”). It’s a city where truly anything goes – if there’s a fetish you can think of, there’s a club or a party celebrating it, especially during the summer, with Pride in June, Folsom Europe in September and everything else in between.
Honorable Mentions: Tel Aviv, Israel; Sydney, Australia
Foodies – Taipei, Taiwan
Taiwan’s food history straddles Japan, China and thousands of years of culture. Between street food stands, avant-garde restaurants and famous night markets, you’re bound to gain a few pounds. Book a food tour from one of the city’s many providers to make sure you don’t miss a single taste.
Honorable Mentions: Rome, Italy; New Orleans, Louisiana
Oenophiles – Montevideo, Uruguay
Monetevideo is the gay capital of Uruguay and the center of its winemaking region – and just around the corner from Buenos Aires. More than 200 wineries surround the capital and represent traditions brought from Spanish and Italian families. Many of them offer tours and tastings and are just a short drive away.
Honorable Mentions: Tokyo, Japan; Islay, Scotland