The world’s most liberal city, Amsterdam, is one of the most LGBTQ+ friendly and also the ideal springboard to explore the most tolerant and vibrant gay-friendly destinations, around the globe with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.
Amsterdam’s legendary open-mindedness saw homosexuality decriminalised way back in the early 1800’s and the Netherlands was the first country in the world to welcome same-sex marriages.
There are sadly still many parts of the rest of the world where people are unable to express their true selves due to oppressive laws and unwelcoming societies – but there are plenty of other open-minded places where anyone is free to be themselves. We chatted to the KLM team for some suggestions of places to visit
New York, Pride Capital of the World
The modern gay liberation movement started in New York City with the Stonewall riots in 1969 – and 2019 marks their 50th anniversary. The city unites to celebrate with World Pride in June – the ‘Pride of Prides’ and a month-long celebration of the freedom to love who you like.
Outside of that, there’s obviously plenty to see year-round in The Big Apple, but beyond the usual tourist sights, there are a host of LGBTQ+ specific events, iconic clubs and an incredibly informative and emotive LGBTQ History Walking Tour of Greenwich Village.
Travel to New York’s JFK International Airport from Amsterdam on multiple KLM flights per day.
Same-sex marriage was legalised in Canada in 2005 and the vast country has since become a popular destination for LGBTQ+ travellers. While Vancouver, Toronto and Quebec are all LGBTQ-friendly, Montreal has the biggest and best nightlife scene.
The bulk of Montreal’s gay nightlife is centred around Rue Sainte-Catherine is where most of Montreal’s gay nightlife is centred, including the country’s biggest gay club – Complexe Sky, whose four floors each feature different styles of music.
For most, thinking ‘Canada’ means ‘snow’ – but summer in Montreal is a glorious time to visit with plenty of outdoor opportunities in the widest of wide-open spaces. Montreal Pride 2019 also takes place from 8-18 August.
This little Dutch island in the middle of the Caribbean may be known for its swimming pigs, flamingos and crystal-clear water but its LGBTQ+ scene is making a name for itself as well. The highlight of the LGBTQ+ calendar year is Curacao’s annual pride which takes place every September. Curacao Pride lasts for five days and there are plenty of parties and get-togethers during those days where you can show your pride for your community.
Every week, the Floris Suite Hotel also hosts a LGBTQIAP happy hour for those planning to vogue the night away. The island also annually hosts the Miss Gay Curacao Competition and the Curacao Drag Show Competition which brings in an array of LGBTQ+ travellers from around the world.
KLM remains the fastest and easiest way to travel to Curacao with nine flights departing to the island every week.
Sunny São Paulo
The Brazilian city of São Paulo is one of the most gay-friendly cities in all of Latin America. Brazil is fast-becoming one of the top go-to destinations for South Africans and it’s one of the most fabulous destinations for anyone who is a part of the LGBTQ+ community.
There, you can explore Frei Caneca, also known as “Gay Caneca”, the LGBTQ+-friendly section of the Consolação neighbourhood. Not only is there an array of bars, restaurants and a stunning shopping mall, but it’s also one of the country’s most beautiful locations.
Gay clubs like O Gato, A Lôca (especially busy on Thursdays), Blue Space (the best drag shows in São Paulo) and The Week Club are sure to have you dancing the night away.
Denmark was the first country in the world to recognise same-sex partnerships in 1998, making a pilgrimage to the beautiful cobblestone capital, Copenhagen, a must for any LGBTQ+ traveller.
The city is home to Europe’s oldest openly-gay bar (with origins dating back to 1950) and also the red light district of Vesterbro. It’s a vast array of cocktail bars and trendy minimalist boutique hotels offer stylish experiences in the heart of one of the most tolerant communities in Europe – often referred to as ‘the most gay-friendly place on earth’.
We couldn’t leave Cape Town out but this aimed at international destinations but if we have to talk about Cape Town, here it is…
Campy Cape Town
Cape Town is the pinkest city in Africa and is a must-visit for any LGBTQ+ traveller. The city is known as Africa’s LGBTQ+ playground and is the perfect place to unwind while also embracing one’s sexuality.
A trip to Cape Town wouldn’t be complete without visiting the city’s official gaybourhood De Waterkant which hosts a variety of flamboyant celebrations every Friday and Saturday nights. Meanwhile, establishments like Beefcakes, Crew Bar and Babylon provide the LGBTQ+ community with an array of entertainment and food options.
The city has some major LGBTQ+ events happening around the year – the biggest being the city’s annual pride parade which takes place every February. Meanwhile, MCQP is a major LGBTQ+ dress up celebration which celebrates Africa’s queerness in the most unique way. If you’re looking to spend some time getting some sun, Clifton’s third beach is one of the city’s biggest gay-friendly hotspots.
If that’s not enough for you, the city is full of hiking havens while just a short drive away, there are a variety of game farms for the perfect safari experience or wine farms to help you experience the true essence of Africa.